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NYT ends daily editorials



The New York Times has abandoned daily editorials in favor of columns by its many columnists. I won't be rude and suggest it became difficult to compete with the editorials posing as news stories throughout the newspaper, but whoops, I just did.

The New York Sun observed in an editorial, "The saddest possible explanation of the Times retreat is that it’s a logical consequence of the decision of the paper’s own news department to abandon, in the face of the rise of Donald Trump, the goal — some would say pretense — of objectivity. That was signaled in the summer of 2016 in a front-page column by the Times media maven, Jim Rutenberg, and endorsed soon after by the paper’s editor, Dean Baquet."

Rutenberg called for ending objectivity in covering President Donald John Trump.

The column said, "No living journalist has ever seen a major party nominee put financial conditions on the United States defense of NATO allies, openly fight with the family of a fallen American soldier, or entice Russia to meddle in a United States presidential election by hacking his opponent (a joke, Mr. Trump later said, that the news media failed to get). And while coded appeals to racism or nationalism aren’t new — two words: Southern strategy — overt calls to temporarily bar Muslims from entry to the United States or questioning a federal judge’s impartiality based on his Mexican heritage are new."

That was the bottom line. The Times so opposed President Trump's policies that it refused to be a newspaper in covering him. Rutenberg's bizarre descriptions of those policies are insane. Joking about Hillary's missing emails -- maybe we should ask Putin for them -- is in Rutenberg's unique world an invitation to "entice Russia to meddle in a United States presidential election by hacking his opponent." Fiction has replaced fact at the Times on the news pages. The poor editorial page cannot keep pace.

Abandoning daily editorials have not improved the product. The Times ran an editorial on February 22, "Even 14-Year-Olds Who Kill Are Not Adults," that said, "The state can use family courts to base criminal justice for adolescents around rehabilitation instead of punishment, even in cases of murder. No one under the age of 18 should face charges as an adult."

The same people who will let a 7-year-old decide to change sexes wants to send cold-blooded killers to juvie hall. The editorial board should just give up on editorials because their editorial board's thinking is mush.

Frankly, newspapers should just dump their editorial pages altogether. They are relics of a time when boys on bicycles delivered the news each afternoon in suburbia. That ended long ago.

Most newspapers are reducing the number of editorials they pen. Editorial writers are an expense easily cut. The local newspaper reruns editorials from other newspapers including the New York Times.

But national and local columns continue. Community leaders charge nothing for their pieces. $25 can get a retired columnist to hit the laptop.

The Times decision to end its daily editorials is strategic. Unlike the rest of the newspapers in the nation, the Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal are making their paywalls pay, in large part by nudging local newspapers aside. The national newspapers offer more for the same price.

While everyone gets nostalgic about newspapers covering the local news, the truth is local TV channels do a better job. Local TV stations are headed toward becoming 24-hour operations. WSAZ has extended its news broadcast hours and supplements that with broadcasts on a UHF station and one of its cable stations.

The Sun editorial offered that ending the daily editorial may help the Times online. The Sun said, "We’ve also heard speculation that the Times’ retreat is an appeasement of a younger generation bent on their personal brands? We don’t sneer at the young columnists the Times has cultivated, however detached from our issues they may be. The Times’ paid online circulation is said to be soaring. The more its young columnists proliferate, though, the greater is our own yearning for a sense of the Times institutionally."

Certainly not being obligated to crank out editorials for the committee will free the young affirmative action writers to write the clickbait columns they are known for, and why not? Editorials are boring both to write and to read. Plus it gives the newspaper plausible deniability when one of these goofs goes off into outer space, as they inevitably will.

Of course, ending daily editorials will reduce the pool of editorials that local newspapers can re-publish, which also is a plus for the Times.

The Internet has made America's surviving newspapers compete against one another. Geography no longer is a barrier to competition. Print journalism has entered its hunger games. Intended or not, the Times is denying the competition a daily morsel.

On top of that, the absence of dumb editorials about sending killers to juvenile detention will improve the product.

Well played, New York Times. Well played.

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