With the 1619 Project, the New York Times’s business interests are just as decisive a factor. The Times’s management is well aware that it has to replace its audience of ageing liberals with young adherents of progressive ideologies impassioned enough to pay for the digital subscriptions that are at the heart of its business model. For the Times, this is a matter of existential significance. As a New York Times Company vice president has explained, one of the aims of 1619 is, according to NiemanLab, to “convince more of its 150 million monthly readers to pay for a subscription”.
This makes good sense considering that over a third of the Times‘s revenue now comes from digital subscriptions — and nearly two-thirds of the Times’s American audience is made up of millennial and Gen Z readers. Print subscriptions, meanwhile, are in “steady decline”; advertising is falling by close to (and sometimes more than) double digits each year.
Like all dynasties, the Sulzbergers, the billionaire family that controls the New York Times, are, in part, motivated by financial self-interest. But in the current cultural environment, where a movement of ideological upheaval is at work, it is power as much as money that lies behind what is the most significant journalistic endeavour of the past decade. The Times’s progressive turn (like that of so many American brands) is more top-down than bottom-up; it is a quest for influence rather than principle. The Times knows which way the wind is blowing and in a raging storm why not sail downwind?
The only problem with this approach — in business as much as in life — is that it doesn’t work. As Captain MacWhir in Joseph Conrad’s novella The Typhoon shouts through the raging storm to the story’s young protagonist: “They may say what they like, but the heaviest seas run with the wind.” In its cynical embrace of progressive politics, the Times runs the risk of capsizing in storm waters it mistakenly believes it can control.
The Gray Lady is also perfectly willing to gaslight the first draft of history as well: New York Times Writer Sarah Jeong Says Inflation in the News Is Just ‘Rich People Flipping Their Shit.’
You may remember Jeong from her prior instances of ill-advised tweeting, which presented a wrinkle when the Times hired her as a tech writer back in 2018. Those tweets, from 2013 and 2014 when she was 25 or 26, read: “oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy i get out of being cruel to old white men” and “are white people genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” Jeong has long been hobbled by her extremely online style of tweeting—ironic detachment coupled with racial generalizations against disfavored groups like white men—which is fashionable among certain sets on the left.
For Jeong, this is par for the course. But choosing flippant tweeting over thoughtful analysis is a bad look for New York Times contributors* who really ought to be more concerned with the plights of everyday Americans forced to tighten the purse strings for reasons far beyond their control.
Joe Biden believes that paying higher taxes is “patriotic” — or least did so before his brain became tapioca. What he didn’t tell voters is that he’d be raising everyone’s taxes: “government-driven inflation is essentially a hidden form of taxation. The ability to inflate currency to stealth-tax citizens matters politically, aside from the erosion of our incomes and savings, because it enables politicians to grow the government and spend more taxpayer money than they would be able to get away with if they actually had to directly raise peoples’ taxes. This is bad news for anybody who values economic freedom, free-market capitalism, and the prosperity they bring.”
BEHOLD, MY SHOCKED FACE: Another Democrat economist jumps ship on Biden’s inflationary spending.
h/t Ed Driscoll