Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • kikoteixeira

      Once upon a time I had considered subscribing to the Times. Now I am glad I have not. See today's opinion piece: "America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation"

      Paula Dyer was a beautiful little girl who deserved a full and happy life, but Billy Ray Irick’s death didn’t give it back to her. His death did not erase her terrible suffering or bring her back to the people who have mourned her loss for more than three decades. Justice Sotomayor is right. We are not a civilized nation. We aren’t even close.

      Really? As much as I am against capital punishment, conflating a horrific execution with the rest of the country's good track record and calling it an uncivilized nation demoralizes all those working to maintain and improve our human rights record, activelly and passively too.

      When will NYT stop blowing up issues completely out of proportion and go back to being a respected institution?

    • Chris

      This is a hard one for me. I try to stick to publications that I believe try to be faithful to the facts, and I think the Times does try. But I also want to read opinion pieces like this, because people vote and believe via their emotions, and I'd like to know what opinions fuel their emotion.

      In this case, I'm sorry to say, I had a certain resonance with the story. I love our ideals and love living in the U.S., but having the highest incarceration rate of any country, the mass shootings, being in the company of countries like Iran and North Korea for executions, kids in cages, the way our president talks on Twitter about Lebron and Don Lemon...we can be better than this, no?

      The opinion writer did quote a respected Supreme Court justice about barbaric. I probably wouldn't use a word that harsh, but it doesn't seem that quoting Sotomayor should be over the top for an opinion columnist.

    • wx

      You wouldn't buy a newspaper because of an opinion piece on the editorial pages? I mean, the very purpose of those pages is to give voice to strong opinions, typically from all sides of an issue. It's almost as if you're saying you don't want editorial pages.

      I assume people buy newspapers in order to be informed and they value newspapers which give them the most information and, to the extent that it's possible to judge these things, the best information.

      The editorial pages are interesting and provocative. But, for example, what I perceive to be the insanity of the Wall Street Journal's editorial pages doesn't mean I devalue the rest of their product, despite its ownership.

      More broadly, I'm not so sure how civilized America is either. The last two years have been rubbing my nose in my illusions about our national character.

    • Chris

      I can actually sympathize with Rodrigo on his view about not paying for a publication because I don't like their opinion pieces. I stopped by Breitbart this morning and was greeted with this headline:

      This Is CNN: Antifa’s Violence Against ‘Bigots’ Is ‘Right’

      The whole article left me cold. I'll read conservative publications, ones in the center and ones on the left, but there are certain opinions I can't bring myself to support.

    • flei

      Ummmm..... some other people (who most would not consider "Liberal") seem to have the same opinion as the Times: "Pope Francis has ordered a change to the catechism of the Catholic Church, altering existing language to read “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” It vows that the church will work “with determination for its abolition worldwide.”"

    • Richard

      Seems like there are three issues in this thread--the NYT, capital punishment and whether the US is a civilized country. I'll stick to the first, which is easier.

      I think the NYT is worth taking seriously. Along with the WaPo and WSJ, it is one of the few remaining newspapers that have the resources and commitment to do real investigative reporting. This is important--Internet aggregators (like Google News) won't have much to report if nobody is doing the journalistic legwork. Their opinion pieces matter less to me.

      Nevertheless, my trust in the NYT took a serious hit during the buildup to the Iraq war, when it uncritically repeated Bush administration positions that had already been credibly refuted elsewhere. When I decided that it was important to respond to Trump's attack on the press, I thought about subscribing but chose the WaPo instead. I still try to look at multiple sources for any given story, which has become easy in the Internet era. One does have to be aware of the biases that each publication has, but that really isn't very difficult if you're paying attention.

    • Chris

      I think a great number of we Americans lost our collective minds during the buildup to the Iraq war. We put French restaurants out of business with boycotts because they questioned the war, we tried to rename french fries as freedom fries, we spent an incredible amount of money, saw tragic loss of life and PTSD, lost so much of our international credibility.

      I thought that about Vietnam too. I hope we can carefully think about what we learned and never forget.

    • Jain

      I just watched a video lecture by the clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson (I see he's been trending lately). He's part of the "Intellectual Dark Web" described here by the Times. He's on to this idea, proven by his wild success, that people are starving for long form discussion sessions (his lectures are constantly sold out) and yearning for civil discourse on polarizing issues among people of different opinions. He believes that the old school media must adapt or it will die. He credits much of his popularity to the unlimited bandwidth and low cost to entry that YouTube and podcasts afford independent thinkers. These people are not beholden to advertisers or forced to bark out sound bites and teasers. And watching these hour-plus long videos, I find myself learning and thinking, not moving on to find out what someone else is saying to make sure I'm getting a balanced viewpoint. Once I started looking into who he was, I found that a large majority of opinions about him out there are flat out wrong, with some shamefully editing his words to make him sound like a monster!

      I am now turned off by shallow and one-sided political discussions that last only 5 minutes or those dreadful TV news debates with people shouting over each other. Nearly all online headlines are written as click bait and often facts are buried so far under the lede I'm sure few take time to read that far because the format of pop-ups and blinking ads breaking up the text is so distasteful to sit through.

      I have always admired the Times, actually not as much for their news but more for their excellent profiles and opinion pieces, and typically all of their articles present sophisticated writing styles and deeper thought about a wide range of topics. I haven't subscribed to, and I rarely read, physical newspapers anymore because I have a habit of wanting the very latest updates when it comes to news, at my peril because the rush to post comes with accuracy risks as we all know. But lately 90 percent of what I read online seems twisted through some type of negative, dark, hateful, spiteful, downright mean filter. It's true that many of the loudest voices presented to us through the media are not civilized! And maybe this comes from the top down but honestly, it's all so petty and unproductive. I do believe that FAKE news is the enemy of the people! What reasonable person is going to argue with that statement?

      This notion that Americans are somehow not civilized anymore is a good example of that. I know that is an opinion, which is fine, but the author throws up the idea and it's not complete. This country is FILLED with incredible people at every turn; a vast majority of our people are kind, law abiding, honest and trustworthy. Do you really have a lot of uncivilized people circulating throughout your life? There will always be the worst in any society to point to as cautionary tales. Fair enough. Still, focusing on only the few who are the worst over and over again is so dull and simplistic. I want a deeper, more meaningful exchange of ideas and apparently a lot of others do, too.

    • Chris

      Thank you, Jain. That was incredibly well said.

      It's very timely for me because there is an analogue with social media & discussion forums. Investors are looking for things that take off fast, like Yik Yak did, where they invested $73 million.

      But it seems like what the world needs now is a place where people can post less but be more thoughtful about it, as you just did. Somehow I think of the difference between McDonald's and Whole Foods. Yes, McDonald's feeds many times the number of people, but there is still a demand for Whole Foods and it fills an important role in the world.

    You've been invited!