From The Annals of “Stupid Things Said on TV”

I don’t know if you’ve seen the New York Times commercials, imploring people to subscribe to the paper (“there’s the week, there’s the weekend, and there’s the Weekender!), but they’re generally full of platitudes about how great the Times is and how you just can’t get this kind of stuff anywhere else.

I only idly pay attention to the commercials now, since they’re on all the time, but I listened long enough a few minutes ago to hear what must surely be a joke on the Times part.  A man says: “The best journalists in the world work for the Times, there’s just no debating that.”

Really? There’s no debating that?  Is that the kind of broad, ridiculous platitude the best journalists in the world would be okay with including in their newspaper?

In fact, there’s a lot of ways to debate that.  We could look at the rise of internet/web journalism and the accolades young(er) journalists have gotten for asking pointed, important questions of public figures (while reporters for the Washington Post ask stupid questions about A-Rod).  We could also examine the scandals the Times has been involved in in the past.  Anyone remember Jayson Blair or Judith Miller?

Sure, the Times is “the paper of record.” A great many journalists would love to write for the Times (this one included), knowing that the paper is perhaps  the most cherished and most read in the United States.

But come on.  “That’s just no debating that”? Please.

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