ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2019 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The decline of the Grey Lady

This New York Observer article doesn't tell us anything new. We all know the New York Times editorial page is terrible. But it does help explain why:
IT’S WELL KNOWN AMONG THE SMALL WORLD of people who pay attention to such things that the liberal-leaning reporters at The Wall Street Journal resent the conservative-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. What’s less well known—and about to break into the open, threatening the very fabric of the institution—is how deeply the liberal-leaning reporters at The New York Times resent the liberal-leaning editorial page of The New York Times.

The New York Observer has learned over the course of interviews with more than two-dozen current and former Times staffers that the situation has “reached the boiling point” in the words of one current Times reporter....

“I think the editorials are viewed by most reporters as largely irrelevant, and there’s not a lot of respect for the editorial page. The editorials are dull, and that’s a cardinal sin. They aren’t getting any less dull. As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years, from favoring the invasion of Iraq to the notion that green energy is the most important topic in the world even as the financial markets were imploding. Then there’s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president.”

Yet another former Times writer concurred. “Andy [Rosenthal] is a wrecking ball, a lot like his father but without the gravitas. What strikes me about the editorial and op-ed pages is that they have become relentlessly grim. With very few exceptions, there’s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul.
Of course, it probably doesn't help that the paper has largely converted itself into one massive editorial page. A recent study showed that only one in six front page articles could be considered proper news, the rest were all editorials cloaked in a newsy disguise.

The thing is, newspapers are absolutely allergic to permitting anyone who isn't a doctrinaire left-liberal get any exposure, so they sentence themselves to grim and tedious left-wing dogma. It is little surprise that even liberals tend to find it less than scintillating.

Labels:

59 Comments:

Blogger Tiny Tim February 05, 2014 9:03 AM  

A paper for the simple minded.

Blogger James Dixon February 05, 2014 9:08 AM  

> A recent study showed that only one in six front page articles could be considered proper news, the rest were all editorials cloaked in a newsy disguise.

I'd be interested in reading that. I wonder why the Times didn't cover it. :)

Blogger JP February 05, 2014 9:17 AM  

Wait, there's a paper that has a conservative-leaning editorial page?

Anonymous Edjamacator February 05, 2014 9:21 AM  

It is little surprise that even liberals tend to find it less than scintillating.

It even seems this way with TV shows. Get a TV show obviously propagandizing for the leftist cause of the day and the ratings are crap. It's like even leftists can't stand watching their own views on display.

Blogger James Dixon February 05, 2014 9:27 AM  

> Wait, there's a paper that has a conservative-leaning editorial page?

By liberal journalist standards, yes. Not by anyone else's. The WSJ has never been conservative. It's the Rockefeller republican newspaper.

Anonymous Josh February 05, 2014 9:28 AM  

Friedman, Dowd, Brooks, etc are all horrible.

Is Douthat any good? I haven't read much from him other than what's linked at other sites.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 05, 2014 9:32 AM  

Vox,

A recent study showed that only one in six front page articles could be considered proper news, the rest were all editorials cloaked in a newsy disguise.

Do you recall the studies name or author? Quick Googling didn't bring anything up.

Thanks

Anonymous VD February 05, 2014 9:36 AM  

Is Douthat any good? I haven't read much from him other than what's linked at other sites.

He's not bad. He's done a much better job there than I anticipated, although he is always careful to bracket anything even remotely controversial with liberal-assuaging caveats.

Do you recall the studies name or author?

It's on my Twitter feed. Look there.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 05, 2014 9:55 AM  

By liberal journalist standards, yes. Not by anyone else's. The WSJ has never been conservative. It's the Rockefeller republican newspaper.

So, it's simliar to how Orson Scott Card and Robert Heinlein are "conservative" science fiction authors. Gotcha.

Anonymous aaaaturkey February 05, 2014 10:03 AM  

In Australia our major newspapers are beholden to the views of the real estate developers. So every week we hear stories about house prices and factors that lead to housing bubbles to be great things for all. In reality the housing/banking alliance makes the entire economy uncompetitive.

Blogger JP February 05, 2014 10:12 AM  

In Australia our major newspapers are beholden to the views of the real estate developers. So every week we hear stories about house prices and factors that lead to housing bubbles to be great things for all. In reality the housing/banking alliance makes the entire economy uncompetitive.

