From my point of view, I’d say that these days, it’s primarily a gossip and style rag that gets in waaaay over its head whenever its Bush-obsessed journalists let their hatred drive its political coverage despite the inevitably diminishing returns.
Oh wait, that’s why people hate Vanity Fair.
Seriously though, while I haven’t blogged much about Jesse Helm’s death, due to my discomfort with much of his career baggage, I can’t help but think he got this moment right:
Sometime in the mid-1990s, the Times wrote a blistering editorial about Jesse Helms. The senator’s new, eager press secretary quickly drafted a letter to the editor, and took it in to the senator. Helms, of course, had not seen the editorial. He glanced at the letter and said, “That’s nice, son. Do whatever you want with it. But understand something: I don’t care what the New York Times says about me, and no one I care about cares what the New York Times says about me.” Therein lay some of the senator’s power.
An interesting development, as the Vanity Fair article notes, is that Times hatred became bipartisan this decade, which I’m sure the Times loves, though (and especially after this essay) it provides less ideological cover than they think.