The 'New York Times' Cares Too Much About Black People

We've heard some objections, but we're all rather loving Times Culture Editor Sam Sifton's stint behind the desk at that paper's "Talk to the Newsroom" feature. Any guy who quotes Gang of Four in his first response is fine by us, although that may just be because we're old. Regardless, here's our favorite query so far. It comes from one Peter G. O'Malley, who is an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. Peter's a little irked by all the Times coverage of music from the duskier races.

Why does The Times devote as much space as it does to covering rap and hip-hop? Indeed, one might ask why it gives any coverage at all, but I won't go that far. It would seem that the audience for this type of ephemera is not generally likely to be reading The Times, though I have been wrong before.

More to the point: while rock criticism may have seemed like a silly venture when it started, considering the thinness of the material, it would seem like deconstructing Beethoven and Rilke when compared to analyzing the trite, repetitious, crude, and juvenile stuff that is the mass of hip-hop.

Sifton deftly parries, offering a snatch of lyrics from T.I.'s "What You Know," but we're not sure the prosecutor is altogether wrong here. Everyone knows black people, young people, or anyone with an interest in hip hop are more likely to be Journal readers anyway.

Talk to the Newsroom: Culture Editor Sam Sifton [NYT]