January 5th, 2010

wombat

The incredible shrinking Times

Washington Times, that is...in an effort to stanch the money bleeding from pretty much every part of Washington's conservative newspaper, the Times cut its sports section and 40% of the newsroom staff on New Year's Eve following a decision to drop the Sunday edition and charge extra for home delivery.

I don't see that this is going to help them much. The main problem with the Times was that it was never taken seriously by Washingtonians as an alternative to the Washington Post, and with the entrance of the free Examiner, it was pretty much doomed as a traditional paper. I don't see the decision to concentrate on national/international news to be a good thing, really; if they were going to do something like that, the logical thing to do would be to revive Insight magazine and position it as the conservative counterpoint to the Post's Newsweek, but in an age where most conservatives are getting their news and information from talk radio, cable TV, and the blogosphere, I don't know that that would have worked either. Guess we'll see how that works out for them.

I didn't blog about this last week as part of my general lack of enthusiasm for political blogging of late. Hard to worry about the nation's problems when your own house is on fire, so to speak, but as part of my rounds through the local baseball blogs, it was hard not to notice all the posts and comments noting the demise of the Times' sports section. The Times had always devoted more assets to the Nationals than the Post, when you'd think the reverse would be true, and that extra coverage will be missed.
Politics

Why conservatives loathe David Brooks and his ilk

Will Collier trashes the snide and arrogant Mr. Brooks after the latter pens another column sneering at the Great Unwashed, especially its tendency towards anti-intellectualism, defined by Brooks as not showing sufficient respect to The Best and the Brightest the current Administration and its Congressional enablers. Eric Raymond goes one step further than Collier, who is content to slap Brooks around for his snotty attitude, and points out that the reasons the leading intellectualoids of the left have earned the ire of most Americans in less than a year are twofold: the damage done to these people by Gramscian memetic weapons so that they can't clearly see reality, and also that the financial and political problems posed by the current situation are beyond the ability of any centralizing technocrats to handle even if the educated elites could see the problems clearly instead of having their vision obscured by a bunch of politically-correct nonsense.

Jonah Goldberg helpfully emphasizes Brooks' attempt to elide three separate groups: those people educated in the Ivy League, the members of the political class, and the members of the Obama administration. There's certainly overlap between the three groups, but to oppose the political class and the 0bama administration is not necessarily the same as being anti-intellectual or even anti-Ivy League; after all, W went to Yale and the Harvard Business School.

In the end, though, we despise Brooks for thinking we're too dumb to see what kind of shell game he's trying to pull, and for looking down his nose at us when he tells us, "No, that's not the Federal Government pissing on your back, it's just raining!" We may not agree with Brooks about Reinhold Niebuhr, but it doesn't mean we don't know what's going on.