This ad aired last night during the Oscars, sponsored by the NY Times:
I’ve been blogging for over twelve years, and a great many of my posts have been devoted to uncovering the misstatements, twistings and shadings of the truth, and/or downright lies published in the Times. I doubt there’s been a day when I couldn’t find something of the sort there, but I don’t pursue it because I don’t want that to become my full-time occupation.
However, their propagandist tendencies are only exceeded by their chutzpah (hubris? arrogance? balls?) in running an ad like that.
To people on the right, there’s something almost comical about that ad, although it’s a serious subject. It’s certainly a subject I take very seriously, for the simple reason that the Times’s propaganda continues to be effective. Maybe it doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, but it still shapes the opinions of many millions of people in this country. And the Times is well aware of that.
Taking a closer look at the message of the ad. It has different people making a bunch of assertions from left and right, in order to set up the idea that people disagree on things. I have no quarrel with that; they certainly do. Then, in bolder type, we have the sentence, “The truth is hard to find.” And then, “The truth is hard to know.” Then, “The truth is more important now than ever.” That third one is especially curious. After all, the truth has always been very very important; I don’t see why it should be more important now than ever.
Unless it’s because Donald Trump, the “archenemy of truth” (headline of a column by Charles Blow in today’s Times) is now president, rather than Barack Obama? Could that be it?
After that sentence about the truth being more important now than ever, all we see is the logo: the words The New York Times in its familiar gothic script. The implication is that the Times is the place to come to find the truth. Or, at the very least, that the Times has the utmost dedication to the truth, to ferreting out the truth, to uncovering and then pursuing this extremely hard-to-find but absolutely more-important-than-ever truth.
More important than in Soviet times when Walter Duranty was their reporter, or in the late 50s and early 60s when Herbert Matthews told us what a great guy Castro was? Or during most of the Times’ reportage of the Second Intifada and other Israeli/Palestinian news for the last couple of decades? And certainly more important than during their Obama coverup years?
Truth is indeed difficult to find. That is, if you’re looking for absolute truth. But relative truth isn’t all that hard to find, to the best of your ability. For starters, don’t twist quotes. Try to apply the same standards to all sides. Don’t mix opinion journalism with factual reporting. Use the older more rigid rules about unnamed sources. And don’t lie.
Now, that’s hard. Because journalists these days have a Calling, and the Calling is to a Higher Truth than mere truth in reporting. They want to change the world to match their vision, because they know best and because their vision is the vision of the anointed.