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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

End Times

According to Henry Blodget, the New York Times, for the first time, is eating its seed corn and will run out of cash within four quarters.

I first subscribed to the Times in junior high school, where students were offered their very own copy of the paper everyday for half price, one thin dime. From then on I was a more-or-less regular subscriber until the spring of 2001, when I found I simply couldn't bear it anymore and canceled my subscription (which was a great deal of trouble, I recall).

The Times has long been a liberal paper but whereas it used to be liberal in the post-war anti-communist tradition of Harry Truman, George Meany and Mike Mansfield, beginning in the 80s, under the direction of Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger and later the woefully untalented Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, Jr., heir to the Times' publishing dynasty, it veered sharply to the left until by the new millennium, it scarcely resembled the paper that had twice endorsed Dwight Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson for fear Stevenson wasn't hard enough on communism.

For most of its existence, the Times was scrupulous (with some glaring exceptions) in restricting editorials to the editorial page but that changed in the 80s as the older generation of writers and editors retired and were replaced by baby boomer leftists who confused their ideology, probably not intentionally at first, for truth and began to slant the coverage. This has gotten worse, to the point where the Times is now only read by (other than those conservatives who still do so through inertia) a select demographic, the same as those who produce it: liberal, white, upper-middle class baby boomers living in coastal cities and suburbs. Not, to say the least, the most promising demographic for growth or survival, even.

So if the Times goes belly-up, I will be sorry for what it was, perhaps the greatest news gathering organization the world has ever known, but not sorry for what it has become: a house organ for the insufferable elite, by the insufferable elite, who, with their sneering attitude toward those who vastly outnumber them in the "flyover" states, increasingly remind one of Charles Jennens, Handel's librettist, as described by Dr. Johnson,
Solyman the magnificent; who never walks abroad without a train of footmen at his heels, and, like Wolsey, with a scented sponge 'neath his nose, lest the breath of the vulgar herd should contaminate his sacred person.
Now there is Pinch Sulzberger, and his clientele, to a tee.

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