November 24th, 2008

Gail Collins vies for honor of worst NY Times column ever

There’s a lot of competition for that honor, but this column by Gail Collins just might get top (bottom?) prize. Unwilling to wait the last two months of the end-of-Bush-Presidency countdown, or to let the Constitution take its course, Collins calls for the immediate resignation of President Bush. Apparently she just can’t tolerate another moment of the man, now that the end is in sight.

Where does the Times get these people, and why are their thoughts considered fit to print? It’s not as though Collins is a newby, either. On looking up her bio, I discovered that she was the first female editor of the Times‘ editorial page, serving in that capacity from 2001 to 2007. Before and after that she had/has been a columnist. Nor should she be ignorant of the topic on which she speaks; her degree was not only in journalism, but she earned a Master’s in government as well.

This proves two things: not only is it possible to rise to a high position at the Times and still be foolish as well as ignorant, but it’s also possible to get a degree in government and not have any practical understanding of it. I suppose neither thing should surprise me in the least at this point. But I still consider them remarkable.

Collins isn’t just calling for Bush to resign, either—”obviously,” she says, Cheney’s got to go too. Obviously. As a result we would then get the interim presidency of none other than Nancy Pelosi, a development certain to reassure just about nobody—with the possible exceptions of Ms. Pelosi herself, her immediate family, and Gail Collins.

Collins writes:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

I’m not sure Pelosi would defer to anything or anybody, especially after she got a taste of the highest position in the land without benefit of having had to earn it. The damage she might do in even two short months could be formidable. And how this turn of events would ultimately help Obama’s Presidency is exceedingly unclear.

Ms. Collins does manage to make a historical comparison, and the one she offers is telling:

In the past, presidents have not taken well to suggestions that they hand over the reins before the last possible minute. Senator J. William Fulbright suggested a plan along those lines when Harry Truman was coming to the end of a term in a state of deep unpopularity, and Truman called him “Halfbright” for the rest of his life.

Truman was deeply unpopular, it’s true. And yet now he is usually ranked among the top ten Presidents in history, most often around number seven. Funny how that can happen.

Collins’ column has a juvenile, snarky tone that shows about as much respect for Bush—and, even more importantly, for the office of the Presidency and the rule of law—as her suggestion does. In fact, what she mostly expresses is contempt, and the now-familiar attitude of the sore winner.

Not only does Collins fail to understand that it is hugely important to adhere to the Constitutional rules set up for the peaceful transition of power, a widely-admired process that makes the US an example to the world, but in the extremity of her shortsighted anti-Bush partisanship she fails to understand that we cannot automatically assume that it’s the Bush Presidency that’s causing the markets to tank. Another perspective is that it may be the prospect of change in a time of crisis, and fear of the unknown policies of an untested Obama, causing at least some of the increased panic.

Markets tend in general to dislike instability. So Collins’ bright idea of adding even more instability to the present toxic mix is an exceedingly poor one.

If Ms. Collins is joking, it’s a lousy joke at a very poor time. If she’s serious, it’s just further evidence—not that we needed it—that the NY Times long ago dropped all semblance of objective reporting. At least it’s not pretending any more.

57 Responses to “Gail Collins vies for honor of worst NY Times column ever”

  1. Dan Says:

    It has been open season on Bush at the NYT for several years, and Collins’ column is just one more sad example. Thank goodness they have decided to keep Sarah Palin around for target practice (the turkey pardoning controversy) or else we’d have a column a day on the top ten reasons why inbred academics and artists living in Manhattan hate GWB. I don’t think gail gets out too often; she’s more to be pitied than censured. When it begins to dawn on her that the second coming has been delayed ( cancelleing the Bush tax cuts will be postponed, the Gitmo detainees will be imprisoned in a different location, etc) she may need a new bone on which to chew. Whether or not she will bite the hand that has been stroking her is another matter.

  2. roc scssrs Says:

    Indeed, why wait for an election? If a president’s popularity falls, there’s usually a crisis of some sort to give some Ultimate Leader an excuse to persuade, say, a cabal of colonels to surround the White House with tanks. Nice precedent, Ms. Collins!

