It’s been a week since the Wall Street Journal launched its much-ballyhooed and long-awaited Greater New York metropolitan section. How is it? Who cares! You always knew it was going to start out as The New York Post for People Too Rich To Be Caught With A Copy Of The New York Post, and wow, did they deliver. How to swipe a MetroCard! Rats, the Upper East Side, and Mafia-Related Puns! Funny Poor City Heroes Snubbed by Mean Mayor. Etc., etc. More important, though, is the war the Journal‘s having with the New York Times. And whether or not anybody gives a shit.
Just as a refresher: Village Voice editor-in-chief Tony Ortega — not a pacifist, by any means — does not care for this jabberwocky, this Dog & Pony Show of rival media barons (figuratively) slugging the jeebus out of each other.
I, however, do. And I put the question to you, our readers, the ones who click on polls. And out of the thousands hundreds few hundred couple hundred people who decided to click on it, the results came out to be the following:
IN YO’ FACE, TONY AND NAYSAYERS LIKE TONY.
Okay, truthfully, this is likely some kind of accurate representation of people who would read an article about a newspaper war, clicking on it. The likelihood (or lack thereof) of a greater audience caring about a newspaper war — assuming they’re even aware of it — is a sad truth media reporters sometimes have to face. Nobody cares about what you do and obsess over all day. Oh well. Sorry. At least you’re not a microbiologist. Imagine trying to get people excited about the mating habits of the Afghani Rollie Pollie. Media reporters could have it worse.
That said, media reporting doesn’t exactly keep the lights on in too many places regardless, which is too bad, because it’s a very interesting subject that should matter to more people than it does, because if the digestion of certain media without considering what’s behind it is anything like the way we sometimes digest certain food without understanding the construct of it (and thus, now face a well-documented national obesity crisis) it’s likely worth caring about.
And truthfully, this thing doesn’t even remotely matter as to how one consumes news: The editorial process, fact-checking, attribution, the language and objectivity used to report stories, and the selection of those stories picked to drive a news cycle are all things the public, as far as news goes, could and should be far, far more concerned with.
That said, this thing is a story. It’s not a big one, but a small tragicomedy of sorts regarding two corporate entities — both built in a classic New York mold — taking shots at each other from their respective battleships. And it’s occasionally worth telling, if anything, to be reminded of what the competitive cultures were at a time the ocean that is the newspaper business struggled to not drain out beneath them.
Hopefully, now it’s time to see what they’ve got. And if the pissing contest they had yielded any results worth noting.