All the News that Fits to Print
For more than a century, the New York Times has stood as a beacon of journalism’s best efforts. Its reporters have ranged the world bringing personages high and low to attention, fame, and in some instances infamy.
News personnel around the nation viewed the publication as a beacon of integrity, fact-finding, and impartiality.
In this current Presidential campaign alas that mantle has been sadly pushed asunder.
The continuing WikiLeaks from the Hillary Clinton campaign is showing a marked disregard by the newspaper of its journalistic impartiality.
The emails between Times reporters and staff members show a degree of cooperation and bias no news organization should continence.
Editorial thinking belongs in the editor’s page, not in reportage of news stories.
For decades, many critics deplored the drift in the Times news pages towards advocacy rather than reporting.
Finally, with the WikiLeaks the cloak of impartiality is gone and with it the Times’ journalistic leadership.
The Times’ editors blame Donald Trump but the real culprit is their insular culture.
In the past, newspapers welcomed pesky citizens who called and wanted to speak with an editor or reporter. Some of their best stories resulted from these phone calls. Today, for the ordinary citizen or new information source, it is not easy to reach Times editors or reporters unless they have some connection.
Try calling the Times to speak with a journalist.
Sadly, the paper’s editors and journalists have forgotten how to be news people and have instead become insular partisans of an East Coast, West Coast culture not listening to mainstream America.
They think Donald Trump is a danger to the country.
They can argue perhaps rightly, that this is their duty as citizens.
But it is not their role as journalists.
American journalism has never been known for providing impartial reporting. From the nation’s beginning, newspapers were strongly biased for one cause or another. Remember the Federalist Papers urging adoption of the nation’s constitution first appeared in sympathetic newspapers.
Through the American centuries, these printed broadsheets crusaded for many needed changes in our society. Their efforts were rooted in shedding light through reportage on evils that affect citizens.
The Times has justly won many prizes for such efforts.
In the early decades of the 20th Century, journalists strove to establish standards and generations of journalists tried to honor a code attempting impartiality.
Beginning in 1962, as a young copy boy at NBC News, I was exposed to a generation of journalists schooled at newspapers around the world. Drummed into me was the mantra:
Lay out the facts and let the reader or viewer decide.
At NYU, a group of professors, all veteran journalists hammered this home.
In my first reporting job, I was exposed to World War II veterans who loved their jobs but their country more. All said the same thing: Let the reader decide, not you.
Opening this month on Broadway is a revival of Ben Hecht’s and Charles MacArthur’s wonderful play about newspaper journalist titled The Front Page.
In it are exposed all of the foibles of our journalism profession but the message is the underlying search for truth. Hecht’s wonderful autobiography, A Child of the Century, explores this even more fully.
Today’s Times reporters and editors seem not to trust the reader to make a decision without hammering home his or her own opinion.
We as journalists don’t have that authority. We are the surrogate for the reader. We were there at the event. Our job is to give the reader all of the information so he or she can decide.
In the case of this Presidential election, the Times is selectively giving readers as much negative information as possible about Donald Trump.
If the WikiLeaks are to be believed, the Clinton camp is conspiring with Times reporters to insure only positive information on their candidate appears in its columns.
Throughout our history, newspapers have taken sides in Presidential elections. Usually, this bias has appeared mainly in the editorial section.
If as critics now contend, this bias has moved too much into the editorial columns, as a leading arbiter of the news, the Times may have lost its leadership role.
What prompted this article was a column in the New York Post by John Crudele. In it he told why he was cancelling his Times subscription after getting it delivered to his home for 10+ years.
As a journalist, I read the Times every morning since it was available to me from the second day I started at NBC News. It was then necessary and to a great extent needed today. However, now it is a chore rather than a pleasure as it shows how journalism has unfortunately changed to show bias on the reporting pages, instead of the editor’s page where it belongs.