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(52,104 posts)
Fri May 10, 2024, 03:01 PM May 10

The New York Times Protests Too Much


It’s been a heck of a month for hating on the New York Times.

I won’t claim to be the elder statesman of Being-Mad-At-The-New-York-Times among professional Democrats, but I am certainly an elder statesman in this matter. I grew up loving the Times — growing up in a town of 300 people I literally saved up so that I could occasionally buy the Sunday edition of the New York Times when I happened to be in Ithaca on the weekend. Then I gained regular access to it, and my perception of the paper shifted dramatically: The paper’s obsessive, often wrong, and nearly-always misleading coverage of Whitewater, its cozy relationship with the sinister Ken Starr, its evident institutional crush on George W. Bush and even more evident contempt for Al Gore, its central role in helping Bush lie his way into war in Iraq — all of this and more added up to something very obvious that I was amazed more people working in Democratic politics couldn’t see. So while Media Matters for America has generally been best known for its essential work taking on the likes of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, the news company that most motivated my work in helping create and lead the organization twenty years ago was the New York Times.1

Naturally, I read the recent Politico article about a simmering feud between the Biden House and the New York Times with great interest. And Times executive editor Joe Kahn’s interview with Semafor’s Ben Smith with great exasperation. I haven’t written about either because, frankly, I don’t have anything to say about the New York Times that I haven’t said a thousand times before over the last 25 years – and because over the last month plenty of others have been eager to take up the cause. That isn’t always the case, and although I’m more than happy to live with the downsides of being a persistent critic of the world’s most influential news company, I don’t mind taking the occasional break from repeating myself.

The thing is, though: I believe what I wrote a few months ago: Yes, Democrats should criticize the New York Times. So at risk of repeating myself …

The model of journalism the New York Times pretends to believe in is bad – and the Times knows it

A striking thing about this dust-up is that the partisans are delivering clear, principled statements about what journalism should be, and the journalists are responding like campaign hacks — inventing straw men to debate and offering an endless stream of vague platitudes.

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(18,497 posts)
1. The history of the Times biased coverage outlined in the excerpt
Fri May 10, 2024, 03:28 PM
May 10

is very illuminating, and many seem to not be aware of it.



(5,370 posts)
7. This is an opinion piece from a Substack author.
Sat May 11, 2024, 11:35 AM
May 11

He mentions a Politico article. The rest is his opinion.

Also, that Politico article was discussed to death on DU. I remember it.


(82,422 posts)
5. The NYT's purpose in life is to protect the oligarchs and to increase their wealth and power.
Sat May 11, 2024, 11:06 AM
May 11

The NYT will attack, smear, destroy anyone who threatens the oligarchy


(38,586 posts)
8. The seesaw analogy was excellent.
Sat May 11, 2024, 11:52 AM
May 11

Commercial news sources are "balanced" this way to enhance their advertising revenue. This is especially true in television where political advertising from "both sides" is a very profitable business.


(28,487 posts)
9. Aw, lighten up on the NYT.
Sat May 11, 2024, 12:36 PM
May 11

After all, Maureen Dowd got the chance in her latest column to describe the trump/Stormy copulations as "batrachian grappling."

Now that's entertainment...


(9,626 posts)
10. Where the article gets stuck
Sat May 11, 2024, 02:18 PM
May 11

And this is where the author doesn't understand or perceive his own bias.

I submit that the meaningful version of independence is simple: The news media should tell its audience true things, in proportion to their importance, with no concern for how anyone feels about it.

"In proportion to their importance" is the important bit.

Who decides what is "proportionate" in importance? That's where partisanship comes in. If I ask DU, "Is the President's age an important concern?" what's the response? It's almost overwhelmingly, "Of course not! Who would even ask such a thing?! We shouldn't even be talking about this." Now, grab twenty random people off the street. Ask them the same question.

The response is going to be much, much, much different.

Is the situation at the border important? Democrats say not really. Republicans think our continent is imploding.

Who decides how much that gets discussed? Journalists are going to make choices about that. And if you're on the "we shouldn't be talking about this" side of the equation, the mere mention of an issue is going to be de facto proof of media bias. Because narrative is shaped by what gets said and what doesn't get said. And partisans have incredibly specific views and feelings about what should be said and what should not. How often do you find articles on Fox News about a social media racism story? Not too often - if ever. How often do I see it on CNN? All the time. How important is that story? Depends on who you ask, doesn't it? DU posts all kinds of stories that, honestly, I don't think are even slightly important. And the Right almost never writes or publishes something that I'm like, "My day is better for having read that. I needed to know. Thank god they're doing the job."

This author seems pretty blind to that. He's saying his notion of what is important or not should reign. Start reading from, "Take another look at Sulzberger’s defense of the Times covering Joe Biden’s age . . ." until the end.

That's a partisan looking for his partisan view to prevail. I know criticizing the Times is like a part-time job for some people, and I admit I subscribe to and enjoy the paper. And there are things to criticize it for.

But this author's view ain't it - and he doesn't perceive how it's not it. It's insular and interested. It has little to do with objective journalism. It's about the author's worldview prevailing.

Which is fine. But one shouldn't wrap that up in objectivity or that journalism should follow a model of "Only the things I think are important are important." Opinions on that one differ greatly, even within communities where people are generally on the same page.
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