05/17/2005 09:22 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The New York Times Gets Greedy

The Times has just announced that it's going to start charging $49.95 for "premium" content on the web.

Subscribers will get early access to sections like the Book Review and the Times Magazine, as well as "exclusive access" to the paper's columnists, such as Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd.

How wonderfully ironic that, just as the Times is running a series on class in America, it's introducing a measure that will profoundly divide readership by class.

No one thinks that content is free anymore, of course. (No one except us bloggers.) But $50 a year to read Maureen Dowd online?

The move way well backfire and result in diminished influence for the Times. When Dowd writes a good column, it's always the most widely e-mailed article of the day. I'll bet more people read her online than on newsprint. Now, they won't be able to.

And to all those Times reporters and columnists whose work will be contained in the new (argh) "TimesSelect"—if you're not getting a cut of this, you should be. Since fewer people will be reading your work, it's the least the paper can do.