Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fun with the New York Times

Regular readers would remember how the New York times has gone from this blogger news Bible to a simple sophisticated rag that cannot be trusted on anything. The reason has been the scandalous manipulations of the Venezuelan situation and the semi glorification of Chavez by Juan Forero, the NYT delegate in Bogota (last time I checked). Beyond the fact that Forero tries to glorify any pseudo leftist insurgency in the continent, from Bogota of all places, the venerable NYT has had also many other problems and scandals. Thus my life long love affair with the Times ended in a bitter note. Wherever I lived in the US, if I could subscribe to the NYT, I did; once in Venezuela I used to receive daily a mail with the main news; the first thing I did whenever I arrived in the US was to buy at the airport the latest NYT issue. Those things are no more and the last time I bought a copy of the Times must have been three years ago.

Today I came across a Peggy Noonan article in the Wall Street Journal where she speaks about the Times. I frequently do not agree with her even though I read her columns as they allow me better to understand how the right functions, but also, well, she is a good columnist, and certainly nowhere as manipulative as Forero.

She writes, speaking of how the Times has been influent, and destructive, in the past:
Seventy years ago its depiction of Stalin's benignity left a generation confused, or confounded. Fifty years ago, when the Times became enamored of a romantic young revolutionary named Fidel, the American decision-making establishment believed what it read and observed in comfort as an angry communist dictatorship was established 90 miles off our shore. The Times' wrongheadedness had huge implications for American statecraft.
Fascinating. Not for her reminding us the obvious, but because it shows us that the Times has failed with Chavez to do the same thing, and Chavez is certainly more palatable than Castro, at least the pre-2002 Chavez. Why such NYT "failure"? Has the Times matured and assumed a more responsible attitude? Is Forero much less talented than journalists 50 years ago at weaving a tall tale? Or is it simply that the Times has become less influent as Ms. Noonan writes:
But it's not what it was. Once it was such a force that it controlled the intellectual climate. Now it's just part of it.
Indeed, dropping veneration for the New York Times makes one the richer: there are too many great papers in the USA to stop at simply a paper which is...
In a way the modern Times is playing to a base, the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and the redoubts of the Upper West Side throughout America: affluent urban neighborhoods and suburbs. The paper plays not to a region but a class.

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