Subscribe via RSS Feed

Resistance – The free market is a harsh mistress edition

[ 101 ] May 12, 2017 |

Giving a climate change denying conservative column inches has consequences.

In an email sent Friday afternoon and obtained by POLITICO, Sulzberger addresses subscribers who specifically mentioned the hiring of Stephens as a reason that they ended their subscriptions.

[…]

In the letter to former subscribers, Sulzberger says it’s important to underscore that the newsroom functions separately from the opinion department, and that New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet “has sharply expanded the team of reporters and editors who cover climate change.”

This guy must think his readers are dumber than the tRump son who looks like a drowned corpse.

Even if one overlooks the NYT’s newsroom’s repeated intimate relations with the gallus gallus domesticus of Clinton’s emails, the internal wall between newsroom and opinion section is irrelevant to the reader. It’s like selling jars of Nutella and shit and telling dubious customers that it’s OK because they don’t have eat the shit.

Sulzberger wrote that, with so many people “talking past each other about how best to address climate change,” putting different points of view on the same page will hopefully help advance solutions.

If one person says cancer should be treated with a variety of methods including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, and another says we shouldn’t treat it at all because it doesn’t really exist, then surely we’ll come up with a cure for cancer in no time.

“Our editorial page editor, James Bennet, and I believe that this kind of debate, by challenging our assumptions and forcing us to think harder about our positions, sharpens all our work and benefits our readers,” he wrote. “This does not mean that The Times will publish any commentary. Some points of view are not welcome, including those promoting prejudice or denying basic truths about our world.”

Unless the basic truth involves global climate change.

But it does mean that, in the coming years, we aim to further enrich the quality of our debate with other honest and intelligent voices, including some currently underrepresented in our pages. If you continue to read The Times, you will encounter such voices — not just as contributors, but as new staff columnists.”

What a fantastic pitch. In exchange for money now, readers will in years to come get what Sulzburger thinks is honest and intelligent debate, which could be more asshats like Stephens.

I think the way it usually works is the company that has pissed off its customers figures out what they want, gives them what they want and hopes that they come back. The NYT should try that.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Vance Maverick

    Not sure I want to look, but does Sulzberger give a criterion for determining what kinds of false and pernicious commentary they publish, and what kinds they don’t?

    • Mike G

      By a wild coincidence, it always seems to be lies that advance the interests and profits of corporations and the established wealthy and powerful.

      • AdamPShort

        MINDFLIP

      • Barry_D

        “By a wild coincidence, it always seems to be lies that advance the interests and profits of corporations and the established wealthy and powerful.”

        I’m sure that it’s just a coincidence.

    • StillWithHer

      It has to represent one of the two main factions of the political ruling class, so nothing Leftist and nothing Pro-Trump

      • calling all toasters

        With notably few exceptions the far right is not part of the political ruling class.

        • weirdnoise

          Not sure I’d buy that. Pro-Trump folks may be few among the PRC, but the PRC is highly dependent on keeping those folks on their side, so as a class they “rule.”

          I think that even if the GOP wasn’t focused on exploiting Trump for deregulation and tax breaks, they still need loyal Trumpers for their votes. As for what this has to do with NYT readership? The PRC needs to know what those people are thinking, and reading the NYT is a lot more pleasant for them than rubbing elbows with working class folks or reading alt-news.

        • YRUasking

          Is this the sarcastic “notably few exceptions” or are you being real?

      • Barry_D

        “It has to represent one of the two main factions of the political ruling class, so nothing Leftist and nothing Pro-Trump”

        I believe that they’ve floated the idea of a ‘thank you Trump!’ feature.

    • Phil Perspective

      Quote from the post:

      “This does not mean that The Times will publish any commentary. Some points of view are not welcome, including those promoting prejudice or denying basic truths about our world.”

      Does Sulzberger realize that Stephens is both a bigot and a climate change denier? So ….

      • tsam

        Well yeah but that doesn’t count see?

  • Mike G

    we aim to further enrich the quality of our debate with other honest and intelligent voices, including some currently underrepresented in our pages.

