Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Times Revisists One Of It's Greatest Failures

I read the New York Times every day. Not so much because I like it, but it's a useful paper when not editorializing too much. Like their travel section or movie reviews. Also, I always found it funny that the Times, for America's "paper of record", had the worst sports page imaginable, a hopelessly clueless group of sportswriters and no appreciation for why Americans like sports. This was never more evident, of course, than in Howell Raines' disasterous attemopt to make a controversy out of Augusta National's refusal to allow female members.

You must remember it of course. Martha Burk, a woman literally nobody had ever heard of before (or since) used the Times, or the Times used her, to mount a boycott of the horrible sexists as Augusta. Poor Tiger Woods was dragged into it by the idiots at the Times because in their minds his being black=victimhood appreciation with the women that Hootie Johnson, the Club president, was forcing to play golf elsewhere. Tiger wanted nothing to do with it. He just wanted to play golf. No one else seemed to care all that much either, outside of the Times, Martha Burk, and some CBS execs that eventually allowed the Masters to be an unsponsered event so they wouldn't be boycotted by the half dozen or so women that Burk represented. I recall that Burk's protests were only covered by the Times, mostly, with ESPN and some others offering minimal coverage, again probably because Burk and the Times tried to link their refusal of membership with "whites only" southern history. A touchy subject, to be sure, but Hootie was not bullied, nor was the PGA, and the protests whimpered away and I had literally forgotten about it until I read today's "sports" section in the Times. A columnist seems a little shocked to find that no one is complaining anymore. Burk gets a line in about the horrible sexism involved in golf and sports in general, but Hootie Johnson, the "villan" of the story sounds like a perfectly amiable fellow. No doubt the writer of the story took a soft approach to it, as the last time the Times did make a big to-doo about the Masters, it was shut out of the Pulitzers, Raines was humiliated, and the Masters actually got better without the corporate sponsership. The Times role in the story''s being flogged to death is, of course, not mentioned at all. I bet they still wonder how that happened. How could the Times be wrong, after all?


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