About a year ago I was lunching with a friend who works for the New York Times, we were discussing blogs and newspapers. I said that there's much good information avialable on the web if one knows where to look. He said that there are hundreds of thousands of blogs (or some such large number). There's good information out there, but it's hard to find. By contrast, he implied, the Times brings "all the news that's fit to print" into one place. I didn't want to get into an argument, so I didn't bring up the question of whether his paper, in fact, does a fair job selecting and followig stories.
What was interesting to me was his attitude toward blogs. To him, they're all one, big, undifferentiated lump. Given that bloggers run from highly regarded, even nobel-prize winning economists to hardly educated people, that did not seem like an informed vew to me. After all, there are thousands of newspapers in the country. And we all know some are better than others. Why blogs should be any different, I have no idea.
I wonder the Times are feeling squeezed by the decline in circulation and the rise of a new medium. Beyond that, there's the loss of power and influence, about which I have blogged before.
All that was brought to mind by the revelation that someone or several people at the Times has been trolling blogs such as instapundit (and others) and leaving nasty comments. A sample (which I edit for family viewing):
OBAMA HASN'T EVEN RAISED TAXES YET YOU DUMB MOTHERF---
suddenly all these people are feeling persecuted by taxes. 'cause the money is all being handed out to black people by the black president. can we have more of them drowning their kids and trying to make it look like murder, plz?
I suppose if I were working a business that was doing great until a few years ago, but now is in decline, particuarly if it were a business that demanded much education but, as a rule, paid less than other elite jobs, I'd be rather angry too.
These people don't have a clue. The NYT will drown in its own smugness.
As commenters pointed out at the Riehl World post, just because the IP address is New York Times doesn't mean the troll is actually a journalist. In fact, the odds weigh against it. He or she could be anybody from any department in that building.
It would be like seeing, I don't know... a NASCAR address and automatically assuming it must be a race car driver, when in fact a driver is probably a far less likely candidate than someone on the business side.
The NYT trolling could have come from some schlub in their telemarketing boiler room, for all we know.
Whoever it is, it is someone very invested in the idea that the Times is a superior source of news.
Well, I can't stand the bias I encounter in some of the NYT's political coverage. But, um, it IS a superior source of news.