November 02, 2007

Paper of Record No More

As has been reported in the media with depressing regularity, newspapers have been taking something of a tumble. In recent years, their readerships have steadily declined. Even as highfalutin and classy a paper as, say, The New York Post has to worry about its continued financial success.

It turns out that Al Gore’s Internet has presented a major obstacle to the newspaper industry, since most people would rather watch a Youtube video of female flatulence than trouble themselves to keep abreast of current events. Further, thanks to the great success of our No Child Left Behind Gestapo, most American children are functionally illiterate, and therefore incapable of turning to, say, The Boston Globe in the first place.

Now we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must admit that we generally resemble Luddites, and thus we enjoy curling up to a good newspaper each morning. Up until recently, our choice of news source was none other than the self-proclaimed Paper of Record, The New York Times.

But no longer. We have just experienced the proverbial straw that proverbially broke the proverbial camel’s proverbial back. Although we used to take in the Gray Lady with aplomb, we cannot in good conscience do so in the future.

What, you may reasonably wonder, happened? What compelled the crack young staff to abandon “Pinch” Sulzburger’s delightful orgy of upper-middle class sanctimony? Did we finally peruse a Maureen Dowd column? Did Thomas Friedman’s intellectual preening compel us to implode?

No: Nothing as dramatic as that. Rather, we spied the following correction in the all-important style section of the November 1 number of the Times:

An article last Thursday about lingerie designed to be shown off in public misidentified the woman shown in the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar wearing satin briefs beneath a transparent frock. She is the actress Mary-Kate Olsen—not Ashley Olsen, her twin.

Awful, is it not? How can you trust the Gray Lady anymore, if its staff would make such an odious error? We most certainly cannot.

We mean, come on: How in good conscience can you misidentify a woman “wearing satin briefs beneath a transparent frock”? To our knowledge, our humble e-outfit has never made such a ghastly mistake, even though we don’t have anything close to the fact-checking resources of The New York Times.

Actually, we have a very strict woman-wearing-satin-briefs-beneath-a-transparent-frock-correct-identification policy. Those who fail to live up to its rigorous standards need not apply for work at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.”

Furthermore, if the Gray Lady can’t get Mary-Kate and Ashley straight, what other egregious journalistic violations can we expect of them? Why, if you ask us, a paper that would make that boneheaded play is likely, say, to lie us into a war in Iraq. Or, say, to publish leaked national security secrets that render us all less safe.

Posted at November 2, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack