Saturday, September 24, 2005

Former Leading Newspaper Screws Self In Butt

I got home from vacation last night. Got up this morning and started to pack up to hit the road for the day. Wife and dogs barred the door until I woke all the way up! Whew! Gotta ease back inta this stuff!

Fixer 'n me ain't the only ones who refuse to pay the NYTimes for their op-eds. Editor & Publisher has a few choice words about NYT's ill-considered slide into irrelevance. Via Leftist Grandpa's sidebar.

It will be interesting to see how this winds up, but many popular bloggers have declared that the new New York Times online policy -- which puts its influential columnists behind the "paid" wall -- offers a major boost for the blogosphere, and the loss of real online clout for the Times.
Today, Mark Karlin, who runs, said, "It is rather noteworthy that the New York Times chose to force readers to pay to read their columnists, many of whom remain the sole progressive voices in the establishment newspaper of the status quo. It certainly appears a curious choice, considering that Judith Miller's erroneous stories would still be free, were she free to be an administration conduit once again."

They quote Kos:

The Wall Street Journal is not stupid. They're smart. They've put their news content behind a pay wall and have done quite well revenue-wise for their troubles. BUT, they also want to influence public opinion. And being a key component of the Right Wing Noise Machine, the WSJ editorial board has made sure their opinion material is accessible to everyone. Heck, they have a guy emailing their content to bloggers. They even have a separate site for it:

You want your dose of Peggy Noonan (must ... supress ... gag reflex), or John Fund, or James Taranto? You've got them. No pesky paywall between their opinion content and the people they hope to influence.

The New York Times, on the other hand, is the textbook definition of stupid. They take the one part of the paper that is a commodity -- the opinion -- and try to charge for that. No Krugman? Who cares. Give me Brad DeLong. No Bob Herbert? Whatever. Give me James Wolcott or anyone at the American Prospect or Washington Monthly. Or any of the thousands of columnists at other newspapers, and the tens of thousands of political bloggers.
Suddenly, overnight, Brooks and Friendman and Krugman and Herbert have been ripped out of the national debate. Whatever void that might have created has already been filled by the multitudes of voices in the sphere.

So the Wall Street Journal works hard to be a top influencer in the national debate. And the New York Times works hard to become a provincial paper.

Wish granted.

Methinks the Gray Lady may be going a touch senile.

If you're a Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd junkie like me, Truthout usually reprints their stuff. Click their names for the latest.

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