Interlude—Servicing readers’ delusions: The New York Times often signals its readers. It tells them they’re smart.
One such signal appears at the start of Maureen Dowd’s latest rather dumb column:
DOWD (8/1/12): Remember when Janice Soprano shot her fiance to death after he punched her in the mouth? Then she calls Tony to come over and help her. He mops up the blood and has his thugs chop up the body.As usual, Dowd doesn’t have a lot to say, in this case about Romney’s trip. But she keeps it seeming smart, citing Munch in just her third paragraph.
“All in all, though,” Tony tells his sister sincerely, as he drops her at the bus station, “it was a pretty good visit.”
By Sopranos standards, all in all, Mitt Romney had a pretty good visit overseas. But by political standards, it was more like Munch’s “The Scream.”
Later, we got Oscar Wilde and Ambrose Bierce. The scribe had little to say today. But she sprinkled in smart-seeming references.
Does the New York Times have “sophisticated readers?” If so, they’re constantly tearing their hair. We were struck by Kevin Drum’s post about Bill Keller’s new column.
Dutifully, Drum worked his way through three of Keller’s bungles. Kevin was patient—but should he have been? He was citing points which have been made many times in the past. In a rational world, we would be bollixed by the fact that Keller doesn’t seem to know the things Drum was explaining.
To his credit, Drum spoke slowly, hoping Keller could get it this time. But good grief! Until last September, Keller was in charge of this famous newspaper!
Does the New York Times have “sophisticated readers?” It certainly wants its readers to think so! Tomorrow, we’ll look at the way the New York Times is covering the current White House campaign.
The New York Times just isn’t real sharp—but it doesn’t want readers to know! When you buy the New York Times, you're buying the right not to know.