Friday, February 24, 2012

Los Angeles Times to Launch Subscription Paywall

I've been a subscriber to the Los Angeles Times for almost 30 years.

I cut my political teeth reading that newspaper. But like anything else these days, there comes a time when you rethink your loyalties. I don't need the paper in hard copy. Mostly, I renew my subscription out of familiarity and habit. And I'm old-fashioned. I still like reading a broadsheet. And I like having the hard copy for teaching. But there are many days when I don't even pick it up. I go online first thing in the morning and the dead-tree version sits there all day. I might take a look at it over coffee if I go out for breakfast or lunch.

Yet for the first time last week I seriously thought about cancelling my subscription. I was almost physically sick at the Times editorial on the Heartland Institute's "Fakegate" scandal. The background's at Mememorandum. And here's the editorial at the Times, "Climate denial in the classroom." Especially loathsome is the editorial's reference to Michael Mann, the discredited climate change asshat at the University of Pennsylvania:
Fortunately, if we're about to enter a battle over classroom instruction on climate change, it won't go on for decades, because the impacts of global warming are already patently obvious. Seven of the 10 warmest years since global record-keeping began in 1880 have occurred in the 21st century. Despite an intense campaign to discredit his work, Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann's "hockey stick" graph, which shows that temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century soared to their highest level in 1,000 years, has been validated repeatedly. Last year set a record for the most climate-related disasters in the United States costing more than $1 billion in damage each — drought-fueled wildfires in Texas, Hurricane Irene, and Mississippi River flooding were among the 14 cases.

These are facts, not philosophical or religious dogma. Another fact: Sophisticated climate models show that things are going to get a lot worse. It's bad enough that we're gambling our children's futures by doing so little to fight this problem; let's not ask their teachers to lie to them about it too.
The "hockey stick" was at the center of the East Anglia research scandal a few years ago. Since then whatever genuine "consensus" there was on global warming has been destroyed once and for all. There is simply no one on the left who is credible or trustworthy on the "science" of climate change. A good backgrounder is Marc Shepard's piece from 2009, "Understanding Climategate's Hidden Decline," and more recently, from Steven Hayward, "Climategate (Part II)."

In any case, I read the Times' editorial knowing all this and then forgot about it as one more stupid example of progressive journalism. But the Heartland story continued to develop. Most significantly is that climate scientist Peter Gleick confessed that he'd lied when he sought information from the Heartland Institute. He published an admission at the Huffington Post, "The Origin of the Heartland Documents." There's more on that at Christian Science Monitor, "Climategate sequel? Scientist lies to get Heartland Institute documents," and Steve McIntyre has the latest at Climate Audit, "Heartland Publishes Gleick Emails." And here's this at The Other McCain, "In Apologizing for Global Warming Hoax, Peter Gleick Blames His Victims," and from Moose and Squirrels, "Alarmist climate change quacks debate the “ethics” of stealing: #Gleickgate / #Fakegate":
I am sick to death of these communist-loving, global governance anti-humanity assholes trying to shove their climate change quackery down our throats. Please, Heartland et al (WUWT, etc), sue Gleick into extinction. And here’s hoping criminal charges against the identity thief leading to incarceration will follow.
And even more from Rand Simberg at PJ Media, "Fakegate: Can’t Hide This Decline."

So, with that, there's now the news that the Los Angeles Times is going to a subscription model beginning March 10th: "Los Angeles Times launches new membership program." Folks can read it at the link. Apparently, the New York Times is having success with its subscription paywall and the folks at the Los Angeles Times are looking to share some of the profit. I don't really care either way. I won't be subscribing online. If I reach my limit of 15 free articles per month I'll cut and paste the headline into Google and read it for free. And as for home delivery? I think I'll let the subscription expire. I can do without it, frankly. I'll continue to read the news as I always do and evaluate each and every article on its own merits. Even the progressive hack newspapers like LAT and NYT sometimes publish good stuff and these are the leading outlets for institutional news. You ignore them at your peril frankly, although I don't have to contribute to their bottom line.