New York Times Insults J.C. Penney, Its Customers, Its Own Readers, And a Wide Swath of America

Cintra Wilson, a “Critical Shopper” columnist for the Times, had this and much more to say about Penney’s opening a new store in Manhattan:

Why would this dowdy Middle American entity waddle into Midtown in its big old shorts and flip-flops without even bothering to update its ancient Helvetica Light logo, which for anyone who grew up with the company is encrusted with decades of boring, even traumatically parental, associations?

A better question might have been, “Why would a struggling newspaper already regarded as an elitist relic allow a smug, shallow fashionista to display her disdain at the first department store to open in Manhattan in 50 years?” 

Perhaps I’m being sensitive because J. C. Penney is a hometown store. But perhaps not, since executive editor Bill Keller apologized profusely yesterday, but only after public editor Clark Hoyt ran a devastating column on the paper’s own op-ed Sunday blasting Wilson’s piece. Worst of all was Wilson’s mea culpa, as quoted by Hoyt, where she said she thinks of her audience as

1,300 women in Connecticut and urban gay guys in Manhattan

which, she admitted, is “kind of provincial of me.”

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