Mr. Sulzberger, Tear Down That Wall

My buddy Pinch Sulzberger wrote me today. He said:

We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.

The Times’s Op-Edand news columns are now available free of charge, along with TimesFile and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archiveis now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

Why the change?

Sincewe launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly openenvironment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places andinteract with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances thefree flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. Itwill enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion – as wellas to share it, link to it and comment on it.

Shorter Pinch: We thought we could live without the Dirty Fucking Hippies. But it turns out we needed them more than they needed David Brooks.

Though having learned to live without Brooks, I say we just treat him like the troll he is and continue to ignore him.

  1. MarkL says:

    Brooks isn’t just a troll. He’s as nasty, racist and brutal as Friedman, although not quite as smart.

  2. emptypockets says:

    glad you posted on this, I got the same email and found it very amusing. I especially liked this line

    Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment.

    um… no.

    More like, â€â€¦we figured out that the Web already was and always has been an open environment.â€

  3. John B. says:

    Jodi, you would.

    David Brooks almost single handily has caused me to stop watching PBS and the News Hour. He is a mendacious hack snot nosed brat who frankly I can live without.
    But I woul like to read Krugman.

  4. freepatriot says:

    I love David Brooks!

    Posted by: the shit stain | September 19, 2007 at 10:16

    now there’s a fucking surprise

    the shit stain loves the propaganda artists who support and nurture the shit stain’s delusional world view

    kinda hard to be objective when you love the hand that feeds you the bullshit, aint it shitstain ???

  5. Ishmael says:

    Putting Brooks behind the paywall made about as much as sense as putting a paywall around Fox News – who the hell would pay for it?

  6. ecoast says:

    Two quick points:

    One of the tools that the newspapers now have that they did not have in the print-only days is that they can measure audience interest in a columnist by checking the number of hits. In print, the editors never knew how many readers were reading a particular columnist and whatever quarrels and discussions the readers had with the columnist, the editors never knew, because columnists wouldn’t be sharing their private reader correspondence with the columnists.

    1. My first point. Even though David Brooks is free, do not link to him. If bloggers want to comment on a particular column, they can quote a couple of paragraphs to make their point and the rest of us do not need to link to him.
    That way, we can keep his hits low and when his contract is up, I am sure his editor bosses will look at those numbers. Remember John Tierney, the columnist that took William Saffire’s slot. His column was cancelled (actually he was sent to the boonies – in NYT terms, that meant he became a metro columnist or something). And Gail Collins took over that slot now. So keep his low and Friedman’s and Modo’s if that’s what you would want. But keep hitting Krugman, Herbert and Gail Collins. (You should read Washington monthly’s piece on Bob Herbert. Beatifully done. Link from Kevin Drum.)

    2. Wapo does one better than NYT in one respect. You can comment on a particular column. And the columnists can not keep their reader correspondence private anymore. The bosses will read the comments and will wonder someday – what the heck is going on with this columnist (Broder, Cohen, Will and so on). NYT turns on and off these comments sporadically, but I think they will make it a regular feature, once they realize the potential. (The potential from the bean counters’ POV is that the readers stay longer on the web page reading/writing comments and they can sell more ads on that page. So keep writing those comments. But this negates my first point. I think Richard Cohen uses this to his advantage. When his hits low (which is usually the case), he writes an outrageous column and readers flock to the column to put in adverse comments. Cohen laughs all the way to his boss and says â€boss, did you see how many hits I got today?â€.

    We have to find a way to do 2 to bad columnists without raising hits from 1.

  7. Dismayed says:

    â€â€¦Since we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open environment.â€

    We finally pulled our heads from our asses and realized that all of our stories are posted somewhere else, and a quick google search sent people who could be exposed to our ad content to other’s sites.

  8. emptywheel says:



    Agree on all counts. I think our links to people like Cohen sustain them, which is counter-productive.

