Gray Lady sings the blues
It occurred to me today that the folks at the NY Times may in fact be suffering from depression, and I mean that in the clinical sense.
Why the sudden diagnosis? Well, Captain's Quarters alerted me to this editorial about the Iraqi constitutional compromise in today's NY Times (for contrast, compare the Times's take on the matter with the elation of Iraqi blogger Mohammed at Iraq the Model).
As Captain Ed points out, with only a little hyperbole:
Each paragraph [of the editorial] starts out with some gloomy statement on what the Times sees as reality. Each statement relates back to American efforts to create this democratic environment, either directly or indirectly...
The torturous process of actually saying something meaningful about the Iraqi agreement on a new constitution in the days ahead of the vote grinds on through eight paragraphs written in this stultifying prose, as like a bad pop song with an unrelenting, unchanging bass line. It takes that long for the Times to admit that the developments this week give greater hope for unity after the plebescite and for greater Sunni participation in democracy thereafter. The editorial approaches masterpiece status for sour grapes and for burying the lede. Even its title, "A Flicker Of Hope In Iraq", makes this major step forward seem little more than a mere footnote in an encyclopedia of misery.
"A footnote in an encyclopedia of misery." Reading this, I had one of those sudden insights that seem to make what was formerly murky as clear as day: the entire editorial staff of the Times is clinically depressed. For here is exactly the sort of behavior one would expect from a depressed person: the inability to take pleasure in even good news, the constant "yes-butting" that negates anything positive before it can sink in or be savored. One can almost see the sad, heavy eyes of the writer, and hear the droning voice with its flat affect.
And now I also see the Times's constant ignoring of the good news from Iraq in a different light. It's another symptom of depression.
Oh, I know what those of you who still like the Gray Lady will say: they're just being judicious and cautious, and rightly so. And indeed caution is in order. But I think the Times has a track record of going way beyond caution, into a gloom that can hardly be dispelled by facts.
It seems that lately I've been prescribing meds without a license. But I have yet another suggestion along those lines for those at the Times: perhaps a trial of SSRIs might be in order.
It could make that hope become a tad more than a flicker. Just a thought.