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June 24, 2007

The New York Times' New Stooge

Although the tenureships of the first two "public editors" were marked by an awful lot of see-no-bias apologism, at least on occasion they really knocked the Times for bias, dishonesty, and incompetent reportage.

It seems the Times has learned its lesson, and has instituted the perfect stooge to shill for them.

Clark Hoyt has now pubished three columns about the Times' behavior, and in each instance, has given the Times a perfect bill of reportial health. Before his tenure was even official, he felt the need to get off to a good running apologist start and claim that the NYT was essentially right to bury the JFK Airport bomb plot on page 30 of the Metro (B) section, though he does offer the mildest constructive criticism imaginable:

My own view is that The Times story was very well reported and written. It quickly made clear that the accused men were a long way from action and that despite the apocalyptic comments of the U.S. attorney, their ability to carry out an attack on the airport was very much open to question.

"But instead of being a reason to put the story inside, I think this was a compelling reason to keep it on Page 1. This reporting put the story in an appropriate perspective, far calmer than the day’s television coverage. Giving the story subdued play on the front page -- toward the bottom, with a single-column headline -- would have told readers that The Times knew what they were concerned about, that there was something real here, but that it wasn’t anywhere near happening and there was no need for alarm."

In other words, he agrees with the NYT's decision to bury the story -- he just wanted to see it given the burial treatment on page 1, where the burial would have gotten more attention and better combated the supposed sensationalism of just about every other news outlet in the nation. (Note that in his piece, the editor who made this decision admits that he was influenced by Keith Olbermann style "I question the timing/political manipulation of terror busts and threats" fantasias," which Hoyt passes on without comment.

Hoyt of course followed up this apologism with a piece claiming that those who found the NYT highly manipulative in running a photo of a toothless hick as the face of opposition to the immigration bill to actually be the guilty parties, for making such terrible, terrible judgments about a man's looks. ("The Ugly Thing Wasn't His Face," Hoyt scolded NYT critics in his headline.)

And now of course the hat-trick of defending the NTY's decision to let a terrorist Hamas shill propagandize on its opinion pages. He feels there's enough information on other pages of the NYT to balance this enemy terrorist propaganda. Strangely enough, though, he finds an editorial about the hazards of a vegan diet to be unbalanced because no contrary point of view ran right next to it.

Shockingly, then, he finds the NYT to be biased... against lifestyle choices and fads favored by the left, but not at all biased in favor of Hamas.

Hoyt is the perfect stooge for the Times. He is, to steal from Lenin, a Useful Mediocrity. He is a man whose capability of advancing on his own merits is quite limited; he is, then, a man who would be especially grateful to those who choose him to become a member of an elite institution. He can never be indvidually elite; but he can become elite through his association with an elite group.

So, like the poor kid who becomes eternally grateful to the rich-kid frat for allowing him to join, he is and will eternally be in the New York Times pocket. They gave him something precious he could never have acheived on his own -- national status -- and he will never forget that kindness they extended to him, and will be glad to repay his life-debt to them week after week.


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posted by Ace at 04:00 PM

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