MONDAY’S LETTERS: On Layoffs, TimesSelect, and Vietnam

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By: E&P Staff

Today’s letters reflect a diverse sampling of reader opinion on everything from last week’s grim job-cutting news that shook the newspaper industry to Bob Dylan’s treatment of the press to, of course, The New York Times’ new paid content model for the Web. If you want to speak your mind, drop us a line at letters@editorandpublisher.com.

Coincidence?

Do you suppose it’s just mere coincidence that these sudden cuts in newsroom staffs across the country come on the heels of reporters finally waking up and starting to ask real, direct, and hard questions of the Bush administration?

Wiley Miller

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Geraldo & Judith: Keller’s Mess

Re: ‘NY Times’ Public Editor Backs Geraldo in Dispute

Bill Keller apparently suffers from some exaggerated sense of loyalty — to put it kindly — in defending Judith Miller in the name of press freedom and now his paper’s misrepresentation of Geraldo as acknowledged by the NYT’s own public editor. Bill, whom I much admired as an NYT columnist, should have remained one.

Ralph de Tagle
San Francisco, Calif.

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More Thoughts on TimesSelect

Regarding TimesSelect, one wonders whether the New York Times has just made the same error as the Bush administration in Iraq: Failure to formulate a realistic exit strategy.

Neal Ulevich
Centennial, Colo.

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Thoughts From an IHT Subscriber

I think the NYT subscription wall is foolish and a pity. First, I live overseas and subscribing to the print paper is a no-go. I read almost all the Op-Ed pieces the day they appear. Now, I must wait two or more days if the International Herald Tribune decides to pick up columns in their print edition.

What really hacks me off is that we pay for a print subscription to the IHT, but this does not get us Internet access to the NYT Op-Ed columns, as a paid subscription to the print NYT would.

There’s a further injustice to the catch 22 of subscribing to the IHT: while I can read the columns (albeit late) in the print IHT, I cannot send e-mails to the columnists in response because the e-mail-the-writer function has also been walled off from the public.

Shame, shame, shame on the NYTimes. Their ability to influence world thought is going to suffer mightily.

Linda Colsh

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You Said it All: TimesSelect

You certainly made your point about the NYTimes policy of charging for their editorial page. If we can get Judith (ugh) Miller for free, but have to pay for Bob Herbert, then “all the news that’s fit to print” has truly fallen on tough Times. I’ve cancelled my NY Times print subscription.

Gerri Caldarola
Kentfield, Calif.

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Are you guys really thinking clearly on this? I have absolutely no problem paying a fee. The reason I and many others e-mail these columnists to our friends and associates is because they either don’t read or don’t care to read the Times without our urging. I really don’t understand the rational behind this move. As a reader of the paper for over 50 years I’m (somewhat) dumbfounded. Are you guys getting hiring advice from the Bush administration?

Fred Ackerman
Fred Ackerman Photography, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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In Defense of Paid Content

Since no one will speak on behalf of paid Internet content I will. First, I think the NYT is a biased liberal rag and I would not spend one dime to assist in their liberal brainwashing agenda. I would instead pay money not to have to listen, read, or have e-mailed to me by my liberal-minded editorial friends any of their columnists. Now granted, I will watch Maureen Dowd in a television interview because she is a babe, but only when the sound is turned down. However, even these high-minded liberal columnists insist on getting paid, and paid well. That money, like the money the federal government hands out and spends, does not come from thin air. Currently, it comes from subscribers. And everyone who is complaining wants the subscribers of the print product to continue to pay for their free ride. Why should they?

There is an old saying that you get what you pay for. Liberals don’t understand and keep expecting other people to pay their way. Frankly, if you already are of a liberal mindset, why should the NYTimes worry whether you read them or not? You are not a subscriber and losing you does not cost one red cent. There are two reasons to worry about readers. First, you are making money off them in the form of subscriptions or advertising. Second, You can count them toward paid circulation on your ABC Audit. These Freeriders are neither

Those on the editorial end of the spectrum should familiarize themselves with the whole process of the newspaper and see why the NYTimes made a wise move because the complainers who say they won’t pay for it haven’t been paying for it, so they lose nothing. This whole situation can be compared to a shoplifter threatening to take his business elsewhere if you throw him out of the store. For that threat to work, there must be something of value that the NYTimes is afraid to lose and non-paying readers are not a loss.

David J Horchak
Newington Conn.

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Since these are all syndicated columnists, it doesn’t matter much what the NYT site does. Usually, the progressive news sites such as comnondreams.org or truthout.org link to other papers carrying the NYT columnists. It may not be as convenient but at least for now, there is still unpaid access. All the NYT is done is stopped me from accessing their site — not from reading Dowd, Herbert, et al. But as several of your readers have pointed out, greed is no substitute for intelligence.

Lawrence Sieb, Jr.
Lake Mills, Wis.

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On New York Times Op-Ed Columns

My daily newspaper publishes them the next day; I can wait and not pay the price.

Renate Wolff

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Phased Withdrawal

Re: Good Mourning, Vietnam: Pew, AP Probe Iraq Link

You’re certainly right when you use Senator Hagel’s quote, “The longer we stay there, the more similarities [to Vietnam] are going to come together” to make your point. The notion that a “phased withdrawal” is more reasonable than an immediate withdrawal of troops proves his point. A phased withdrawal from Vietnam was planned for 1962.

Here’s a link to the Pentagon Papers.

Roger Jones

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A Note From a Swiss Bob Dylan Fan

Re: New PBS Film: How Bob Dylan Beat the Press

Bravo.

Adam Edwards
Ecl?pens, Switzerland

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