In either a nice bit of Jungian synchronicity, or a macabre bit of humor from the New York Magazine staff, there’s an ad under the above-quoted 1992 article in New York Magazine for a skincare product with the headline, “Does Your Skin Act Confused?”, which sums up the mindset of the Pinch-era Times rather nicely. In Gray Lady Down, his brilliant 2011 expose on the modern New York Times, Bill McGowan wrote:
Others bristled at the generally antagonistic atmosphere [in the Times’ offices], which Peter Boyer, a former Timesman, described in a 1991 Esquire article as “moderate white men should die.” Boyer left the Times to become a staff writer at the New Yorker. Other accomplished midcareer Timesmen left too, taking with them vital experience, institutional memory and a special old-fashioned Times sensibility and culture. Rubbing salt into some of the old guard’s wounds, [Timesman Max Frankel], backed by Sulzberger, virtually admitted that the commitment to diversity made double standards acceptable. At a forum at Columbia University, Frankel conceded that it would be difficult to fire a black woman, even if she were less good than another candidate.
Which dovetails well with a legendary Freudian slip on the topic by Howell Raines, the Times’ former editor:
“This campaign has made our staff better and, more importantly, more diverse.”
In January of 2011, while Timesmen such as Paul Krugman and other members of the left obsessed over magical thinking concerning clip art and scary words, Alec Baldwin asked in the Huffington Post, “What Changes Will We Make After the Giffords Shooting?”* As we’ve seen in the years since: the answer amongst his fellow NBC and MSNBC denizens was to double- and triple-down on the craziness.
If the Times’ fellow Democrats are going to try to woo “the ones who got away: white men,” what changes will the New York Times and its publisher make to begin the healing process?
Over to you, Pinch & Co.
* Baldwin’s article — speaking of synchronicity — begins with a classic misremembering of the Kitty Genovese urban legend, largely because the Times botched the initial reporting of that story to slant the article against the working class citizens of Queens, but then, as Fred Siegel wrote at the start of The Revolt Against the Masses, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class.’” The Gray Lady internalized that motto a long time ago, indeed.
Update: As in 2011, this latest attempt by the left to forge a new civility built on brotherly outreach appears to be slow to catch on in the hinterlands. Perhaps I’m simply rushing things, though.