Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Mickey Kaus had an interesting post yesterday morning:

The Times' message machine, in which all letters are pro-Kerry, sure isn't sputtering. ... P.P.S.: Which is creepier--the possibility that the Times prints only pro-Kerry letters, or the possibility that it receives only pro-Kerry letters? ... [Thanks to readers S.K and A.E.]

Of course his focus is way too narrow. It's not just that the Times mostly only prints pro-Kerry letters; they mostly only print left-leaning letters. When they print letters commenting on a David Brooks column, the letters drip with derision. If it's a Krugman column, however, the letters are all solidly on board.

That does beg the same question Kaus asks, though -- with some obvious exaggeration, is this all they get, or is this all they print?

Given the state of the Times today, neither makes sense. Whether it's door #1 or #2, if their readership is that overwhelmingly liberal (or liberal is the target demo they're trying to hit), then why does their news and op-ed coverage offer so much fodder for Bob Somerby? But that just speaks to the incompetence of their management in this, the twilight of the Senile Old Lady.

UPDATE: Actually, I can think of a rationale behind part of it, although it verges on tinfoil hat territory. If the Times editors are aiming for an urban liberal demo, they'll want the op-ed pages to pay lip service to 'objectivity' without actually presenting any coherent right-wing arguments. Hence the likes of Brooks have jobs. When it comes to the letters section though, the community voice they want to project will reflect exactly the readership they want. Hence educated lefties dominate the letters pages.

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