Its editorial board, anyway. For sheer entertainment value, it is hard to beat this Observer story about the ongoing civil war at the Times:
Why do the reporters hate the editorial page? Let’s count the ways: 1) The editorial page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, is arrogant, petty and vindictive. 2) The news room has suffered deep cuts, while the editorial page is lavishly staffed, and yet turns out a lousy product. 3) The poor quality of the paper’s editorials is embarrassing: “they’re completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual.” Well, they aren’t totally without value. We have fun laughing at them.
It’s well known among the small world of people who pay attention to such things that the liberal-leaning reporters at The Wall Street Journal resent the conservative-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. What’s less well known—and about to break into the open, threatening the very fabric of the institution—is how deeply the liberal-leaning reporters at The New York Times resent the liberal-leaning editorial page of The New York Times.
The New York Observer has learned over the course of interviews with more than two-dozen current and former Times staffers that the situation has “reached the boiling point” in the words of one current Times reporter.
It also galls the Times news room that the paper’s columnists are “tired and irrelevant.” Thomas Friedman comes in for special abuse. These are quotes from reporters at the Times:
“Tom Friedman is an embarrassment. I mean there are multiple blogs and Tumblrs and Twitter feeds that exist solely to make fun of his sort of blowhardy bullshit.”
“Nobody is acknowledging that they suck, but everybody in the newsroom knows it, and we really are embarrassed by what goes on with Friedman. I mean anybody who knows anything about most of what he’s writing about understands that he’s, like, literally mailing it in from wherever he is on the globe. He’s a travel reporter. A joke.”
“As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years….”
Then there’s Maureen Dowd:
“Then there’s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president.”
Surprisingly, no one mentioned Paul Krugman, who doesn’t work any harder on his columns than Friedman does, and is an obnoxious jerk to boot. Maybe they are saving him for a follow-up article.
In any event, it is entertaining to see Times reporters telling us the same things about the paper’s editorial pages that we have been saying for years.