    He did say honest and intelligent, which still leaves me wondering where Stephens fits into all this.

    I look forward to them hiring a columnist who believes the world is a flat plane balanced on the back of a turtle. The turtle-earthists have been criminally unrepresented in the NYT for too long.

    • waspuppet

      we aim to further enrich the quality of our debate with other honest and intelligent voices, including some currently underrepresented in our pages.

      Unless they’re nonwhite women, or nonwhite men not named Charles Blow. Because let’s not go too crazy here.

    • I will support this if the turtle is riding on top of four elephants.

      • This is HERESY. The elephants are standing on the turtle not the other way round. Such perversions are the work of Satan.

        • wjts

          I think it’s technically an Abomination unto Nuggan.

          • theforeignhistorian

            Comments like this is why I love this site.

        • I suspect my memory may have done me a disservice here. I think we can all agree, however, that The Turtle Moves.

      • sibusisodan

        So who would make the best columnist? Nanny Ogg? Angua?

        Lord Rust would fit in well…

      • Deggjr

        It’s turtles all the way down.

        At least according to this t-shirt: https://www.zazzle.com/its_turtles_all_the_way_down_t_shirt-235814192965466961

  • efgoldman

    I don’t have to cancel my subscription and get a smarmy letter. since I never had one.

    Fuckem

    • veleda_k

      Since the election, I’ve wished multiple times that I subscribed to the New York Times, so I could have the satisfaction of cancelling.

      • howard

        As someone who cancelled his subscription in November thanks to the abysmal election coverage, I have watched with dismay as total subscriptions have increased.

        • StillWithHer

          Your only regret is that you have but one subscription to cancel for your country?

      • SatanicPanic

        I did and I can confirm it felt good.

      • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

        I canceled yesterday, after 29 years. It was indeed satisfying, though I wish it hadn’t been necessary because there are still things about the paper that I’ll miss. And the business of “our editorial content is separate from our news content” may be true, but it’s pointless anyway. Both their pre-election coverage and the hiring of Stephens were factors in my canceling, and I told them so.

    • mmolleur

      They must be undercounting the number of subscribers lost due to Stephens. I specifically mentioned him and haven’t received my smarmy email.

      • The Dark God of Time

        Are the subscription figures audited?

  • calling all toasters

    I’ll put a sawbuck on Andrew Wakefield being the next columnist.

    • Sadly, this is a bet I wouldn’t take.

  • ap77

    It’s becoming overused by now, but my only reaction is: “Christ, what an asshole.”

  • ploeg

    It’s like selling jars of Nutella and shit and telling dubious customers that it’s OK because they don’t have eat the shit.

    Dung, sir.

    • mds

      “It’s the man with our New York Times book review dung.”

  • keta

    “Our editorial page editor, James Bennet, and I believe that this kind of debate, by challenging our assumptions and forcing us to think harder about our positions, sharpens all our work and benefits our readers,” he wrote.

    I would think those that cited Stephens as the reason they cancelled their subscriptions would force the NY Times to “(challenge) our assumptions and (force) us to think harder about our positions,” but I guess all that heavy lifting is a one-way street.

    • Warren Terra

      Is this the James Bennett who did so much to destroy The Atlantic – and in particular to make its short, opinion-heavy pieces a complete sewer? (as opposed to its longer reported pieces, which also suffered)

      • keta

        The same.

  • StillWithHer

    Of all the sentient beings throughout the Cosmos, I have no doubt that our American GOP circa now is the group most skilled at concern trolling.

    • The Dark God of Time

      Nyarlathotep is taking notes.

      • The Dark God of Time

        Also:

        The other Outer Gods and Great Old Ones are often described as mindless or unfathomable rather than truly malevolent, but Nyarlathotep delights in cruelty, is deceptive and manipulative, and even cultivates followers and uses propaganda to achieve his goals.

  • nemdam

    The best, any maybe only thing, that would reform our media is mass cancellations of the NYT. If the bottom line of the top newspaper can be hit due to hackery, then no one is safe. But don’t forget to reward good newspapers with subscriptions.

