How Low Can The New York Times Go?

Charlie Suisman’s invaluable Manhattan Users Guide alerted me to a story in the New York Times that I missed while out of the country. Charlie sums it up better than I can:

Just when you think about the Times that maybe there’s a dance in the old dame yet, they go and do something simply inexplicable, even despicable. On New Year’s Day, the Times gave a platform to climate change denier Denis Dutton, who conflates Nostradamus, ‘evil aliens’, and global warming in his editorial. Any more of that crap and the Times, after its eventual demise, won’t even be missed as fish wrap.

Here’s the beginning of the Times Op/Ed:

Christchurch, New Zealand

IT seems so distant, 1999. Bill Clinton had survived impeachment, his popularity hardly dented, Sept. 11 was just another date and music fans were enjoying a young singer named Britney Spears.

But there was a particular unease in the air. The so-called Y2K problem, the inability of computers to read dates beyond 1999 threatened to turn Jan. 1, 2000 into a nightmare. The issue had first been noticed by programmers in the 1950s, but had been ignored. As the turn of the century loomed, though, it seemed that humankind faced a litany of horrors.

Haywire navigation controls might cause aircraft to fall from the skies. Electricity grids, water systems and telephone networks would be knocked out, while nuclear power plants would be subject to meltdown. Savings and pension accounts would be wiped out in a general bank failure. A cascade of breakdowns in communication and commerce would create vast shortages of food and medicine, which would, in turn, produce riots, lawlessness and social collapse. Even worse, ICBMs might rise from their silos unbidden, spreading death across the globe.

Y2K problems would not be limited to mainframe computers that governed the information systems of the modern world, but were going to affect millions of tiny computer chips found everywhere. Thanks to these wonky microprocessors, elevators would die, G.P.S. devices would stop working and dishwashers would dry the food onto the plates before trying to rinse it off. Even ordinary cars might spontaneously accelerate to fatal, uncontrollable speeds, with brakes failing to respond…

[remainder of the Times Op/Ed]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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7 Comments on "How Low Can The New York Times Go?"

  1. How dare anyone challenge the eco-dogma! WE are the progressives! You filthy mean, climate change denier! If we don't have global cap and trade and carbon tax and population controls then the…CO2 will win! I make it simple for all you carbon pigs out there: When it's hot, that's climate change. When it's cold, that's climate change. When there's a tornado, climate change. Earthquake, climate change. Rain, snow, breezy, climate change, climate change, climate change. The earth is DYING don't you get it? No! You don't! Fear mongers like you are just too dumb to see TRUTH when it stares you the face! Denis Dutton is a hater! Period!

  2. girlmachine | Jan 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    “By the time midnight reached the United States, where upward of $100 billion had been spent on Y2K fixes, there was little anxiety.”

    I have to disagree with this statement. I had so much anxiety on 12.31.99 about Y2K, that I got myself shitfaced drunk and blacked out at about 10pm. When I woke up at 2am and realized that my clock was still working and I hadn't evaporated into nothingness, I decided that Leonard Nimoy should probably just stick to acting:

    It's ironic that Dutton suggests that we should have been listening to the expert Bill Gates in 1999, rather than focusing on the uninformed members of the media; while he himself is a professor of philosophy, suggesting that we should listen to him, and ignore the fearmongering ways of expert climatologists.

  3. crabmonster | Jan 11, 2010 at 5:17 pm |

    Alright, I see where this site is going. Hey Majestic, fuck you you fear mongering douchebag. Maybe when you get a little older, grow up a little, get a little wiser, you'll see that you've been deceived … nope, probably won't.



    • dumbsaint | Jan 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm |

      man I suck at the internets today. I liked this guy's comment by accident. My feelings are the exact opposite.

      btw buddy, you're not going to win people over to your cause by acting like an asshat.

  4. I hope the ghost of the victims of the Holocaust haunt you for downplaying their suffering by using that word. Fuckwits.

  5. dumbsaint | Jan 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm |

    –deleted, wrong topic sorry

  6. Anonymous | Jan 11, 2010 at 11:53 pm |

    man I suck at the internets today. I liked this guy’s comment by accident. My feelings are the exact opposite.

    btw buddy, you’re not going to win people over to your cause by acting like an asshat.

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