I began reading the entirety of the first section of the New York Times at nine years old, and continued that practice, more or less, for decades. I regarded The Times with a sort of reverence, as have many in this country and the wider world, and now see that its influence, because of its history and standing in the culture, is much wider than one might think for a newspaper, even a so-called “paper of record” that “sets the news table” for the United States. For example I have heard, way too many times, that a friend or colleague “didn’t see [the story] in The Times” so it couldn’t be real or relevant.
I started reading the Sunday NYT when I was twelve or thirteen, off and on – it wasn’t a daily sort of thing in Muncie, Indiana, in the late 1950s – and only began to read it regularly when I went off to an eastern boarding school at the age of fifteen, mostly because everybody else did, and the Philly Enquirer mostly sucked.
That said, by the time my first flush of lefty radicalism had dwindled at in my late twenties, it had become apparent to me that the paper of record was a paper of liberal to leftist propaganda for the most part, and I lost interest.
Never got it back, either. I doubt I’ve actually read a major part of any issue in the past twenty years. It’s a constipated, stifling, dull, banal and most deadly, predictable paper that has become the intellectual equivalent of a coffee table book – something you keep around to indicate to your friends that you’re a member in good standing of a particular (aging, moving toward irrelevant) crowd.
The NYT’s real power, such as it is, stems from the fact that it’s read bu a small coterie of like-minded hacks in other media venues who think it sets the national news table, when that table has really been set by Matt Drudge for at least ten years.
And even that power is fading fast, as the MSM itself becomes ever more moribund, non-responsive, and unaware of an America outside its ideological bubble.
Frankly, I don’t pay too much attention to it.
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