  3. vanderleun Says:

    If Collins would simply get married to Dowd, two complaint spigots would be shut off for at least two weeks.

  4. vanderleun Says:

    “This proves two things: not only is it possible to rise to a high position at the Times and still be foolish as well as ignorant,”

    This is not a possibility. It is a requirement.

  5. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Technically, Senator Obama is not elected until the Electoral College elects him. Just one of those constitutional niceties that our founding fathers thought of because they were concerned with the long-term consequences of their actions. Unlike editors at the NYTimes.

  6. vanderleun Says:

    And furdermor…. I have taken great pains to avoid the sloshing mucus of the Times editorial page. I do not understand why you should insist on spending your time and mental acuity on peering into that always overflowing drool cup.

  7. FredHjr Says:

    Mrs. Collins is one of the finest examples of the collectivists from that group called the Older Cohort of Baby Boomers (born in 1945) who have no respect for the Constitution and only have use for it when it serves their purposes. Totalitarian swine, the lot of ‘em!

  8. GeoPal Says:

    “Not only does Collins fail to understand that it is hugely important to adhere to the Constitutional rules…”

    I suspect Ms. Collins, The NYT, and the rest of the MSM will be fully on board when POTUS, COTUS, and SCOTUS begin cutting a large swath through the Constitution. She just can’t wait, bless her arrhythmic little heart.

    As to the NYT? From Reuters – October 23:
    The New York Times said it still expects to manage its debt obligations. At the end of the quarter, the company had $46 million in cash and about $1.1 billion in debt.

    If they they get a bailout, mark the start of the revolution.

  9. dane Says:

    Oddly enough the office of president survived the many peccadillos of it’s occupants for many decades. The main reason (in my humble opinion) was precisely because the man may not have been respected the office was – and great pains were taken to protect the integrity of that office. I saw a change during Bill Clinton’s time. When his transgressions in the white house became known I found that many said – it’s his personal life and has nothing to do with the office. I however believe the office was greatly diminished by his actions and it somehow became okay to openly disrespect the president. Unfortunately the people who do this don’t understand how it lowers the prestige of that office around the world. I honestly think Bill Clinton did more to lower the esteem of the US than George Bush. They may have liked Bill (and his human failings) but I don’t think they respected him.

  10. Baklava Says:

    I read her column a few hours ago also. It says a lot about her.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    dane: I both disagree and agree.

    Agree that things declined during the Clinton years. But I blame not only his behavior, but the reactions to it. No doubt other men before him had been engaging in hankey pankey in the White House. But the dogged pursuit of Clinton, and in particular the publication of every detail of his sex life, was part of the problem of the erosion of respect rather than the solution.

    However, the lack of respect was already there. Maybe we just imagine there was a time of great respect. Look at the way they talked and wrote about Lincoln during his lifetime. Also Truman. And of course Nixon, and Watergate, didn’t help either.

  12. thomass Says:

    Halfbright Collins. Nice ring to it. :)

  13. Baklava Says:

    For me, it was Bill Clinton’s incessant laundry list’s of mis-defining conservatives or Republican’s positions.

    Why couldn’t he just define his own philosophy or solutions?

    Obama does the same thing.

    People who never choose to know what conservatives believe have built up such hatred for conservatives and Republicans and don’t even know what we are about.

    At least most on the “right” understand that rank-and-file liberals are “well-intentioned” and have “rose colored glasses” and “care”.

    Liberals can’t even give us that given their steady diet of misinformation. That was the disrespect that Bill Clinton created. He made himself an easy target with his awful behavior with a suboordinate (not allowed in any other corporation – as sexual harassment laws prohibit relations with suboordinates).

  14. Cappy Says:

    Hey, let’s have some fun with this. How about a contest to see who has personally encountered the most violent physical reaction to President Bush’s name? I’ll go first. Shortly after his 2004 re-election I was having dinner with a couple from shul (temple) and the wife was physically shaking while complaining that he couldn’t use proper grammar.

  15. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Technically, Senator Obama is not elected until the Electoral College elects him.

    Actually, it’s Mr. Obama, since he resigned his senate seat.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    Where does the Times get these people?

    Columbia… the school with the most spies, operatives, and flake central for nearly 100 years (and the american home of the frankfurt school when they fled germany). now similar products can be had from almost any school since columbia’s teaching school trains them for positions in your community.

    why are their thoughts considered fit to print?

    because they either know, or naturally work the dialectics rules in which the accomplishment of the slow walk through the insitutions can be accomplikshed.

    basically a fellow traveler, or true believer who has a position of power skews hiring over the years and firing to reposition the political center of a paper. done long enough without the battle its supposed to be opposed by, and you turn the ny times into pravda.

    if i change one part of your home each day, and you dont conserve these parts, eventually your house will be rebuilt and the old one would never have existed. so the opposition only has to make sure which direction brick replacement goes. once the game is started and allowed, then the end is a given…

    the trick is not whether you win or lose the end game…

    the trick was getting us to play the game in the first place.

    we lost the moment we were willing to play, since playing cant be won without breaking morals, and so we lose either way we go as long as we sat down to play.

    we are now in a checkmate in 20 moves and dont realize it, so we continue playing…

  17. FredHjr Says:

    This episode is really not about Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. It is about the tremendous loathing that the collectivists have towards George W. Bush. It’s also about the purely expedient attitude these people have towards our Constitution and our traditions. Some may find Gail Collins’ blathering to be comical. I don’t. There is something deadly serious about her and the like-minded I am sure coalesce around her outspoken position. They ooze contempt for America.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  18. Synova Says:

    I saw a link to a link…

    The suggestion…

    Bush resigns. Cheney becomes president. Cheney appoints Condi as VP.

    Two weeks later…

    Cheney resigns.

    The first *female* *black* President of the United States of America…

    … is a Republican.

    Hehehe.

  19. Artfldgr Says:

    Senator J. William Fulbright suggested a plan along those lines when Harry Truman was coming to the end of a term in a state of deep unpopularity, and Truman called him “Halfbright” for the rest of his life.

    ah… the proof in the pudding… she is only suggesting something that a great fellow traveler true believer has suggested.

    contrary to your point that she doesnt understand government, i say she DOES understand government except that her motives are not what you think they are.

    this means that you are trying to explain by ignorance what normally can only be explained by treachery. that her purpose is ulterior to the purposes ASSUMED by the public as hers.

    she never said what her purpose in that job was. the times never put forth a purpose of what that jobs purpose is. all that is is that a public reading that assumes what they should be doing.

    and if they are as off as her, they assume that she is stupid, not treacherous. that she is taking a unreasoned position, not a reasoned position which seeks to move something.

    mostly because we dont understand that the reason the job is there has changes with each person that they let write. that they select people from an acceptable pool skews the position of who will write from there, and we forget that some positions people write from allow for every moral nasty. (end justifies the means means that the writer will and is free to lie for the cause, and it be a goodness)

    rather than quesiton the assumption as to the reason why the job is there…. or question the assumption that she should be serving a purpose we all seem to agree on…

    we discredit what we cant understand, rather than find a context to which that would fit.

    anyone know a detailed history of fulbright?
    anyone know about his scholarship program?

    anyone remember the clinton worked for fulbright? and was a student in his program studying in what country? check out winter 1969-1970… strobe talbott was there too…

    she is just justifying the moves that her greats in the past have taken or attempted to take.

  20. s1c Says:

    Of course he should resign in her mind because I am sure she thinks that GWB was selected not elected and don’t even think about asking her on that whole Ohio was stolen in ’04 question.

  21. douglas Says:

    Anyone who thinks the market is continuing to slip (perhaps until today, but who knows) because of GWB is unserious at best. If anything political could be attributed directly, it might be that Obama has yet to even indicate what he’s thinking about doing, and people are looking for something, anything to react to- absent that, they worry, and sell. And so it goes. Obama dithers, the market slips. get used to it.