I marvel at how they never stop to wonder how it could be good for the market if no one can afford to buy anything anymore.

Anonymous Susan February 05, 2014 10:14 AM  

Your last paragraph is a nutshell explanation for why liberal radio cannot take hold. Who wants to listen to the same garbage day in and day out? Even some liberals know enough to realize when they are being lied to and preached at.

And since the NYT editorial pages are a leader of the *OMG media now, they can't cover anything else but the WH spin. And that spin is usually such boring and obvious lies, no wonder the regular reporters are unhappy.

*OMG media = Obama Media Group. (stole that from elsewhere)

Anonymous buzzcut February 05, 2014 10:23 AM  

Heck, at this point maybe what they need is a good shakeup. They could start by renaming the paper The New York Truth.

Pravda?

Anonymous Feh February 05, 2014 10:25 AM  

In Australia our major newspapers are beholden to the views of the real estate developers. So every week we hear stories about house prices and factors that lead to housing bubbles to be great things for all. In reality the housing/banking alliance makes the entire economy uncompetitive.

That alliance, like the rest of the political elite, does not care about the "entire economy".

They are too busy selling the country to the Chinks as fast as they can.

Anonymous Roundtine February 05, 2014 10:34 AM  

Wait, there's a paper that has a conservative-leaning editorial page

Investor's Business Daily

Anonymous Daniel February 05, 2014 10:42 AM  

They "lean" liberal like the Titanic "leaned" toward the ocean floor. I loathe the term "liberal-leaning."

Anonymous CarpeOro February 05, 2014 10:49 AM  

Living in exile here in Chicago I have the dubious privilege of living in one of the few markets that still has a liberal radio talk show. On occasion when I hit it scanning through the radio the disconnect from reality. The only "positive" pieces I have heard is gloating over some idiocy the Republican Party has committed, or grudging agreement to something that was really monumentally stupid that they had done. Because they are just that lost in the fog.

Anonymous CarpeOro February 05, 2014 10:50 AM  

"the disconnect from reality is awesome."

Blogger IM2L844 February 05, 2014 11:03 AM  

With very few exceptions, there’s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul.

This annoyed me and made me laugh at the same time. Better get your whimsy on, Vox.

Anonymous Noah B. February 05, 2014 11:06 AM  

"Wait, there's a paper that has a conservative-leaning editorial page?"

The Volokh Conspiracy has gotten a place on the Washington Post editorial page. Shaping up to be very interesting.

Anonymous Porky February 05, 2014 11:10 AM  

Liberals eat themselves.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 05, 2014 11:20 AM  

Edjamacator February 05, 2014 9:21 AM

It even seems this way with TV shows. Get a TV show obviously propagandizing for the leftist cause of the day and the ratings are crap.


Will & Grace was one of the most-popular shows of its time.

Then again, you're refusing popular with quality. What is quality is not always popular, and vice versa.

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 05, 2014 11:34 AM  

Susan February 05, 2014 10:14 AM

Your last paragraph is a nutshell explanation for why liberal radio cannot take hold. Who wants to listen to the same garbage day in and day out? Even some liberals know enough to realize when they are being lied to and preached at.


Nope, that's not the reason that liberal talk-radio is not as popular as conservative talk-radio. (And there's a lot of garbage on conservative talk-radio.)

In marketing, it is much easier to use the channel or medium that your target audience already uses rather than get the audience to adopt a new channel or medium en masse.

Say I'm doing the online marketing for a company, and its potential users already use Twitter. I'm going to be on Twitter. I'm not going to only create a Facebook page and try to get all of them to become Facebook users instead.

For various reasons, people who are conservatives tended to listen to radio talk more than those who are liberals. So the conservative movement, supported by conservative-leaning media companies, seized that opportunity and because the "first to market." Once one "company" take a dominant share of the market, it's very difficult for another to get a foothold.

The whole issue with liberal talk radio is a lot more complicated than "it failed because liberals." Life, politics, and business is not that simplistic.

Anonymous Desiderius February 05, 2014 11:35 AM  

"Is Douthat any good?"

His book Privilege about his time at Harvard is excellent.

The comments to his articles are a must read for anyone with the temptation to be sanguine about the utter dominance of modern progressivism. It is the smug arrogance of unchallenged power.

