Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stuck on Stupid at the NYT, Part 21,435

Former West Pointers who read James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal jumped on a remarkably stupid comment by the Gray Lady's managing editor, Jill Abrahamson:
Yesterday we noted that Jill Abramson, managing editor of the New York Times, had remarked that "people are always surprised when I tell them that we sell a lot of subscriptions at West Point." Many readers wrote us to explain why this is. Here's one of them, Rob Munden:
Cadets are required to subscribe to the New York Times (fees deducted from your account, no alternatives given), and unless things have changed from the late '80s when I was there, plebes [freshmen] are required to be conversant with every story on the front page and front page of the sports section before first formation (i.e., early). It's a memory-skills development technique, with a side benefit of forcing everyone to learn about what is going on in the world in a broad sense. As an upperclassman, it was helpful to be able to identify and isolate the bias in the news--and to be given so many opportunities to do so. It's a lifetime skill I'm sure you've no doubt developed, being scrupulously nonpartisan.

It's quite one thing to subscribe to the Times when you have a choice; it's quite another to use forced subscriptions to justify your popularity. Legend has it that in the wake of one of the cheating scandals at West Point the Times called cadets "humorless, uptight and driven," and in response, cadets hung a banner asking "How can a newspaper without comics dare to call anyone humorless?" I'd be surprised if more than 10% of cadets support the Times editorial board position on anything.
Adds reader Malcolm Cole, another West Point alum: "Even back in the 1980s we knew of the leftist slant of the Times and asked our superiors why we had to read the New York Times, since it wasn't very pro-military. The reply often was: 'It's good to know what the enemy is thinking.'
That's gonna leave a mark.

Via Larwyn.