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Mar-21-2011 23:44TweetFollow @OregonNews
Jumping the New York Times PaywallDaniel Johnson Salem-News.com
What Americans don’t seem to understand is that their democracy has been bought—lock, stock and barrel.
(CALGARY, Alberta) - In 2005, The New York Times introduced a paywall for articles.
I don’t recall how long it lasted, but it was flawed. Readers could access ordinary articles but they would have to pay to read the columnists and some specialized articles. I suspect that management realized how selective readers became and the columnists ended up almost unread.
They’re doing it again. They’ve started first here in Canada and the rest of the world on March 28. Readers can access any twenty columns/articles in a calendar month. After that they have to subscribe if they want to continue.
I’m a heavy consumer of NYT output (I hit the paywall in less than two days), and have been for more than a decade. I find their science coverage the best in the world, outside specialized magazines like Scientific American which have charged readers for quite awhile. science, the magazine of the AAAS charges $15 per article.
Trolls and neocons deride the NYT as being liberal and, as such, on the decline. The last is true but applies to most of the print media. Why should people pay, when they can get what they want for free online? As for the charge of being a liberal paper, what’s a liberal? There’s no real definition and conservatives tend to accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being liberal.
Consider only one example; March 21 “Room for Debate”— “Rising Wealth Inequality: Should We Care?”
The overview says this:
Many studies have shown that income inequality is rising. In several different types of communities, median family income is lower now than 30 years ago. Yet an intriguing survey by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely found that Americans believe wealth distribution to be far more equal than it actually is and, if given a choice, they would select an even more equitable scenario. Why do Americans seem relatively unperturbed about growing income inequality? Is it a lack of awareness, or are there other factors?
It’s one of the few things that you can read without paying and I’m glad it’s widely available because it is a subject that I have been following since the early 1970s, long before it ever became noticed by the mainstream media which still basically ignores it. What Americans don’t seem to understand is that their democracy has been bought—lock, stock and barrel. It’s not about resenting the rich, or that so few have too much, but what they do and have always done with that too much. The democratic process has been undermined and subverted. Americans believe that the republican form of government is the best, but it is clearly a kakistocracy. In Canada, the UK, Germany, et al, income and wealth inequality is far less and the citizens tend to believe more in society rather than unrestrained individualism.
Jumping the paywall
Subscribing will cost about $15/mo.($3.75/week) If you can afford it, fine. I am not against the Times increasing their revenue stream to offset declining newspaper sales. After all, to maintaining global coverage and paying internationally acclaimed columnists is not cheap. And conservatives should be glad they are there and read them, because it shows them what arguments and facts they have to dispute (or deny) and what they have to pretend they don’t know.
The Times has given us impecunious readers a loophole. If you receive a link to a Times story, you can access it with no problem. What I’ve discovered is that if I go to another computer that has not used up its limit yet, I can browse the paper and email all the stories I want (up to 20) to myself. Then, when I get back to my home office, I can read them just as easily as before. I go to the public library almost daily, so it's just a matter of using a computer for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s a bit of a kludge, but so far it works. As things go along, if there are any changes, positive or negative, to this strategy, I’ll post an update.
In the meantime, I strongly recommend the Room for Debate linked above. It gives both sides plus apologia and disinformation. But that’s only reasonable. The Times is not just publishing a liberal agenda.
In terms of the paywall, this article has been made completely irrelevant. Go to the comments for a link to a fix!
Daniel Johnson was born near the midpoint of the twentieth century in Calgary, Alberta. In his teens he knew he was going to be a writer, which is why he was one of only a handful of boys in his high school typing class — a skill he knew was going to be necessary. He defines himself as a social reformer, not a left winger, the latter being an ideological label which, he says, is why he is not an ideologue. From 1975 to 1981 he was reporter, photographer, then editor of the weekly Airdrie Echo. For more than ten years after that he worked with Peter C. Newman, Canada’s top business writer (notably on a series of books, The Canadian Establishment). Through this period Daniel also did some national radio and TV broadcasting. He gave up journalism in the early 1980s because he had no interest in being a hack writer for the mainstream media and became a software developer and programmer. He retired from computers last year and is now back to doing what he loves — writing and trying to make the world a better place
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