Dear everyone who’s pissed at the New York Times

At least twice a week I see piss-off posts over the New York Times while I scroll down TAFKAT.

A number of greatly intelligent journalists and lawyers — I wouldn’t be following them otherwise — have taken up the righteous cause of…well, what is that cause? I have to think about that for a moment or four. Hm. The cause is protecting news readers from becoming indifferent to our imperiled democracy because the Times doesn’t agitate us in every article about politics.

‘Tis true, alas, that when Michael Gold covered Trump’s “rally” in Wildwood, New Jersey, he failed to quote Trump’s demented ramblings about Hannibel Lecter — as if Lecter were a real person. Or maybe he did in the initial draft and his editor first threw up and then cut the quote.

I won’t hold the omission against Gold, though; I heard the whole Trump Hannibal Lecter reference itself in a TAFKAT video. I can attest that neither not knowing what Trump said or hearing what Trump said changed my mind about democracy and the upcoming election.

Nor did the Wildwood appearance of Lawrence Taylor and Ottis Anderson in Trump’s support change my mind. Got that info also from TAFKAT. Indeed, it’s the Piss-Off crew who is supplying the info and agitation. Why don’t they accept my appreciation for alarming us all with information the Times does not print because agitation is not part of the Times’ purview? And that wasn’t meant sarcastically.

I don’t what the Piss-Off crew is reading, or what their understanding is about the role and purpose of a newspaper. To me, it’s fairly obvious: an event occurs. The event is determined by the paper to be worthy of reportage. Yes, a tornado wiping out US towns is a newsworthy event. New, credible information about climate change and global warming is newsworthy.

Gun massacres are newsworthy. Wars are newsworthy. SCOTUS decisions are newsworthy. Protests can be newsworthy and remain newsworthy, as long as there is new news to report. And police actions, especially when violent, are newsworthy.

Politics are newsworthy. Trials of politicians are newsworthy. Important and new speeches in Congress, votes in Congress: newsworthy. Speeches on the campaign trail are newsworthy — if what is said is new and not only a repeated campaign speech, or repeated rant. (Michael Gold didn’t detail much of what Trump said, but noted it was the same old same old.)

Investigations and reports on the corrupt behavior of Supreme Court justices are newsworthy, as are the utterly insane policies of states like Texas and Florida.

Fury and contempt for all these newsworthy events and situations will be expressed multiple times on TAFKAT, by all sorts of notable people. And — along with the Times op-ed columnists — this is where the agitation should be appearing. And is. It’s why I spend a lot of time scrolling through TAFKAT and reading the Times’ op-eds.

My take on all these outraged Times protesters is simple. They are good, smart people who (and let’s blame this on Trump), have, after nearly a decade, become so desperate, they’ve placed themselves in loco parentis and are determined to guard us all from being anesthesized by headlines and opinions that don’t rail constantly against Trump.

But guys, guys, guys: my own real parents, my teachers, peers and my own brain protected me a long time ago. I appreciate your concern but why try to turn me against a newspaper which gives me the news? And varied opinions about the news? You should have more confidence in your fellow Americans, especially those of us who read the New York Times.

And you should have more confidence in yourselves. You are great at doing the job you excoriate the Times for not doing.

Besides all that, if you want me to stop reading the Times, what newspaper do you suggest I read? Because we agree, don’t we? that news we can trust is given to us in newspapers not TV, not social media which can amplify and opinionize on the news. With a newspaper, I can pause in my reading to think over what I’m being informed about. I can re-read, too.

I can’t force you to peruse “How I Learned The Facts of Life,” my essay on how I learned to read newspapers. But it might help you to feel better about the Times and those of us who read it.


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