  22. Oblio Says:

    What scares me is that the people at the NYT think they are smart. I read it daily when I was in college. During the 1992 election, I was disgusted with its false and misleading economic coverage. After returning to the Sates a few years ago, I discovered that it had become a content-free zone.

    Now it is bleeding out, from an economic point of view. Somehow, I don’t feel sorry for Pinch.

  23. Oblio Says:

    That’s “States.” (Note to self, must not go blogging after bowling.)

  24. FredHjr Says:

    Even when I was in college (1978-82) the Grey Lady was known as Left-leaning and definitely biased. The NYT was vehemently opposed to Ronald Reagan and pro-Carter. They’ve been at it for a long time.

    I read the WSJ in college because I was an economics major. Hah, and in those days I was a Marxist too, but I saw the unassailable value in reading solid reportage.

  25. Jamie Says:

    I had a prof in college who insisted that the only “credible” sources of news in the world were the NYT and the Christian Science Monitor. Obviously this was pre-Intertubes, but I feel certain that today he’s telling his cute little freshmen that HuffPo is hard and objective journalism.

    (He also claimed to be a super-committed philosophical vegetarian… but he wore leather belts and shoes. He went on a 10-day “juice fast” every spring, inviting said cute freshmen to join him and his former-student wife; yet somehow he never managed to look as if he’d cut his calorie intake at all. Much less taken a bath. Oh, and he told us that if we had to be late to his class, we’d better come in running and breathing hard; otherwise we were being insufficiently respectful of his time. In the entire semester, not one of us dared to confront him on the point that his daily lectures on “Meat as Murder,” in a critical thinking class, were insufficiently respectful of our time.)

  26. harry McHitlerburtonstein Says:

    The rule of law? HA! That’s for mere bitter-clinging rubes.

  27. Gray Says:

    How about a contest to see who has personally encountered the most violent physical reaction to President Bush’s name?

    Oh, that’s easy–some rotten old bastard in a “VVAW” shirt at a local bar was getting all huffy about the Iraq war. I mentioned Bush and he leaped off his barstool and started screaming:

    “F*** Bush! F*** Bush! I wanna shoot that M*****F**** right in the f****** head! I wanna kill Hiiiiiiiiim!”

    I replied laughing: “Hmmmm good thing I recorded that on my cell phone for the Secret Service.”

    Which caused him to start screaming more. He was escorted out of the bar. His crappy old wife said to me:

    “Thanks a lot. You got him kicked out of the only place he can still go ‘cuz of his PTSD from Vietnam.”*

    *I found out later his only assignment in Vietnam was as an Air Force doctor’s assistant giving flight physicals at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, Saigon. I told him the only “Combat Stress” he suffered was which bar to go to and which bar girl to take home. He went ballistic again with screaming and got kicked out of ‘his favorite bar’ for good. Ha!

  28. Gray Says:

    Tell me what I win, Bob.

  29. Cappy Says:

    Well, Gray, you win the full set of Samsonite BDS baggage, and the Neo-Neocon board game. Fun for kids of all ages. And that’s not all!…

  30. miriam Says:

    I met someone at my shul who told me he sat shiva when Kerry was defeated.

    Why Jews? Are we crazy?

  31. marymcl Says:

    That’s the Times we know and love – All the Fits That’s News to Print

  32. sierra Says:

    Pelosi as interim President? Wow. If you like the last few weeks’ worth of bad-crazy stock prices, you’ll love that idea.

    Collins reminds me of a house down the road that has a sign in front that says “Impeach Them.” (Of course, I like the “them” part. Not “Impeach Bush” or “Impeach Bush and Cheney,” but “Impeach Them.”) The sign stayed up all the way through the ’08 campaign, and is still there well after the election. Since there is no conceivable scenario under which, even with cause, Congress can impeach “them” between now and January, the sign is there simply to display an attitude, not to engage with reality.

  33. Jimmy J. Says:

    For anyone who hasn’t seen it I suggest you click over to Iowahawk and read what I think is a very funny satire about Obama’s new selections for his administration. It will temporarily sooth your sense of outrage at the stupidity of Ms. Collins oped.

    http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/11/obama-names-bill-clinton-to-president-post.html

  34. FredHjr Says:

    Jimmy J,

    LMAO! That was immensely funny. Loved when he has Obama describing the groupies as “moonbat retards.”

