New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has been fielding criticism from readers about what they perceive to have been a concerted effort by the paper to ignore covering the Benghazi story because of their liberal bias. She took issue with those assertions in a blog post earlier this week.
While discussing the critical emails she has received on this issue, Sullivan noted that last year she criticized the Times for keeping a story about a hearing on the subject off the front page, and for failing to connect the dots. But that didn’t result in any increased coverage of Benghazi.
Instead of just admitting the failure of the Times to cover the latest developments, however, Sullivan said that the criticism was based more on politics than journalism, and that Fox News was responsible for helping to foment it:
Here’s my take: The angry criticism of The Times on Benghazi has been based largely on politics, not journalism, and fomented by Fox News. (The conspiracy narrative goes like this: The Times is a liberal newspaper unwilling to take on a liberal president and his administration.) In fact, what’s been written in The Times has been solid. But my sense is that, starting last fall, The Times has had a tendency to both play down the subject, which has significant news value, and to pursue it most aggressively as a story about political divisiveness rather than one about national security mistakes and the lack of government transparency. Many readers would like to see more on that front, and so would I.
The Times has since written a few stories in anticipation of yesterday’s Congressional testimony. But all Sullivan sees in the criticism of her paper is some right-wing vendetta spurred on by Fox News, rather than an attempt to discover the truth about an administration anxious to bury it.