Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 7, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

NEW YORK TIMES ROUNDUP....Jim Henley has this to say about the New York Times:

Righties like Alan [Sullivan] are convinced that the media is reflexively liberal, lefties like Avedon Carol are as certain it serves its right wing masters. Me, I think the media just sucks, and has a statist, not necessarily liberal, tilt built into its very structure.

Of course it does, Jim. I've come to realize that the Times isn't really a newspaper at all, it's the perfect political Rorschach test: just ask someone to read a copy, note down what they mumble irritably about, and then take the mirror image. That's their political leaning.

Of course, there's little doubt that Times reporters really do trend pretty liberal socially, but I wonder if conservatives realize how lucky they are that this is so? (Aside from giving them a good punching bag, of course.) I figure that the mostly Southern, mostly rural, mostly Christian mega-conservatives the rightmost 15% or so of the country that are covered so poorly by the Times are actually a pretty scary bunch to most Americans. So while it's true that Times reporting of this group might indeed be rare and condescending, that's actually better than being frequent and enthusiastic. If they got the coverage they deserved, Republicans probably wouldn't win another election for the next 50 years.

Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds, offering the Times some otherwise interesting advice, says, laughably:

Where are the Ken Laynes, the Mark Steyns, etc. at the Times? The Times has been an intellectual and political monoculture for a long time, and that makes it hard for it to engage in the kind of critical evaluation of its own coverage that's necessary if it wants to be a real national paper, rather than a northeastern city paper with national aspirations.

Are its critics really so blinded that they are under the impression that the Times is just some provincial broadsheet desperately trying to get some recognition in the world? How about a little perspective here?

As for me, I hope the Times doesn't cave in to its right wing critics. Over at RealClear Politics, for example, John McIntyre says that the problem is that the Times has "drifted from the center-left to the hard-left," using a definition of "hard-left" that seemingly includes anyone who thought we should give UN inspectors more time in Iraq. There are damn few combative liberal voices left in the mainstream American press, and I hope the Times holds onto what's left of the ones it has. If they cave in, who's left?

Kevin Drum 4:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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