Captain Ed (no relation, except for having parents with equally flawless taste in choosing their sons’ names) makes a point I was actually planning to write about today as a follow up to my Insta-lanched post late last night about the Times:
Okrent attempts to pass this off as merely a reflection of the city in which the paper lives, but that’s a cop-out. If the Times merely represented itself as a city newspaper, I’d buy that. But the Times holds itself out as “The Paper of Record”, a national newspaper with national coverage and impact. If the Times truly wants to be that, then the editors need to quit relying on The Big Apple as The Big Excuse and position the paper to reflect its market. Otherwise, with Okrent’s admission, it can no longer claim to be the Paper of Record, but the Paper of the Liberal Mindset, analogous to the fine but overtly slanted London Guardian, the mouthpiece of the Labourites.
Admitting one has a problem is the first step towards recovery. The Times needs to take more steps to either restore its credibility among all readers, or to act with more honesty and declare its loyalty to liberalism.
Of course, there’s a flipside to this: now that the Times has finally admitted their liberal, Manhattan-centric bias, will other newspapers and the TV networks, who rely on the Times to set the agenda, now diversify their news sources?
In one of his two books, (Arrogance, I think, but it could have been Bias), Bernard Goldberg suggested that the major TV networks decamp from midtown Manhattan to say, somewhere in the southwest, as it would put them far more in touch with the rest of America.
Naturally, I’m sure any network exec or anchor who actually read Goldberg’s suggestion merely responded, “What–and give up the Four Seasons??!!” And to be fair, they do have a point…
A more serious point, which I think Goldberg may have actually addressed, is that while CNN is based in Atlanta, their bias seems far more reflective of Ted Turner’s transnational obsessions, than the American city they work out of. And as Eric Muller writes, the Times’ isn’t a byproduct of the New York area as a whole–it’s reflective of the thinking of the majority of the people who live in a region that spans about 40 blocks or so north and south of its offices.