Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I don't want to write about Jayson Blair and The New York Times. All I'd ever want to say about the subject has already been said by Kevin Drum and, in his May 12 post "A Victory for Diversity," Roger Ailes. One guy screwed up royally and his bosses didn't grasp the extent to which this was so. End of story.

I do, however, want to stick a thumb in the eye of everyone on the right who has a Schadenfreude O.D. whenever something goes wrong at the Times. Andrew Sullivan, I gather, is so overstimulated by l'affaire Blair that he's practically levitating (I can't bring myself to read what he's written on the subject, which I'm given to understand is approaching the word count of Anna Karenina); earlier, Sullivan gloated about a recent decline in the Times's circulation. At Lucianne.com, whoever ghostwrites Ms. Goldberg's home page had a delusional fantasy this morningabout the Times:

When the left loses the New York Times - and it's only a matter of time - a blow will be struck that even the most well engineered and financed coup from the right could never accomplish. The Old Grey Lady is dying from inner rot and congenital hubris.

Er, no, it isn't. Here's the reality: The Times still has a huge circulation, as the Audit Bureau of Circulation notes; it's fat with ads and its readers are well heeled. And yesterday the print edition of the Times reported Nielsen/NetRatings numbers for online viewership of newspapers. Number 1? The Times, with 9,546,000 visitors in March '03, up 24% from the previous March, and nearly 2,500,000 ahead of the #2 Washington Post. For whatever it's worth, the Times will endure; Sullivan and Goldberg and their ilk just need to deal with it.

No comments: