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Jacob Laksin
The Worst of Times « Back to Story

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As bad as it is, I think we're better off with a NYT than without it.

I'd miss the cross-word puzzles - the only part of the paper that's consistently good. btw. I don't pay for the puzzles.
The Times bizarre bias on Islamic terrorism is most explicit in its endorsemnt of the "National Sept. 11 Memorial" at the WTC. A design that will remake the site so that it does not acknowledge the 9/11 attacks - that is, so it denies them.

In fact, as per the 13 member jury behind the design, no history or evidence of the attacks (such as the damaged Koenig Sphere) may be restored and included in the memorial "to protect the integrity of the design."

The Times endorsed this, saying the design must be considered "sacroscant" and the authentic artifacts that testifed to the events of 9/11 banished to preserve that design.

Imagine say, dismantling the Stonewall Bar to replace it with an abstract memorial to gay rights.

The clear intent of the memorial is to deny 9/11 and impose the same meaning of narcissism and moral ambiguity as Maya Lin's (a jury member) Vietnam War memorial. At the place America was attacked.

When 9/11 families protested installing the hugemongous "International Freedom Center" alos intended to impose a message of political and moral ambiguity upon the site, that is to exonorate the guilty terrorists and allow for questions on America's guilt, the Times editorialized that we were a a small, out of touch group that would never be satisfied. Thus sounding exactly like a Southern newspaper commenting on civil rights activists in the '60.

The Times days are numbered. Good riddence.

The 'New York Times': Like Typhoid Mary, a Smashing Success

The Jacob Laksin review and, it seems, the book, 'Gray Lady Down,' by William McGowan, have real merit, but the daffy twitchy-eyed political correctness of the 'Times' is obviously the norm amongst almost all media today. Not mentioning this is misleading.

Another person posting here said that the 'L.A Times' is far worse, but of course the 'L.A. Times' also for a long time has been on the skids, nestled as it is in Bladerunner Lost Angeles that it so enthusiastically helped to create. Divine justice?

Who would have thought that not all that many second-generation Los Angeleno Third World villagers would want to read long thought pieces on multinational Antarctica foreign policy or the subculture in the L.A. gay community calling themselves "fairies"? (Yes, there was such an article. Don't ask.)

Political correctness has been called "soft totalitarianism." Its chief problem is that it harbors (sometimes) well-meaning lies and presents them as facts, and the core facts conflicting with these lies are now so radioactive that even most of the "conservative" press would not dare to attempt to drop seawater on them from lead-lined helicopters.

The 'New York Times' has employed some very good reporters and writers over the years. However, particularly in recent decades, the 'Times' has come up with the final solution to America being too white: endless massive Third Word legal immigration and illegal alien migration--and offspring.

Any doubts? Read their unintentionally comical off the rails of logic editorials any time they sniff a a possible new amnesty in the wind, and the helpfully supporting "news" items that just happen to occur on the very same day. Something like, "Lupe crossed the border with just one small burro and one big dream: to become a Hollywood cosmetic surgeon."

Not that there aren't similar newspapers in Western Europe, Canada and Australia. Again, now the norm. This is much like the Soviet press reporting on the last tremendously successful agricultural 5-year plan, to be read in bread lines, or the exciting new advances being made in Russian head transplants. The audaciousness of the lies are their greatest protector.

Because if they are lies, it means that the power structure has become a rotten log, the nightmarish implications of which are too frightening for ruling elites to contemplate. Hence lies are shored up and redoubled by more of the same. Yes, as another poster wrote, lies eventually fall, but they can take down almost everything else as they crash.

However, give credit where credit is due. When it comes to splintering and shattering Western civilization, the New York Times has been by any measure and beyond any doubt a smashing success.
- - - -
Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.

Again, Conservatives focus on ideology, not reality. The real reason why the Times is dying: its volume. Basically, its too much reading in today's short attention span world. Rupert Murdoch knew what he was doing when he shortened the Wall Street Journal. The Daily News and the Post have maintained their readership because those are two papers that you can read within a lunch hour. The Times needs your undivided attention for about 2 hours. People just no longer have that time span.


As a reader with fond memories of the NYT, I agree with the author: a respected source is an asset to all. So I do feel betrayed that inherited wealth Pinch and his coterie see no problem in fecklessly frittering away a brand acquired over a hundred years.

The Duke Lacrosse case was an egregious example of its "to serve good goals" policy, leaving everything a paper should be in the dust.

