August 16, 2019

EMBRACE THE HEALING POWER OF “AND:” Is The New York Times a Newspaper, Or the Oberlin Faculty Senate?

If you keep your eye on media news, you know that The New York Times, the most important newspaper in America, has been roiled internally over whether or not a headline it published over a Trump story (about his post El Paso speech) exonerated the president from racism. The original headline read “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.” After a staff revolt, the headline was later changed to “Assailing Hate, But Not Guns”.

The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, met with the staff about the headline, and the paper’s coverage of race. Slate published the transcript of a leaked recording. I encourage you to read it to get an idea of how the people who put out the most influential newspaper in the world think about this stuff. They go on and on and on, torturing Baquet over this one measly headline that accurately and neutrally described Trump’s speech.

Rod Dreher includes a link to a Times page that illustrates just how badly Oberlin-style identity politics have seeped into the Gray Lady’s product:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times memorializing that event on its 400th anniversary. The goal of the project is to deepen understanding of American history (and the American present) by proposing a new point of origin for our national story. In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.

As Dreher writes:

The importation of the first slave into the land that would become the United State is the “true founding” of America? That is a breathtaking — and breathtakingly ideological — claim. This is substantially different from claiming that slavery was a key part of this country’s identity — a claim that is indisputably true, and important to recognize. The Times — our newspaper of record — is on record now saying that the establishment of slavery was the Ur-event of American history. If you want to know how they managed to come to that conclusion, well, that transcript will give you an idea. A staffer who “feel[s] like racism is in everything” asks the executive editor why racism isn’t in every single story they write — and he responds not by challenging the premise of the question (if only from a professional journalism point of view), but rather by pointing him to the 1619 Project.

In the weeks and months after 9/11, then-editor Howell Raines dusted off Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #13 to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” and aimed the massed reporting resources of his newspaper in the early days of the War on Terror on a target he deemed far more horrifying than Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein: the Augusta National Golf Club. In the era of Trump, current editor Dean Baquet has scaled Rule #13 up a bit to go after America itself as “the 1619 Project” and its identity politics-obsessed coverage of America’s first manned moon landing last month illustrate. Thankfully, we can still rely on the Times’ coolly objective look back at the Soviet Union to help balance things out.

(Curiously though, despite “the 1619 Project,” Ralph Northam remains entirely off the Times’ radar. Funny that.)

Read the whole thing.

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