They Eat Their Own

 

The commitment of journalism to the distorted and deceptive Leftist agenda has been something amazing to watch, particularly in the past year. For the most part, everyone has fallen into lockstep with the powers-that-be, either out of a shared agenda or out of fear. Now we can see that even at the highest levels, no one, even in journalism which is dominated by the Left, is safe.

Last week, Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that was met with outrage. (It is now behind a paywall.) Not only did he support President Trump’s commitment to securing the country from the destruction and violence of rioters, but he was accused by the Times of putting people in danger:

The column drew criticism from inside and outside the New York Times newsroom as some readers and journalists interpreted the column as advocating actions that would put protestors and reporters in danger.

Initially, New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger stood behind publishing the column. ‘I believe in the principle of openness to a range of opinions, even those we may disagree with, and this piece was published in that spirit,’ he said in an email to the staff on Thursday, according to a New York Times account.

By Sunday, Sulzberger said in a note sent to staff that was seen by Reuters: ‘Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we’ve experienced in recent years.’

After the essay was published, the paper accused Cotton of making “dubious claims”:

Maybe Bennet would have flagged some of the column’s dubious claims such as ‘some elites have excused this orgy of violence in the spirit of radical chic, calling it an understandable response to the wrongful death of George Floyd.’

Cotton also offered no proof that police officers ‘bore the brunt of the violence’ and that the radical left-wing group Antifa was ‘infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes.’

This attack on Cotton’s writing is “dubious”! What in the world is unconvincing about his statements? All over the media, we’ve heard the political elite, from Hollywood to Congress to state governors acclaiming the violence, calling it understandable and appropriate. How much proof do these people need that police officers have been attacked, even killed by members of Antifa? Are we supposed to assume that reports from our own government are deceptive? Are we to assume that Attorney General William Barr is distorting this information for political purposes?

Of course, we are.

That’s why the NYT Editorial Page Editor James Bennet was “forced to resign.”

In another incident, Stan Wischnowski. Executive Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, resigned. He approved publishing an op-ed by Inga Saffron, the paper’s architecture critic, that was entitled, “Buildings Matter Too.” Her piece was interpreted as equating the death of George Floyd to the destruction of buildings:

Inquirer staff members criticized their management on social media over the headline and in an internal company meeting. More than 40 journalists of color signed an open letter to the paper’s leadership, accusing it of paying lip service to the idea of diversity and inclusion. Dozens stayed home in protest Thursday and, according to one source, will not be docked by management for their actions.

It’s clear that Conservatives are not the only ones who are to be targeted, but anyone, anywhere who bucks the party line, intentionally or not, will be punished. Journalists of every persuasion are at risk of having their words distorted and misinterpreted if anyone decides they have gone beyond the pale. No one is safe. Not only are their ideas intentionally distorted, but any news that criticizes anyone on the Left will be banned.

 It’s now clear to everyone: they eat their own.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: That’s why the NYT Editorial Page Editor James Bennet was “forced to resign.”

    In the beginning of the movie Serenity, a scientist is forced to fall on the sword of a government agent as the penalty for screwing up.  It looks like the left is doing the same.  I know many leftists see this as a just punishment, but surely there are some who think, “Wait a minute – if I do one thing my fellow lefties say is wrong, I’m totally hosed?  Game over, man!”

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: That’s why the NYT Editorial Page Editor James Bennet was “forced to resign.”

    In the beginning of the movie Serenity, a scientist is forced to fall on the sword of a government agent as the penalty for screwing up. It looks like the left is doing the same. I know many leftists see this as a just punishment, but surely there are some who think, “Wait a minute – if I do one thing my fellow lefties say is wrong, I’m totally hosed? Game over, man!”

    I wonder when that will sink in, @stad. We’ve seen people attacked on social media, but when you attack the upper echelons, it will get pretty ugly. It will be interesting to see if there’s any pushback.

    • #2
  3. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Great post. Great points. I don’t even know where to start. The whole thing is just insane to me– completely and utterly insane. I think the worst part, for me, is that the staff think that this makes them look more credible or responsible, whereas I look at the whole saga as people voluntarily saying: “I want to set my credibility as a public commentator on fire.” 

     

    It is scary and even a little upsetting. The scary part: how could anyone sit back and admit they are so intellectually and emotionally insecure that they would go this crazy over an op-ed? Is this the world we live in where a group of people want to act like children but also be awarded for it?  The upsetting part is that these people, having announced how light-weight they are, also think they get to determine what you can and cannot know because they don’t want people to make up their own minds. I think we all know there is bias in reporting but now it isn’t just bias, it is outright censoring.

