The New York Sun is folding and that is no doubt unwelcome news. The paper was a journalistic triumph — but not a commercial one. It’s sad when the two can’t coincide.
The Sun began publication in April 2002. For the next six and a half years, it did much, much good. Its closing is bad for New York. Bad for America. Bad for the world (to the extent that people from all over read it on the Net). Bad for diversity in media. Bad for those who wanted an alternative to the Times. Bad for those who wanted to hear conservative perspectives that often have trouble finding a home.
In other words, bad, bad, bad.
I have a theory, and am not sure whether it’s true. Could be that people in New York don’t really want an alternative. (They vote with their dollars, and eyeballs, right?) Could be that they like being a one-newspaper town, with the Times and no other. They refer to it as “the paper.” Friends will say to me, “I read it in the paper.” I’ll say, “What paper?” just to mess with them a little. They’ll also say, “Did you see the review?” I’ll say, “I wrote a review. What review do you mean?” (knowing perfectly well which they mean). They’ll blush a little and say, “Oh, in the Times — sorry.”
New Yorkers tend to read alike, think alike, vote alike. Everyone says this is the biggest, baddest, diversest town in the world. And, in some respects, it is. In others, New York is as united and one-minded as any Baptist burg in the South.
But we can analyze and criticize and do other such things later. For now, why not simply express gratitude? The Sun may not have lasted forever. But mortal things never do — even the best of them. That’s the nature of mortality (and why many people prefer immortal things).
We can be grateful that the New York Sun ever existed. We can remember it fondly. And, hell, we can go and create more!