Arthur Brisbane, the Public Apologit for the NY Times, assures us that the "All The News That Fits The Narrative" orgnization is poised to take a "hard look" at the President:
Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?
Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father.
According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.
Writing for the periodical Politics & Policy, the authors were so struck by the findings that they wondered, “Did The Times, perhaps in response to the aggressive efforts by Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to seize market share, decide to tilt more to the left than it had in the past?”
Oh say it ain't so, Arthur!
I strongly doubt that.
Thank you. To be fair, that would imply the Times organization actually had a strategy and was capable of executing it. But on with the pre-apologia:
Based on conversations with Times reporters and editors who cover the campaign and Washington, I think they see themselves as aggressive journalists who don’t play favorites. Still, a strong current of skepticism holds that the paper skews left. Unfortunately, this is exacerbated by collateral factors — for example, political views that creep into nonpolitical coverage.
To illustrate, Faye Farrington, a reader from Hollis, N.H., wrote me earlier this year in exasperation over a Sunday magazine article about “Downton Abbey,” the public television series, in which the writer slipped in a veiled complaint about Mitt Romney’s exploitation of the American tax code.
“The constant insertion of liberal politics into even the most politically irrelevant articles has already caused us to cancel our daily subscription,” Ms. Farrington wrote, “leaving only the Sunday delivery as I confess to an addiction to the Sunday crossword.”
The dining section, the food, the movies and plays - all politicized. But not the reporting!
The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers — these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now.
As plans go, "hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting" could change their reputation. Or waiting for pigs to fly out of my... well, let's say, there are a variety of approaches that might turn the perception that the Times has slanted left for decades.
Mr. Brisbane turns to the news desk for reassurance:
I asked Richard Stevenson, the political editor overseeing campaign coverage, about these matters, and he offered a detailed e-mail response, noting that “we take very seriously our responsibility to report without favoritism.”
He added, “We remind ourselves every day of the need to provide readers — voters — with as much news, information and context as possible about the candidates, their records, their characters, their positions and the influences on them, including their campaign donors.”
Yeah, yeah. We'll see ya in November.
AFTER THAT INTRO: Jackie Calmes looks at Obama's use of Air Force One; this is a great article for April, when only the poli-junkies care; come October the Times will be dropping bombs on Romney on a daily basis, but they will claim that over the full year their coverage was balanced. And Ms. Calmes closing point - Reagan did it too! - will hardly elevate this bowl of mush to the hard-hitting Hall of Fame.