The Corner

The Times

Jonah: While you’re AWOL, I’m going to take issue with your characterization of the Times as the best paper in the country. I do agree that its pages consistently include some of the best journalism in the country, but the paper as a whole has slipped in recent years. Not long ago I made the Times the first paper I read each day. Now I turn first to the Washington Post, because its coverage of Washington is much better. For editorials and op-eds, the Wall Street Journal is tops–and I’m not just saying this for ideological reasons. A few years ago, the Times was just as good if not better, with an eclectic mix of interesting opinion. It has lost this (though it’s been improving in 2003). Also, its op-ed page columnists aren’t very good, with the exception of Tom Friedman. I still rely upon and enjoy the Times for its coverage of international relations, science, and the American media. Its movie reviews are often pretty smart and the book reviews can be good, too. I don’t read the Sunday Magazine as much as I should, but when I do there’s often something good in it. The sports section has impressed me as well, but I don’t read it much either because I can’t think of a single NY-based team that I actually like. To sum up: the NYT remains a very good paper, and surely one of the best in the country, but it’s foundering right now.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.


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