The Los Angeles Times’ print circulation struggles are no secret. But now the paper faces a threat to its circulation so dire, so menacing, the Associated Press decided it deserved an entire article:
That’s right — Babs has cancelled her subscription to her hometown paper over its decision to drop liberal columnist Robert Scheer from its op-ed lineup.
While readers have been expressing their displeasure over Scheer’s firing, apparently the celebrity angle drew the attention of the AP yesterday. The wire service quoted the original letter Streisand sent to the Times, dated Nov. 18 — “Robert Scheer’s column, with its often singular voice of dissent and groundbreaking expositional content, has been among the most notable features that have sustained my interest in subscribing to the LA Times for many years now” — and succinctly summarized her opinion “that by firing Scheer the Times had reduced the diversity of voices on its opinion pages.”
Of course, this raises two questions: Does anyone really care that Barbra Streisand dropped her Times subscription? And why is the AP (which prizes speed above all other virtues, sometimes including even accuracy) picking up on this weeks after the Times itself published the news?
Sure, we suppose Streisand has had a groundbreaking career spanning more than four decades in music, movies, television, and on stage, and we love “Yentl” as much as anyone. But the 63-year-old Streisand, perhaps better known these days for her liberal political activism as for her creative output, is now long past her prime — and the scintillating news the AP bears is long past its prime, too.
The few souls actually curious about Babs’ newspaper reading habits probably already read the letter by her, “Singing the Op-Ed blues,” which the Times printed back on Nov. 23 — a full 15 days before the AP hopped on the story. The only new development the AP had to add yesterday came in its last sentence: “David Garcia, a Times spokesman, had no comment Thursday on Streisand’s letter.”
Edward B. Colby was a writer at CJR Daily.
Those are some awfully wilted flowers the AP is bringing us.