The Press: Bad Readers=Bad Papers

For 39 of his professional years, Lester Markel, 68, has edited the prestigious Sunday magazine of the New York Times. During that time, Sunday Editor Markel has stored up his share of gripes about the competence of his colleagues. In the current Harper's Magazine, Markel fires off a volley at what he calls "The Real Sins of the Press"—a scattershot barrage so broad that some of its shells might well fall on Markel's own paper.

Some of his targets have been shot at before. ("Too many American newspapers are media of entertainment rather than of information"; "newspapers are failing to make the...

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