Thursday, April 1, 2021

How to Read Paywalled News Sites for FREE

April 15, 1912 edition of The World newspaper.  Headline, "above the fold," as people used to say.  More than 1,500 people died in the Titanic disaster.  

If you're like Thee Optimist, you enjoy becoming aggravated, and even enraged, by reading about what's going on in the world.  

Indeed, one of your favorites pastimes is constantly being emotionally triggered by terrible news, complete disasters, and the sheer stupidity of your fellow humans.

You enjoy seething over misleading stories and asinine points of view

This is true even though you know that reading the news is really bad for your physical and mental health.

So what?  Drinking is bad for you, too.  But people still do it and enjoy it immensely.

Unfortunately, in recent years, you've found that this hobby of yours has increasingly been put in jeopardy by a rising and insidious threat: the advent of paywalls on internet news sites.

The infamous "Headless Body in Topless Bar" headline in the April 15, 1983 edition of the New York Post.  Unlike the Titanic headline above, this one was 100% accurate.  Naturally.  We're talking about New York City in the 1980s.  The phrase "You can't make this shit up," was probably coined in response to those times.

Tear Down The Wall

Paywalls, in case you've been living under a rock, are those pesky messages that pop up, which block you from continuing to read your favorite online newspaper or magazine.  

It is a type of kidnapping, in which they take the news hostage, and refuse to release it until you pay a ransom in the form of a subscription fee.  

Sometimes they let you read a few "free" articles each month before putting up the paywall.  Sometimes they don't even do you that courtesy.  

Popular newspapers and magazines that now have paywalls include The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among many, many others.  

You know what?  I have a better idea: No.

So I'm going to show you a method you can use to get around the paywalls at dozens of newspaper and magazine websites.  It is (relatively) easy, if you know even a little bit about computers, and are willing to download something from a (reasonably) well-regarded host.

It takes just a few minutes.  I did this weeks ago, and am here to report that it works like a charm

Ready?  Here goes...

President-Elect Harry Truman holding up the Chicago Daily Tribune (now the Chicago Tribune) early edition announcing his loss to Thomas Dewey, November 4, 1948.  Truman won with 49.6% to Dewey's 45.1%.  White supremacist southern "Dixiecrat" Strom Thurmond was also in the race, desperately trying to stave off the coming Civil Rights Movement.

This is Easy

The following will work with both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge (sorry, Applets).  It will also work with Firefox, though the process is slightly different.

Go to this link.

Scroll down the page just a bit until you see the headline "Bypass Paywalls."

Just beneath that, you will see "Installation Instructions."  The instructions are numbered 1 to 5.

At instruction 1., click on the link to download a "ZIP file from GitHub."  A zipped folder will immediately load to your downloads folder.  

After that, simply follow the rest of the instructions.  To "unzip" the folder, you need merely click to open it, then save it (I saved it to my desktop).

Open the Chrome/Edge extensions page, then go ahead and enable "Developer Mode" (do not be leery of this, there is no actual "developing" to be done).  Finally, drop the unzipped folder anywhere on that page.  

Voila!  You are done.  Happy reading.  Happy aggravating.  Happy triggering.

A list of newspapers you can now read is below the instructions.

For reasons someone smarter than me will understand, you shouldn't delete the unzipped folder from your computer.  That's fine.  Just put it in the corner.  It is helping you.

Words of Wisdom

"News is a series of apparently absurd stories that all end up looking the same, endless parades of poverty-stricken countries, sequences of events that, having appeared with no explanation, will disappear with no solution – Zaire today, Bosnia yesterday, the Congo tomorrow."

- Pierre Bordieu

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  1. My god..., it worked! As always, Thee Optimist is working in the public service for us poor schmucks.

    1. Of course it works. Thee Optimist is known worldwide, by billions of people, from Arab princes in skyscraping Dubai towers, to subsistence fisherpeople in tiny Inuit villages in the Great Frozen North. One thing he is not known for is making baseless exaggerations.

    2. Wait..., so you are NOT exaggerating about being known worldwide, by billions of people, from Arab princes in skyscraping Dubai towers, to subsistence fisherpeople in tiny Inuit villages in the Great Frozen North???

    3. If anything, I am badly understating the severity of the situation.