FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Debate Continues on TimesSelect, Bush’s Bathroom Note

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By: E&P Staff

E-mails, we love e-mails. Today’s sampling of reader letters looks at The New York Times’s decision to launch a paid online content model, plus debate continues over the widely circulated photo of President Bush’s note, written at the United Nations, where he seems to ask for permission to take a bathroom break. If you feel so inclined, feel free to drop us a line.

Who Cares

Do you have anything better to do with your time? I guess not. Why don’t you attack the latest attempt at an Alien and Sedition Act known as the Patriot Act. Or better yet, go after the Karl Rove Propaganda Machine.

William Lanning

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Crass, childish? Give me a break!

Apparently, supporters of the President don’t comprehend why his note at the UN is receiving worldwide laughter. His wording is the punch line: the alleged leader of the free world has to ask if he might have to use the restroom. Apparently, his bladder hates freedom.

As to those considering it childish, I suggest they head to right-wing sites like Free Republic and read some of the most venal and malicious comments ever written on America’s poor and minorities in the wake of Katrina. Reading such remarks will turn laughter to tears.

Anne M. Price

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Screaming in Vain

I’m a career-long writer and journalist myself, and this Bush note story is not about journalism. It’s about too many of you in the media abusing the public trust by choosing sides and setting out to “prove your point” (Republicans and Christians are bad, just about everyone else is good) every single day…not just by the “unhappy words” you use to describe anything Christian or Republican and the “happy words” with which you describe anything liberal/Democratic/anti-American, but by what you choose to focus on.

The thing is, for decades many of us screamed in vain at our TVs and newspapers, begging someone to look at all sides of an issue — not just the liberal Democratic or convenient globalist anti-American side — but we didn’t have a “friend in court,” no one in the media to focus attention on the common-sense and fair-minded thinking that seemingly anyone who was not in the media could plainly see. Thankfully we do now. So while those of you at liberal thought control factories like Reuters, AP, NYT, and LAT can continue to practice gotcha journalism against people you don’t like (e.g., Bush) and fawning non-coverage of anything negative on people you love (e.g., the Clintons, Kofi Annan and Castro), we all now know what you’re up to and we’re choosing media outlets — in fact, making them the leaders in their media categories — who actually give all sides a voice, and fair treatment.

Wait, after reading your potty note story I’m feeling flushed. Gotta go?

Jeffrey Paul Cotrupe

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When Nature Calls?

Hey, ya gotta go, you gotta go. So much news, so little time.

Ricky Noles

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Re: Steve Outing’s TimesSelect: Big Revenue Play or Dangerous Move?

When I first heard of this plan I sent the following e-mail to the NY Times:

May 17, 2005: I believe you are making a terrible mistake with this service. Much as I love reading your Op-Ed pages, I will not pay $50 a year to do so. I will sorely miss Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert and Frank Rich and am sad that their influence will suffer an enormous decline.

I heard nothing more about the plan until Sept. 12 when I got an offer for $10 off. I immediately signed up. I guess I can afford to do this for one year because of the discount but I believe that many people a bit poorer than I will not do it even this year.

I am not terribly interested in the wonderful free access to archives. Fifty dollars a year is an exceptional bargain. But I don’t do research and I have already saved just about all articles that I care to reread.

Joy Berguido
Rosemont, Pa.

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This is the only well thought-out piece I have read concerning paid access to newspaper site content. I would like to see a more business breakdown of the costs associated with newspapers. Everyone seems to think the main cost of producing a newspaper is the cost of printing and delivery. While these costs are significant, they pale in comparison to the other factors. While a majority of newspaper staff numbers is in these fields, the average pay is very low. There is probably more money tied up in accounting and editorial staffs. And while you do not need a press to publish online, once a press is bought it still needs to be paid for even if it is not used. Add the high cost of insurance and benefits, and where is the money to pay for all this if the print product continues to be eaten away at from the free online content? In addition, I see the Times being able to increase the price of syndication to other papers if the readers outside the New York market do not want to pay to subscribe.

David J Horchak
Circulation Director
The Herald/The Herald Press

Ed’s Note: Another lettter in response to Steve Outing’s TimesSelect column was posted here on Thursday.

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Re: Even GOP Voters Criticize Bush in Doonesbury.com Hurricane Poll

The story was a joke, right? A parody of stories built around dubiously framed polling producing pre-cooked results? Perhaps some research could turn up a poll of “Little Orphan Annie” readers from the 1930s showing how much “even Democrats” disapproved of President Roosevelt. I believe the author of that strip, which was rather more popular (not to say creative) than Mr. Trudeau’s daily exposition of his prep-school student worldview, was vehemently anti-New Deal.

The anti-Republican polls I see would be a little more significant if it wasn’t for the fact that Republicans usually embarrass the Democrats in actual elections, regardless of what the “issue” polls churned out by the usual suspects suggest. The polling I’ve seen doesn’t approve of Bush, yet still sees him winning a hypothetical match-up with Kerry — than which there can be few more devastating comments about the state of the Democratic Party. But talking candidly about the problems of the Democratic Party is taboo, because it might involve offending too many of its famously sensitive identity-constituency groups.

Mark Richard
Columbus, Ohio

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