Anonymous Jack Amok February 05, 2014 11:44 AM  

Is Douthat any good?

He's like most mainstream conservative journalists. Sees most of the problems, but is blind to most of the solutions. Or at least mute about them.

That's the main problem, the solutions aren't polite. They require saying some things that might be considered unkind and hurtful.

Anonymous VD February 05, 2014 11:47 AM  

The Volokh Conspiracy has gotten a place on the Washington Post editorial page. Shaping up to be very interesting.

A consequence of the Bezos purchase, one assumes. He's not a media figure accustomed to losing money for the sake of dogma. He wants to lose money to gain market share.

Anonymous Josh February 05, 2014 11:54 AM  

Guys, liberal talk radio already exists and is very popular. It's called NPR.

Blogger Nathan February 05, 2014 11:59 AM  

Nothing light-hearted, nothing whimsical, nothing... GAY?? Is that what they mean?

Anonymous Jimmy February 05, 2014 12:09 PM  

That Chris Christie article turned out to be a dud, and rewritten pretty quickly. He isn't dead yet unless we let him die due to expediency's sake.

Anonymous civilServant February 05, 2014 12:10 PM  

they sentence themselves to grim and tedious left-wing dogma. It is little surprise that even liberals tend to find it less than scintillating.

They seek rebellion.

Anonymous Salt February 05, 2014 12:20 PM  

Where's the NYT on this?

No where. That's where.

Blogger TontoBubbaGoldstein February 05, 2014 12:20 PM  

'With very few exceptions, there’s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul."

There's a sale at Penney's!

Blogger Tiny Tim February 05, 2014 12:22 PM  

Liberal talk radio is for losers who seek out support for their failures.

It's also fun "hatin" on the greedy white devils.

Blogger RobertT February 05, 2014 12:27 PM  

" The editorials are dull, "

Ditto with every newspaper in the country. Nobody reads editorials any more. They're all mind numbingly boring, unless they're writing about you. The local newspaper once wrote a scathing editorial about what I said in a political speech calling me the Cotton Mather of the 21st century. Exactly one person mentioned it to me. And he only did it so he could brag about how righteous he was. But it probably had its intended effect. It caused me to pull my profile down quite a bit.

I think that's the object of editorials today ... to have a political impact on the people they're writing about.

Blogger Joshua Dyal February 05, 2014 12:29 PM  

Will & Grace was one of the most-popular shows of its time.

Then again, you're refusing popular with quality. What is quality is not always popular, and vice versa.


And Will & Grace played with gay stereotypes, and played them up for laughs, and largely was criticized by the LBGT team for being entirely too unpropagandistic.

On the other hand: Ellen.

Blogger RobertT February 05, 2014 12:37 PM  

" relentlessly grim "

That's true but there are a lot of things out there that aren't "grim" that people won't pay money for. The purpose of a newspaper is to sell advertising and grim is the only thing that sells. Bad news is still news. Good news is personal. And despite that, newspapers are still collapsing. Jeff Bezos is not going to be able to resurrect the Washington Post. And the mighty Times will follow it down the drain. Everything is digital these days and no newspaper has shown the ability to take on Drudge or Arriana's rag.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 05, 2014 12:39 PM  

Will & Grace was one of the most-popular shows of its time.

Then again, you're refusing popular with quality. What is quality is not always popular, and vice versa.


Nice, one show. I now know my place. Joshua described the reason for that nicely, but before I ditched TV altogether, there were hard leftist shows that seemed to pop up and then go away quite quickly. I'd name them for you but I didn't care about them then so didn't bother learning their names. In fact, I'd hear about them as they went out. However, I do believe most dealt with homosexuality, so maybe leftists just love the idea of fighting for an "oppressed minority" but want nothing really to do with those in said minority. You know, like how they are with blacks and Hispanics.

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 05, 2014 12:53 PM  

Remember when newspapers used to be cool?

You'd have Pulitzer Prize winning NYT reporter Sydney Schanberg tearing ass through Cambodia reporting on the Khmer Rogue and avoiding machine gun fire.

Now they talk of gay marriage and recycling.

Fuck you, America.

