Occasionally, in friendly company, the mask slips. Jeff Bercovici reports for Forbes.com on the disarming honesty of Gerald Marzorati, assistant managing editor for new media and strategic initiatives of the New York Times, speaking at an industry conference:
"We have north of 800,000 subscribers paying north of $700 a year for home delivery," Marzorati said. "Of course, they don't seem to know that."
As evidence that Times subscribers don't realize how much a subscription costs, he pointed to what happened when the paper raised its home-delivery price by 5 percent during the recession: Only 0.01 percent of subscribers canceled. "I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they're literally not understanding what they're paying," he said. "That's the beauty of the credit card."
The Times preying on the ignorance of its readers is no surprise to any conservative who reads the paper. Three and a half years ago, Jack Risko and I pointed out that the company was milking its print editions, especially the New York metro edition, with price increases for both advertisers and readers.
The only thing really new here is that the editors now feel comfortable openly voicing their scorn for the stupidity of their readers. Times readers, who generally think of themselves as educated and well-informed, probaby are so invested in this self-flattery that they will not catch on to how theyee being played by a cynical and contemptuous company that thinks of them as suckers.
Hat tip: David Paulin