  35. Rose Says:

    Ms. Collins wouldn’t like my plan, then – 1. I say the outgoing President stays on for two years as an advisor. This helps ensure continuity and might help end the partisan divide. It could also extend to governors, but nothing lower.

    2. Also, once elected, the President may no longer be a member of any party, may not caucus, or fundraise for any party. Once elected, they are the President of ALL the people.

    3. And lastly, “affirmative action” for all cabinet posts – you must have an equal or representative percentage of the assorted parties appointed to key positions. No more partisan appointments.

    Think that’ll straighten things out?

  36. Logern Says:

    Another topic: but here’s a fascinating read on the financial crisis (or alarming read if you like, either works)

    http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom?print=true

  37. njcommuter Says:

    How long before the NYT is put in the empty spaces left when the Weekly World News shut down?

  38. Bogey Man Says:

    Your problem with the New York Times isn’t with its writers, but with its readers, without whom no one would care what NYT publishes.

    More to the point, there is no conservative equivalent of NYT, ergo, no conservative readership.

    That’s your problem and unless and until you acknowledge that, you’ll be wasting your time.

  39. John G. Spragge Says:

    I strongly disagree with Ms. Collins as well. Let President Bush govern through his entire remaining term. Let his watch every bankruptcy, every bailout, and every layoff. Let him decide which of the people who staffed the “black prisons” should now get a pardon, and let us see those pardons on the public record, and let that record define the Bush presidential legacy after the acts those pardons cover trickle out into the light of day. After eight years in government, I have no hesitation in saying that President Bush has more than earned his last two months.

  40. br549 Says:

    I have one thing to say about Michael Lee’s article. And that is, I have no words.

  41. Alex Bensky Says:

    Jamie:

    What subject did that professor teach? My guess is sociology but these days it’s not as if (in the wonderful Australian term I picked up from Tim Blair) fuckwits are concentrated only in certain departments.

  42. waltj Says:

    Here in Indonesia, a place where Obama has more than a few supporters, the way Americans handle a presidential transition is being studied closely, and admired greatly, because it is very different than has ever been the case with any change of government in this country. There has never been a smooth transition of power in Indonesia. The Dutch left their former colony reluctantly and after 4 years of often bitter warfare, Sukarno was toppled by a coup, his successor Suharto stepped down after widespread rioting and bloodshed in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, Habibie lost a no-confidence vote, mostly from his own party, Gus Dur was impeached, and Megawati refused to leave the presidential palace after she had (very clearly) lost the election. Current President Yudhyono faces an election in April, and the local punditry is recommending that Indonesian politicians of all stripes watch and learn from the Americans. President Bush’s steps to ensure his successor can seamlessly assume the office are meeting resounding acclaim, in both the Indonesian-language press as well as the English-language one, as are President-elect Obama’s moves to quickly fill his upcoming administration’s senior positions. I have read numerous pleas in both languages for politicians, winners and losers, to “be statesmen” and put country first over party or office. What a concept, huh?

  43. Scottie Says:

    There’s still someone with a brain in their head that reads the NYT?

    I thought they had completely converted their operation over to providing fishwrapping and bird cage liner paper by now…

  44. David M Says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 11/25/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  45. Artfldgr Says:

    a timely appearance of an article:

    townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2008/11/25/why_reporters_–_and_judges_and_professors_–_are_biased

    Given how obvious this bias is, the question is not whether liberals in the media tend to offer biased reporting. The question is why? Why can’t liberal news people report the news without any slant? The answer is that for people on the left, all — I repeat, ALL — professions are a means to an end, not ends in themselves. That end is the social transformation of society, meaning the promoting of “social justice” as the left understands that term.

    For most liberal news reporters, therefore, the purpose of news reporting is not to report news as objectively as possible. The purpose of the media in general and of reporting specifically is to promote social justice and the social transformation of society.