About the best one can say is that it's light years ahead of the LA Times. And anyone who has wasted money or time on the LA Times knows how limp a standard that is.
today's world is a sad time for newspapers. most will try to force feed you their opnions, not all facts. if the facts do not agree with the political and social leanings of the writer, it either is slanted or ignored completely. i have not read an actual paper or magazine in years. i prefer to get my news on line or FOX. CNN is not what i would consider objective so i ignore them completely
Living in the NY metro area for all of my 54 years, I grew up with the N.Y. Times. And it has been distressing to see the Times, once the gold standard for newspapers in this area, heck everywhere, deteriorate into a bumbling mouthpiece for one side of the political debate. The bias - only word I can think of - has year by year become more pronounced. It infects everything in the paper - news, entertainment, even Tuesday's Science section, which is the only part that our family still bother to read.

Since becoming a crusading paper for the left, the Times has lost its most precious asset, it's credibility. All the news gets filtered through the lens of its overarching mission of promoting the left and more important, electing Democrats, and making Republicans and its supporters look bad. And, accordingly, very little that is in the Times can now be trusted. Inconvenient facts and/or stories are ignored or manipulated, or, as noted in the article, simply fabricated. Stories that make the Democrats look bad are simply ignored. For example, after running daily front page articles on Abu Ghraib, the Times now follows the Democrat party line in downplaying or ignoring the Army scandal involving photographing and trophy taking of dead civilians in Afghanistan. Did the Times think we wouldn't notice?

But promoting leftist or "progeressive" causes doesn't seem, to be the Time's real mission. That takes a back seat to the agenda behind the Time's lurch to the left - electing Democrats. In this pursuit the Times makes up or ignores facts, exaggerates and manipulates, all so that Democrats look good and Republicans look bad. Sometimes this is literally so - there is a web-site devoted to showing pictures of Bush published in the Times - Bush looks anything but 'presidential', while in the 2004 election for example, Kerry is always shown as a strong leader, very often with "elect Kerry" signs in the background. Again, did the Times think no one would notice?

And by playing for only one side of the political debate, the Times hurts its bottom line. I don't know of any conservative who still buys the paper. We haven't - for years (we get the Science section from an elderly relative). In an era where newspapers are in peril, the Times decision to sacrifice the credibility of the paper so it can get Democrats elected makes no sense at all. But then again, Sulzberger has not shown much business sense. The purchase of the Boston Globe, for example, which has cost the Times tens of millions of dollars it can ill afford. It has also made the Times beholden to Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim Helu, who has loaned the Times hundreds of millions in return for an ownership stake.

But the problem is not simply bias - the writing and reporting are simply not what they used to be. What was formerly highly professional has become almost juvenile.

I also disagree with the author's contention that we ignore the Times "at our peril." Why would we - or anyone else - want to read news which cannot be trusted? Why support a paper that has relegated itself into being a mouthpiece for one party, and which reports in a manner that makes the other party look bad? That makes no sense at all. And, judging from the commentary section on the NY Times web-site, very few conservatives are reading the paper. Let it remain what it is, a propaganda tool for the Democrats, for and about Democrats, and causes Democrats believe in. The Times former editor said close to as much when admitting some years back what we all knew- that the Times was biased. While the full extent of that biased wasn't disclosed, it was not exactly the revelation of the century. And it upset Sulzberger, who must have thought - and probably still thinks - that he was fooling everyone since the Times does maintain some semblance of a (phony) patina of objectivity.

So, if the Times has gone Democrat, there is absolutely no reason to bother with it. There are many many other news sources out there, including those on the left, including some with better coverage than the Times. And it is for this reason that the Times is literally on borrowed time, having sacrificed everything to its new mission, Sulzburger has hastened what could possibly be something that would have died anyway.

But, certainly, it would be mourned by many more people.
Reality always wins. The effect of blinkered ideology is inappropriate reaction to a situation,and,in the long run, harm.
I for one won't miss the New York Times. It can't go out of business fast enough. Thankfully we have the internet to help put more nails in it's coffin faster. Yes, it will go out of business someday, the sooner the better.

It was never a great newspaper, only people who don't know it's history think that is was. Its never really been a news organization. It has always been a hack left wing mouthpiece, the 1930's were as disgraceful as the 1960's. The 1960's and 1970's only made it far worse. Worse yet it's dangerous, even treasonous at times, giving away information it has no right to make public. Yes, it has no right to publish what it did.

