Pinch's Perverse Populism
TimesSelect levels the playing field!
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What if they launched New Coke and the cans wouldn't open? TimesSelect may be a bad development even for those who don't have to pay $49.95 because they already subscribe to the NYT print edition. I'm getting lots of complaints from paid Times subscribers along these lines:
[O]nce you do register, a laborious process, there's no log in to get the columns. And you can't register twice. So I'm shut out. ...You'd think, after months and months of planning, they'd at least satisfy their readers who went through the proper channels. ...
It's not reading my cookie right! ...
As a Times home subscriber, I get free access to Times Select, right? Well yes, but it took me a couple of 15 minute headscratching sessions to figure out how. First, you have to validate your subscription by entering your account number (which I don't know) or the credit card you're having billed for the subscription, which I did. Then, you are still in trouble if you're already a registered reader of the regular free Times online—because you have to harmonize that registration with whatever you put in for the Times Select—the latter sign up isn't geared to start the process with the information from the former.
True Times loyalists will no doubt happily sacrifice actually reading parts of the Times in order to save it. (Just pretend those writers have been laid off! ) Or they can go here. ...
Update--Free Krugman, or at least Free Old Krugman! The visible hand of TimesSelect has apparently shut down maintenance of the highly useful library of Paul Krugman columns at the UnOfficial Paul Krugman Archive, and Krugman doesn't seem too happy about it ("Yuk."). ... That means TimesSelect is an even worse deal for the Times op-ed columnists than I'd realized. Not only does it sharply lower their immediate readership and make it difficult for even loyal, paying print subscribers to read them online (see above), it prevents them from maintaining the standard free Web archive of their published work that nearly every other respected freelance pundit can create (see, e.g. Malcolm Gladwell's archive). Times columnists are so privileged they must be made second class citizens in the blogosphere! There's some populism for you. ... Haven't the poor NYT pundits been punished enough? I don't see why the Times can't let Krugman (or a designated acolyte) maintain an archive that posts his columns 30 days or 60 days or 90 days after the Times (exclusively) publishes t hem. Would that really be such a revenue drain? ... 11:40 P.M. link
Tomorrow's CW Today: Roberts was too good! If the Bushies have been choreographing the Supreme Court nomination fight, they've blown it--at least if the goal was to move the Court to the right. Why? It's not that John Roberts wasn't charming and bulletproof enough to sail through the Senate despite his conservatism. It's that Roberts was so charming and bulletproof that he's the one conservative nominee who could have sailed through as a replacement for the swing-vote O'Connor. Instead, the White House has wasted him as the replacement for another conservative, William Rehnquist--and now they face a fight over the swing seat replacement. ... It would have been better, for the right, if Rehnquist had retired first. Replacing him wouldn't have been such a charged proposition--after all, it would just be swapping a conservative for a conservative. Any old strict constructionist would do. Then, when O'Connor retired, the Bushies could have hauled out their unstoppable secret weapon--Roberts. ... P.S.: Also, now whoever Bush nominates for the key seat will suffer in comparison with Roberts. ... ["[Y]ou underestimate the bench strength of the [right]"--Reader B. from D.C. Entirely possible! This is CW, remember. It will be change soon.] 1:43 P.M. link
We Want the Overnights!
Q.: Does the NYT have the subscriber totals for the triumphant first days of TimesSelect, its new pay-for-columnists feature?
Photograph of John Kerry by Brian Snyder/Reuters. Still from Star Trek on Slate's Table of Contents © Bettmann/Corbis.