In today's Weekly Standard.com, Joseph Epstein writes about his disenchantment with the New York Times, and how it has lead him, after half a century, to cancel his subscription. (Please click on the title of this post to read the original article.) His piece reminded me of a letter I wrote back in 2006 in response to the Times' inviting me to renew a long-lapsed subscription. I post my letter below:
TO: The staff and writers of the New York Times
Ladies and Gentlemen of the New York Times,
Thank you for your kind invitation to subscribe to your paper. Please be assured that I did not reject it out of hand.
Rather, I gave the matter quite a bit of consideration, and I must tell you that from every angle from which I reviewed it, a subscription made no sense.
First, there is the matter of truth. I know what you’re thinking. You, being sophisticated citizens of New York and highly educated members of the media elite, know there is no such thing as objective truth. I however, being a simple military man, have yet to be disabused of the quaint notion, so I object to reading on your pages items that contradict directly things I have seen with my own eyes (albeit eyes that may have been, at the time, stung by tears, or the sands of Iraq).
Closely related to truth is the small matter of objectivity. I know that the value you place upon your socialist agenda, the fervor with which you support liberal candidates, and the disdain you feel for the vast majority of Americans outweighs this outmoded principle, and that the cause you serve will, in its victory, absolve you of your departure from what journalism was meant to be. You may be absolved, but there is no requirement on my part to fund you in your efforts.
Timeliness is quite another matter. There is nothing you can get to me in print that I could not have, hours before, read on line and verified for truthfulness (a purpose for which I believe you once employed editors, but which now must be performed at home by your readers.)
This is not to say I will never again subscribe to the New York Times. If some day you were to reinstate journalistic integrity and objectivity, I would gladly overlook the timeliness issue. And since I know you recently fired hundreds of your employees due to financial constraints, I’d even be willing to pay a little extra.
Until that time (and I do hold out hope that there will be such a day, because, unlike your editorial staff, I believe in the power of the market) I cannot in good conscience subscribe to your paper.
I do thank you kindly for the invitation though.
Steven A. Givler