Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Old Gray Lady, she ain't what she used to be

The Ace of Spades is fuming about the ten-page spread in the NYT, which manages to highlight several leftist bloggers while virtually ignoring conservative sites with consistently higher traffic and greater influence - and failing to mention the blogosphere's role in exposing the faked CBS documents at all.

Sadly, it is par for the recent course of events at the Old Gray Lady {who has also deserted her nickname it seems; perhaps now she should be called "The Old Rainbow Lady?"}. The New York Times was long the most reliable newspaper in the world. It has taken only a few years to turn the once-great paper into little more than a bad journalistic joke.

Under the leadership of Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal, the Times maintained its old traditions. The editorial pages were unmistakably liberal, including Rosenthal's own columns, but if a story appeared in the news columns, you could take it to the bank and get a deposit slip. Unfortunately, old Honest Abe retired shortly after Sulzberger, Jr. was given the newspaper as his personal toyland. Evidently the family realized that Junior wasn't going to be able to land a position otherwise {for good reason}.

Junior brought in Howell Raines and a new attitude. Although Raines was a casualty of the Jayson Blair scandal, his editorial style has persisted. The paper is now little more than a semi-official organ of the Democratic Party, particularly the left wing.

Despite the ballyhooed post-Blair reforms, fact-checking remains little more than a theoretical obligation, and balanced presentation of the facts is unheard of. The errors and excesses of writers like Krugman, Dowd, and Kristof are legion, and the stuff of modern legend.

It is truly sad to watch the death throes of an icon of the newspaper business. The principal remaining value of the Times to its readers is fish wrap.


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