Just when you thought that the discussion on the level of public discourse in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting along comes New York Times executive editor weighing in with his thoughts on the matter.
In an interview with Marvin Kalb at the National Press Club Monday evening Keller opened up about Rupert Murdoch and Fox News:
“I think the effect of Fox News on American public life has been to create a level of cynicism about the news in general,” Keller said. “It has contributed to the sense that they are all just out there with a political agenda, but Fox is just more overt about it. And I think that’s unhealthy.”
As if the Times doesn’t have a political agenda.
Keller continued telling Kalb:
We have had a lot of talk since the Gabby Giffords attempted murder about civility in our national discourse, and I make no connection between the guy who shot those people in Tucson and the national discourse,” Keller said. “But it is true that the national discourse is more polarized and strident than it has been in the past, and to some extent, I would lay that at the feet of Rupert Murdoch.”
And by default Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly ignoring Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann.
What really rankles Keller though is Murdoch’s and in particular Fox News’ success. Despite a deep recession that has battered the Times, Murdoch’s News Corp. has remained profitable thanks to Fox News and the movie studio 20th Century Fox.
So while Murdoch can continue to print newspapers without worrying too much about the bottom line, Keller has had to deal with newsroom cutbacks, the sale of the paper’s headquarters, the elimination of the stock dividend and a short term loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim just to stay afloat.
Keller sounds more like Chris Matthews than the executive editor of a major newspaper that he is and his comments only expose the bias of Times even more so.