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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My News Fast : Farewell, New York Times...

After a few months of news media fast ("The Fast"), relying only on what I learned from talking to other people, and having met my original commitment of Fasting until the end of 2011,  I was drawn to my main must-read news source since I was 15 years old, my first love- The New York Times. 

Many a languid Sunday morning was spent with a cup of coffee slowly, seductively unpeeling the Sunday Times. First the front page, then the business section, then the Week in Review (casting aside the sports page, automotive pages, and real estate sections), then the local New Jersey section, then the Movie and Entertainment section, and then.. ..then... the Sunday Magazine and the Book Review...aahhhh.

So it was to my first love that I turned after The Fast, and...and a staggering realization hit me.

The New York Times has no relevance to my life. 

NOTE: this isn't a diatribe about a supposedly "liberal" New York Times -- I think their aggressive cheerleading for the invasion of Iraq permanently saved them from that reputation -- Personally, I have given up arguing about who is liberal or who is conservative. I'm trying to understand what is right and what is wrong. To continue...

I could not get past the first three articles I read:

1. A guest op-ed writer, a""drug policy consultant" was opining against the legalization of marijuana. During The Fast I have come to seriously question the opinion of anyone who does not have "skin in the game" i.e. will be directly, tangibly affected by the results of their opinion. As Montaigne said, "The unattempted woman cannot boast of her chastity". This "drug policy consultant" probably has shed a few PowerPoint slides, but not his skin, in the game.....

2. A news article providing the play by play for the latest goings on the the GOP race in Iowa seemed to be telling the same story I heard before The Fast; "Will [gaffe-ridden kook who has no shot at winning] overtake Romney?" I've come to realize that political "debate" and "discussion" in most of the media is not about educating voters about policies or candidates so they can make informed decisions, but rather a type of performance art, with stock characters, that may at times exhibit a whiff of "truthiness" but ultimately, like any poorly written play, has serious third act problems...

3. A light puff piece in which the author and a friend spend a week at the "Biggest Loser Camp", (One of two facilities in the US based on the TV show of the same name  -- the show which has proven time and again that anyone can lose weight and get in shape if you take them away from their family and job, limit the food they can eat, lock them in a gym with fascistic trainers, and break them down with CIA-Guantanamo type psychological warfare)  Within the first few paragraphs, the author mentioned that the experience was sooooo different than the conditions where  her and her friend had first met 20 years ago sharing "expensive wine and lavish dinners" when they both lived and worked in the south of France...

There I had to stop. Now, I'll be first to admit that I am green with envy. And if you, dear reader, have in your life had the same experiences in the south of France, mazel tov. But its not my life, and I completely dis-identified with the author at that point. We are obviously from two different worlds -and call me a little bitter, but I think she's rubbing my nose in it.

So my disillusionment with the New York Times is complete -- my fallen angel is not a centerfold, but a scarecrow made of dirty newsprint, cliche's and old rags.

I have to say, I have outgrown the New York Times. I guess The Fast is now a way of life. To be continued...


  1. I agree that the NY Times is not uniformly liberal about all things all the time. The thing that sticks in my craw is when the stories and Op-ed pieces that are printed would support one type of sound policy-making, and the next day or next week an editorial comes out that runs counter to the message that had previously been made fairly clear. I found this to be the case several times as health care reform was being formulated in Washington.

  2. Hey Doc. I was saddened to read your NYT piece. Not because I don't agree with it. But because its how I feel about mass media and I guess deep down I hoped I was wrong. Welcome to the dark side. Or the enlightened side? Tom