Liberal Bias at the New York Times? No, Really

Outgoing public editor at the New York Times, Arthur Brisbane, gave a parting shot to his former employer by accusing the staff of liberal bias, saying that Times employees “share a kind of political and cultural progressivism” that “virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.”


Dylan Beyers at Politico:

But Times executive editor Jill Abramson says she disagrees with Brisbane’s “sweeping conclusions.”

“In our newsroom we are always conscious that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world. I disagree with Mr. Brisbane’s sweeping conclusions,” Abramson told POLITICO Saturday night.

“I agree with another past public editor, Dan Okrent, and my predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, that in covering some social and cultural issues, the Times sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base,” she continued. “But I also often quote, including in talks with Mr. Brisbane, another executive editor, Abe Rosenthal, who wanted to be remembered for keeping ‘the paper straight.’ That’s essential.”

Brisbane declined to comment on the column, his last as he concludes a two-year tenure as the paper’s in-house critic. “I would rather let the column speak for itself,” he told POLITICO.


But the public editors’ most remarkable comments pertained to the charge of liberal bias — a rare shot at the paper from within its own ranks.

“When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so,” Brisbane wrote. “Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.”

“As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects,” he continued.


Fairly spoken, although Mr. Brisbane should take a second look at the Times political coverage. It’s not really his fault. When one makes a living in a cocoon, it is hard to, fight your way through the opaqueness and see clearly the problem. Mr. Brisbane also shares that “urban and cosmopolitan” worldview mentioned by Abramson — an excuse for denigrating those as ignorant rubes who hail from anywhere outside the New York-Boston-Philadelphia-Washington axis.

And what is so “cosmopolitan” about the Occupy movement? Cold hearted, gimlet-eyed revolutionaries are not cuddly little teddy bears to be elevated to a status they do not deserve — that of a “mass movement” that will change America. In order to be a mass movement, Occupy should, at least, have some “mass.” Considering there were never more than a few thousand aging hippies, masked anarchists, and college kids with nothing better to do, cavorting around an unsanitary, crime ridden public park — when they weren’t throwing feces at police — it was astonishing the Times propagandized for them for as long as they did.

Brisbane’s parting shot will fall on deaf ears, as has happened in all previous attempts to shake the Times out of it’s liberal stupor. After all, I’m sure Ms. Abramson and many of her colleagues don’t know anyone who voted for that Bush fellow, so it’s a wonder he got elected, right guys?



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