Skip to comments.Should Conservatives Give The New York Times a Break?
Posted on 08/06/2005 2:11:28 PM PDT by wagglebee
Thanks to a virtual blackout by his fellow editors elsewhere in the media, odds are good that you havent heard or read that Executive Editor Bill Keller of The New York Times recently capitulated in the debate over bias in Americas newspaper of record.
Kellers capitulation came in a lengthy memo he distributed in the Times newsroom in May as a response to an updating of a massive report by a committee appointed in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal to recommend measures to restore the gray ladys credibility.
In a section of the memo headed The News/Opinion Divide, Keller conceded that "even sophisticated readers of The New York Times sometimes find it hard to distinguish between news coverage and commentary in our pages." The Times will always carry both news and opinion, but, Keller argued, we should make the distinction as clear as possible.
Think about those statements for a moment. Here we have the top man in the newsroom at the nations most important daily the newspaper that more than any other sets the mainstream print and broadcast medias agenda essentially conceding what countless critics have argued for years. Thus we see a storied institution admitting its need to rededicate itself to achieving a standard previously claimed as the daily norm of performance.
Not only that, but Keller also conceded one of the major problems facing the Times in the aftermath of the Blair scandal is the cultural isolation that marks the papers newsroom. To counter that isolation, Keller encouraged his colleagues to undertake "a concerted effort to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation."
To drive the point home, Keller also noted that "our news coverage needs to embrace unorthodox views and contrarian opinions and to portray lives both more radical and more conservative than those most of us experience. We need to listen carefully to colleagues who are at home in realms that are not familiar to most of us."
Again, think about those words. Critics have charged for years that the Times newsroom is out of step with the majority of the country because the editorial staff represents but a small atypical slice of American demographics and opinion. That narrowness in turn has handicapped the dailys ability to identify, assess and credibly report much of the news deemed important by the rest of the nation. Now Keller says its time for the newsroom to get in touch with the rest of America.
A significant part of the effort to reach out to the rest of the nation concerns the Times ability to understand the one-third of Americans who identify themselves as religious conservatives (i.e. evangelicals and fundamentalists of all stripes, plus conservative Catholics and Orthodox Jews).
To that end, Keller encouraged the daily newsroom staff to listen to colleagues working on the Times magazine for lessons about portraying religious conservatives in an interesting and three-dimensional way. He also warned about the misuse of [the phrase] religious fundamentalists to describe religious conservatives.
Perhaps Keller would be willing to host an internal editorial seminar featuring Christian journalists like David Neff of Christianity Today, Christian philosophers like Nancy Pearcey and Christian bloggers like Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost to explain the lay of the religious conservative land?
So how should long-suffering critics of the Times react to Kellers words and actions? Much of the commentary on the Right side of the Blogosphere has been rather predictably negative, snarky or sarcastic, or some combination thereof. I believe that approach is mistaken.
How about instead we offer Keller encouragement and praise for fessing up to serious problems of longstanding and for putting his own career and prestige on the line in making the effort to deal with those problems in a systematic and reasonable way?
It wouldnt hurt, either, for Times critics on the Right to show some patience because changing an entrenched culture like that of a newsroom isnt going to happen overnight, nor will it occur without some unexpectedly abbreviated careers and a surplus of discontent bred by an inability or refusal to change.
There will certainly be times when Keller and his newsroom allies will wonder if its really worth the effort. A good word from those who have been on the outside critically looking in may be the difference between throwing in the towel and fighting the good fight another day. I say give the man a break. And some encouragement.
On their Op-Ed page recently they've hired a neoconservative (David Brooks) and a libertarian conservative (John Tierney). But they still can't bring themselves to hire a social conservative. That is the most important wing of revitalized modern American conservatism, but it is the one that to NYT readers and writers sounds most like it comes from outer space. Reaching out will never be serious until they hire writers who, for example, are arguing passionately to Times readers that abortion on demand is wrong.
Absolutely not. Let the free market decide. The New York Post is increasing circulation, while the NY Times is in decline. They will either learn or continue to lose market share. That's the perfect way to let this play out. Same thing with the Washington Post and the Boston Globe.
For the damage they do to this country on a daily basis? Propagandists. NEVER!
"Guys, I've been thinkin' this over. Let's stop using the N-Word and let's come up with a brand new slur."
You got it in one. Property rights plus free speech produce liberal newspapers.
You are free to start your own, if you've got a couple billion sitting around.
The NYT is now running a national ad campaign to try and hock their paper, cause apparently, they want it to be "America's paper", they're even running ads here.
If they want it to be "America's paper" then they need to start hiring conservative journalists to their staff to balance out the liberal bias that it currently has
They don't call the Times the "Grey Lady" for nothing. It's been a liberal rag for decades, and it will continue to be until Hell freezes over.
Maybe Doug can come with a catchy rewrite of "You deserve a break today!"
Of course the Break the NY Slimes deserves is the constant breaking by conservatives when the Slimes does its bashing of our side via lies spun as news.
In the face of overwhelming evidence, it is hard not to wholeheartedly agree with this statement.
When the NYT starts telling the truth ~ maybe.
Actions speak louder than words!
Be Ever Vigilant!
The NYT disgusts me. They have put themselves where they find themselves today. No credibility, no respect, and no subscribers. And now they want understanding and tolerance from the public. We just aren't *sophisticated enough to distinguish between news coverage and commentary*. One man's sophistication is another man's tripe. I KNOW when I'm reading tripe. The New York Time's UP.
How about Keller acknowledging the FACT that the only reason he wrote this damn memo is because the NY Times readership has plummeted so drastically that he's trying to salvage what he can to hold onto as many subscribers as possible?
Nice try, but a two year old can figure out that the Jason Blair scandal didn't "do in" the NY Times. It's the daily onslaught of obnoxious biased reporting that has been going on for years. Not only have the snarky libs escalated their biased tones, they have gotten down right unbearable to read. Unless Keller fires most print reporters and replaces them with ones not educated in the most liberal universities, nothing will change.
Personally, I'm hope to watch the Gray Lady die a very slow death.
Unfortunately, there are millions who might subscribe to the NYT.
Personally, I prefer the free interchange of ideas and information on Free Republic with many people to the static, lonely indoctrination that takes place in a vacuum when people get their news from Television or Newspapers.
Mr. Kellar is not admiting he has a problem, other than one of presentation not substance. The only change he is looking for is one of appearance, the way Hillary wants to appear more "moderate".
HA. It's not like they depend on my nickel for support while they get their act together. I'll give them my support when they earn it, not before.
I don't think having patience will do it. Look at the fact they are investigation Roberts' adoptions of two children. What has that to do with politics? Nothing, except they want to smear the man personally and don't care who they hurt to do it or what laws they break doing it.