I heard someone say today that the person we should thank most for Trump’s victory is Jon Stewart. He had a point: support for Trump was, in large part, a rebellion against the smug liberal ignorance that Stewart embodies.
Of course, when you think of smug liberal ignorance, the New York Times comes to mind. Today the Times sent the following email to its subscribers:
To our readers,
When the biggest political story of the year reached a dramatic and unexpected climax late Tuesday night, our newsroom turned on a dime and did what it has done for nearly two years — cover the 2016 election with agility and creativity.
After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?
As we reflect on this week’s momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.
Was that last bit intended to be funny? I don’t know.
We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign.
No, you don’t. You did what you always to: you tried to elect the Democratic nominee, and defeat the Republican nominee.
You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.
That promise is sincere: I am sure the Times will cover Trump the President just as fairly as it covered Trump the nominee.
We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our subscribers. We want to take this opportunity, on behalf of all Times journalists, to thank you for that loyalty.
Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.
Two friends sent me the Times email. (Don’t ask my why they still subscribe, they must be gluttons for punishment!) The first commented briefly: “they STILL don’t get it! That they screwed up royally and are loathed…”
The second sent me his responsive email to the Times:
Dear Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Baquet,
You are either joking, lying or badly deluded. The coverage of the NYT has only become more biased (and may I say more predictable) in recent years. It may be fairer to call most of what I read advocacy.
You and your staff have no exposure to, understanding of or balance toward half of the country. Your derision and scorn leap off the page. Perhaps that is why only (you can check the polling figures to be exact but this number sticks in my mind) 6% of people believe the major media in this country is fair. As the flagship newspaper that is on you.
May I suggest you undertake some deeper introspection and market research. If your readership wants a liberal, progressive, LBGT, etc perspective/echo chamber, I can respect that as a business decision. But then please own it and as a Southern Senator or LBJ once said, “stop pissing on my leg and telling me it is raining”. And don’t wonder why half the country thinks you are a wing of the Democratic party. It might also be good to have your staff avoid private dinner parties with the head of presidential campaign and other journalists at the start of a campaign (thanks Wikileaks for that news as I guess the NYT was too busy covering the conspiracies of private citizens meetings with the Koch brothers).
A good first step would be to bring some real intellectual diversity to your newsroom and op-ed page. Get some people who’ve actually been to Wisconsin outside of Madison (if you had, you’d have not been shocked when Trump carried the state as you’d have seen signs in quantities never seen in previous elections). Get some people who can handle a firearm without getting physically ill. Find someone who is pro-life and can cover the March for Life in January fairly (btw you’ll find the crowd is both much larger and much law abiding than the BLM mobs you’ve spilt so much fawning ink upon).
You have one conservative Op-Ed writer (Douthat). I went to college with David Brooks so I can say he was a progressive then and is a progressive now so either dump him or one of the other liberal/progressive writers. Sign up some more real conservatives so you can give your readers some intellectual diversity.
We’ve subscribed to the Sunday Times for decades but were planning to drop you after the election. Now that Trump has won, we’ll probably wait until 1 February just to enjoy the “balanced” anguish.
Do you think they will print it? Or respond to it?