Sadly, this once giant of journalistic integrity, has sunk into an abased self indulgent and tawdry tabloid, driven now only by a skewed ideology.
However, it wasn’t always that way. I recall as a young man how I first became introduced to The New York Times and how I would debate the issues of the day and quote from its editorial pages. I remember my dad showing me how to master turning and folding those large pages, that seemed to go on and on forever, and of course a dictionary was always a good idea to have handy.
While New York City had several “hometown newspapers”, only the New York Times however, set the standard that others were measured by, and it soon became known as “the paper of record” around the nation. It was insightful, innovative, sassy, and it distinguished itself from the others, with journalistic integrity.
Obviously, the New York Times that I knew and loved to read, no longer exists. For almost a decade this once proud “gray lady” has slowly regressed becoming nothing more then an overpriced imitation of those seedy publications that alien the back shelves of newsstands.
What is surprising is not the lack of credible investigative reporting or the slip shod smearing of presidential candidate John McCain, but rather the astounding remarks by the Executive Editor, Bill Keller, responding to the overwhelming negative backlash by its readers.
“I was surprised by how lopsided the opinion was against our decision, with readers who described themselves as independents and Democrats joining Republications in defending Mr. McCain from what they saw as a cheap shot”.
Obviously, Mr. Keller doesn’t have a clue as to why 2,400 readers swamped the New York Times with letters and emails condemning the paper for running a decade old unsubstantiated story and recycling it too appear as if it were a fact-finding and newsworthy exposé.
Sadly, this shoddy and willful betrayal of trust is reminiscent of another ethically challenged New York Times reporter, by the name of Jayson Blair who committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud. Blair repeatedly violated the carnal tenet of journalism, that of truth, and continually fabricated and plagiarized from others.
Astoundingly, Blair’s immediate supervisors knew of Blair’s erratic behavior, and rumors of his plagiarizing long before it became public knowledge, yet he worked at the paper for well over year, long after the quality of his writings and credibility became an issue.
Years later, I had an opportunity to confront Blair on an internet blog site, where he excused his actions, by sighting emotional distress. Of course, when I pressed him further on the subject, he simply vanished. Blair of course, isn’t the only journalist or reporter at the New York Times, to have usurped journalistic integrity, there have been others.
Just recently, another New York Times reporter by the name of Charlie LeDuff was accused of “borrowing” complete passages from a book written by author and Professor Blake Gumprecht, in which he chronicles kayaking down the Los Angeles River. The similarities between the Times article and the book, went far beyond accepted journalistic practices.
Incredibly, The New York Times has been willing to overlook LeDuff’s sloppy journalistic shortcuts, so much, so that even antiwar “fake quotes” attributed to a Navel Officer to fit LeDuff’s political agenda, went unpunished.
Obviously, The New York Times has some serious issues that go far beyond the smear campaign against John McCain. They’ve lost all credibility and have allowed their ideology to get in the way of truthful reporting.
The arrogance and condescending nature of its management to the McCain backlash is astounding. Rather then admitting an error in judgment, Keller went on defending the article, by suggesting that the piece was nothing more then a “long running” series of biographical pieces on the candidates. He went on and on about issues that have long ago been put to rest.
However, want I found most telling about Keller’s remarks, is this one passage in reference to McCain. “He has a history of being sometimes careless about the appearance of impropriety, about his reputation”.
Perhaps I’m a bit dimwitted as I’ve read this passage several times, and I’m still having trouble understanding it, and that seems to be the issue with the Times…they say nothing, yet imply everything.