What is the difference between someone begging for money, and another shoving towards us a “newspaper” such as 24 Hours or Metro? Why is one considered more annoying and unacceptable than the other? Some might say that the former is asking for something, while the latter is giving us something else. They’re almost certainly both out there in an effort to survive. But the commuter rags are panhandling as well. They’re not asking for our money, but for our attention: the “news” gathered almost verbatim from wire services is simply a carrier for advertising. (Sometimes these papers don’t even pretend to be news-oriented, printing full-page ads on the front page.) And my attention is far more valuable than my money. In fact, I get paid for it.
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