Previous posts in this discussion:
PostPersonal Tales of Two Cities; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 12/11/17 3:32 am)
Gary Moore writes:
It's interesting how the great historical report on Detroit-Flint by Team Mears (Patrick and Edward, December 8) had a construction and evenness that brings automatic credibility, whereas the breathless New York Times piece, also discussed on WAIS about Detroit's recovery, made such an obvious effort at cheerleading ("America's Most Exciting City?") that questions could easily arise.
The modern journey of the New York Times. largely mortgaged to billionaire Carlos Slim in Mexico, while piloted by the latest Sulzberger, a sort of designer vegetarian who said in print he wants his veggies haute cuisine (I'm a bas cuisine vegetarian myself), is a journey most Americans have not noted. It's perhaps too large to be told with the effectiveness of the Mearses.
JE comments: Vegetarian bas cuisine, Gary? Please tell more! And can you give us insight on Carlos Slim Helú's impact on the NYT? I always had the impression that his business is, well, business, and that he never lets ideology get in the way of lucre. To be sure, the NYT is long past its halcyon days of profit. Is Slim trying to change this?
Carlos Slim and the New York Times; from Gary Moore
(John Eipper, USA
12/13/17 4:40 AM)
Gary Moore writes:
JE asked for more information on whether New York Times coverage might have been influenced by
the financial rescue of the Times by Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim (the surname
comes not from Texas but was "Selim," from Mexico's dynamic Lebanese expat
I think the Times has made a great effort not to be influenced and to show
it's not influenced, and Slim has hastened to support that image, though for a while
after his entry there were some articles that seemed very bullish on Mexico and blind to the
flaws--but this could only be the Times' historic sub-theme of noblesse oblige, to create a happier
world (as perhaps in the Detroit article that started this discussion).
I said in my post that the subject
of what the Times is, and may be becoming, is perhaps too big to trace, but there are flashes of a definite
corporate personality, and for decades there have been background complaints, not just as right-wing
knee-jerk, but regarding indications of a sophisticated form of shaping by omission. New York Magazine
could scarcely stop guffawing when it got hold of a letter from the latest Sulzberger heir, when he was
still being groomed and had been sent out to a family ranch at a Midwest paper. He mourned that he
just couldn't find vegetarian restaurants locally that met his high cuisine standards.
The paradox of having
an idealistic diet but wanting it on princess-and-the-pea aristocratic terms seemed to capture something
that whispers through in general coverage. The too-large-to-analyze picture contains the wild card of
post-cyber-age values and the old Times commitment to its vision of a better world, often a good vision,
but creepily able to hoodwink the unwashed with that omission trick. (Who now remembers the Times staffer
who eventually had to be fired for her major role in the Bush-Cheney WMD hoax, promoting a happier world
only by a very narrow definition?)
JE comments: Gary Moore speaks for all of us in Flyover Country: coastal idealism often cannot hide a charitable condescension tinged with contempt. (Or is it contempt tinged with charitable condescension?) The Flyovers took their revenge last fall, sort of, by electing a Coastal oligarch who speaks a passable Flyoverese.
The New York Times still retains one asset of immense value: its brand. Slim certainly understands that you don't mess with that.
Carlos Slim and the New York Times; Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post
(Istvan Simon, USA
12/17/17 4:23 AM)
The New York Times is a great paper, with a long tradition of mostly liberal (in the American sense of the word) editorial policy, but a superb news gathering organization with accurate reporting and absolutely not failing as Trump has said.
My guess is that it will remain a newspaper of integrity, and that Trump will be soon long gone, but the NYT will remain. I know nothing about Carlos Slim other than he is a cellular phone magnate in Mexico, and immensely rich, but if he has brains (and he probably does) he will not interfere in the editorial policies or news gathering of the Times, for if he does, the newspaper will lose circulation and, ultimately just be a drain on Slim's bottom line.
Trump, though he attacks the Times all the time, has been great for the paper, for circulation is way up and its prestige higher than ever in the world. These assessments, of course, are just my opinion, and I never was, nor ever will be an "ultra-liberal," and yet I am a proud subscriber of the electronic edition of the NYT.
Billionaires now own most great newspapers of the United States, The Wall Street Journal is owned by conservative Rupert Murdoch, The Washington Post by Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos, and the NYT by Slim, and so on. The problem for newspapers is that fewer and fewer people read them. They have adapted and sell electronic editions, but the revenue on these is much lower than buying the printed version, though the costs of producing and distributing the electronic versions are also much much lower than actually printing it on paper. Also, one can get most of what matters in the world for free on Twitter.
Still, it is satisfying to read a longer version of an event than a 140- or even 280-character summary. One reads on Twitter mostly a digest by millions of people on the event, whatever it is, and Twitter tends to reinforce opinions, because the phenom of "followers" naturally encourages the association of like-minded individuals. Still, Twitter is a great engine of democracy in action. One gets a very accurate picture of the mood of the country on Twitter and I predicted the narrow victory of Doug Jones based on this. It was close, so I could have lost, but fortunately I predicted the outcome correctly. It is really comforting that even in Alabama a child molester cannot get elected.
JE comments: As of Black Friday 2017, Jeff Bezos is now the world's richest person, and the first ever (I believe) to hit the magic $100 billion mark. His surname, which he took when his stepfather adopted him, is of Cuban origin. The Cuban entrepreneurial spirit?
A Mexican (sort of) owns the NYT, and a (sort of) Cuban owns the Washington Post. Interesting.
- Carlos Slim and the New York Times; Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post (Istvan Simon, USA 12/17/17 4:23 AM)