**It was on today’s editorial page and it was not the letter from the publisher.
On the right side of the page was the letter from the publisher, which should be left unsaid and letters from readers about the crisis in Japan, which speak for themselves.
On the left side of the page were the editorials. The lead editorial was about Japan, below that about the Amazon and below that about the Ivory Coast. WAIT! I skipped over one: The U.C.L.A. Video. The U.C.L.A. Video?! About what? Freedom of speech, of course! But you wouldn’t have known that unless you read The New York Times. You would have thought that The U.C.L.A Video was about… the U.C.L.A. video. Let me explain.
Reading the opening of the editorial, you see immediately the name of the student, Alexandra Wallace, which you can Google, and the length of the YouTube video, 3 minutes, which you can then decide upon whether it is worth it to waste three minutes of your life viewing. Before you decide to view it, you are then given a summary of the YouTube video:
“seen by millions” - we can verify it. Or perhaps it was deleted by YouTube in which case we have a record in *The New York Times *that it was, in fact, seen by millions. “she disparages Asian students for using cellphones in the library” - the key word here is Asian. Another point: any student, Asian or not, should refrain from using cellphones, correction - talking in the library. (Library policy does not discriminate.) She was using a cellphone according to the news article. The most important point was made at the end of the paragraph - context: Japan tsunami, correction - tsunami, earthquake, nuclear disaster. (Tragically, it was a trifecta, folks.)
Just from reading the first paragraph of the editorial, you might conclude that Alexandria Wallace was arguably not racist; rather, she was insensitive (because of what happened in Japan) and hypocritical.
The next paragraph lays out an important point:
My argument is that the fact that this viral video made *The New York Times * is a reminder of The New York Times’ influence and the recursive triviality of things in society, i.e., YouTube videos. And I disagree with the editors that they were “clearly racist” words. The student newspaper was mentioned – that this went from UCLA’s student newspaper all the way to The New York Times in and of itself says something.
Eugene Volokh’s blog is mentioned, and Eugene Volokh gave a great argument that Alexandria Wallace was exercising her First Amendment rights. Finally, the editors educate readers unfamiliar with speech codes about how speech codes relate to free speech and college:
What brought about the editorial decision to have the Ivory Coast as an editorial? Hint: Libya was on the front page already.
Why did the editors mention Eugene Volokh’s blog and why did they quote him as a First Amendment expert? Hint: You may not like his blog. (That he was even mentioned in *The New York Times *also says something.)
I don’t watch Alexandria Wallace’s video because it’s on YouTube; I watch Alexandria Wallace’s YouTube video because it’s mentioned in The New York Times.
Yes, I’m better than “millions of people on YouTube” who saw the video only because it was on was on YouTube. Yes, I’m not one of the millions of people on YouTube who watched the YouTube video - I’m one of thousands of New York Times readers who watched the YouTube video. Elitist? To my peers at The Straight Dope Message Board, I plead guilty.
Here is my solution to today’s announcement:
To the Publisher:
Give readers an option - readers can read paper copies of The New York Times and they can also read digital copies of *The New York Times *with digital pages like this. Give readers an option at a reasonable price (and get Steve Jobs to come out with Digital Page Reader 1.0) and reasonable people will be reasonably happy.