But there is more at stake here than just a financial decision to start profiting from columnists, or to start pushing for subscriptions that provide access to columnists.
Paul Krugman is one of the most visible, most influential progressive columnists in the US. His words inform and also rally progressive and moderate democrats, greens, and others to the left of right wing extremism, and probably some republicans who actually believe in responsible fiscal and economic conservatism.
The new policy charges $7.95 a month or $49.95 a year not a fortune, but more than a lot of people can pay or will pay, since the world of the web is a world where info is usually free, unless, as business week observed in an article titled, is" target="_blank">http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_39/b3952034.htm">is Paul Krugman Worth $49.95?
It has proven next to impossible to get online users to pay for something that's not hard business data (which promises to make them money or keep them from losing it) or that doesn't play into fanatical tribal identification. While the Times' Maureen Dowd is a darling of her ideological set, political loyalties have not yet translated into the face-painting extremes of sports.
That's right Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Bob Herbert" stalwarts in the tiny front lines of the real progressive media people who do not drink the right wing echo chamber kool aid. They are now, all, blocked off from the free access millions of readers across the nation have depended upon. Here in Doylestown PA we have a daily paper that is loaded with right wing syndicated writing. There are tends of thousands of towns like mine,where people don't get access to the perspective Krugman, Dowd, Rich and Herbert bring to current events. For those people blues in red towns, the New York times is a political floodlight in otherwise dark places.
There are a few ways to handle this.
1) You can contact the New York times and complain. You can tell them you'll stop buying their print edition at the newsstand.
2) Write to your local daily paper and ask them to carry the syndicated columns of the writers you like the best. This would be great, because not only you, but other people in your area will gain access to their writings.
3) Seek out other websites that reprint Krugman's articles. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like, since the Times betrayed the democratic party and the left.
This move by the times really is a betrayal. The right wing routinely refers to the Times as a key part of the left's miniscule "liberal media." Pulling the strongest voices is a downright stab in the back a crass financial move that makes it clear that even the New York Times, the paper most vilified by the right as a liberal publication, is not.
Tell your local paper to start carrying your favorite NY Times columnist.