The New York Times isn’t what it used to be. Rocked by scandal over the made-up reporting of Jayson Blair, torn apart by the dramatic ouster of Howell Raines, and shaken-up by Judith Miller’s megaphoning the Bush Administration’s fantasies about Iraq’s nuclear program, it increasingly relies on sensationalized, drama-queen reporting and opinion to hold on to a piece of market share. The most recent example of the Times’ descent into rank hysteria is a column today by Adam Cohen on the pending destruction of the World Wide Web:
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989, envisioned a platform on which everyone in the world could communicate on an equal basis. But his vision is being threatened by telecommunications and cable companies, and other Internet service providers, that want to impose a new system of fees that could create a hierarchy of Web sites. Major corporate sites would be able to pay the new fees, while little-guy sites could be shut out.
This is bullshit, as anyone who’s read this blog before surely knows. There is no plan on anybodies part to create a “hierarchy of web sites,” there is simply a plan to make the Internet — not the Web — better able to meet the needs of real-time applications such as telephony and live streaming of TV programs. This plan actually makes the Internet more “neutral” than it was at the time of its creation as an e-mail carrier for the nation’s weapons researchers, and it does nothing at all to web sites other than potentially make more bandwidth available to them under the existing structure for pricing and selling Internet hook-ups.
Cohen is a member of the Times’ editorial board, and that fact should tell you a lot about that paper’s slide into mediocrity.