ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, October 13, 2005

TimesSelect - Who Cares?

I've been meaning to comment on the new feature in the NY Times called TimesSelect, which requires readers to pay a subscription ($50/year) to get "great" commentary from the likes of Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, and Thomas Friedman.

Now, of the columnists that are behind the TimesSelect "curtain," the only one of particular interest to me is Thomas Friedman. His commentary is almost always insightful and true to the original principles of liberalism ("liberal" has incorrectly become a label associated with the statist and "progressive" Left which wouldn't know true liberalism if it walked up to them and slapped them across the face). Unfortunately, the other columnists in the stable are disappointing in so many ways...

I just can't imagine that someone who doesn't already receive the print edition (which gets a free access to TimesSelect) would pay money to receive the type of commentary that the other columnists provide. MoDo is just dreadful, treating every Washingtonian issue as some sort of High School drama. Poor Paul Krugman is more often wrong than right on many issues, not just those in the real of economics. And in total, the NY Times columnists rarely bring any true insight into the topics they are covering. Rather, they parrot the conventional wisdom, to great applause from their adoring fans in New York and D.C.

Why would anyone pay a hefty subscription fee to get the conventional wisdom of the day - normally a day or two after you've already heard it? Some think you might pay the subscription to avoid the "moral taint" of receiving information for free... Yeah, right...

Forgot to mention - Will the readership of the columnists behind the TimesSelect curtain decline? Clearly, it will as many of us who did not agree with their positions still checked out their columns (and viewed all those paid advertisements) to see what idiotic statements were being parroted. Now that we have to shell out $50/year, it's simple economics that less people will be reading those columns, as Donald Luskin points out:

With the launch last week of “TimesSelect,” you now have to pay a fee of $49.95 per year to read Krugman online, along with Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and the rest of the Times op-ed pundits. So the scope of Krugman’s audience has collapsed. This is supply-side economics - so obvious that even an Ivy League economics professor like Krugman should understand it: When you put a tax on readership, you get fewer readers.

As the Ian Faith, the manager of Spinal Tap, might put it, No, no, no... the columist's "appeal is becoming more selective."

heh... Oh, and another unnecessary Spinal Tap quote that might be applicable here: "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever. "

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler