NEW YORK (CAP) - A recent poll of New York Times readers has found that while 78% turn to the paper for their primary source of news, most wish the company would stop showing pictures of children with cleft lips.
"I've given to the charity several times," said regular subscriber Dan Clark, "but they just keep showing more cleft lips. Look, I appreciate the cause, but I'm trying to read about Derek Jeter."
Clark is not alone. Various readers confessed during the non-scientific poll that they also wish the paper would stop with the charity ads, because they detract from the general reading experience.
Longtime reader Cathy Johnson told CAP News that she has run out of patience.
"Are there any other charities out there, where the kids are a little better looking?" Johnson implored. "The other day I'm trying to do the crossword, but the only words I can come up with are cleft and lip and horror."
Although the New York Times has not received any direct complaints about the pictures, critics say this is due to the passive aggressive relationship readers have with the paper.
"Oh, they're angry, but they would never say anything," said media analyst Mark Kinesky. "New York Times readers can't see themselves as people who would complain about charity ads, but that's exactly what they're feeling."
Many readers say they are relieved when they click on an article and the side advertisement is for a watch or journalism classes. "I always feel a little stressed when I click on a story," said reader Peter Cory. "But when the advertisement turns out to be a picture of Maria Sharapova in a Nike ad, I sigh with relief.
"She's much easier to look at," Cory noted.
New York Times representative Alice Franklin was taken aback at word of the poll results. "Oh ... I see," Franklin said during a phone interview. "This hurts the Times' feelings. I don't know why our readers would do this to us. We've been nice, haven't we?
"Well, I just hope they don't have too much trouble with this Sunday's crossword puzzle," added Franklin.
"Did she get mad?" whispered CAP News intern and frequent reader Tom Picton after eavesdropping on the call. "I hope she doesn't tell David Brooks. He's seems so nice."
But Picton remarked that he had figured out a way to get rid of the ads. "I think the sad truth is that if we stop giving to the charity completely, they'll stop featuring the advertisements on the website," he said. "I want these kids to have a better life like everyone else, but come on, I'm trying to read about Derek Jeter."
- Chason Gordon