Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Intended Audience

While they want to sell to everyone, their imagined and target audience is a certain slice of wealthy New Yorkers.
The paper’s target audience explains everything from its bizarre fixation on elite private universities and the behavior of the students attending them to its unshakably windshield-obsessed perspective on transit issues, despite covering the only American city where a majority of households don’t own a car. It explains the entire real estate section, and “Vows,” and why a significant portion of the Gray Lady’s op-ed page is given over to people who only exist to troll a sort of imagined effete elitist caricature of Manhattan liberalism. It even explains the crossword puzzle.

True, this perspective doesn’t entirely explain why its coverage of the president regularly retreats into misleading euphemism, or treats him with a level of saucer-eyed credulity its top reporters know he has never earned. The explanation for this egregious failing is more about the pernicious elite media worldview that leads the paper’s deputy Washington editor to parrot racist generalizations because he believes them to be widely accepted common sense. But the paper’s reliable fallback posture of professional managerial entitlement does unlock one central feature of the Times worldview: It explains why the people who run the paper react to having this pointed out to them by people on Twitter with one or another variation of do you have any idea who you’re talking to?