    For most liberal judges, the primary purpose of being a judge is to promote social justice and transform society. That is why liberal judges are so much more likely to be judicial activists than conservative judges. Most liberal judges do not see their roles as merely adjudicating a dispute according to the law. They see their role primarily as using the law and their power to rule on the law to promote social justice.

    they are fighting a revolution, and our failure to take that seriously means we are just letting them have their way, as long as they dont annoy us too much at one time.

  46. Artfldgr Says:

    waltj, Selamat pagi!!!!

  47. Gray Says:

    Even if Bush resigns, Obama has no power until elected by the electoral college:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/11/25/despite-bells-whistles-office-president-elect-holds-authority/

    No, the office doesn’t have its own seal. No, you can’t just make up your own seal. The US has an official Office of Heraldry:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/13/washington/13heraldry.html

    That arrogant ass didn’t go through this office to get his fake President Elect seal.

    His sycophants just created a fake seal for him to stand behind–fully ignorant., or in contempt, of US traditions and laws.

  48. Jamie Says:

    Alex Bensky, he taught in the Communication Studies department, was tenured and (as far as I could tell) well liked by his colleagues, and I’m danged if I can remember the title of the course – but I DO remember it was required for the major, and that “critical thinking” was indeed part of its purview. I was no better than the rest; I became a vegetarian for a year and kowtowed to the Times and the CSM for that same period, on the strength of his overwhelming confidence in his own BS. At times I wish I’d run into him now, just so I could roll my eyes at him and poke him in the gut like the Pillsbury Doughboy, which is unkind of me but would be a lot of fun.

    What a tool. I looked him up after writing my comment; thankfully, he’s no longer at my alma mater, and I can’t find him anywhere else. So perhaps he’s purchased his yurt and is busily explaining to his neighbors how there’s no cognitive dissonance between the Birkenstocks he wears and his strident rejection of all edible animal products.

  49. Jamie Says:

    Sorry, neo – inadvertant threadjack. I’m tired! Please to continue with the discussion already underway…

  50. Ymarsakar Says:

    But the dogged pursuit of Clinton, and in particular the publication of every detail of his sex life, was part of the problem of the erosion of respect rather than the solution.

    That was the MSM, Neo, not the Republicans, for the Repubs don’t control the MSM and this election has already demonstrated that.

  51. Ymarsakar Says:

    John Spragge is another example of someone who wants to see the world burn and will work for this goal by trying to convince the rest of us he has other people’s best interests at heart, like ending war.

    They share the same hate (Collins and John), and just disagree about how to have it be expressed.

  52. waltj Says:

    Artfldgr:

    Terima kasih, tetapi sudah malam di sini, bukan pagi:-).

    Back to the regularly scheduled comment thread.

  53. Bogey Man Says:

    The problem isn’t the lack of conservative newspapers or magazines. There are plenty.

    The trouble is, they lack readers.

    From the National Review to the Weekly Standard, Washington Times, New York Post, Conrad Black’s papers, the conservative Quayle family’s Pulliam chain (Arizona Republic, et al), all are committed to the conservative cause.

    Yet still “conservatives” complain. They just can’t acknowledge that in a free market, totally unfettered by government regulation, their ideas are losing.

    The New York Times is the paper of record because it is good. No government inside job or luck or supernatural cause — just hard work and decades of good journalism. You can point out imperfections all day long — that much is easy. But the proof is in the pudding: readership. NY Times is still the biggest major metropolitan daily and counts among its readers virtually all centers of power.

    I happen to believe the paper’s ideological balance is a fundamental key to its success. It only looks liberal next to the monosyllabic, monomaniacal conservative commentariat/talkradio/blogosphere.

    The paper actually skews right of center on foreign policy and economics, when those subjects are approached directly as matters of policy.

    It skews left of center on social issues and there is a natural tendency to look at foreign policy and economics through a social issues lens, in which case the coverage falls to the left of the national center, though by no means to the left of the New York City center.

    If there were enough conservative readers to support a major metropolitan daily newspaper — something more to their liking than the NY Times — there would be absolutely nothing to stop them from producing it.

