HEY, IT MAKES MORE SENSE THAN BLAMING BUSH FOR PAUL WELLSTONE’S DEATH: Colby Cosh has an interesting conspiracy theory regarding the New York Times and the Augusta National tempest in a thimble:
The real embarrassment, of course, is for those who claim there is No Such Thing As Liberal Media Bias. Could the Times campaign against Augusta National be a tacit conspiracy to derail Al Gore’s renomination campaign? Just as Gore is trying to make headlines claiming that conservatives dominate the U.S. media, this story–in which Pulitzer-winning columnists at the Paper of Record are getting their work rammed onto the spike for arguing in favour of old-fashioned American freedom of association–rears its head. You’ve got to wonder if they’re deliberately trying to make him look like a fool.
In a weird way I can understand what Raines is trying to do. He presumably believes, as I do, that there is no sense in newspapers contorting themselves into a stance of serene evenhandedness. This is something they’ve only recently felt the necessity to do, and with alternative news sources sparking up on all sides, American newspapers are perhaps best advised to return to their older tradition of populist partisanship. (When they had a monopoly on the raw feed of news, and broadcast bandwidth was limited, they had to appear to function as a public trust; but now we all have modems and cable TV.) But, of course, you have to be a blinkered New York liberal to believe that this Augusta crusade is going to work on a “populist” level. As American newspapers reacquire the old instincts, they will perhaps see that they have to give their own columnists back some freedom of action if they expect to reclaim it for themselves.