March 3rd, 2017

Even moderates are complaining to the Times about bias

Although this piece by the public editor of the Times, Liz Spayd, was written in the summer of 2016, I just came across it. It’s worth reading, because it constitutes a small admission by the Times that it’s been getting flak from people who describe themselves as moderate politically (and even some liberals) who are complaining about the left-wing bias of the paper:

I have been here less than a month, but already I’ve discovered something that surely must be bad for business if your business is running The New York Times. It comes via the inbox to the public editor, from people like Gary Taustine of Manhattan, who writes: “The NY Times is alienating its independent and open-minded readers, and in doing so, limiting the reach of their message and its possible influence.”

One reader from California who asked not to be named believes Times reporters and editors are trying to sway public opinion toward their own beliefs. “I never thought I’d see the day when I, as a liberal, would start getting so frustrated with the one-sided reporting that I would start hopping over to the Fox News webpage to read an article and get the rest of the story that the NYT refused to publish,” she says.

And here’s an interview between Tucker Carlson and Spayd not long after the election. I found it quite fascinating. Spayd seems like an earnest, well-meaning, competent journalist of a more old-fashioned sort. It’s not that she’s not making some excuses for the Times’ bias (she is). But she’s making a lot fewer than I would have expected:

13 Responses to “Even moderates are complaining to the Times about bias”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Presumably being an editor for the NYT is the capstone for her career. Presumably she’s not independently wealthy and needs a job. Certainly she is well aware of the bias and even admits that liberal complaints of bias are just ignored by ownership and top management. Given all of that, if she is an old school journalist it simply makes her an earnest, well meaning and competent… “useful idiot”.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:


    I nevertheless find what she says to be very interesting and surprisingly critical of the Times. She stops short—far short—of the criticism they deserve, but it’s still interesting how far she does go. I think it is with the acquiescence of her bosses, and I think their goal is to increase circulation by placating the complainers somewhat.

  3. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    There is a large, un-filled market, for a media outlet that makes a demonstrable, and sustained, effort to report the facts as they are.

  4. parker Says:

    I think Spayd does not fully realize that the NYT and the msm in general actively creates a toxic atmosphere in society at large. The left decryed any criticism of bho as racist. Any criticism of open boards is racist. Any criticism of many violent adherents of Islam is Islamophobic. Any criticism of abortion is sexist. Any criticism of boys in the girls shower room is transphobic. Any criticism of suing a pizza shop because they don’t want to cater a gay wedding is homophobic.

    Eventually many people on the right begin to see the left as the enemy because the left tells them they are the deplorable enemy. If there still is a center it is so tiny it can not hold.

  5. Griffin Says:

    It is somewhat of a myth that we have ever had an impartial media in this country. Dating back to the Adams/Jefferson election of 1800 at least there have been newspapers that were really just organs of specific candidates and then political parties. Sometimes the reasons weren’t just ideological either as one early reason for a newspaper to support a candidate was to curry favor in order to get government printing contracts which were big deals in those days.

    As the years went by the parties started having their own newspaper mouthpieces in all major cities and that is why so many newspapers were called the ‘Press Democrat’ or ‘Republican Register’ or some such thing. These papers would always support their party and often times just make stuff up about the other side.

    The big difference now is that a large part of the public is unaware of the reality and takes the WP, NYTimes, and CNN as impartial when in fact they are no different than the old Press Democrat.

  6. parker Says:

    “The big difference now is that a large part of the public… takes the WP… as impartial.”

    Sadly, this is 100% correct..

  7. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Here’s Liz Spayd on the NYT’s disastrous coverage of the last-minute run-up to Election Day in November 2016. The comments are fascinating.

  8. Bill Says:

    Take it from me, a former Republican who is still conservative and who has complained about liberal media bias for decades.

    Both sides are incredibly biased.

  9. Bill Says:

    I think a good strategy is triangulation. Don’t just read opinion sites. Read real news but read multiple sources from different biases. I regularly read Fox news, BBC, and CNN. You can piece together something approaching the truth by doing that, I believe.

    I’ve been avoiding the screaming pile that is social media 🙂

  10. stu Says:

    Unfortunately one has to read a cross section of the English press to get a reasonably accurate picture of news here.

  11. Gringo Says:

    Mrs Whatsit
    Here’s Liz Spayd on the NYT’s disastrous coverage of the last-minute run-up to Election Day in November 2016. The comments are fascinating.

    I also found the comments fascinating. As the highest rated comments are of the “Trump supporters are deplorables” variety, my guess is that the NYT can still make money being a partisan rag while feigning objectivity. By being the national brand for the unhinged Democrat [am I showing any bias? 🙂 ], it will survive while less prominent newspapers will fall.

  12. Big Maq Says:

    @Bill – that’s great advice.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    I see moderates as a kind of extremist, except they are extremely confident that by sitting on a fence, they are neutral and thus superior than either side.

    Some people truly are in the middle, as peace makers or temperate compromisers or statesmen such as Lincoln or British Prime Ministers of well renown.Those are the rare ones, not the moderates.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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