the Times marches on, but doesn't forget

Wow! Holding a grudge for eighty-nine years!

The NYTimes let us know this week that it has by no means forgotten its ignominious defeat over an environmental issue fought in the early years of the last century.

In an editorial appearing yesterday the newspaper essentially came out in favor of the draining of a magnificent California valley lost, before World War I, to a large dam and a water reservoir for the City of San Francisco.

In 1913, over the course of the year, this page ran a total of six thunderous editorials opposing the reservoir and unsuccessfully urging President Woodrow Wilson to intercede. In the uninhibited vernacular of the time, the editorials described the scheme as "sordid," the commercial interests that supported it as "grabbers of water and power," and California's politicians as "trans-Mississippians" who "care nothing for matters of natural beauty and taste." Given this editorial pedigree, the least we can do is endorse a feasibility study. It may well lead to something remarkable.
The tone of the pre-WWI editorial clearly betrays the fact that the Times had not yet assumed its self-appointed role as the entire nation's daily newspaper--and it also might show that it was once somewhat bolder about opposing monied interests than it is today.

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Published on October 21, 2002 12:16 AM.

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