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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 03:50 PM ET, 09/12/2011

Rumsfeld cancels New York Times subscription: Who cares?

Who knew Donald Rumsfeld was a subscriber to the New York Times?

That’s a past-tense thing now, after the message that the former Bush Cabinet member tweeted today:

After reading Krugman's repugnant piece on 9/11, I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times this AM.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The item to which Rumsfeld took such offense hit the Web yesterday, authored by New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman. The gist was that the memory of 9/11 is wrapped in shame:

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

Rumsfeld’s unilateral subscription action proves John Dickerson’s point that umbrage-taking remains an ascendant tool in American political discourse. The Krugman stuff, after all, was neither over-the-top nor surprising nor unsubstantiated.

What was remarkable about the episode is that Rumsfeld decided to go public with his subscription cancellation. We’re talking about both the 13th and 21st secretary of defense here. We’re talking about a former White House chief of staff here. We’re talking about a four-time congressman here. We’re talking about the ability to get any prominent Republican on the phone — okay, not Condi Rice — in seconds here.

That CV raises serious questions about the cessation of New York Times deliveries to Rumsfeld. See, the subscription cancellation is not the province of power brokers; it’s the province of the powerless average consumer. Let’s see what sort of company Rumsfeld is keeping by going public with a subscription cancellation.

*Just days ago, Steve Baric announced on this blog that he’d canceled his subscription to Vince Del Monte’s newsletters on the natural approach to bodybuilding. The reason? “Lately, Vince’s emails have been all about how awesome Vince is.” See a ripped Vince in the video below.

*In 2009, Anna Daniels declared on the OB Rag why she was cancelling her subscription to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Dear Karin Winner, Editor:
Ms. Winner, I just canceled my 15+ year subscription to the Union-Tribune. I asked to speak to a supervisor who would convey my reason for doing so to the appropriate individuals within the company. The reason I gave to Hector was the U-T’s recent decision to publish all City employee names and salary information on signonsandiego.com.

*David Bartlett a couple of years back made a dramatic, public announcement in this forum that he’d ended his subscription to The Economist.

What is it about human nature that we put off decisions? I’ve known for months now that I hardly ever read it, but the truth was I enjoyed it arriving at home and having it on the off chance I might pick it up, but I seldom did.
The truth is that I was just too busy to read it.

*”Volkov” in October 2010 went public with the cancellation of a subscription to the Toronto Sun. The problem for “Volkov” was Sun columnist Michael Coren.

I don’t expect anything to come of this, but if the Toronto Sun cut out Mr. Coren’s so-called “column,” I’d buy a full year’s subscription from them. Anything to get rid of that blight on Canada’s media world.

*This blogger in July 2010 bravely went public with “yet another reason” for cancelling a subscription to The Washington Post “years ago” Verbatim from the treatise: “The Post if focusing on the wrong things.”

*The Cincinnati Beacon in March 2011 made a public spectacle of its decision to stop buying the Cincinnati Enquirer: “But this week, I could not in good conscience support them anymore, due to their endorsement of SB 5 and their refusal to cover the recent labor rally on Fountain Square. The latter is probably the most offensive concept to me.” (But hold on, Cincinnati Beacon: You’re a blogger — what’s stopping you from covering that rally?)

*Why did the Legal Soapbox cancel a subscription to The Age? “Because they keep publishing stupid opinion pieces by authors like Catherine Deveny and Tracee Hutchison.”

Everybody’s got their reasons, including Donald Henry Rumsfeld. An inquiry to the former defense secretary and former receiver of the physical New York Times has gone unanswered.

By  |  03:50 PM ET, 09/12/2011

 
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