Saturday, July 24, 2004

New York Times: Is the New York Times a liberal paper? The Nytimes public editor(ombudsman) Daniel Okrent says yes it is.

"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." 
But this quote on why the Nytimes cannot be more evenhanded in its coverage on anything seems like an exasperated excuse.

On a topic that has produced one of the defining debates of our time, Times editors have failed to provide the three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism requires. This has not occurred because of management fiat, but because getting outside one's own value system takes a great deal of self-questioning.

 Six years ago, the ownership of this sophisticated New York institution decided to make it a truly national paper. Today, only 50 percent of The Times's readership resides in metropolitan New York, but the paper's heart, mind and habits remain embedded here. You can take the paper out of the city, but without an effort to take the city and all its attendant provocations, experiments and attitudes out of the paper, readers with a different worldview will find The Times an alien beast.

Its refreshing to see at least some honesty from someone at the Nytimes, and amusing to see he is going on vacation. After this piece hits the blogsphere, he might be put on extended vacation. Update: Ed Driscoll points out the fall out over this.
(As Bernard Goldberg writes in Arrogance, the Times' reporting influences not just what you read in other papers, but what you see on TV as well. Many, many TV news stories begin as Times articles, which TV networks simply hand to their reporters and say, "craft a TV story out of this".)
 "Which means that Okrent's admission has repercussions throughout virtually all of America's media. For example, the New York Times finally admits it's liberal, but still carries the motto, "All the news that's fit to print"." Update: Allah in the house with a round up.

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