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July 26, 2016

NYT's New Ombudsman: Gee This Paper Sure is Stultifyingly Close-Minded

Oh, well, that's not exactly said -- just that the paper has the reputation of being stultifyingly close-minded liberal.


Like the tiresome bore at a party, I went around asking several journalists in the newsroom about these claims that The Times sways to the left. Mostly I was met with a roll of the eyes. All sides hate us, they said. We’re tough on everyone. That’s nothing new here.

That response may be tempting, but unless the strategy is to become The New Republic gone daily, this perception by many readers strikes me as poison. A paper whose journalism appeals to only half the country has a dangerously severed public mission. And a news organization trying to survive off revenue from readers shouldn’t erase American conservatives from its list of prospects.


No one here would tell me the ideological breakdown of The Times’s total audience or subscriber base, numbers that are considered proprietary. I know only that there is unease in at least a few offices about whether The Times feels sufficiently relevant to a broad slice of readers.

...

For some print readers, the placement of an editorial calling for gun control on the front page last December, which garnered a record number of comments, was shrill proof of the kind of Times bias they expect. There was a torrent of debate over the appropriateness of its placement.

...

Imagine what would be missed by journalists who felt no pressing need to see the world through others’ eyes. Imagine the stories they might miss, like the groundswell of isolation that propelled a candidate like Donald Trump to his party’s nomination. Imagine a country where the greatest, most powerful newsroom in the free world was viewed not as a voice that speaks to all but as one that has taken sides.


Or has that already happened?



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posted by Ace at 01:41 PM

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