The national “newspaper of record,” The New York Times – trailing in circulation only USA Today and The Wall Street Journal among US dailies – has today announced a change for the first time in 110 years to its official slogan, which will no longer be “All The News That’s Fit To Print” but instead the more fitting “All The News That’s Unfit To Print.” Does it matter that they are using invisible ink? Oh, well.
Of course they don’t mean it, except in how they do.
The Times has at last recognized the reality that media watch groups and others have been pointing out for years:
“…by selection of topics, by distribution of concerns, by emphasis and framing of issues, by filtering of information, by bounding of debate within certain limits. They determine, they select, they shape, they control, they restrict – in order to serve the interests of dominant, elite groups in the society.”
In other words, The Times lies. They falsify. They spin.
But now, either in long overdue recognition of its own sordid reality, or to protect themselves from being tried for constant contributions to countless Crimes Against Humanity, The Times has decided to change their venerable slogan by the addition of a single pronoun to use the glorious word: Unfit.
By this brilliant stratagem, to the best we are able to determine, The Times hopes to be able to claim that any deceitful accounts it may be brought to trial for can be recontextualized in the eyes of a criminal tribunal as being ironic. Or nuanced. The Times hopes to argue that not only are they the national paper of record but that they are also the national paper of irony, and satiric artifice – and thus truthful by way of literal inversion, and other ironic forms of play.
Iraq wasn’t really armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq wasn’t really any great threat to the US, as the paper reported in relentless detail, thus helping lead the US into its criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Times was only joking – or so it hopes to be able to argue should the legal need arise. The Times was only poking fun at the ludicrous claims coming from the US administration and Congress and every major corporate media outlet. The Times was being satiric, or simply ironic at least – printing all the news that’s unfit to print – which the Times is now helpfully clarifying by changing its slogan for the first time in over a century.
Some observers have suggested that the Times would do better to keep the old slogan and, instead, change the bulk of its news reporting. The Times dismissed this notion out of hand as “Unthinkable. We are in no way set up for that.”
Which is in fact accurate. As with other corporate media, the majority of the New York Times funding comes not from subscribers or viewers but from corporate advertisers, who would flee in an instant if the Times changed anything but their slogan.
Thus, all in all, the Times’ decision to change its slogan to “All The News That’s Unfit To Print” is irreproachable. The Times’ decision is being hailed in numerous circles of wealth and power as “the latest indicator of what a highly advanced society we are.”
Good thing then that we invaded Iraq, after all. Soon – if those incredibly stubborn Iraqis would just stop setting off those pesky car bombs – they will come to think and act in an ever more civil manner, like us.
[This “Plan to Abolish America” series of satires consists of slightly revised pieces posted in advance of the coming “Petraeus Report” on Iraq. The series began with The Petraeus Plan to Abolish Iraq, and will likely end with the same Plan.]