The Times: Propaganda organ of the left
New York Times public editor Liz Spayd's tenure ended on Friday, June 2 – along with the post of public editor. The Times' reported elimination of the public editor position in a June 1 article accompanies news that buyouts had been offered to "newsroom employees" – mainly for editors, but reporters could also apply. The buyout offer was announced in a memo that reportedly – and ominously – warned of layoffs if there were not enough buyout volunteers.
The memo explained the purpose of the buyout as follows: "Our goal is to significantly shift the balance of editor to reporters at the Times, giving us more on-the-ground journalists developing original work than ever before[.]" (Apparently, salaries for reporters are somewhat lower than compensation for editors.)
The story went on to report a recent 18-percent drop in print ad revenue "in the most recent quarter causing an overall decline in advertising revenue of 7 percent." The story quickly noted "the second straight quarter of record-breaking subscriber growth, with 276,00 new digital-only subscriptions," bringing to 2.2 million the number of such subscriptions. In the preceding paragraph, the article claimed a "net gain of 308,000 digital-only subscriptions in the most recent quarter, the largest number for any quarter in [Times] history." How does the 276,000 figure correlate to the 308,000? Well, one thing is certain: we can't ask the public editor to help with the answer.
Was Liz Spayd too naive in her April 23 column supporting the hiring of Bret Stephens as a Times columnist? Did she go too far in seeing the Stephens hire as indication that Times employment is not limited to persons holding "liberal orthodoxy of thought"? Ms. Spayd also suggested that "[t]he Times and other news media" are oblivious "to a swelling despair in Middle America." She continued: "Now, as the 100-day mark of the Trump administration approaches, it's time to ask: Is the Times following through on its promise to put an outstretched hand toward Red America? And, just as crucially, are readers ready for it?"
Ms. Spayd acknowledged that the hiring of former Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens as a Times columnist "produced a fiery revolt among readers and left-leaning critics." She continued, "The Stephens episode touches the third rail of a debate surfacing as The Times looks to include a wider range of views, not just on the Opinion pages but in its news columns."
Either Spayd was fooling herself or the publisher and his executive editor decided they could no longer abide such naiveté. Yes, Stephens is "conservative," but he is a staunch #NeverTrump conservative. (Perhaps the Wall Street Journal was insufficiently anti-Trump for Stephens.) The Times would never give space to anyone who threatened to blot the pages of The Gray Lady with pro-Trump opinion.
The Times is certainly no longer a great newspaper. Indeed, it can no longer be considered a newspaper in the sense of 20th-century journalistic tradition. The New York Times has been transformed into a major propaganda organ for the Democratic Party and the cause of authoritarian leftism, which now oppose outcomes of presidential elections when Democrats lose. And so, the nation is presently in the grip of a Democrat-leftist campaign to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election by hook and by crook, by deceit, by disinformation, by deception, because the "wrong" candidate was elected by the voters. And the left and its intelligence allies claim that the Russians are undermining our democracy!
Of what use is a public editor to deal with complaints about the vicious partisanship that emanates from every section of the Times, when such vicious partisanship has become the raison d'être of a publisher who has traduced the tradition of journalistic objectivity that once was thought to be sacrosanct at the Times? To imagine a public editor at the New York Times today, one might as well imagine a public editor at Pravda in the days of the former Soviet Union.