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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Newspaper ownership

Slipping on icy jingoism

Your editorial [“Newspaper ownership matters in a democracy,” The Democracy Papers, Jan. 27] declared, “The $250 million loan by billionaire Carlos Slim to The New York Times Co. is said to be innocent of any motive of influencing U.S. news and opinion.” I imagine you are referring to the ideal of impartial journalism. And yet, many journalists have crossed the line into the entertainment domain (colorful Rush Limbaugh and Chris Matthews come to mind).

Are these wealthy journalists considered to be capitalists with loyalties to a political party, similar to the criticism you hurl at Carlos Slim? When Rupert Murdoch (reportedly holding assets worth some $8 billion) bought the New York Post, Fox News and many more, did you raise similar alarm?

Careful, you could be slipping on icy jingoism.

Your editorial concludes, “The New York Times is not just a company, but an institution.” This could be true, but the U.S. Treasury has not refused foreign investments from China, Japan, the U.K., Brazil, oil exporters or even Russia. When the U.S. Treasury accepts investments from other nations and wealthy individuals, why shouldn’t The New York Times do the same?

Our beloved Constitution sets forth the law of the land, but does not establish any “news institution.” Come to think of it, the Constitution does not establish any “capitalist company” either.

With the recent announcement about The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, your sentimentality for newspapers is understandable. But does the ownership of The New York Times rise to the level of national pride?

We do live in a global economy these days. This global economy is not established in the Constitution either.

— Richard Morris, Redmond

Comments | More in Economy, Media

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