Watching networks like CNN, PBS, and CNBC covering yesterday’s blood-letting at the New York Times was a surreal experience. Windbags like Alex Jones (a former Times writer now at Harvard) explained that the whole problem was the inadvertently overbearing manner of Howell Raines, a great journalist undone by a personality flaw. With Raines’ exit, we were assured, all will be right at the Times, fortunately for truth, justice, and the American way. Only on Fox did I hear anyone mention the Time’s real problem — the fact that it has become a left-wing sheet. John Podhoretz makes this case in his New York Post column (courtesy of Real Clear Politics).
What we are witnessing, then, is an attempt at white-washing. Alex Jones and Jeff Greenfield know what was up at the Times. Even Aaron Brown must know. But by portraying this story as solely about two reporters who messed up and one rude executive, the establishment media hopes soon to write a happy ending — a more diplomatic executive takes over, morale is restored, and the Times re-establishes itself as the paper of record while remaining a left-wing sheet.
Fortunately, it’s not going to work. The Times’ critics in the blogosphere won’t let it. The Times will be under a microscope going forward. If its reporting continues to be seriously slanted, bloggers will blow the whistle and, because l’affaire Times has become such big news, word will circulate beyond the blogging community. The only way the Times can regain its former status, or even avoid further erosion of its current position, is to become relatively honest. And, as Rocket Man has said, there is no reason to think that the Sulzberger family will permit this to happen.
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