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself” — attributed to Napoleon but most likely a reworking of something he actually said.

    Our challenge is to exploit the energy of those dispossessed by the Left. President Trump’s campaign message is being written by the Left: “If you don’t want more of that, vote for me. If you vote for them, you will get more of that.” It was true in 2016. It is even more true, now.

    • #4
  5. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Rodin (View Comment):

    “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself” — attributed to Napoleon but most likely a reworking of something he actually said.

    Our challenge is to exploit the energy of those dispossessed by the Left. President Trump’s campaign message is being written by the Left: “If you don’t want more of that, vote for me. If you vote for them, you will get more of that.” It was true in 2016. It is even more true, now.

    I think they’re on full-auto, shooting themselves in the foot. 

    Since medical errors kill 300,000 Americans every year and a disproportionate number of the victims are black and brown, I propose to burn down my local hospital and defund medicine. 

     

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Goldgeller (View Comment):
    The upsetting part is that these people, having announced how light-weight they are, also think they get to determine what you can and cannot know because they don’t want people to make up their own minds.

    I think this makes me the most nuts–if there are degrees of nuttiness! Great comment, @goldgeller. Pretty much sums up the reasons we must not assume journalists can be trusted. If they want to eat their own, that’s their choice; just tell me the truth!

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Since medical errors kill 300,000 Americans every year and a disproportionate number of the victims are black and brown, I propose to burn down my local hospital and defund medicine. 

    Be careful–you may get a following, @GrannyDude!

    • #7
  8. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Since medical errors kill 300,000 Americans every year and a disproportionate number of the victims are black and brown, I propose to burn down my local hospital and defund medicine.

    Be careful–you may get a following, @GrannyDude!

     

    It’s true, isn’t it? 

    • #8
  9. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Remember, the Times and other news outlets are doing this, because this is what the readership they’ve decided to cultivate want — a newspaper (or for CNN and MSNBC a news channel), that will never force them to view information outside of their bubble, because they’ve decided the best way to survive is pander to a small-but-loyal group of middle to upper-middle income progressives (and in the Times’ case, limousine liberal wealthy). And the way they keep them loyal is to give them exactly the storyline they want, so they’ve hired young reporters and editors who are fine with doing that, because they think like the readers do.

    The Times has basically become The Village Voice, the alternative NYC weekly that was started by Norman Mailer and others in the mid-1950s specifically because they though the Times and other local newspapers weren’t aggressively liberal enough. The Voice made its name with advocacy journalism, where you knew the progressive take before the story was written, and the only question was if they had any facts to back up the story, or if it would be 1,200 words of innuendo and opnion.

    That’s the Times in 2020. You know the slant of the story before reading the first word, and you know the paper is ‘meh’ when it comes to having anything to back it up — if there is something bad on Trump, great. If there’s not, just make it sound that way, because that’s what the core readership wants to hear.

    And they can’t back out of it overnight, even if they wanted to. Unless note-holder Carlos Slim was willing to put up some serious cash to tide things over, if the Times just went back to being a reliably liberal newspaper as it was in the 1980s they’d have a tsunami of angry progressives cancelling their subscriptions, while it would take a while for people to feel safe to come back to the Times again, because it was trying to practice real journalism again.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    And they can’t back out of it overnight, even if they wanted to. Unless note-holder Carlos Slim was willing to put up some serious cash to tide things over, if the Times just went back to being a reliably liberal newspaper as it was in the 1980s they’d have a tsunami of angry progressives cancelling their subscriptions, while it would take a while for people to feel safe to come back to the Times again, because it was trying to practice real journalism again.

    Great points, @jon1979. The big question is whether enough radicals will continue to support them. I don’t know how many they will continue to attract, but they are certain to continue to lose the mainstream. I don’t foresee their going backwards, especially since it’s not clear if that would help them financially. They made their bed; now they can thrash around in it. Thanks.

    • #10
  11. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Susan Quinn:

     It’s now clear to everyone: they eat their own.

     

    I wish they’d do so faster.

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Revolutionary types always eat their own.

    Animal Farm.

    • #12
  13. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    But there is a powerful paradigm at work here and, even though it is weakening, it is far from finished; The New York Times is America’s “Newspaper of Record” and outlets such as the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, and even NPR are not far behind.  If you notice, even right-leaning commentators (Howard Kurtz, Chris Stierwalt, etc) still have a fascination with the “talent” at the NYT.  

    I can’t figure it, the NYT does show occasional flashes of journalistic competence but not enough to show that they are interested in being anything but a propaganda platform for the progressive movement.  

    So, what needs to change the most; The New York Times or its readership?

