The so-called "paper of record" has been anything but for some time now. The extreme bias that issued forth from it's front page, turning into a defacto editorial series against Bush and the war in Iraq, was one reason that a public editor was brought in to oversee operations and if I recall correctly, caused other staff changes as well.
Things have not improved much lately. From the American Thinker:
The New York Times' own Rathergate (excerpt)
Byron Calame, public editor of the New York Times, has laid out a carefully worded exposé of the utter breakdown of editorial standards at the New York Times. The fact that paper prominently published a falsehood is only the beginning of the problem. When the falsehood was exposed, two senior editors of the paper issued a defense of the article without bothering to check the readily available court documents which critics had cited. Based on this negligent defense, the newspaper's publisher, Pinch Sulzberger, has rebutted critics who have written in.
Worst of all, even after the proof of the lie, the paper's editor and publisher refuse to publish a correction or even an editor's note. The paper is therefore content to let the lie stand, officially. If it were interested in honest reporting, it would be duty-bound to issue a retraction, one as prominent as the original lie.
From the NY Times public editor Byron Calame:
Exceptional care must be taken in the reporting process on sensitive articles such as this one to avoid the slightest perception of bias. Paul Tough, the editor on the article, acknowledged in an e-mail to me that in reporting this story, Mr. Hitt used an unpaid translator who has done consulting work for Ipas, an abortion rights advocacy group, for his interviews with Ms. Climaco and D.C. This wasn’t ideal, he said, but the risk posed for sources in this situation required the use of intermediaries “to some degree.”
Ipas used The Times’s account of Ms. Climaco’s sentence to seek donations on its Web site for “identifying lawyers who could appeal her case” and to help the organization “continue critical advocacy work” across Central America. “A gift from you toward our goal of $30,000 will help Carmen and other Central American women who are suffering under extreme abortion laws,” states the Web appeal, which Ipas said it took down after I first contacted the organization on Dec. 14. An Ipas spokeswoman called the appeal “moderately successful.”
Once again, we see careless reliance on local entities that may have their own agendas distorting the facts. We've seen enough of this in Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza strip. The common theme being a media that get's excited over it's presuppositions being supported and throwing the much vaunted fact checking edifice out the window.
That such a dysfunctional media has the gall to dismiss bloggers outright, when many in the upper tier of the blogosphere have actually exposed their many mistakes and outright lies, shows not only a disrespect for the truth, but also for those who pay for their services.
And yet, the response to their public editor continues in self denial and arrogance:
I asked Mr. Whitney if he intended to suggest that the office of the publisher bring the court’s findings to the attention of those readers who received the “no reason to doubt” response, or that a correction be published. The latest word from the standards editor: “No, I’m not ready to do that, nor to order up a correction or Editors’ Note at this point.”
He concludes with what can only be characterized as a monumental understatement.
Accuracy and fairness were not pursued with the vigor Times readers have a right to expect.
I'm rather surprised that the readers of the Times still have such expectations. One would think that being jilted so often and being given the equivalent of a, screw you and your expectations, would cause a number to quit reading. Apparently, just enough people live in an alternate reality of their own making, where facts do not easily intrude, so that the paper can survive. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression such people consider themselves part of the reality based community, as compared to those of us that are not extremely liberal or, heaven forbid, might actually have religious beliefs.
The irony would be comical if it wasn't for the influence such a publication still has on our culture. Hopefully, more people will now start coming to their senses, as it's all too clear, that the NY Times is about as trustworthy as Wikipedia, when it comes to controversial matters.
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