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The Bias at The New York Times

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Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. As of 2/2020, Jack has over 100,000 views.

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Introduction

Bias in the media has been around for a long time. In the print media, the New York Times is king. Every other news organization follow the New York Times. It is read by most academics and on the shelfs of all libraries. It not only report the news, it sets the direction and tone of our country. It’s influence is far and wide.

- Oct. 2018

Background

Media bias is not new. In fact, bias is the norm. We all have them. It is in our nature. In fact, it takes work and discipline to keep bias In check. That is why journalist goes to school and learn the trade. They are instructed to be objective, and to keep their opinions out of the story they write about.

We all know newspapers have many sections. There is the front page and there is the editorial page and there is Op Ed page and there are travel, and finance and book reviews and many other sections of interest.

Traditionally, it is well understood that “news” only belongs in the news section and opinion belongs in the Op Ed page. The two should never cross path.

Recently, the line between hard news and opinion has been blurred.

Bias in It’s Many Forms

How many ways can bias exhibit itself?

  • How you frame a story.
  • How a story is covered or ignored. Bias by omission.
  • A book review and bestseller list
  • Sports
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Who is writing the Op Ed. Even Anonymous.
  • Even advertisement is politicized.

Another words, it appears everywhere you look, there is potential for bias.

Is Bias Intentional?

When you raise the issue of bias in media, most media types reject this notion. They truly believe they are the main stream and they believe they speak for the majority of Americans. They work in an office where 90% of the employees think alike. Group think is part of their daily life. Bias creeps in and they are not even aware of it.

Another issue deals with anonymous sources. The media uses sources for many of their stories. These sources are embedded with government or corporations and may not want their names associated with a story. Especally if the story put a negative light on those organizations. They are in some cases considered whistleblowers.

However, we also know some of these people have their own agenda. They use the media to leak stories that benefit one party over another. It is up to the journalist to determine what is truth and what is spin.

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Indirect Bias

Here is how a real news organization can miss use their influence and yet not be held accountable. They will write a story based on some anonymous source that was published in a smaller news paper. This gives them cover in case the story turn out to be false or an exaggeration. They can always claim they were just reprinting what exists in the public domain.

The problem with anonymous source is that there is no way to verify from a second source. By definition, an anonymous source is protected. In order to get verification, you need to know who is providing the information.

Why Does Some People Don’t See Bias?

It begs the question why some people don’t see bias. Are they biased themselves? Are they preaching to the choir? Are they deceived? Are they ignorant? Or just not paying attention?

Here is my theory. I think many people just go about their lives not being political one way or another. They can’t phantom how a news organization, as prestigious as the New York Times, could stoop so low. They just assume there is enough good people working there that they would keep everything above board. The New York Times is thought of as the Walter Cronkite of print.

However, this past two years, since the election of Trump, we have seen many incidences of extreme behavior on the part of journalists. Brian Ross of ABC news is a prime example. Paul Krugman of the New Hork Times, a Nobel winning economist, is another. He predicted a market crash if Trump is elected President. The opposite happened and the DOW rose 20% the first year of the Trump administration

October 28, 2018 Headline

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The Title “Dutiful word of grief...”

If this was President Obama or Clinton, would they use the same words? Of course not. In the case of Trump, the implication is that he does not really care. He says the words needed to be said... How cynical is that? Can a President share his feelings without being second guessed by the New York Times writer.

What next “fight” would Trump be off to? Could it be a campaign rally? Why choose these exact words?

October 27, 2018 Front Page

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The Book Reviews...and Editorials

What is bias in the book review section of the NYT?

There are thousands of books published each year. Only a handful gets on the best sellers list. The NYT has its own list. Yet, they refuse to review books written by conservatives like Bill O’Reilly and Dr. Michael Savage. Some of these top selling books are not even about politics. Some are about history, like the “Killing Series”, and some are on faith and religion...yet the reviewer at the NYT deliberately black ball these books. That is a form of bias.

They have no problem publishing fictional stories that envision the assassination of President Trump. Would they do it for a Clinton or Obama presidency?

You have to ask yourself what is the criteria of the NYT book review committee?

Some will claim the NYT is diverse. After all, they have Paul Krugman and David Brooks on their staff. A progressive economist and a conservative commentator.

However, David Brooks is no conservative. He is at best a CINO, a Conservative In Name Only.

The Bottom Line

Why does it matter? It matters because we are such a divided nation now. It was estimated by polls that Americans are 40% conservative, 30% moderate and 30% progressive. If you divide the moderates in half, the balance between the right and left should be 55% to 45%.

The media plays a role in upsetting this balance. They consistently side with the Democrats in their coverage of politicians and therefore has some influence in election results. Some estimate is they may sway the voters betwen 5-10%. That is why, in my opinion, some recent elections are as close as they’ve been. The media tipping the scale.

Summary

The New York Times is not the paper it once was. It was always a liberal paper but now it crossed over to being a yellow journalism of news. It has no problem making up stories and using anonymous sources to push an ideology and an agenda.

The people are waking up to this sad fact. Before Trump, most Republican candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney just accepted it. Trump is calling them out and they despise him even more. To most clear thinking Americans, it is about time. We need an unbiased media to keep our republic strong. The corruption in the 8 years of Obama may not have happened if th media did their job. The IRS, FBI, DOJ and EPA have all been corrupted under Obama. We need to clean house and drain the swamp.

Many political operatives are embeded in our federal bureaucracy. They have no place being there. They have made big government part of our lives. They are spending our tax dolllars like there is no tomorrow. Our federal debt is growing every year and more rapidly under Democrats. Yet, even under Republican majority, it is rising much faster than inflation. Why is that? Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have seen this before. Under the first two years of the Obama administration, when the Democrats were the majority of both houses of Congress, they used this power to pass the ACA. The same is being repeated now with Trump in the White House and both houses majority in the hands of the GOP. This is not a good sign. I hope the people wake up and stop this insanity.

The conservative philosophy of limited government is the best solution. Both party is at fault. They have driven up our debt past 22 trillion dollars. Our federal tax revenue is at all time high and yet, it is never enough. Why?

It is said Money is the source of all evil. The better quote should be, “the love of money is the source of all evil”.

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© 2018 Jack Lee

Comments

Liz Westwood from UK on October 29, 2018:

In the UK too British newspapers are traditionally known for their political bias.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on October 28, 2018:

Marie, I will do that and add some examples. Thanks for the suggestions.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on October 28, 2018:

I was hoping you were going to present a specific article or two and point out examples of the biases in each. You are good at organizing general ideas, though.

Best wishes.