When it’s not telling us what to think the New York Times is telling us how to feel.
Recently, it did a puff piece about a 52 year old streetwalker. You know, the kind who sells herself in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, the kind who has been on the streets for decades.
As you might guess, the Times is not judgmental. It does not cast aspersions on Barbara Terry. She is just doing her job, like you and me and everyone else.
I’m sure you feel better already.
The Times glosses over the fact that her chosen profession is illegal. It does report that she has been arrested more than one hundred times and adds that her job comports certain risks: “All the women out here have had friends attacked or cut or dumped dead somewhere.”
The article says nothing about the risk of STDs, because, after all, it’s the New York Times and it does have some standards left.
Anyway, it’s all part of the cost of doing business. Just like anyone else doing any other kind of business.
In case you were wondering the Times asks the burning question: How did Terry survive with a pimp?
The newspaper of record answers that Barbara Terry had God on her side. Her mother and grandmother were praying for her.
How long will it take before the New York Times, aka the Old Gray Lady, is born again?
Being fair and balanced the Times also shares some of the good things in streetwalking. Barbara Terry explains: “I love the excitement of coming out here and seeing all these beautiful people I know….Even my dates are a comfort. This place has made me strong. It keeps you young.”
If you are a woman and you want to know how to stay young and strong, the New York Times has a brand new idea: streetwalking. Call it: news you can use.
It all leads us to wonder what is going on at the New York Times. Having long since let my subscription lapse I am not the best person to answer.
Ann Althouse, however, has been following the paper’s descent into mindless fluff. I yield to her expertise. She offers the most cogent explanation for the Barbara Terry article: “Why would the NYT publish this? Because the NYT is all about helping its aging female readers feel good about themselves.”
Apparently, the New York Times is now reaching out to its women readers.
For the first time in its history it is being edited by a woman, Jill Abramson, so it’s been running more features that might interest women.
If Althouse is correct, it is soon going to be retitled: The New York Woman’s Times.
Althouse explains herself more clearly in the comments section of her blog: “All kinds of whores read the NYT, and they're often quite cheered up by seeing what kind of whoring the other whores are doing.”
In truth, most women do not find stories about streetwalkers uplifting. Most women are decidedly unsympathetic to prostitutes. They certainly have no sympathy for the possibility that their men, husbands and boyfriends, might be frequenting prostitutes.
Apparently, the Times is assuming that women maintain a negative attitude toward streetwalkers and other prostitutes because they have been brainwashed by the patriarchy or the vast right wing conspiracy.
Good feminists believe that sisterhood is powerful. How could Upper West Side liberal women fail to notice that streetwalkers are their sisters?
The Times thinks that women have the wrong feelings. Now it wants to perform a therapeutic intervention, the better to tell New York women what they should feel. To do so it has chosen to humanize a streetwalker, to make her look and sound just like any other woman trying to support her family in difficult circumstances.
The Times communicates her pride: “She raised a family while working the streets, and boasts that in 30 years she never had to work a square’s job.”
The Times no longer cares about reporting the news. When it is not offering slanted news coverage designed to tell you what to think it is telling you what you should be feeling.
My guess is that most Times readers did not even notice. They felt warm fuzzy feelings for Barbara Terry because that is the way the Times told them to feel.