    The fact that no such paper exists is case-closing evidence that there just isn’t a readership for it. If, on the other hand, there is a newspaper that suits these conservatives, why all the whining about the press?

  54. waltj Says:

    Bogey, a critical factor that you’ve omitted from your analysis is demographics, specifically, population distribution. In case you hadn’t noticed, most large cities in the US tend to be run by Democrats or liberal Republicans (i.e., New York), for the simple reason that the majority of urban residents prefer liberal government. They’re willing to live with the higher taxes and more restrictions on their lives (such as gun control, car-free zones, etc.) in exchange for the services that their taxes buy them. Fair enough, that’s their choice. What this concentration of liberal consumers does is provide a ready-made market for newspapers that cater to their opinions. Newspapers, being businesses, would be foolish to ignore this demographic reality, especially since most major newspapers, even in this internet age, are still published in and for one major “anchor” city, to use a retailing term.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to avoid large cities and be more dispersed, living in smaller cities, small towns, rural areas, and bedroom suburbs that have no particular attachment to the central city other than many of their residents may work there. This, then, is an inherently more difficult market to serve, even if the desire were there. Conservatives, often likened to a herd of cats, also do not speak with one voice. In this cat herd are libertarian conservatives, internationalist conservatives, social conservatives, religious conservatives, neoconservatives (bloghostess, take a bow), fiscal conservatives, and probably others that I’ve not mentioned. Again, a difficult market to serve. Perhaps this is why the best-known conservative publications are magazines rather than dailies. It makes more financial sense to target a weekly or monthly publication like National Review or American Spectator at an audience that’s interested in the political content and leave the weather, sports, Metro, and classified ads to the local daily paper, regardless of its editorial viewpoint.

    I’d argue that this is a reason that the conservative blogosphere has grown so much over the years. Conservatives of any stripe are able to connect with like-minded individuals regardless of geography (I, for one, live outside the US) and without the high start-up costs of a newspaper. No, it’s not the same thing as a major daily broadsheet, but hypertext linking and RSS feeds provide capabilities to get straight news, in-depth analysis, and opinion from a variety of sources. Citizen-journalists like Michael Yon have done some excellent eye-witness reporting without the resources of a major international news bureau to back them up, showing what can be done with a laptop, an internet connection, some determination, and ingenuity. Welcome to the Information Age, 2008 style. Maybe we don’t have our own conservative Times, but maybe we don’t need one.

  55. Gray Says:

    I happen to believe the paper’s ideological balance is a fundamental key to its success.

    The koolaid is strong in this one.

  56. Bogey Man Says:

    Thanks, Waltj, for spelling out how and why there is not sufficient demand for a major metropolitan daily newspaper that would suit the kind of conservatives who post here.

    What remains a mystery is where so many conservatives get their highly aggrieved sense of intellectual entitlement. They are a rural and suburban minority, yet loudly, incessantly demand that urban majority newspapers cater to their ideology.

    My guess is that it’s the contrast between straight news reporting and talkradio/blogosphere/commentariat conservatism that makes for the illusion of unfairness.

    The American public is bombarded with a steady stream of conservative messages via commentary. Even the NY Times features two well-known conservative columnists, as does every major metro daily, at a minimum. The broadcast media has plenty of conservative commentary as well.

    Yet the straight news, to hear conservatives tell it, is dominated by liberals.

    The reality is that straight news seems liberal only because it contrasts with conservative commentary, not because it contrasts with some imaginary conservative-oriented straight news — because that doesn’t really exist.

    The best demonstration of this is the Wall Street Journal.

    It’s editorial pages are textbook verbatim movement conservatism, delivered daily to one million plus readers — either one of the biggest, or the biggest, American newspaper. Yet it’s news pages are track very closely the coverage of NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, and so on.

    As a liberal, I’m happy enough to see conservatives wallow in the illusion that their poor political showing is the news media’s fault. The more they think that, the longer they’ll remain a minority sideshow.

  57. Rick in NY Says:

    Sad commentary about the Gray Lady. The paper continues to hurtle towards irrelevance. At least the sports section is the best.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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