A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:
This is something I want for Christmas that hasn't been invented yet.
It'll scan a newspaper and feed the information directly into my brain without my having to read anything.
This is the Sunday New York Times, 6 lbs of it.
It may be the best newspaper there has ever been - and it makes me feel terrible. I end every day with a great sense of guilt because I haven't read the whole thing.
The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Washington Post - all good newspapers, but look at the size of them.
This issue of The Times alone has about 525 pages. If they filled every page with 4000 words; multiplied by 525 pages, that's more than two million words. Half the pages are pictures or advertising, The Times is using bigger pictures, so cut that in two. Still a million words of editorial copy.
The average person reads 150 words a minute so, if you read for eight hours a day, it would take you 14 days to read this Sunday edition of the New York Times. By which time, of course, you'd have two more in the driveway.
That isn't all, either because before you start The Times you have to read your local newspaper. You know - to see if your name is in it.
The Times, the network television news broadcasts, 60 Minutes, none of them would exist without the money they get from advertising. The paper is fat because they need space to print the ads that pay for writing, reporting, editing, printing.
The Times gets about $75,000 a page Sunday, multipled by 250 pages. This edition would bring in $18 million.
What you pay for the paper is petty cash.
How did it ever happen that so many good things are so dependent on the business of selling ourselves stuff advertising?
If you had to pay for a good newspaper, it would probably cost you $20 a day. Sixty Minutes isn't sixty minutes, it's 45 minutes. Without commercials we'd have to charge you $20 to watch it. When Mike Wallace is on, it probably would be a little extra.
It's all paid for by advertising, but don't kid yourselves - you pay for it every time you buy something. It's strange we don't face the facts and pay for things directly.
Now if I could only get one of these for television - so I didn't have to watch that either.
© MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2001 CBS. All rights reserved.