Wednesday, March 08, 2006

De-Selecting The New York Times

We stand on a digital brink of sorts. Will the Internet remain free and egalitarian, or will it be split, as Newsweek recently warned, into "first class and steerage"?

When The New York Times made the cynical decision last year to launch TimesSelect, they secreted their columnists behind an elitest firewall and shoved us bloggers (well, the poor ones, anyway) down next to the engine room with all the Irish step dancers.

They say that there are now a bajillion blogs out there, so we may as well leverage the influence of Weblogistan to do some good. Hence the De-Selecting the Times Pledge! Bloggers who sign this document pledge to not link to the New York Times website. Not just TimesSelect articles, but any articles. Bloggers must direct an enormous amount of traffic to the Times website, but if that traffic were to dry up, they might think twice about putting a $49.95 price tag on "all the news that's fit to print."

Of course, this pledge is a little bit like those sexual abstinence pledges kids take in high school: you're going to have to break it every once in a while. That's understandable. We can still make a difference by making a conscious effort to not link to the Times unless there's just no other source available (for example, the inside story on their next plagiarist).

Help keep the web free and fair—sign the pledge.
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