August 21, 2019

THE WASTE OF NOW:

The New York Times is going to devote itself to radicalizing the United States along racial lines. It will propagate the narrative that the engine driving American life is the efforts of white people to maintain supremacy, and the resistance of People of Color, and their allies, to white supremacy. Everything the paper reports will theoretically be filtered through that distorting lens, because the leadership of The New York Times believes it to be true. I don’t know this for a fact, but knowing newspapers as I do, I’d bet that there are professional journalists within that news organization who do not share these beliefs, and who in fact are worried about the direction of the newspaper. Not conservatives, but old-school liberals. And I bet they are now afraid to speak out, afraid that they will be denounced as fellow travelers of white supremacy if they do.

This isn’t, ultimately, about slavery. Not at all. This is about a great and vital American journalism institution surrendering its integrity and its reputation to the radical left. What has started at the Times will not remain at the Times. You need to understand that. Within the relatively small world of American journalism, senior newsroom leaders, in print and broadcast, are looking at what the Times is doing with this project with admiration, even envy. As usual in American journalism, where the Times leads, its acolytes around the country will follow.

Including television news readers, outside of Fox News. As CBS and HBO journalist Bernard Goldberg wrote in his 2003 book Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite:

But powerful as print is in general, and as powerful as the wire services are in particular, nothing—absolutely nothing —carries nearly as much weight in network television newsrooms as the New York Times. There are too many examples to count where television reporters appropriated (read stole) story ideas from local newspapers in their region and pitched them to their bosses, the executive producers of the network evening newscasts in New York, who turned the stories down, until . . . until they ran in the New York Times, the wall scratcher of record. 

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“Once the Times runs a story on page one,” that veteran cameraman told me, “we’re told to run out and do it!” If the Times decrees a story important, by definition it is important. And when the Times ignores a story— or a book or a social trend or an idea—then it is invisible. As the syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock puts it, “The cult of the New York Times . . . holds journalists, politicians, and other opinion makers in a Svengali-like trance. If the Times says the sun will rise in the west, then by golly it will!”

On a typical morning, this is how assignment editors and producers at the network news divisions begin their day. Step one: They open up the New York Times. Step two: They scan the paper for stories to put on their nightly newscasts. Step three: They get one of their high-priced reporters (who is in his or her own office also reading the New York Times) on the phone— a reporter who may not have come up with even one original story idea in his entire network career (I mean that literally)— and tell him or her to go out and do the New York Times story. Step four: He or she does, and that evening a video version of the Times story is on the air.

And Dean Baquet, A.G. Sulzberger, and the rest of Times ozone layer of management knows this, which is why the sea change in how the founding of America is viewed likely won’t remain bottled up in its own editorial bullpen for long.

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