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Quote of the moment

[NSD 4/28/03]


In a biography of long-time New York Times editor A.M. Rosenthal, Joseph C. Goulden gives this explanation of that paper's dominance.

"The public perception of events, as reported in the Times, is now accepted as the 'official version.' The New York Times, for better or worse, has a dominant voice in setting the agenda for America. The Times does so because it is respected, and it takes its job of gathering news seriously. The Times spends more money than any other newspaper in America to collect, edit and print the news, with emphasis on reportage by its own people, not news syndicates. Although the masthead slogan 'All The News That's Fit To Print' is a logistical impossibility, the Times maintains the largest staff of any newspaper anywhere.

"Because of its serious-minded approach to news, the Times is read and respected, in the places that count in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, and beyond. America's elite become acquainted with the Times as an institution in graduate school, when they use the Time's microfilm as the basic fact-stuff of their dissertations. The white-on-black image of the Times, courtesy Universal Microfilms, is sufficient affirmation that some supposed happening is certifiable historical fact. Reliance on the Times as a primary source of information continues when these persons go on into business and government. Teddy White likened the Times to 'the executive reading board for everyone of importance who lives between Boston and Washington. What is printed by the Times each day is read by these executives, officials and academics by eleven each morning. You assume they have all read it.' Although newspapers such as the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe make periodic pretensions of importance, White's view is that 'they just touch it,' i.e., the Times, in terms of national interest.

"What other media do not like to concede is that they often follow the lead of the Times as trustingly as do graduate students."

* See http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0818404744/newsscancom/ref=nosim for Joseph C. Goulden's "Fit To Print: A.M. Rosenthal and His Times"—or look for it in the multimedia section of your favorite library. [We donate all revenues from our book recommendations to literacy programs.]