As if it isn't bad enough that the Wall Street Journal is about to run photos of busty naked babes on page 3, The New York Times plans to replace its famous motto of "All the News That's Fit to Print" with "All the News That Fits on the Page."
Just kidding, although I'm not sure about Rupert Murdoch's plans for tarting up the Journal. But beginning on Monday, the Times won't be cutting quite as wide a swath on the nation's newsstands when it trims one-and-a-half inches from the width of its pages.
The Old Gray Lady's slimmer profile, which will match that of the Journal and many other newspapers, "will cut newsprint expenses and, in some printing press locations, will make special configurations unnecessary," the Times explains in a note "To Our Readers."
But not to worry that America's newspaper of record will turn into another USA Today or a scandal-mongering tabloid like the New York Post. "Slight modifications in design will preserve the look and texture of The Times," the paper assured readers, "with all existing features and sections and somewhat fewer words per page."
All well and good, but those last five words make me uneasy. Somewhat fewer words per page?
Does this mean we wouldn't have learned in the new less wordy Times as we did in the last edition of the old one on Sunday that Rudy Giuliani's third wife was married twice before instead of only once, as was believed when they announced they were marrying? Does it mean the Times will have to leave off the answers of Rep. Dennis Kucinich or Rep. Ron Paul in future Democratic president debates? Or that it won't be able to inform us that newly-minted Silicon Valley millionaires have to cope with friends who want them to fly to Las Vegas for a charity event featuring Andre Agassi?
I don't know, I'm not sure I can continue to shell out the new $1.50 price for the daily Times or the $5 that the Sunday edition goes for if I have to go elsewhere to find out that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer now wants to bond with the pols he once scorned, or that Sen. Joe Biden was the only Democratic candidate who blew off the Yearly Kos bloggers' convention.
Oh well, maybe it's a good thing after all because they can cut Frank Rich's interminable Sunday op-ed columns or get rid of that dopey feature about yuppie newlywedsin the Sunday Styles section.
As long as they don't mess with Maureen Dowd's op-ed columns or Nick Burns' reporting from Iraq, I guess I can live with the new Times Lite.