Is The New York Times Fair And Balanced?

The New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent asks Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?

Right out of the gate he admits the answer is, “Of course.” You can just tell this is going to be worth a closer read…

After cataloging the ingrained institutional liberalism the apparently infects every section of the paper (not just the Op-Ed page), Okrent wonders how the unbalanced reporting plays in Peoria.

Newspapers have the right to decide what’s important and what’s not. But their editors must also expect that some readers will think: “This does not represent me or my interests. In fact, it represents my enemy.” So is it any wonder that the offended or befuddled reader might consider everything else in the paper – including, say, campaign coverage – suspicious as well?

If you’ve been reading their coverage you know the answer is “Yes,” but Okrent never quite manages to say that. He indicates that he will be studying the campaign coverage in August while on vacation.

There’s lots of other juicy details in the article, but his attack on the “paper of record” claim is spot on.

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.

It’s good to see that The Times has outed itself as a partisan paper; perhaps coming out of the closet will force Times reporters and editors to rethink injecting their own politics into their reporting.

So in answer to my initial question, by The Times own admission, the paper is anything but fair and balanced.

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3 Comments

  1. Paul July 25, 2004
  2. Kevin July 25, 2004
  3. Kathy K July 25, 2004