I write this late on Friday, Oct. 30, sitting at a computer on which I have just sought out Time’s online incarnation, Time.com — which, as Web sites go, is well hyped, well established, and gussied up with fancy Web design features to within an inch of its expensive life. I have a copy of the Nov. 2 issue of the ordinary paper Time magazine open on my knee to the Middle East peace talks story, which contains several photographs in it of Bill Clinton and Binyamin Netanyahu that simply cry out for recaptioning. Netanyahu keeps looking at the Slick One like something that’s crawled out from under a rock. It’s as if Netanyahu’s being civil, just, but can’t quite believe he’s actually expected to take this pathetic shyster seriously. I felt the revealing qualities of these photographs would be well appreciated by WorldNetDaily readers, so off I went on an expedition to locate appropriate links to said photos so that I could include them in this column.
We were out of luck. Clicking on “From Time magazine” brought me to the Nov. 2 Tom Wolfe cover all right, and there was a Tom Wolfe link along with a few other links to some of the other stories in the magazine, but where O where were the Wye talks? Nowhere. Instead, a cool note at the bottom of the page instructed me: “For the full content of this week’s issue, check out the http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/archive/text/“>magazine archive next weekend when it goes online.” By the time you read these words, the photographs I was looking for, in all their shameful and unwitting betrayal, will presumably be available in that archive. But as of this writing, access is officially denied. What if I subscribe to the paper magazine? What if I just forked over $2.95 for a copy at a newsstand? Time doesn’t care: I can’t look at this week’s issue online. Period.
That’s when it hit me what this means. Time is terrified, people, absolutely terrified by the Internet. For all they’ve got themselves, a fancy bells-and-whistles Web site with daily updates and tons of snazzy special content, the Internet secretly makes Time turn pale green and break out into little beads of cold, foul-smelling sweat. Time is chick-chick-chicken.
Think about it. Maybe you think it makes perfect sense that Time doesn’t want to put the content of their current issue up on the Web for free. Well, for one thing, what “current issue”? This copy of Time’s been floating around since Monday. Anyone could have scanned the photographs in it and sent them around the world ten thousand times over by now. Worse yet, it’s old news already. This is a general-interest weekly newsmagazine — it’s not like they’re publishing something like a brand-new J.D. Salinger short story, anything a reasonable number of people would consider to have lasting value. This stuff’s birdcage liner an hour after you read it. That Middle East story I was looking for, which their site is being so coy about, was already hopelessly outdated as news when I originally read it on Tuesday — by Friday, it was about as fresh as Clinton’s date with that three-thousand-year-old mummy. Anyway, Time is supposed to be a news outfit, for crying out loud. Where do they get off, failing to post their so-called “current” news on their Web site?
Time is afraid. Afraid of losing paper sales to people who’ll read the magazine online and never bother to buy the hard copy. Afraid that as the Internet grows and increases in popularity and ease of use, people will give up reading old-fashioned paper magazines altogether. TIME is afraid of the Internet. So what is Time doing? Withholding content — and content that’s already been circulating freely and is just about forgotten, at that.
It’s so pathetic it’d be funny — if it weren’t also irresponsible and wrong.
Time, like the rest of the mainstream media, isn’t in the business of getting the news out to the reading public at all. It’s in the business of filtering the news — of withholding it, in short. What Time’s Web site is doing on a small scale is not fundamentally different from what Time and its clones do every week and every hour. That’s why electronic newspapers like WorldNetDaily grew up in the first place. We’re here to pick up the slack — to report the news nobody at Time, etc., wants to cover, because it rocks the boat. Cops invade a family home and fire bullets into a mother’s shoulder as she holds her four-year-old. Federal officers enter a legal gun shop, shoot its peaceable owner, call it suicide, and get away with it. The Clinton administration perpetrates any number of flagrant abuses and coverups. The CIA admits it was turning a blind eye to drug trafficking among the contras all along. And Time and its ilk are too busy covering Callista Flockhart’s anorexia and its potential implications for feminism in America to care.
These are not news organizations. These are organizers of old news.
Today is Election Day. Get off the Internet and go out and vote, please.