Dear New York Times,

Two different people (both in their early to mid-twenties) alerted me this morning to the following article:

New Poll Finds that Young Americans are Leaning Left

The poll cited in the article (a collaboration between the Times, CBS, and MTV–because obviously MTV is the only way to reach young people) has found that, “Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage.” Basically, the writer comes to the conclusion that young people (ages 17 to 29) are more socially liberal than the population at large, though in comparison with Americans as a whole, a greater percentage support the war in Iraq. Boil it all down and you get no further analysis than, “Youthful idealism leads them to care about social justice, while at the same time drives them to believe in the righteousness of our war efforts!” What we have here is the conventional wisdom that each generation tends to be more liberal than the last, and that young people are idealistic. The article includes only one brief interview with 21-year-old Democrat, who reduces the entire situation down to which party has a better marketing strategy, saying, “The traditional Republican Party is still trying to get older votes, which doesn’t make sense because there are so many more voters my age. It would be sensible to cater to us.”

After reading this article, I have no sense of what issues actually matter most to my generation, much less any idea as to why our priorities are the way they are. Are we worried about the health care or social security crises that older generations have left hanging over our heads? Do we have unique viewpoints to contribute on gay marriage or abortion? What causes our views on immigration to be different from those of our parents?

This article comes on the heels of Sunday’s installment of what I call the Times’ “Those Crazy Kids!” series. Basically, they take a fairly long-lived and well-documented youth phenomenon (in this case hipsters’ love of crafts) and present it as a news flash. A gem from that piece, whose writer clearly has her fingers on the pulse of youth culture, “From ironic T-shirts and thrift-store dresses to ’80s jewelry and skinny ties, it can sometimes seem as if every young person who eschews investment banking and law school for creative pursuits looks eerily similar.” What a novel observation!

Earlier this year, you brought us the revelations that hipsters like fair trade coffee (especially in Ditmas Park, that mecca of cool) and that Williamsburg is expensive. Thanks for that.

Is it just me, or are your articles approaching the kinds of fake news that The Onion gives us, in such well-loved classics as “Local Hipster Over-Explaining Why He Was at the Mall”?

But I’m not writing to bash you, Times. I’m just a regular reader with a simple plan for helping you connect with the youth of America. All you have to do is… ready for this?…

HIRE SOMEONE UNDER 30!

Hell, maybe you should even hire two or three people in their twenties. I know we’re idealistic and run around wearing goofy t-shirts, but I think we all know that most of your writers have some tie dye and protest memorabilia hidden in storage somewhere, too. Instead of wringing our hands over how many young people get their news from The Daily Show, rather than your fine publication or others like it, perhaps you could expand your repertoire to include some real youth points of view.

Stay groovy,

Judy

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