<strong>New York Times Wallows in the Gutter</strong>

New York Times Wallows
in the Gutter

© David Burton 2019

New York Times in the Gutter

     Once upon a time, the New York Times was regarded as the most respected newspaper in America. No longer! These days, the New York times has fallen from its lofty pinnacle into the gutter. It has become biased and lacks journalistic integrity.

     In September 2019, the Times it reached a new low when it published unsubstantiated charges against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. “The recent fiasco at the New York Times, which . . . published the latest uncorroborated sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, was a monument to hearsay and a travesty of journalistic ethics.
     “The story, since modified to include crucial information, was an adapted excerpt from a book, ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,’ written by two Times staff writers, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. In it, the authors reported {sexual misconduct} allegations by a Yale classmate {against} Kavanaugh . . .
     “. . . eye-popping was the omission from the original Times piece that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed for the book — and, according to friends, doesn’t remember any such incident. [Emphasis mine]
     “Such an oversight is inexcusable.
      - - -
     “The facts that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed by the authors, and apparently told friends that she doesn’t recall any such incident, amount to the very definition of a non-story. . . [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “Some {unconscionable and opportunistic} Democratic contenders for the presidency immediately called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment. They include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Tex.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
      - - -
     “The truth is, Kavanaugh has been the target of a media siege since his name was announced for consideration for the high court. . .
     “What’s all too clear is that America’s privileged youth had a serious drinking problem in the early 1980s, and boozy memories from high school and young adulthood are unreliable. Far more troubling is that several presidential candidates seemingly would impeach a Supreme Court justice on nothing more than hearsay — and impeachable journalism. ” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 1)

     The New York Times Times rag-sheet article about Kavanaugh’s supposed youthful indiscretions were outdated, unsubstantiated, and irresponsible. They were journalistic incompetence at best and character assassination at worst – an affront to journalistic integrity and just one more glaring example of how far into the gutter the once proud and respected newspaper has fallen.

     More than one hundred years ago - in 1897 - perhaps the most famous seven words in American journalism — “All the news that’s fit to print” — appeared in the upper left corner of the New York Times masthead. It signified the standard of impartiality, honest journalism and journalistic excellence that could be expected from one of the world’s leading newspapers. The phrase was often associated with fairness, restraint, and impartiality. Today, those seven words are, at best, hypocritical and constitute a joke and a reproach when applied to the New York Times.
     Since those famous words first appeared in the Times masthead, the quality and credibility of the reporting in the New York Times has continually deteriorated over the years and, along with it, the paper’s impartiality.” (Ref. 2)

     As reported as far back as 1998, “The Times has touted itself as an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare. 'The paper's independence, however, and the century-long accretion of influence and wealth by the owners, has been contingent on their defining public welfare in a manner acceptable to their elite audience and advertisers. In the 1993 debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example, the Times was aggressively supportive of the agreement, and solicited its advertisers to participate in advertorials with a letter touting the central importance ... of this important cause’ and the need to educate the public on NAFTA's merits, which polls showed that most citizens failed to appreciate. As the paper regularly takes positions on domestic and foreign policy issues within parameters acceptable to business and political elites, it is evident that the owners have failed to escape class, if not selfish, interests in defining public welfare and what's fit to print.
     “In debates within the range of elite opinion, moreover, the Times has not been ‘fearless,’ even in the face of gross outrages against law, morality, and the general interest. During the McCarthy era, for example, the management buckled under to the Eastland Committee by firing former communist employees, who spoke freely to management but would not inform on others, and more generally it failed to oppose the witch hunt with vigor and on the basis of principle. . . .
      - - -
     “James Reston, the Times's most famous reporter, was on close terms with a string of presidents and secretaries of state, but in the strange mores of U.S. journalism, the resultant compromised character of his reporting did not diminish his professional standing. Bruce Cumings, writing about Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1950, states that ‘Acheson vented his ideas through our newspaper of record, James Reston's lips moving but Dean Acheson speaking.’ . . .
     “As the Reston story suggests, the most common pattern of serving the political establishment is not by directly telling lies, but rather by omission, and by letting officials tell lies that remain uncorrected. {Harrison} Salisbury describes the internal debate over how far the paper should go in accommodating propaganda, the upshot of which was that the Times would ‘leave things out of the paper,’ or would publish statements known to be false if U.S. officials ‘were willing to take responsibility for their statements.’ What the Times would not do is publish unattributed lies. This is the high principle underlying news fit to print.
      - - -
     “The Times has attracted many quality reporters over the years. But power at the paper still flows down from the top, affecting hiring, firing, promotion, assignments, and what reporters can do on particular assignments.   . . . In writing on topics on which the Times has an ideological position and policy, 'like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict', or Russia and its ‘reform’ process, or health care reform and the Social Security ‘crisis,’ the reporters all toe a party line, which either comes naturally to them or to which they adapt.  . . .
     “In short, reporters are underlings, and in an establishment paper like the Times they will report within an establishment framework or leave. [Emphasis mine] . . . “ (Ref. 3)

