Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Old news, but i'm posting it anyway...

Because everyone knows the New York Times sucks... click here to read the whole report (though the first item of this article makes my blood boil. Grrr..Pataki...)

3. New York Times Discovers Its Liberal Bias

Just about anybody who reads the New York Times knows that it is a bastion of liberalism, an allegation the Times has denied -- up until July 25, that is, when its staff ombudsman suddenly jumped the reservation and admitted that the Times really is a liberal newspaper.

Daniel Okrent, a self-described liberal Democrat and the Times' "Public Editor" (they don't want to admit they needed an ombudsman after the Jason Blair scandal erupted), let loose with a ringing declaration that the Times doesn't merely lean to the left - it is left.

"Is the New York Times a liberal newspaper?" he asked. "Of course it is."

Before taking off on an extended summer hiatus, Okrent cited chapter and verse to back his assertion, noting, for example, that the Times editorial page is "so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right."

Promising to examine the Times' record in covering this election when he returns, he zeroed in on the hot social issues that divide liberals and conservatives -- "gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed."

The Times' coverage, he writes, is based on its views, which are solidly New York-Northeastern urban liberal and which are at odds with the views of Middle America. "But if you're examining the paper's coverage of these subjects from a perspective that is neither urban nor Northeastern nor culturally seen-it-all; if you are among the groups The Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide [devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans]; if your value system wouldn't wear well on a composite New York Times journalist, then a walk through this paper can make you feel you're traveling in a strange and forbidding world."

Okrent takes a tour through the various sections of the Times, and finds lots of evidence for the paper's far left slant on the social issues.

While the editorial page is solidly liberal, he found a meager attempt to provide balance on the op-ed page, where there are "seven opinionated columnists, only two of whom could be classified as conservative (and, even then, of the conservative subspecies that supports legalization of gay unions and, in the case of William Safire, opposes some central provisions of the Patriot Act)."

In the Sunday magazine, he finds that "the culture-wars applause-o-meter chronically points left while on the Arts & Leisure front page every week, columnist Frank Rich slices up President Bush, Mel Gibson, John Ashcroft and other paladins of the right in prose as uncompromising as Paul Krugman's or Maureen Dowd's." The culture pages, he adds, "often feature forms of art, dance or theater that may pass for normal (or at least tolerable) in New York but might be pretty shocking in other places.

The Sunday Styles section, he reports, features not only gay wedding announcements but also "downtown sex clubs and T-shirts bearing the slogan, 'I'm afraid of Americans.'" The Times "presents the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading," Okrent charged.

The sports pages report on the findings of racial-equity reformer Richard Lapchick, which have been appearing in the sports pages for decades. ("Since when is diversity a sport?" one reader complained).
The front page of the Metro section has featured a long piece best described by its subhead, "Cross-Dressers Gladly Pay to Get in Touch with Their Feminine Side."

Okrent writes that his boss, Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., doesn't think this walk through The Times is a tour of liberalism. "He prefers to call the paper's viewpoint "urban." He says that the tumultuous, polyglot metropolitan environment the Times occupies means "We're less easily shocked" and that the paper reflects "a value system that recognizes the power of flexibility."

Sulzberger is right, he says, explaining that "living in New York makes a lot of people think that way, and a lot of people who think that way find their way to New York (me, for one). The Times has chosen to be an unashamed product of the city whose name it bears, a condition magnified by the been-there-done-that irony afflicting too many journalists."

Given the paper's unshakable devotion to the reigning liberal ideology of New York, Okrent concludes that "readers with a different worldview will find The Times an alien beast."

Unfortunately, in America's heartland the Times is an alien beast.


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