Carol Platt Liebau: The Lame Grey Lady

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Lame Grey Lady

Start out with John Stossel, who has some harsh truths about government schools but then don't miss Thomas Lifson's piece blowing holes in The New York Times' pretensions to high-mindedness.

The Times, in fact, isn't allowing mail to its "star columnists" now behind a pay-to-read wall unless the writer is, in fact, a subscriber. Hm. I thought that newspapers were supposed to be a considered a "public good" -- that's why reporters supposedly deserve a special privilege to protect their sources, etc. etc. Well, apparently, the "public good" of its op/ed pages doesn't extend to the reader who might buy a copy on the street and then decide to write in.

The fact is that The Times is finding a way to make money in a world increasingly dominated by the internet. Fair enough. But then it shouldn't take a stance of such preening moral superiority over other business, who are trying to do the same thing. And if the chase for the almighty dollar interfered with another business' "core mission," the Times would be the first to complain.

"Great newspapers" (and their writers) have an obligation to listen, even to those who don't agree with (or, heaven forbid, subscribe to) them. But then, I think many would agree that The Times hasn't been a "great paper" for some time now.


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