In the current issue of The New Republic, Senior Editor John B. Judis has an article about what he calls the collapse of “disinterestedness.” I have only one question: What was Judis smoking when he wrote that article? As he sees things, The New York Times from its very founding to today exemplifies this principle. The paper stands above the fray, supposedly non-partisan, thereby adopting “a mediating role in society—between business and labor, and later between the general public and the more militant wings of the civil rights, consumer, and environmental movements.”
The NYT, in other words, like NPR, are truly objective, not biased, and certainly not liberal or left in the way he says Fox News is openly right-wing and conservative. The MSM, he says, has a “genuine commitment” to “being above party and ideology.” Conservative media, on the other hand, functions as an open arm of the right-wing of the Republican Party.
Judis writes: “Journalists at The New York Times, for instance, may be more likely to vote for Democrats rather than Republicans, but they are taught and required by their publication to put aside their own partisan inclinations when reporting.” Sure, John. If you don’t think the Times’ coverage reads like its editorials, look at this story about the budget battle in Congress, from last Saturday’s paper.
Judis, like so many other leftists and liberals, is so convinced that his side has the truth that he can no longer distinguish between ideology and truly disinterested reporting. NPR’s news programs, he writes, “are generally solicitous of all sides in a controversy, and it has bent over backward to avoid being tainted by party or interest. NPR staff were even barred from attending the rally on the Mall last October staged by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.”
He confuses the foolishness of its directors, burnt from the firing of Juan Williams so they pretend that not allowing staff to go to the Stewart-Colbert comedy event, with evidence that the station is above ideology. Has he ever listened to its coverage of the Middle East, which has given critics like CAMERA many examples to cite that reveal NPR’s bias, and for people to call the network “National Palestinian Radio?” Has he not seen the James O’Keefe video with NPR’s now dismissed directors, who readily revealed their blatant ideology?
So John, despite your pleas, a “a significant percentage of conservatives now refuse to accept the Times as a trustworthy news outlet” and will continue to do so. So here’s a suggestion: Perhaps Roger Kimball will agree to ask Encounter Books to send you a freebie of William McGowan’s Grey Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of The New York Times Means for America . Micky Kaus, a journalist whom you respect, says this about it: “America’s most important paper became somehow more unashamed of its political bias and more insulated. By skillfully reporting the telling anecdotes, disturbing incidents and outright scandals of the past two decades, William McGowan shows us that things at the Times aren’t as bad as we’d thought. They’re worse!”
Perhaps it’s not too late for you to learn something also. Or are you too disinterested? And please, stop smoking that stuff when you write!