Requiem for the Gray Lady (Part 1)

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones

Act III, Scene II, “Julius Caesar”, William Shakespeare

Once upon a time, long long ago, there were a few daily publications in the USA that at least tried to separate editorial opinion from reporting.  There was a “social contract” of sorts between the American electorate and what were believed to be leading members of the Fourth Estate (stemming from the First Amendment of the US Bill of Rights), in which – in exchange for some semblance of objectivity and  independent “watchdog” service to the public, the press would enjoy broad legal protections.  This was codified in the common practice of segregating editorial opinion (which was clearly advocacy) from the “hard news” reporting.  And when I was younger (or just more naïve), this seemed fairly clear.  But over time, the NY Times has gradually eroded the separation between news analysis and opinion, to the point where the paper now routinely injects government propagandamis- and disinformation, and far left wing opinion into the daily reporting sections.

As previously noted by Tony Lyons, (President, Skyhorse Publishing) a mendacious New York Times, a bastion of censorship and corruption, has warned the world that “America Has a Free Speech Problem.”

The Washington, DC-based Capital Research Center (CRC) has published a detailed historical summary of the gradual and then recently accelerating drift of the NY Times towards the far left via the CRC research arm Influence Watch.  For those not familiar with the CRC, according to Wikipedia (which has its own far left wing propaganda bias), the CRC

“is an American conservative non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. Its stated purpose is “to study non-profit organizations, with a special focus on reviving the American traditions of charity, philanthropy, and voluntarism.””

Quoting from the excellent analysis of the CRC (which I strongly recommend reading for additional details);

“In 1972, conservative activist and author William F. Buckley’s National Review undertook an audit of the paper’s journalism under Rosenthal and found no evidence of ideological bias, concluding, “The Times news administration was so evenhanded it must have been deeply dismaying to the liberal opposition.” The National Review suggested other media should follow the NYT’s example, writing “Were the news standards of the Times more broadly emulated, the nation would be far better informed and more broadly served.””

Many point to the executive editorship of Howard Raines as the beginning of the NYT’s slide into obvious bias, as he pushed a “calcified” Times to become “smarter, livelier, and more appealing to the geographically diverse and demanding national audience.” Raines had been the editor of the NYT’s left-leaning opinion section, which some critics believe influenced the paper’s combination of advocacy and journalism under his tenure from 2001 to 2003. Political consultant Dick Morris, who had managed Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, in 2003 charged that Raines had turned the NYT into a “political consulting firm for the Democratic Party.”

“Under Raines, it is squandering the unparalleled credibility it has amassed over the past century in order to articulate and advance its own political and ideological agenda,” Morris argued. “For decades, the Times was the one newspaper so respected for its integrity and so widely read that it had influence well beyond its circulation. Now it has stooped to the role of partisan cheerleader, sending messages of dissent, and fanning the flames of disagreement on the left.”

Raines lost his job after reporter Jayson Blair was discovered to have engaged in widespread plagiarism and fraud, which a front-page NYT correction article proclaimed “a profound betrayal of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.”

The NYT’s next two executive editors — Bill Keller and Jill Abramson – slowed the pace of change from Raines but still continued to mix more news with opinion, implementing changes such as “News Analysis” articles that for the first time encouraged news reporters to provide an explicit point of view on the news they were covering. Keller questioned the basic concept of media impartiality, saying, “Whether true objectivity is ever possible – I don’t think that is what we’re here for.” However, Keller later attacked Fox News for a lack of objectivity, saying “they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias.”

Critics charge that Abramson’s successor, Dean Baquet, has again accelerated the intrusion of left-leaning bias into the Times’s news coverage. Abramson herself wrote that “Though Baquet said publicly he didn’t want the Times to be the opposition party, his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump.” Abramson warned that journalistic standards were falling throughout the NYT newsroom after the 2016 election, saying “The more ‘woke’ staff thought that urgent times called for urgent measures; the dangers of Trump’s presidency obviated the old standards.”

What the heck has happened to journalism? Here are two versions of the story, one representing how the press likes to see itself (The Elements of Journalism, Revised and Updated 4th Edition: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect), and the other a more critical analysis (The Journalist and the Murderer)

Read the Whole Article

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