Today’s New York Times Op-Ed page offersa surprising and compelling defense of tabloid journalism by Ryan Linkof, a history lecturer at USC, especially in view of the undisguised glee Times writers have revealed in most of its coverage of the Murdoch-News of the World Affair — and the newspaper’s schizophrenia about tabloid-type stories. It’s worth a full read, but here are some highlights: “The tabloids may test the limits of the ethically or legally acceptable, but they are often doing so in the service of a popular desire to see behind the facade of public life. They rely on the appeal (a very human one) of seeing elements of our societies that are often shamefully hidden away from view… The work of the tabloids can be irritating, provocative, ethically questionable and even (as the scandal spectacularly shows) highly illegal, but when practiced according to existing laws, tabloid journalism can be an important player in modern culture, helping to mitigate some of the central tensions in democratic society.” Required reading. Particularly inside the Times tower.