    I also like this world where reading untrue things is engaging debate and challenging our assumptions. The only assumption it challenges is whether or not reality exists i.e. if I’m living in the Matrix. I have a feeling that’s not the debate the failing NYT is trying to engage in.

    • Chetsky

      Propublica
      Talking Points Memo
      Mother Jones
      The Atlantic

      I like WaPo, but can’t get myself past Fred Hiatt’s ed board

      Anything else come to mind?

      • West of the Cascades

        The Guardian

      • keta

        Digby
        Edroso

        All the major English newspapers, magazines and book reviews linked from one stop.

        • FWIW, the site at your last link only shows those when it’s not in mobile mode (on larger screens, portrait mode only).

      • Warren Terra

        The WaPo is doing the best political reporting in the country – certainly of any newspaper, as opposed to ProPublica – and it has some really good bloggers. But, yeah, its actual op-ed page is a shame at best.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          I actually subscribed to the WaPo right after the election. I was surprised to find myself doing it. Their op-ed page is a trainwreck. But they have really distinguished themselves with their quality political and investigative reporting. Frankly, for the 2016 election, I think that the WaPo ate the NYT’s lunch.

      • Taylor

        I would love to see Krugman move to WaPo (though I think Hiatt’s ouster would be a necessary prerequisite).

        That great sucking sound you would hear in Manhattan…..

    • Ramon A. Clef

      I also like this world where reading untrue things is engaging debate and challenging our assumptions.

      And having to sit quietly listening to DeVos bloviate in order to get your diploma is having a conversation.

    • I also like this world where reading untrue things is engaging debate and challenging our assumptions.

      Yeah, the time for that shit is over. The debate we need to be having now is how to implement what needs to get done before we’re committed to huddling at the North Pole.

      • Judas Peckerwood

        I think we’ll all be treading water at the North Pole.

        • The Dark God of Time

          Crocs were swimming there during the Eocene…..

    • rm

      whether or not reality exists i.e. if I’m living in the Matrix

      Be careful what you wish for. There are a number of internet-dwelling young adults who are convinced that we do live in the Matrix, as evidenced by “glitches” such as many people remembering the Berenstain Bears being spelled “Berenstein,” or many people remembering an early ’90s movie about a genie that starred the comedian Sinbad, a movie which never existed. Instead of teaching us about the malleability of memory, these examples are proof to them that the timeline has been revised or that multiple timelines have converged.

      Usually these young adults fail out of my Freshman Composition class. But now I look forward to reading the “honest and intelligent voice” of one of these folks in the NYT, as their point of view is certainly “underrepresented in our pages.”

  • I think you covered most of the issues, but here’s the thing: we don’t have time for the NY Times to engage in this kind of bullshit debate. The debate about whether global warming is happening is closed. The debate about whether humans have caused/contributed to it is closed. We only have a short window of time to meaningfully do something about it before that debate is closed, too. So top perpetuating the bullshit, NY Times. This is fucking serious shit.

    • West of the Cascades

      I was reading a back issue of The Economist today and their feature story about the shrinking Arctic, and it was refreshing to have the facts about global warming, and why the Arctic is warming much faster, laid out in a matter-of-fact way, as universally accepted fact. Fuck the NYT for pretending there is still some debate.

      • Yeah, I have to wonder if the purpose of this ‘debate’ is to merely run out the clock until we get to the point (soon) where all we can do is throw up our hands.

        • Chetsky

          Slight alteration of your thesis.

          (1) these RWNJs all think they’ll be (or are) rich
          (2) they all also assume that -some- humans will survive climate change
          (3) their plan is to make sure that they’re the ones best-positioned to survive and reproduce
          (4) and they think that riches are key to that
          (5) and y’know, everybody else dying off? that’s a bennie — less competition!

          In a way, it makes complete sense: much better to be on the top of the heap of the 100k or so humans who survive with premodern tech, than to be upper-middle-class (or *shudder* middle-class) amongst the billions who live in peace in a world that avoids climate change, and is on a course to worldwide tranquility and decent lives for all. B/c in that world, the rich will get expropriated to pay for it all, natch.