     Then in 2012, we read: “New York Times journalists are extremely protective of their newspaper’s reputation as the ‘paper of record.’ So when faced with criticism of their reporting or accusations of journalistic bias, they tend to reject it, discrediting their critics as insignificant right-wingers.
     “Last year {2012}, for example, former New York Times correspondent Neil Lewis wrote a lengthy piece for the Columbia Journalism Review on ‘The Times and the Jews,’ discounting criticism of the newspaper’s Palestinian-Israeli coverage as ‘ill-founded,’ ‘toxic’ and ‘based on misunderstandings of journalism.’ He marginalized the critics as likely to come from a small group of Orthodox Jews who support Israeli right-wing policies condemned by the majority of American supporters of Israel. Such critics, he insisted, ‘can easily find what seem to them errors in emphasis or tone on any individual article.’ But any fair analysis should view coverage ‘as part of a larger thematic narrative.’
     “Well, the results of just that sort of fair analysis were recently released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA). And they provide detailed evidence that exposes the newspaper’s biased coverage and disproves Lewis’ dismissive arguments. [Emphasis mine]
     “CAMERA is a media-monitoring organization whose 65,000 members represent a wide cross-section of the American public -- Jews and non-Jews, secular and orthodox, liberal and conservative -- motivated by the desire to see accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. The study, ‘Indicting Israel: New York Times Coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,’ empirically examines coverage over an extended period of time, July 1-Dec. 31, 2011, and finds a ‘larger thematic narrative’ of continued, embedded indictment of Israel that pervades both the news and commentary sections of the newspaper.
     “On the news pages, where readers expect objective and balanced reporting, criticism of Israel was cited more than twice as often as criticism of the Palestinians. The Palestinian perspective on the peace process was laid out nearly twice as often as the Israeli perspective. Vandalism by a fringe Israeli group and IDF military defensive strikes were emphasized in numerous articles, often with headlines highlighting Israeli actions, while Palestinian aggression and incitement was downplayed or ignored. Israel's blockade of Gaza was usually mentioned without context. And Israel’s resort to force aboard a Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade was frequently discussed and faulted without referencing the precipitating attacks on Israeli soldiers by pro-Palestinian activists.
     “The theme of faulting Israel was amplified on the editorial and op-ed pages to one of Israel as a malignant force in the region. Despite the newspaper’s purported commitment to expose a diversity of opinions, three quarters of all opinion pieces on the conflict were devoted to denouncing Israel’s leaders or policies, while none were devoted to condemning Palestinians. Even Israel’s tolerance toward gays was condemned as a ploy to support human rights abuses against Palestinians. [Emphasis mine]
     “Consider the following: When a group of Israeli teenagers were arrested in August 2012 for beating an Arab youth unconscious, The New York Times ran two separate front-page, above-fold articles about it. Both articles focused on the negative features of Israeli society that the incident was said to reveal.
     “Contrast that with the Times’ coverage, 17 months earlier, of an assault by Palestinian teenagers on an Israeli family. The victims, including three young children, were brutally slaughtered in a bloody attack that included slitting the throat of a 3-month old as she lay asleep in her crib. The New York Times chose not to cover that gruesome event on the front page, nor to comment on what the incident reveals about Palestinian society and the pernicious effects of incitement to kill Israelis by the Palestinian leadership.
      - - -
     “{This} follows a long history of similar distortions, dating back to the1930's when The New York Times downplayed the Nazi persecution, and later, genocide of European Jews in order to avoid being seen as a ‘Jewish’ newspaper. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “CAMERA’s study provides objective documentation that demonstrates exactly how The New York Times abandoned journalistic standards to turn coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into the supposedly ‘progressive’ cause of indicting Israel.” (Ref. 4)

     The abysmal quality of the writing that appears on the pages of the New York Times is proof that their journalists have become the mouthpieces for East Coast white liberals, where their news writing and coverage reflect the social and political interests of the cultural elite. Too often these journalists see their jobs as the fulfillment of the mass media role to educate the proletariat masses, empowering them to eventually seize political control from the ruling capitalist bourgeoisie. As Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online observed, "If the apocalypse were nigh, the (New York) Times would run a headline 'World to End Tomorrow: Women, Blacks in Peril. " (Ref. 5)

     In his book, Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America, author William McGowan writes that "The New York Times, which was once considered the gold standard in American journalism and the most trusted news organization in America, today is generally understood to be a vehicle for politically correct ideologies, tattered liberal pieties, and a repeated victim of journalistic scandal and institutional embarrassment."


  1. Opinions | The New York Times’s travesty of journalistic ethics,
    Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post, 18 September 2019.
  2. All the News that’s Fit to Print?, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 246, 18 March 2016.
  3. All The News Fit To Print (Part I): Structure and Background of the New York Times,
    Edward S. Herman, Z magazine , April 1998.
  4. Study Indicts New York Times for Anti-Israel Bias , Ricki Hollander, PB MEDIA,
    21 January 2013.
  5. Deteriorating Journalism, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu; Article 141, 13 September 2012.


  29 November 2019 {Article 389; Undecided_62}    
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