Monday, May 01, 2017

The Business

You can't tell your liberal readers to pay for good journalism and then turn around and hire the equivalent of Jonah Goldberg.

But it's a mission that makes absolutely no sense. In the wake of Trump's election, the Times earlier this year launched the most ambitious ad campaign in its history, including a 30-second spot that aired during the Oscars at a cost of $2-2.5 million (or enough to hire 10-15 Pulitzer-quality investigative reporters for a year...just sayin'). The core message: "The truth is more important now than ever." That selling point struck a chord: Digital subscriptions to the Times reportedly skyrocketed.

Then, weeks later, the Times threw good money after bad to hire a columnist to say don't believe anyone who's selling you "the truth" and that scientists, pollsters, and -- by implication -- their professional cousins who report the news for outlets like the Times are smug jerks, probably peddling crap. What's more, in trying to stir up uncertainty over climate change, he was aiding and abetting Trump's fact-free, pro-fossil fuel political agenda. That's exactly the opposite of what new subscribers thought the Times was promising in those ads, to be a force that would counteract Trumpism. And now a number of Times editors and reporters seemed baffled that so many readers are hurt and confused. They don't understand their own business model, or brand.