          Of course the “way” in which it makes sense is that of genocidal maniacs, but hey, why quibble?

          • BigHank53

            Yeah, because they’re clueless suburban idiots who have never ever had to deal with an actual shortage of anything. They’ve always been able to toddle down to the store and buy anything that was within reach of their credit card. When the last factory making ciprofloxacin closes its doors (or goes underwater) it doesn’t matter if you have every single dollar ever printed: you can’t buy what doesn’t exist.

            Econ 101 may as well be the epitaph for civilization.

      • guthrie

        The problem is that the Economist still supports the ‘free’ market system which is what is retarding the efforts to prevent the warming getting really really bad, instead of merely really bad.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    Marvel Comics is using much the same logic right now with regard to its turning Captain America into a Hydra agent. How dare you stop buying a shitty storyline, you silly SJWs! The way to truly show your dislike is to keep buying it, and every crossover. And if we come out with merch, you gotta get some of that, too.

    • Judas Peckerwood

      turning Captain America into a Hydra agent

      Talk about an apt metaphor for the state of our body politic…

      • Ramon A. Clef

        Right? And apparently, a recent issue of Sam Wilson: Captain America had him calling out college students for being too divisive. IDK for sure. I only have the digital subscription, which is six months behind the print version.

    • TommyDeelite

      Wait, how is Hydra-Cap an SJW issue? That sounds more a reaction from the crowd that complained about female Thor.

      And yes, that issue of CA: Sam Wilson could have been cribbed from a Bill Maher rant.

      • Ramon A. Clef

        Apparently, the author of CA: Steve Rogers has dismissed people complaining about the storyline as SJWs. As if being concerned about social justice were a bad thing.

        • Davis X. Machina

          the SJW-as-insult business always confused me. SJW’s used to be called ‘prophets’.

          They have their own section in the Old Testament, where they’re mentioned pari passu with the Law.

          What are we being invited to become instead?

  • sibusisodan

    So at least those made homeless by sea level rises or ecosystem changes will be able to think more sharply about how and why it happened. Swings, roundabouts…

  • daves09

    Currently underrepresented-now those are some scary words.
    But they already have MoDo so that leaves out Dame Peggy.
    But why no holocaust deniers; no anti-vaxxers; and the MSM have certainly not given a fair shake to the flat earthers; and what about the hollow earth where all the Nazis are hiding.
    And there’s still lots of debate about creationism and the age of the earth.
    And gravity what about gravity-totally unproven and how about the tides-does anyone really know what causes them? Some kind of magic no doubt.
    I for one welcome our new age of superstition and ignorance.

    • cpinva

      beat me to it. my money is on the Holocaust Denier being next hired, to provide both sides a healthy, air clearing (so to speak) debate.

      • daves09

        Yes indeedy. The real scandal is that the MSM refuse to investigate where those six million people-who probably never existed anyway-have been hiding all these years.

    • John Revolta

      The hollow Earth is where the flying saucers come from. Wake up sheeple.

  • Cheap Wino

    In my journalism and English classes I was taught to know your reader. To write for your reader. I imagine about 100% of people who got this letter thought, “See, this shit is exactly why I cancelled in the first place. Damn good decision.” Sulzy is writing to himself to justify his ridiculous decision, not to readers who considered hiring Stevens insulting.

    Not surprising to see that Sulzberger is a crappy writer/bad journalist.

    • twbb

      Hey not everybody can be born into a family business and be given authority solely on the basis of nepotism. Show some respect for his achievements!

      • As far as I can tell from what I read these days, it’s only nepotism if a Clinton does it.

  • msdc

    New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet “has sharply expanded the team of reporters and editors who cover climate change.”

    Too bad he’s also sharply expanded the team of columnists who deny that it’s real.

    • Hogan

      Hey, we have reporters telling you the facts about climate change and columnists telling you why you shouldn’t believe our reporters. Little thing called “objectivity.”

      • tsam

        We obfuscate, you decide what you feel is true.

