Wow, so the New York Times seems to be doing its own peculiar impression of Woody Allen at his most neurotic. A recent reader’s survey from the Times wants to know what it is exactly about them that you don’t like. Was it that whole Judy Miller thing? The General Betray Us ad? Jason Blair? Israel? The Style Section? (kidding! Let’s not get crazy).
Bruce Feirstein over at Vanity Fair‘s Politics&Power blog discovered the survey after randomly clicking through on a Drudge link. The VF people think the survey either signifies a “touchy feely” Times or a “paranoid and frightened” one. Apparently no one suggested it was a sign (albeit a disturbing one) of a paper attempting to keep its head above water during the newspaper world’s annus horribilis. Still, questions like “When you think of the New York Times what positive things come to mind?” reek of the worst kind of liberal cliche. It’s unclear whose idea the survey was, but assuming it came from the publishing end VF is probably correct in assuming its tone would make editorial “furious.” Furthermore, what purpose do questions over Palestinian coverage and whether or not the Times should have run the wire-tapping story earlier serve? Is it merely another case of “Punch” Sulzberger holding out a moose (as Pareene suggests) or are we transitioning into news by consensus? And anyway, isn’t that what blogs are for?