December 12, 2004

The Gray Lady Vanishes

My wife, who pays the bills, didn't pay the New York Times (free subscription), and this Sunday I had to make do with the Orange County Register, aka the libertarian Pravda. I was done with that in 15 minutes, went inside and made breakfast for the family.

A great liberation. The Times takes a long time to read, even though I discard most of it. Nowadays, what with the Internet and Real Clear Politics in particular, there's not much in the Times that one needs to read. Even the insufferable Frank Rich is available on line if I need to induce a surge of adrenalin.

Twenty-five years ago, it was mandatory that I watch the 22 minutes of distilled establishment wisdom on the network news. In those days, not all the commercials on the news were geriatric, and our nation turned its lonely eyes to Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley. When I was a kid, I listened to WOR radio in New York at 6:00 pm, with 15 minutes of news from Lyle Van, who always signed of with "G'night, little redheads." No doubt by now the redheads are grayheads like me.

Media come, and media go. I suppose I can buy a book of double crostics or perhaps do them on line.

Cronkite, who was pleasantly avuncular, was succeeded by Rather, who was fake-folksy in the style of Ross Perot, and ended his career with the fake documents, exposed by the blogosphere. The Times was full of lies as early as Walter Duranty, and when the Herald Tribune died had a monopoly of newsprint gravitas. Things hadn't happened until they made the Times. Although we are still waiting for the Times story on the Groningen Protocol, it won't take a Times story to make it real.

There is less and less in the Times that I even bother to open up, such as consumption tips for New York City non-breeders, whether weekend getaways or restaurant reviews.

As Hoagy Carmichael put it, I get along without you very well.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

And thanks for my Sunday mornings back.

1 comment:

Peter Van Valkenburgh said...

One of the redheads is Dirk Van, my Dad. He's still red, but I think hairdye might be involved... I was happy to see you still remember my grandfather's reporting. Be well.