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Just when the New York Times  most needs to show it can play in the digital world, it proves its cluelessness over online publishing by demanding Apple remove Pulse an iPad RSS reader.

Writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian tech journalist Adam Turner says the New York Times made “a fool of itself in front of the online audience it so desperately wants to woo”.

Turner is bang on the money.

The NYT says Pulse infringes its rights. But the RSS feed it delivers to iPad readers is publicly available and free. Moreover the NYT publishes the feed. When readers see an interesting headline, they click-through to the paper’s website.

If the NYT doesn’t like this, it could kill its RSS feed.

As Turner points out, in the eyes of the NYT Pulse’s biggest crime isn’t serving up its stories, but doing the job in style.