Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Quick! More rouge for the Gray Lady!

The New York Times just announced a 4% staff reduction across all of it's papers. I can't say that I hate hearing that All The News That's Fit To Spin is slip-sliding away. I'm not sure if I'm gloating, mind you, but I'm not sad.

I hate hearing that people will be unemployed, if only for just awhile, but this is an interesting phenomenon for these people. There's no denying that media, on the whole, is expanding. A lot, actually. The fact that you are reading these words, here, is a testament to that. Between the many web-based outlets, satellites, Pod-casts, etc. - the pie is getting a lot bigger.

A larger pie normally bodes well for people who make their living from that pie, and I sincerely hope that the displaced workers are quickly employed elsewhere.

But let's focus on the institution, and not the people. Let's focus on the NY Times. Why is the Paper of Record shrinking, when the overall media pie is growing?

One obvious answer is the internet. Bloggers are clearly eating some of the Times' lunch. Katrina was only the most recent example of that.,, and all of the others did their best to report minute by minute, but Michelle Malkin (who is going to be a very, very wealthy woman - if she's not already - because she "gets it") had links to literally dozens of sites that were "on the ground, and blogging by the minute." Where did I go for my Katrina blow-by-blow? I'd keep an eye on foxnews, cnn,, etc. , but my main source was

As for the Times, who really wanted to wait a whole day to read a newspaper? Waiting for the Times was never even an option. I wanted information now, and that meant bloggers.

Bloggers Downside: Bloggers don't screen what they report as rigorously as the MSM does, at least not in real time. Is this a huge issue? Not really. It seems as if for all of their screening, the MSM isn't much (if any) better. Off the top of my head, for example, I'm pretty sure we've put the whole "cannibalism in NOLA" thing to rest, and that was a MSM blunder.

Bloggers Upside(s): Bloggers get news reported many orders of magnitude faster. And if a widely-read blogger is found to be spinning/lying, it might take a day or two for the other bloggers to expose it - but it will be exposed. If it becomes a pattern, that will be exposed, too. (See "HuffingtonPost," or, better yet, don't). Who corrected the MSM's cannibalism-idiocy? You guessed it...

But can we really say that the NY Times is shrinking because of Bloggers and iPods? Is this really enough to explain the beating that the whole MSM is currently receiving?

No. The overall media market is getting bigger, and smart players are profiting. The NY Times is massively capitalized, and has the inside track on capitalizing on the new channels. Yes, Bloggers have some distinct advantages, but the NY Times could easily become, like blogspot (which you are reading now), a home to bloggers. They could profit from it, and grow. Many MSM outlets already are.

FoxNews is clearly one of the big-boys these days, and I grin whenever they refer to the MSM as if they weren't part of that very club. They are - and they are growing. Is The Weather Channel part of the MSM? In a broad way, yes, and they're doing great. At what point does Matt Drudge cross the line? And what about Michelle Malkin? At some point her blogs and portals will have critical mass. It will be mainstream. She's close now - and she's growing like a weed, as is Drudge.

So why isn't the Gray Lady?

Oh, if you're here you already know why: Backlash. It's not just that the bloggers have out-performed the NYT - they've successfully attacked her. They have exposed her, and other outlets like her, as being anything but objective. As more and more people come to realize just how badly the Times spins, slants, distorts, and even lies (see Geraldo for that one)... well... who wants to read that?

Ann Coulter, alone, is publishing best sellers specifically about this. And the irony of her books being "New York Times Bestsellers," is lost on nobody.

I don't subscribe to a newspaper. I haven't for many years, and it's not because I don't enjoy the ritual of sitting down and reading a paper over a cup of coffee. I grew up doing that, and I enjoy it. No, my non-subscription is a very intentional boycott. I refuse to subsidize the NY Times, or others of it's ilk, specifically because I refuse to put money into the pockets of people who are actively trying to bulldoze my opinions.

Interestingly enough, I was at a hotel this weekend and they gave me a complimentary copy of the Sunday Times. I took it home and put it to excellent use: I laid it out on my walkway and spraypainted some rusting iron furniture on it. Sincerely, I did. And I made a conscious effort to put the cover page, "above the fold," right on top so I could see it disappear in the blackness of the paint.

The headline had the word "abortion" in it, and that's all I needed to see.

"Hssssssss..." went the Rust-o-leum, and that famous "Times" font disappeared.

Three days later, I read that the times is falling on hard times. I don't think I'll spraypaint over that. I might not gloat, but I surely will pay attention.


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