Anonymous David February 05, 2014 12:57 PM  

Will and Grace was about women living vicariously through Grace enjoying their unrequited love crush on Will. Tediously boring for guys. But the other two characters were fun to watch and had the better lines. Karen in particular could crack me up once in awhile.

As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years... Then there’s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president.

It's refreshing that some people at the NYT actually understand this. They preach diversity but put up a Stalinesque monolithic front.

Anonymous Feh February 05, 2014 1:05 PM  

You'd have Pulitzer Prize winning NYT reporter Sydney Schanberg tearing ass through Cambodia reporting on the Khmer Rogue and avoiding machine gun fire.

Leftist piece of shit reporter... too bad the Khmer Rouge didn't send him to the reeducation camps.

Blogger Feather Blade February 05, 2014 1:08 PM  

RobertT February 05, 2014 12:27 PM

The local newspaper once wrote a scathing editorial about what I said in a political speech calling me the Cotton Mather of the 21st century.


...Did they think that was somehow an insult?

Anonymous kh123 February 05, 2014 1:13 PM  

"I think that's the object of editorials today ... to have a political impact on the people they're writing about."

I think it's the object of most any media today: WASP needs to roll over and die from shame because cracker's going on about "Tha's not mah culture and heritage!" Would never work with 1st to 3rd generation ABC mainlanders or Koreans for instance - bring up anything about historic Japan and they still get worked up - but it goes over perfectly well with 7th or 8th gen enervated goyim who have little to no idea about Lexington & Concord among other things.

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 05, 2014 1:17 PM  

Leftist piece of shit reporter... too bad the Khmer Rouge didn't send him to the reeducation camps.

After watching the last American helicopter leave, Schanberg and Pran worked day and night, speeding around Phnom Penh in two rented Mercedeses and camping out in the cable office at night to file stories. By the fourth night, as the boulevards filled with refugee bullock carts and fleeing soldiers, both men knew the city was about to fall. "It was totally chaotic," says Schanberg. "It wasn't just one area disrupted. All the spokes of the wheel were in turmoil. The night sky was lit up with tracer bullets as the Khmer Rouge continued shelling the city, and people everywhere were frightened and desperate. It was a vision of hell."

He was one of the few that stayed behind.

Excellent reporter despite being a leftist.

He's still at the NYT today and on the editorial page. The New Leftists are shadows of their former selves.

You make a copy.
Then you make a copy of a copy...

Anonymous Samuel Scott February 05, 2014 1:18 PM  

David February 05, 2014 12:57 PM

Will and Grace was about women living vicariously through Grace enjoying their unrequited love crush on Will. Tediously boring for guys. But the other two characters were fun to watch and had the better lines. Karen in particular could crack me up once in awhile.


Actually, I mentioned the show right now because I'm watching it in the background on Israeli cable reruns. I don't remember any of the gay controversy and/or support back in the day, but do think the show is extremely well-written and funny. Much better than all the reality TV drivel that infects Israeli TV as much as the rest of the world.

Anonymous HongKongCharlie February 05, 2014 1:22 PM  

I found the illustration interesting. Looks like Vox is seen as a threat the the left's grip on information.

HKC

Anonymous Feh February 05, 2014 1:31 PM  

Following years of combat, Schanberg wrote in The New York Times about the departure of the Americans and the coming regime change, writing about the Cambodians that "it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." A dispatch he wrote on April 13, 1975, written from Phnom Penh, ran with the headline "Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life."

There's your "excellent reporter" -- what a scumbag.

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 05, 2014 1:38 PM  

Oh congratulations, I see you found Wikipedia.

Allow me to show the very next paragraph: However when the truth about the Khmer Rouge came out, Schanberg readily acknowledged that, "I watched many Cambodian friends being herded out of Phnom Penh. Most of them I never saw again. All of us felt like betrayers, like people who were protected and didn’t do enough to save our friends. We felt shame. We still do." and utterly condemned the "maniacal Khmer Rouge guerrillas". He was one of he few American journalists to remain behind in Phnom Penh after the city fell.

Trying to get one over on Idle...

Naughty!

Anonymous Arthur February 05, 2014 1:49 PM  

The illustration accompanying this article. Vox, is that you they are referring to on that shark fin?

Anonymous Noah B. February 05, 2014 2:19 PM  

"I found the illustration interesting. Looks like Vox is seen as a threat the the left's grip on information."

