January 18, 2011

JAMES TARANTO: Leave Kate Zernike Alone: She is a good reporter. The New York Times is a corrupt institution. “How corrupt? So corrupt that the Hulse-Zernike piece was, by the standards of the Times last week, a relatively minor case of journalistic malpractice. Even the editors who assigned it at least have the excuse of having been under deadline pressure at a time when the facts were not yet in about the suspect’s motives. The same cannot be said for the Times editorial board and Paul Krugman, who on Jan. 10, as we noted last Tuesday, were still linking the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to ‘uncivil rhetoric’ from the right, even after the facts had disproved any connection. The Times has made no acknowledgment yet of this gross journalistic wrong.”

Plus this: “The moral degeneration of the New York Times is a study in the corrupting effects of power. Over the years, the men who run the paper came to view the preservation of their authority as agenda-setter or gatekeeper or ‘mediator’ as their primary mission. On Jan. 10, 2011, they made it clear that they are willing to go so far in the pursuit of that goal as to contravene the real purpose of journalism, which is to tell the truth.”

UPDATE: Reader Stephen Clark writes: “Taranto’s justification for calling the Times a corrupt institution could be applied more broadly to include a disagreeably large portion of Codevilla’s Ruling Class. An intuitive recognition of this as fact has no doubt motivated many, if not all, in the Tea Party movement.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Eric Pobirs emails: “What moral degeneration? This is the paper that gave us the Walter Duranty view of the Soviet Union. They arguably have an ocean of blood on their hands but point the finger at conservatives?”

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