Accuracy in Media


Harper’s Magazine President and Publisher John R, MacArthur accused The New York Times of trying to marginalize the left by promoting the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president in 2016:

A typical media ‘analysis’ was provided by The New York Times, which almost immediately started promoting the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the next Democratic candidate for president. ‘Midterms, for Clinton Team, Aren’t All Gloom’ declared its front-page headline on Nov. 7. According to the paper’s reporter, Amy Chozick, the misfortune of President Obama and Senate Majority (soon-to-be-Minority) Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) equaled good news for Mrs. Clinton and her ‘advisers,’ among whom ‘a consensus formed … that it is time to accelerate her schedule.’ This move toward a more rapid coronation was due to ‘pressure’ on the former First Lady ‘to resurrect the Democratic Party,’ since Mrs. Clinton is ‘already being scrutinized as the party’s presumptive nominee.’

Some, if not all, of the assumptions underlying the Times story can easily be challenged. With a Democrat still in the White House and only a narrow Republican majority in the Senate, the word ‘resurrect’ seems a bit hyperbolic. And couldn’t one reasonably conclude that the abysmally low voter turnout was a sign of bipartisan dissatisfaction? Up to this point, Chozick and her editors were basing their thesis on the statements of ‘several advisers’ who ‘insisted on anonymity,’ and quoting even anonymous advisers at least suggests an effort by the journalist to do some interviews.

Two paragraphs later, however, the Times dropped any pretense of fair and balanced reporting by presenting the institutional voice of people who have very little interest in journalism, or, for that matter, democracy: ‘In many ways,’ quoth the Times,’Tuesday’s election results clear a path for Mrs. Clinton. The lopsided outcome and conservative tilt makes it less likely she would face an insurgent challenger from the left.’

MacArthur also criticized the Times for ignoring the left. He said that the paper only pays lip service to the left through liberal columnist Paul Krugman, who he said sounds like a leftist when compared to the other Times editorial and op-ed writers.

The Times may be the liberal paper of record in most quarters, but for MacArthur and his friends on the left, that apparently isn’t good enough, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton.

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