  9. hayduke says:

    Okay, this move has been predicted recently. It was folly to think they could keep the columnists pieces from circulating for free on the internet. Hell even George Washington Hayduke (me)could figure that one out.

    But looking down the road a bit, this looks like a preemptive strike against Ruperts new business rag (WSG)who are floating an idea of a free WSJ on the web. But it looks like a slippery slope to me.

    The NYTimes needs to protect their integrity by holding the online copy back for X number of hours, then let it rip for free on line.

    Brooks and Friedman and that red headed dizzy broad bore me to tears. Gees with those bozo’s all they need is Judy Judy Judy coming back and they would have hit the freakin trifecta of arseholes on the back page.

    Give me ole Bob Herbert, Paul Krugman and the assorted guests and I would be happy.

    The select times was never gonna be effective once the Journal was sold.

  10. EH says:

    Funny, right when they started TimeSelect was when I learned of the existence of Tom Friedman. He seemed like a nice guy, so I went to go read some stuff, and was locked out. In the lifetime of TS I have moved to not caring what he has to say anymore, and in fact I don’t read the NYT site as much as I once would have liked because of having to bump up against the wall. Anecdotal for sure, but TS caused me to find other outlets for my news and opinion, such as TNH.

  11. QuickSilver says:

    He’s the most hacktastic of them all. I loved how Brooks was ready to let fly with his Libby commutation column, almost as if… why, almost as if he knew it was coming! Timestamps do tell a story, but not enough people had TimeSelect, or cared about David Brooks, even to notice. That’s how relevant David Brooks is.

    And good universities don’t invite him much these days to talk… but I think Pepperdine did, though!

  12. MarkH says:

    I don’t think they’re worried about losing ad revenues.

    I think they’re worried the public won’t read their propaganda and they’ll lose even more control over us.

    Blog free or die!

  13. Jodi says:


    David Brooks did the Wake Forest University Commencement 2007.

    Wake Forest Commencement 2007

    Also according to David Brooks, the reason the New York Times hired him was to have a conservative voice to give more balance to the Op-Ed page.

    It aways amazes me to see how much liberal progressives hate the idea of a balanced view point.

  14. MarkL says:

    If you think Brooks’s hackery and dishonesty balance out the incisiveness of Krugman and the moral courage of Herbert—you might be right! Maybe conservatives really just have small minds. That’s what the latest research indicates.

  15. Neil says:

    About the merit of Bobo’s â€balanced†point of view…

    Last night [9-9-7] on PBS’ The NewsHour, New York Times columnist David Brooks compared 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden’s latest video message to â€lefty blogs,†saying the al Qaeda head is like â€one of these childish people posting rants at the bottom of the page.†– Karen Tumulty

    What does Bobo fear from â€lefty blogsâ€?

  16. Neil says:

    More on Bobo’s balanced point of view…

    On Meet the Press, NY Times’ Brooks admitted to pulling number of possible Iraqi deaths â€out of the airâ€

    On the July 22 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, discussing the number of Iraqis that could be killed following a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, New York Times columnist David Brooks asked â€are we willing to prevent 10,000 Iraqi deaths a month at the cost of 125 Americans?†Brooks initially tried to attribute the â€10,000†figure to New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns and the National Intelligence Estimate, but later admitted, â€I just picked out 10,000 out of the air.â€

  17. Jodi says:

    Ahhh, Neil,

    yet you were and others here including of all people DemFromCT who should know better were willing to believe the Lancet saying that 360 thousand plus Iraqis were killed each year.

    Let me see. 360 thousand divided by 12 would equal 30 thousand a month.

    Yes, David Brooks actually understimated by quite a lot.

  18. Jodi says:

    Ahhh, Neil,

    yet you were and others here including of all people DemFromCT who should know better were willing to believe the Lancet saying that 360 thousand plus Iraqis were killed each year.

    Let me see. 360 thousand divided by 12 would equal 30 thousand a month.

    Yes, David Brooks actually understimated by quite a lot. But no problem, David might be the words guy, but I am the number gal. I am glad to help out.