June 23, 2008

Roger Kimball is going to stop playing in a rigged game...

Encounter Bids The New York York Times Farewell
Beginning today, June 23, 2008, Encounter Books will no longer send its books to The New York Times for review. Of course, the editors at the Times are welcome to trot down to their local book emporium or visit Amazon.com to purchase our books, but we won’t be sending gratis advance copies to them any longer.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “I don’t recall the Times reviewing titles from Encounter Books.” Precisely! By and large, they don’t, at least in recent years. That’s part of the calculation: why bother to send them books that they studiously ignore?

In the last month, Encounter has had two titles on the extended New York Times best-seller list: Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor by Roy Spencer, and Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, by Andrew C. McCarthy. But that list is the only place you will find these books mentioned in the pages of The New York Times. We’ve also published other brisk-selling books that the Times has ignored—Guy Sorman’s Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the Twenty-first Century, for example, or Philip F. Lawler’s Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture, or Bruce Thornton’s Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide or Caroline Fourest’s Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan, to name just a few recent titles.

Not, I hasten to add, that Encounter’s experience is unique. Consider, to take just one example, Mark Steyn’s book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, published in 2006 by Regnery. This is a brilliant book about one of the most pressing issues of our time—the threat of radical Islam and the West’s loss of cultural confidence. It perched for weeks on the Times’s bestseller list. But that was the only place in the Times you would see the book mentioned because the Times’s editors chose to ignore it.

In favor of what, you might ask? Well, there are reviews of books about people like Ron Jeremy, a porn star, and then there are reviews of books like Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. And let’s not forget Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in America and The Surrender: The Beauty of Submission, a meditation on the joys of sodomy by a former ballerina, both of which got full reviews in the Times (actually, The Surrender got several notices). Not that the Times is monomaniacal. In the current issue of the Book Review, there is a review of a book by a University of California linguist that endeavors to explain “how the right wins and keeps power: by framing issues and controlling minds.” I knew there had to be some reason......

Good for Roger. How I despise The Paper Formerly Known As The Paper Of Record (to use Rand Simberg's appellation). Their collapse can't come fast enough for my taste. I read the statistics of their declining circulation and revenues, and smile, and think of the Far Side cartoon where some dinosaurs are sitting around chatting, and one is holding his hand out in puzzlement to catch a falling snowflake....


Posted by John Weidner at June 23, 2008 8:38 AM
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