Pay us or we won't listen to you

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The New York Times has constructed a second wall around its op—ed columnists, many of whom still bear bruises from criticism they received form bloggers before their publisher erected the "Times Select" subscription wall around them. Unless you subscribe to the print version of the Times, or are willing to pay $50 a year just to read the op—ed columnists, you can no longer read them.

Fair enough. The Times isn't a charity. But the paper is tight—lipped about how many people actually pay to read their pontifications, which almost surely means embarrassingly few people have paid to read them.

Paul Krugman's multiple serious mistakes and distortions and his reluctance to fess up were fodder for much mockery, including on this site. So limiting his audience to those who really like his work makes sense, even if it encourages him to roam further left, unchecked by reality—based critics.

Now, however, the tether to earth is being almost severed. The Times is refusing to allow email from non—subscribers to its star columnists. That's right, you have to pay in order to be able to respond directly to the bloviators. Editor & Publisher reports:

If you haven't signed up for TimesSelect, The New York Times' online subscription product, don't bother e—mailing the paper's star columnists.

Since the Times put the words of its eight Op—Ed columnists behind a paid wall last September, it has also decided that only TimesSelect subscribers should be allowed to e—mail Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, et al.

Back in September the Times asked the hundreds of papers who publish the Op—Ed contributors through The New York Times News Service (NYTNS) to stop printing the writers' e—mail addresses with the columns (and to take the columns off their Web sites, too). Apparently not everyone got the message, because last week the Times' syndication service sent out an advisory reminding its client papers to remove the e—mail addresses.

"If you are not a TimesSelect subscriber you won't have access to that e—mail functionality," Times spokesman Toby Usnik confirmed Tuesday. "It centralizes [the columnists' e—mails] around the TimesSelect site."

But instead of being able to put an address in a mail program and firing it off at your leisure, TimesSelect subscribers now have to fill out an online form similar to the generic feedback forms found on many Web sites.

The free exchange of ideas seems oddly frightening to the Old Grey Lady these days. Considering the ideas they are peddling, that's actually quite understandable.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson  1 18 06

The New York Times has constructed a second wall around its op—ed columnists, many of whom still bear bruises from criticism they received form bloggers before their publisher erected the "Times Select" subscription wall around them. Unless you subscribe to the print version of the Times, or are willing to pay $50 a year just to read the op—ed columnists, you can no longer read them.

Fair enough. The Times isn't a charity. But the paper is tight—lipped about how many people actually pay to read their pontifications, which almost surely means embarrassingly few people have paid to read them.

Paul Krugman's multiple serious mistakes and distortions and his reluctance to fess up were fodder for much mockery, including on this site. So limiting his audience to those who really like his work makes sense, even if it encourages him to roam further left, unchecked by reality—based critics.

Now, however, the tether to earth is being almost severed. The Times is refusing to allow email from non—subscribers to its star columnists. That's right, you have to pay in order to be able to respond directly to the bloviators. Editor & Publisher reports:

If you haven't signed up for TimesSelect, The New York Times' online subscription product, don't bother e—mailing the paper's star columnists.

Since the Times put the words of its eight Op—Ed columnists behind a paid wall last September, it has also decided that only TimesSelect subscribers should be allowed to e—mail Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, et al.

Back in September the Times asked the hundreds of papers who publish the Op—Ed contributors through The New York Times News Service (NYTNS) to stop printing the writers' e—mail addresses with the columns (and to take the columns off their Web sites, too). Apparently not everyone got the message, because last week the Times' syndication service sent out an advisory reminding its client papers to remove the e—mail addresses.

"If you are not a TimesSelect subscriber you won't have access to that e—mail functionality," Times spokesman Toby Usnik confirmed Tuesday. "It centralizes [the columnists' e—mails] around the TimesSelect site."

But instead of being able to put an address in a mail program and firing it off at your leisure, TimesSelect subscribers now have to fill out an online form similar to the generic feedback forms found on many Web sites.

The free exchange of ideas seems oddly frightening to the Old Grey Lady these days. Considering the ideas they are peddling, that's actually quite understandable.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson  1 18 06