As a longtime loyalist to The New York Times (NYT), I read a title with a start and a smile at its cleverness, namely, “All The Views Fit To Cause Fits,” referring to a new NYT column by Bret Stephens. The title is really ingenious and attention grabbing, and a play on the treasured words, “All the News That’s Fit To Print.” But the column is written by an author who is a cynic of climate change, and therefore completely opposed to most reader’s opinions. It unleashed an expected backlash and a Twitterstorm, even to the extent of calling on subscribers to cancel their subscriptions.
So, here’s the thing. We loyalists look upon the NYT as offering a voice of reason in their reporting, as the adult in the room, among disruptive children causing the noise, so to speak. While during reporting, we have expected the NYT to chronicle information and commentary to like-minded individuals, written by like-minded reporters. With one exception that is – the OpEd page, where freedom of expression takes place, with authors on all sides of the idea/thought spectrum.
But it got me thinking, shouldn’t a newspaper of the stature of the NYT offer columnists with varying points of views? Are we loyalists so entrenched in our stance that we cannot allow for the paper to include an “outsider? What would happen if we read columnists with opposing points of views? At worst, we would avoid reading them and, at best, we would read them, think through their point of view and then offer our commentary, which might at times be brutal and, at times, thought-provoking.
NYT editorial page Editor James Bennet apparently agreed with me, when he said, “If all our columnists and contributors and all of our editorials agreed all the time, we wouldn’t be promoting the free exchange of idea(s) and we wouldn’t be serving our readers very well.”
See? I told you, a voice of reason that continues to command respect, globally.