I read an article a few days ago that Ezra Klein (who bears a striking resemblance to the mental image I'd formed of Tad) is starting a new media outlet called "Vox." I'm guessing that's what they're referring to, since they likely find a blog of this kind far too threatening and bad and scary to mention even in passing.

Anonymous Feh February 05, 2014 2:51 PM  

Um, do you really think that paragraph vindicates him for what he said in the previous paragraph?

Hint: no it doesn't, dumbass.

Anonymous Anonymous February 05, 2014 2:55 PM  

With very few exceptions, there’s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul.

True. When I think back to when I was younger and held some leftist beliefs, there was certainly nothing whimsical about it. There is often laughing and pleasure -- when watching liberal stand-up comedians, for instance -- but nothing lighthearted. Hating people and institutions and cheering for their destruction can be pleasurable, but it can't really be joyful or good for the soul, and that's what it's about.

Anonymous Idle Spectator February 05, 2014 3:19 PM  

Um, do you really think that paragraph vindicates him for what he said in the previous paragraph?

Hint: no it doesn't, dumbass.


Um, yes. That's why we have the "However when the truth about the Khmer Rouge came out..." statement.

That's an example of what we call "learning from experience." Anyone over the age of eight or nine is familiar with it. If this concept didn't exist, it would be impossible to get better at things like driving a car or operating an oven. I'm glad I could share this special moment with another "what is is" guy.

Also: In the July 1st, 2010 issue of American Conservative, Schanberg wrote an article about his struggle to reveal the truth about the United States government leaving behind hundreds of POWs being held by North Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War.

That Leftist bastard!

---
Erratum: "He's still at the NYT today and on the editorial page." That is misleading. It should refer to his archives.

Anonymous VD February 05, 2014 3:27 PM  

That refers to the company Vox Media, which is basically a Gawker rip-off.

I read an article a few days ago that Ezra Klein (who bears a striking resemblance to the mental image I'd formed of Tad) is starting a new media outlet called "Vox."

Klein isn't starting anything. He works for Vox Media, which runs SB Nation and other sites.

Anonymous Noah B. February 05, 2014 3:39 PM  

Strange, I hadn't ever heard of Vox Media before and I must have just assumed it was new.

Anonymous Josh February 05, 2014 3:53 PM  

Vox Media owns EDSBS, which is the b best college football blog. And Spencer Hall is probably our nation's best college football writer.

They recently raised $30 million IIRC.

Anonymous Montfort February 05, 2014 4:49 PM  

The New York Times is like Harvard University: they both get it from all sides. That's what happens when your stature in society is too high. And since the internet took off starting in the late 1990s, it was clear that the major newspapers would lose stature and importance. People soon discovered that anybody with a computer and modem could be a journalist and sound off on anything, and reach millions of people worldwide. Many obscure news outlets reported on news faster and better than the NYT. So the decline of the major news media is very welcome news, and an advancement in the discovery of truth.

Anonymous Anonymous February 05, 2014 7:51 PM  

And that's the thing about liberalism: not an original thought in decades.
It's boring.
This explains the continued decline in CNN and MSNBC ratings. Even the faithful want to be entertained, at the least.

Anonymous Steve February 06, 2014 1:42 AM  

The complaints by the staffers of the NYT are not complaints about the quality of the paper. They are only complaints that the old guys are hanging around too long. No one on the Politburo ever resigned or resigns. The younger Party members would be even worse, if their reporting is any indication.

Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist February 07, 2014 2:19 AM  

Why should anyone read newspaper editorials anymore? The internet means that opinion pieces from whip-smart, thoughtful, educated, cultured people from all over the political/philosophical/economic spectrum are at your fingertips. For example, for alt-left there's Counterpunch or Ted Rall, for libertarianism Lew Rockwell or Vox, for alt-right Radix or Fred Reed, for Dark Enlightenment Derbyshire or Moldbug, for Neo-Reaction, well, how about myself? So why would anyone read the predictable establishment-left pablum in the New York Times?

No, not everybody has the resources to do in-depth investigative reporting that a big newspaper does, but the Cult of the Talented Amateur (no longer a curse) means that people just as qualified as some moldy New York-Washington axis lefty to provide insightful commentary on the world can and do provide it, with a reach just as long as - longer than, really - that of the Times.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts