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The film-critic deathwatch we launched here way back in January (and continued yesterday) hit The New York Times this morning, when part-time Oscar gadfly and inveterate media observer David Carr surveyed the carnage from the sidelines. It's not a story we haven't been hearing for years, but Carr's essential access to insiders from Scott Rudin to Michael Lacey — the bloodthirsty boss of the New Times chain currently decimating New York's Village Voice — hints that conventional wisdom among film and publishing types won't be reconciled any time soon:

"For those of us who are making work that requires a kind of intellectual conversation, we rely on that talk to do the work of getting people interested," said Mr. Rudin, who produced No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, two Oscar-nominated and critically championed films last year. "All of the talk about No Country, all of the argument about the ending, kept that film in the forefront of the conversation" and helped it win the best picture Oscar. ...

Mr. Lacey added that the [New Times] chain still has five full-time film critics and that worrying about whether each city had its own critic seemed silly at a time when major metropolitan dailies can't afford to cover the presidential race. (The loss of a critic in New York, where some films see their only light of day, would seem to be more problematic.)

We, too, went on the record with Carr today to espouse our only slightly obvious belief in the power of the Web, where much of Rudin's beloved "intellectual conversation" actually took place and where old-schooler Lacey would do well to invest resources as opposed to slashing them. When "new media" like the Internet finally take off one of these days, we'd hate to see such progressive cultural pillars caught ill-prepared.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]