John Podhoretz writes that the real problem with The Times isn’t the Jayson Blair and Rick Bragg scandals. “The problem with the Times is that it’s become a left-wing sheet. And a cowardly one at that. It has been hiding its increasingly arrogant agenda behind its century-old reputation as the Newspaper of Record:
I’ve worked for two newspapers – this one and the Washington Times. One of the primary qualities that has distinguished these two papers from most others in the country is that they do not pretend to be something they’re not. They are run by conservatives. Readers know it, and are given the opportunity to read them and judge for themselves whether the information in them is improperly colored by the ideological views of the owners and managers.
In the world of professional journalists, this lack of pretense is considered a black mark against these institutions. They are criticized and held in lesser regard precisely because they have the integrity to be honest with their readers about what they are. Howell Raines, back when he was Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, refused to acknowledge that the Washington Times was even a newspaper. He called it a “journalistic entity” – which, I have to say, is far more than he is right now.
Podhoretz adds that “Pinch” Sulzberger “believes The New York Times is a country unto itself, for which profound sacrifices must be made. His ludicrously inflated notion of what is, after all, his own family business almost guarantees that the resignations of Raines and Boyd won’t mark the end of the paper’s Age of Solipsistic Scandal.”