So, I cancelled my New York Times subscription.
I’d subscribed digitally just after Trump was inaugurated, in part because I wanted to support journalism in an era that would need journalism, and also because I knew realistically that I’d want access to more than the 10 articles a month limit you get without a subscription. I wasn’t the biggest Times booster, even though I enjoyed a bunch of writers there (and particularly enjoyed their podcasts, too; The Daily was a must every day for a long time), but it felt important to finally sign up to the Times as an accompaniment to my already present Washington Post subscription.
(I’d been a Post subscriber for longer for two reasons; I prefer that paper’s political coverage by far, and the digital subscription was far, far cheaper. The Times subscription felt overpriced for what I was getting out of it, to be honest.)
I stayed a Times subscriber through multiple concerns about coverage and weakness in both reporting and editorial point of view; sure, my readership of it dropped to almost non-existent outside of the big stories, but I was still supporting journalism, dammit! As a journalist myself, it was a point of principle, even when the journalism being practiced didn’t seem to uphold the principles I would’ve wanted it to. And then the Tom Cotton op-ed ran.
There’s so much about that op-ed and the circumstances of its creation and publication that are, to say the least, troubling, that came out in the days after its publication — that the section editor didn’t read it prior to publishing, that it was pitched to Cotton by the paper, that it didn’t go through fact checks and was subsequently found to fall under the paper’s own journalistic standards — but for me, even just seeing the headline “Send In The Troops” was enough. It was time to cancel.
(The piece was trash, of course, but it was lying, dangerous trash calling for martial law in a public venue that should not, under any circumstances, publish such inflammatory bullshit at a time like now. Days later, I’m still incandescent with anger over how irresponsible the piece was, how drastically the Times failed in not only allowing it to run, but commissioning it in the first place.)
There’s a whole process you have to go through in order to cancel your Times subscription, it turns out; it’s not like you can just click a button. In total, it took me an hour or so, and an online chat with someone called Eric to shut it down. What stands out about the whole thing, though, was Eric’s response when I told him why I was cancelling. He dropped the attempts to keep me by lowering the price or offering additional add-one, and just thanked me for being “an important voice for change.”
When even your sales staff think some things are worth cancelling over, that’s probably a sign you’ve fucked up, surely.