  • MikeJake

    Note that Ralph Nader, one of the original True Liberal avatars, made his name on the notion that the consumer has rights and should get what he reasonably wants (as in, consumer products that won’t injure him). So the idea that the Left is required to keep an open mind to those ideas that they are opposed to is flawed on its face.

    But then, the NYT seems to want to resist the idea that political leftists are their customer base.

    • Supply & Demand a la NYT: We demand that you purchase what we supply!

  • twbb

    Good God, the New York Times apparently can’t even refrain from being condescending when they’re begging.

    • LosGatosCA

      Well, it’s clearly the fault of those politically correct DFH’s that requires the Times to have to point out the former readers lack of understanding of what The NY Times true mission is and why they are clearly mistaken in cancelling their subscriptions.

      Chalk this right up there with the Whole Foods guy not understanding why people pay extra to buy the same crap from them they can get at Safeway/Kroger/Publix.

      I’m entitled to your money, what don’t you understand about giving it to me?

  • ASV

    All this time and our elite press still doesn’t have the tools to deal with bad faith actors.

    • LosGatosCA

      Maybe – I’m just spit balling here – maybe, the press is part of the bad faith problem.

      When you have a succession of public editors that don’t understand their job description, a lead reporter who becomes the willing propaganda tool for the most incompetent administration until Trump’s – including going to jail to protect an eventually convicted for obstruction of justice felon, AND you give William ‘The Bloody’ Kristol a job, perhaps, not an absolute certainty, but perhaps, these errors are not forced upon them.

      When you add in the EMAILZ and the Clinton Foundation stuff you have to conclude that in fact The NY Times is a willing, even enthusiastic, soldier in Jay Gould’s Army. On the one hand, it’s important to be compassionate in paying lip service to liberal ideals while we, on the other hand, invest our reportorial and editorial resources to ensure they are never attained.

      Seems ‘fair and balanced’ to me.

  • If one person says cancer should be treated with a variety of methods including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, and another says we shouldn’t treat it at all because it doesn’t really exist, then surely we’ll come up with a cure for cancer in no time.

    You see, a debate is like an electric circuit. Or maybe a capacitor. In either case you get more juice if the difference in charge between two points is greater.

  • mainerobinson

    … dumber than the tRump son who looks like a drowned corpse.

    Jesus, really?

  • Bloix

    The Times is a schizophrenic newspaper: on the one hand, it is the newspaper of the New York metro area and of the Washington-Boston corridor more generally. On the other hand, it is locked in a titanic struggle with the Wall Street Journal for dominance as the national daily paper for upper management. The two readerships have little in common except that they are better educated than the readers of USA Today. The Times hired Stephens as a strategy for taking readers from the Journal. They must have seen him as a twofer – rabidly anti-climate change, hard-right on Israel. I think they completely misjudged how their liberal Northeast base readership would respond.

    • pseudalicious

      Huh, that’s really interesting, I’ve never heard anyone use that analysis before. If true, that’s really sad. If you care about journalism, wouldn’t you want there to be as many newspapers as possible? What’s the point of “competing” with anyone, when you’re a newspaper? What happens when you “win”? It’s so stupid.

  • The Great God Pan

    the tRump son who looks like a drowned corpse.

    Be more specific.

    • Chetsky

      Oh, c’mon. They both look like serial killers, but only one one of ’em looks like a drowned corpse.

    • Downpuppy

      the Younger one – Odo

      • pseudalicious

        GASP – this is an insult to Odo

  • I note in passing that today (Saturday) the NYT features an Op-Ed by Erick Erickson, titled “The Fantasy of Impeachment”. Perhaps some brave or foolish soul here will read it.

    • Morse Code for J

      One of my “free” articles (it’s not like I intend to subscribe with shit like this on the op-ed page):

      “After President Trump fired James Comey, the F.B.I. director, the media and political left ignited with talk of impeachment. “We are certainly moving down that path,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona. “The Comey Firing May Be the Beginning of the End of the Trump Administration” shouted a headline in New York magazine.

      This is a fantasy.

