JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

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Saturday, December 07, 2002
 
The New York Times

Andrew Sullivan and a lot of others in the blogsphere are making a lot of hay on the New York Times' decision not to run two sports columns. Sullivan, citing, Jack Shafer, says that the Times should hire an ombudsman. Sullivan indignantly writes that "The Times has got to stop acting like the Vatican and open itself up to scrutiny and debate."

I don't see why. Even if we accept Sullivan's analogy, acting like the Vatican isn't the same as being like the Vatican. The Times is not a religious institution -- it's a newspaper. If Sullivan does not approve of it, he should either stop reading it or make his complaints known. Demanding institutional changes because of its ideological choices isn't, well, it isn't the American way. Judging from all the bandwidth that has been used to criticize the Times over its nixing of the two columns, it sure seems that the Times is subject to "scrutiny and debate." That's not what Sullivan wants, however. He wants this debate over the Times' editorial decisions (or his debate over the Times' editorial decisions) to be on the pages of the Times, itself.

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