The things that made it infamous: the Duranty Soviet whitewashing, the Pentagon Papers and the more recent attacks on the PATRIOT Act it was found to be wrong or really off the wall on all those issues as well.

I see its new Pay-wall as one of its last gasps. It will fail due to fact that it has nothing to offer that people are willing to pay (unlike the Wall Street Journal) for anymore, and the people who do read their paper aren't known for wanting to pay for things they consume.
Seems to me America would benefit from a little capitalist creative destruction. The Times that help build and defend American now actively diminishes what it can't destroy about America. Aren't all of remiss in our duty to the future of freedom in America when we read the Times or comment on its content? It is as if we continued to revere and take note of the Statue of Liberty even after Mr. Sulzberger and his well educated friends managed to replace her torch held high with a fist displaying the universal sign for "eat me."
"...we ignore the paper at our peril."

I'll take that risk.
The Times is perhaps less an "influence on the country's political and intellectual elite" than it is a mouth-piece or that elite. The danger is that it will influence other papers and other media to accept its arrogant and malign leftism. It is not enough to "have sworn off the paper", the paper should be derided and scorned for the stench of mendacity it trails behind it.
Plain and simply put, the New York Times has never met an American Communist that it didn't like. As the Stalinist cohort of the CPUSA began to die off in the 1990's and into the present century (of old age, unlike their soul-mates in the Workers' Paradise, who never made it into old age, having been shot in the basement of Lyubanka or sent to freeze to death in the gulag), the NYT obituary writers extolled the virtues of these American comrades, one after another.
I believe it was Howard Fast, in his autobiography, "Being Red", (if I have the wrong book, I apologize; Fast wrote several 'autobiographies', each with different versions of his past dalliances with Stalinism)who wrote that several of the CPUSA party faithful found gainful employment over the years as obituary writers for the NYT.
When I want to read the news straight, I want to read the news, not opinion masquerading as news. If I want to read opinion masquerading as news, I can go to MSNBC or NPR or Fox News or the New York Post. The New York Times is not longer the Newspaper of Record. And that is a great loss to American journalism.
This is a very interesting article; confirms what I've been thinking for years now. Too bad, it was once a great paper.
The author's entire take on the Times operates in some strange, history-less void, free of a changed social and economic context. A drift to the left? There is no center culturally or politically anymore from or within which the country operates. I know where to go for left or left-liberal journalism, and it certainly is not the Times.

For the author to assume there are constants, or that the Times has fallen off some lofty journalistic perch speaks only to the book's limited relevance. And to advance the thesis that conservatives in their march right-ward have abandoned the Times because of its lack of objectivity or balance is an exercise in absurdity. Really, who left what?

Has the Times over the years flubbed some major stories? Of course. Been blindsided? Of course. Too enthusiastically pursued a policy of diversity? Uh, wait a minute. Have you looked at the world lately?

In current conditions--social, cultural, political--it's an open question whether the Times has chosen sides, or sides have chosen their media. Frankly, if you absent Krugman, Herbert and Rich from the commentary section (Herbert and Rich are now gone anyway, more's the pity), you significantly reduce the political valence of the Times.

Bob Herbert, in his very last column on March 25th, wrote: "Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power." Honestly, in this world the liberal center is the new left.
Charlie Griffith March 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM
Agreed, and if we're selective and duly skeptical and questioning of particular subject matter during the reading, we can perhaps minimize that peril, but never eliminate it.

I'd like to read Jacob Laksin on the subject of the Washington Post...the Times' partner in publishing the Pentagon Papers with such smug certitude.
It's hard to imagine why ignoring a media outlet built on the shifting sands of political correctness, multiculturalism, moral relativism and the like puts anyone "at peril", as suggested by the author. Mocking and shaming the paper is about all conservatives have left to discourage its outrageously biased and damaging news coverage.
There should never be a so called "paper of record" and the demise of the N Y times and other rags like it is to be greatly desired. No one should have that kind of power and influence . Who elected the Rosenthal family to this position in the first place? Since when are media monopolies an expression of democratic greatness? Who signs the pay checks of their flak reporters? The People? I know I don't. Do you?
The people will judge the Times future.
It will be what it is, not very favorable,
The McGowan book is definitely worth reading, but, in my opinion, it has one major drawback.

Since McGowan was writing about journalism and specifically about the decay of journalism at the Times, it seems just obvious to me that he would have provided the citations -- and in many cases the links -- to the stories he used as examples. But there are no citations from either the Times itself or other sources. Go figure!