      Don’t get me wrong. I have long had concerns about President Trump. He can contradict himself within separate clauses of a single sentence, then lie about the contradiction. He lacks the depth of knowledge a president should have and seems far more concerned with what people on TV say about him than what is happening around him. Even if there is no evidence that the F.B.I. is investigating the president himself, it is reportedly looking at ties between advisers to his campaign and Russia.

      But let’s be realistic. Though the firing looks bad, it was also reasonable.

      Consider the case made by Rod Rosenstein, the highly respected deputy attorney general, who was recently confirmed by more than 90 members of the Senate. In a memo to the president, Mr. Rosenstein said Mr. Comey had usurped the attorney general’s authority last July by announcing his conclusion that the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails should be closed without prosecution.

      “It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement,” Mr. Rosenstein wrote. “Compounding the error, the director ignored another longstanding principle: We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.”

      Mr. Rosenstein likewise documented concerns from attorneys general from both parties. “The way the director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong,” he concluded. “As a result, the F.B.I. is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.”

      Mr. Comey only made things worse for himself by giving wrong information to Congress about emails belonging to Huma Abedin, Mrs. Clinton’s aide. Mr. Comey’s testimony was under oath, and the F.B.I. had to retract its own director’s testimony. No one can deny this was a bad thing.

      Though they are criticizing his firing now, Democrats were calling for Mr. Comey’s head after he reopened the Clinton email investigation late in the campaign last year. If he was so bad then, is he really so good now? It also is telling that two of President Trump’s most vocal critics within the Republican Party, Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both embraced Mr. Comey’s termination.

      Underlying liberals’ calls for impeachment is the belief that Mr. Comey’s firing will squelch the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian campaign meddling. But there are good reasons to think that the inquiry won’t be affected. The F.B.I.’s interim leader, Andrew McCabe, vowed on Thursday that the investigation would continue apace. Likewise, the Senate will have to confirm Mr. Trump’s nominee to replace Mr. Comey, and Republicans seem determined to keep the bureau independent. More than half the Senate Republicans have already raised concerns about how Mr. Comey was fired. Many of them are privately worried that Mr. Trump could lead them to electoral disaster. They are not going to serve as yes men for a yes man at the F.B.I.

      Last, along with the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling, there is a Senate investigation. The chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, and its ranking member, Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, have criticized Mr. Trump’s handling of the Comey termination and are committed to the investigation. A number of other Republican Senators, including John McCain and Ben Sasse, have also raised questions about the firing.

      Instead of engaging in conspiracy theories about President Trump’s Russian connections, liberals would be better served demanding that Congress exercise its powers of the purse and investigation to ensure honesty and integrity in the confirmation of a new F.B.I. director and in the operation of the agency.

      Frankly, by firing Mr. Comey, President Trump did what President Barack Obama should have done. Most Americans recognize the cynical and hypocritical reactions now being deployed over this. I suspect most Americans do not even care. Hillary Clinton’s supporters have long wanted Mr. Comey out, and President Trump’s supporters will stand by their man.

      In continuing to misread the political situation and reality itself, the left is setting itself up for failure and disappointment. The odds are that the president comes out of a Russian investigation unscathed. Even if Democrats take back Congress in 2018, they would probably fall short of the two-thirds vote in the Senate needed to convict him of impeachable offenses.

      Impeachment is not on the horizon, and this is not the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency. It is just one day closer to the next presidential election. And until then, and maybe longer, I’m betting Donald Trump will remain our president.”

  • libarbarian

    This is such childish crap.

    A major paper published an opinion piece you don’t like! Boo hoo!

    If only the didn’t publish that we would have solved it all by now.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      You spent two solid weeks shitposting “bro” into your responses because Brownian made a reference to “atheobros.”

      • libarbarian

        Well, looks like we got a historibro :)

  • Jay B

    It’s always refreshing to see that the Publisher of the Times cribs from the Discovery Institute’s “Teach the Controversy” PR decks.

  • Dilan Esper

    If they are digging in, that means there weren’t THAT many canceled subscriptions.

    • Aaron Morrow

      Not only that, but if they’re calling attention to it, they must be getting more praise than blame.

    • PohranicniStraze

      They have fewer, but better, subscribers.