The New York Times, facing a subscriber exodus in the wake of Donald Trump’s upset victory, is reaching out to their dwindling readership with a promise to once again start calling it down the middle. Whether subscribers are abandoning the paper because the NY Times polling predictions were so wrong or because their coverage of the election was so biased, we can’t yet say. But in an open letter to subscribers thinking about going elsewhere for their news, the Times publisher hinted at both scenarios.
“As we reflect on this week’s momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism,” wrote publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. It is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.”
Sulzberger, however, could not quite bring himself to admit that his paper (willfully) abandoned the pretext of journalistic objectivity in their coverage of Clinton and Trump.
“We believe we reported on both candidates fairly during the presidential campaign,” he wrote. “You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.”
For now, we’ll read between the lines and assume that even if these media titans are too egotistical to admit it publicly, they know how badly they messed up in this election. And if liberals are serious about “giving Trump a chance,” we’ll be willing to give media outlets like the New York Times a chance. We’ll be willing to do so for the same reason, actually, which is that we have no other choice.
The coverage we’ve seen over the course of the last year and a half isn’t dangerous because it was biased towards Hillary. That’s surface level. The real problem – the real danger – is that it was so biased at all. It’s highly doubtful that any of them are going to over-correct and start showing favoritism to Trump and the Republicans, but that’s good – that’s the same problem with a different coat.
We must expect and demand that our press cover President Trump with the skepticism and scrutiny that they failed to apply to President Obama. That’s on us, because they will be glad to do it.
On the other hand, they must begin scrutinizing Democrats with the same level of dedication. They must draw a clear dividing line once again between the front page and the editorial section. They must remember that they are the voice of the people, NOT the government, in any form it takes. They must take strong steps to rectify their current worldview, which ignores 99% of the country, Democrat and Republican.
They MUST take those steps and more, and they MUST begin immediately. Not for their survival.