The New York Times continues to display huge amounts of self-righteousness in defense of a reputation for journalistic integrity that it squandered long ago. On Sunday, Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger issued a statement to the paper’s staff that was also published in the Times and quoted in a longer article.
The pompous diatribe attempts to make it sound as if the Times has uncovered a shocking conspiracy: allies of President Trump are responding to biased media attacks on him by firing back, specifically with last week’s example of the Times promoting the Democrats’ ludicrous “Trump is a white supremacist” narrative with its “1619” plan, an attempt to recast all of American history as being based on slavery. To illustrate the paper’s transparent hypocrisy of pointing the finger of racism and anti-Semitism at others, Breitbart dug up a series of racist and anti-Semitic tweets by the Times’ own politics editor, tweets which we must assume other Times editors knew about and never said a thing.
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You’d think that a responsible editor would respond to that with a housecleaning. But no: Sulzburger is incensed that anyone would point out the Gray Lady's hypocrisy. He declared that allies of Trump have launched a “coordinated campaign” and “are seeking to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with the leading news organizations that are asking tough questions and bringing uncomfortable truths to light” (I'm bothered more by the uncomfortable falsehoods.) “The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job, which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.”
Mr. Sulzburger: Nobody is trying to “intimidate or silence” your paper. We’re just trying to embarrass you into doing your job instead of acting as the PR arm of the DNC. An example of “intimidating you into not doing your job” would be what happened recently when your liberal readers went ballistic over an accurate and objective headline about Trump’s response to mass shootings, so you changed it to reflect negatively on Trump for the next edition. You were intimidated into flushing whatever scraps of journalistic credibility you still retained down the porcelain convenience.
Our side isn’t trying to intimidate the Times into not doing your job. We’re just trying to correct your paper’s bias and fake news until you finally rediscover a sense of shame and start once again doing your job. It might be a futile effort, but we’re not going to stop just because you stamp your foot and rant about it.
As for Sulzbuger’s claim that the Times “will continue to cover this administration like any other: fairly, aggressively and fearlessly, wherever the facts lead,” I have to ask: how many reporters did you assign to push the Russian collusion story? Were they led by facts? Actually, your executive editor Dean Baquet admitted that “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.” He was actually boasting about how well they covered a story that turned out to be a hoax.
Is it too much to hope that the next story you build your entire newsroom around won’t also be a anti-Trump hoax? A hoax that your paper will continue to promote for years after anyone with a functioning brain starts to figure out that it’s a pile of hooey?
Oh, and for the record: I’m not part of a “coordinated campaign,” taking marching orders from the White House. I just grew up in rural Arkansas, and I know bull droppings when I see and smell them.