5.21.2005

NYTimes and blogs

Tri-Cup commented yesterday on the New York Times's annoucement that it's going to start charging people for web access to the op-ed columnists. I have to say, I'm a big fan of the columnists...it's not that I think they're particularly brilliant or insightful, but I enjoy following the generally-coherent thoughts of bright individuals across time. For that reason, I also highly enjoy reading Andrew Sullivan's blog. And the other day, I noticed something interesting: David Brooks -- NYT columnist and bete noir of Princeton -- appeared to be getting his talking points from Sullivan. To wit:

On Thursday, Brooks began his column by declaring, "Maybe it won't be so bad being cut off from the blogosphere."

This mirrors a comment Sullivan made on Monday: "THE NYT WITHDRAWS FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE: The great gift that the New York Times gives the world is free access to its articles, opinion-journalists, and stories...By sectioning off their op-ed columnists and best writers, they are cutting them off from the life-blood of today's political debate: the free blogosphere."

Later on in his column, Brooks cites the sermon of a Palestinian sheik as proof that we need to remember who America's real enemy is: 'The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world - except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquillity under our rule because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who
tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.'"

Mmm. Creepy. But also striking. You see, Sullivan quoted the EXACT SAME passage the day before, adding: "The Nazis
live again."

I think this is proof positive that Brooks reads Sullivan regularly, if not daily. Given how transparent Brooks's references are to someone who reads Sullivan, I wonder: what is he trying to accomplish? Was he just light on material that day, and figured he'd lift someone else's research? Is he simply acknowledging to Sullivan that he reads Sullivan? OR -- most intriguingly -- is he trying to REACH OUT to the blogosphere?

I openly invite other columnists to do the same. Dave Barry, we're waiting for you to toss a reference to Grover Cleveland's underpants into your next piece. Barring that, I suppose it wouldn't be the end of the world if Ann Coulter used fodder from this website to accuse [insert moderate person's name here] of treason. Somehow.

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