I’ve been reading the New York Times on my cell phone en route to and from work for months, now. My first beginnings of familiarity with the New York Times actually occurred during my politically-conservative years when I used to read the Wall Street Journal. I remember seeing James Taranto excoriating Paul Krugman for the fact that he was at one time employed by Enron–even though he did no wrong there at all and was in no way part of the evil that took place there. I remember seeing Maureen Dowd put down, sometimes in terms that I perceived as misogynist. After a while, it seemed to me that the free online WSJ pages were essentially bullying in tone.
Eventually, I was put off by the opinion pages of the WSJ, but it wasn’t until many years later that I would begin reading the New York Times. For many weeks, now, I’ve been an avid daily reader–deleting the cache and history and cookies so that I could read twenty articles a day or more, rather than the “allowed” ten per month.
In that time, I’ve come to consider the columnists almost as family. My favourite is Charles M. Blow: earnest, sincere, and very humble, even though he has so much to teach others. But I also very much enjoy Gail Collins, who can write in an affected high school essay manner that communicates her insights on US federal and state politics with biting, but hilarious, satire. (This is affected only–she does write in other styles.) And the Nobel Economics winner Paul Krugman–who always writes with so much empathy for the working poor on the nature of wealth inequality–inspires me. Then there are Thomas L. Friedman and Roger Cohen, who write on the Middle East and other regions with fairness, balance, and integrity. Maureen Dowd writes on many issues with fairness and good insight. And then there’s Nicholas Kristof.
Nicholas Kristof recently dared to write a column giving a voice to Dylan Farrow, the survivor of sexual abuse. In doing so, he put his career at risk, in some ways. I thought that bold and courageous stand, which encapsulates for me the very best of what the New York Times is, deserved support.
Accordingly, I purchased my subscription today.
There are only three things I dislike about the New York Times. First, it’s not Canadian. I wish it was! With Margaret Wente at the Globe and Mail, Canada’s once-distinguished “national newspaper” has become an embarrassment–a kind of Wall Street Journal North, if you will. Second, it’s not free, but then I couldn’t possibly expect it to be. Third, the NYTimes has consistently come out against the Keystone pipeline. I support the Keystone, mostly because I hope that the federal government in Ottawa–if it gets Keystone approval–will feel less pressured to build the Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast. The potential environmental devastation in the ocean from increased tanker traffic looms far worse than a potential spill on land in a land-locked region, and I have more faith in TransCanada than I do in Enbridge. But of course, these three drawbacks are more than outweighed by the positives. But I still wish there were a Canadian New York Times.