    • #13
  14. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    But there is a powerful paradigm at work here and, even though it is weakening, it is far from finished; The New York Times is America’s “Newspaper of Record” and outlets such as the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, and even NPR are not far behind. If you notice, even right-leaning commentators (Howard Kurtz, Chris Stierwalt, etc) still have a fascination with the “talent” at the NYT.

    I can’t figure it, the NYT does show occasional flashes of journalistic competence but not enough to show that they are interested in being anything but a propaganda platform for the progressive movement.

    So, what needs to change the most; The New York Times or its readership?

    The Times needs to change not simply what it prints, but it’s entire newsroom culture unless it simply want to be a big budget version that free alternative weekly that used to be on corner vending racks in big cities around the country. But it also needs leadership willing to do that and take the big financial hit it would get at the outset, from those only wanting their ideological beliefs to be parroted back at them angrily canceling their subscriptions (Like Jeff Bezos and the WaPo, Carlos Slim has more than enough $$$ to take that hit. The question is do the Sulzbergers, and do they want to be any more in debt to Slim than they already are following the 2009 bail out? He’s put a lot of money into the Times as a non-voting silent partner and might want to do more than that for a larger investment if a second rescue was needed, and in terms of integrity, Slim may not give a damn if the paper trashes its reputation, as long as it turns a profit with the core audience it has right now).

    • #14
  15. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Susan Quinn: This attack on Cotton’s writing is “dubious”! What in the world is unconvincing about his statements?

    Exactly!

    This morning I actually read what Cotton wrote and asked myself what the turmoil was all about?  There’s nothing in there to object to.  He’s absolutely right.  I was thinking of posting a similar post as you have here Susan.  (I’m glad you beat me to it; I didn’t have the time.) If they object to this, then all they want is pure anarchy. We have come to a crossroad here.  Now if the left doesn’t back off this anarchy mode, we will have a serious, unresolvable problem.

    • #15
  16. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    But there is a powerful paradigm at work here and, even though it is weakening, it is far from finished; The New York Times is America’s “Newspaper of Record” and outlets such as the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, and even NPR are not far behind. If you notice, even right-leaning commentators (Howard Kurtz, Chris Stierwalt, etc) still have a fascination with the “talent” at the NYT.

    I can’t figure it, the NYT does show occasional flashes of journalistic competence but not enough to show that they are interested in being anything but a propaganda platform for the progressive movement.

    So, what needs to change the most; The New York Times or its readership?

    The Times needs to change not simply what it prints, but it’s entire newsroom culture unless it simply want to be a big budget version that free alternative weekly that used to be on corner vending racks in big cities around the country. But it also needs leadership willing to do that and take the big financial hit it would get at the outset, from those only wanting their ideological beliefs to be parroted back at them angrily canceling their subscriptions (Like Jeff Bezos and the WaPo, Carlos Slim has more than enough $$$ to take that hit. The question is do the Sulzbergers, and do they want to be any more in debt to Slim than they already are following the 2009 bail out? He’s put a lot of money into the Times as a non-voting silent partner and might want to do more than that for a larger investment if a second rescue was needed, and in terms of integrity, Slim may not give a damn if the paper trashes its reputation, as long as it turns a profit with the core audience it has right now).

    You make excellent points.  However, in breezing through the headlines I saw that Bezos made a big thing telling a disgruntled Amazon user, “I don’t need your business” (since the customer didn’t support Black Lives Matter).  It seems to me that the gap (perhaps better described as a “gulf”) is widening by the day.  Bezos truly has enough money to tell every Amazon customer to go to h*ll.  I’m not sure what the status of the NYT will be.

    • #16
  17. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The mystifying thing is that management caved to staff. If the response had been ‘if you don’t respect the judgment of the editors and their vision for the publication, feel free to resign.’

    With the news industry shrinking, replacing reporters is probably not hard.  How do back bench weenies have veto power?

    Could there ever be a twitstorm such that subscribers or advertisers would drop the NYT for not being left enough?

    The admission that woke weenies have veto power over all content means that the NYT no longer can even pretend to be a professional news organization.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The admission that woke weenies have veto power over all content means that the NYT no longer can even pretend to be a professional news organization.

    I can’t read the editors’ minds, but I wonder if they were concerned about their subscribers seeing them in a poor light for not acting, and that’s why they caved. So much for demonstrating honor, professionalism and authority. They’re all weenies.

    • #18
  19. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The admission that woke weenies have veto power over all content means that the NYT no longer can even pretend to be a professional news organization.

    I can’t read the editors’ minds, but I wonder if they were concerned about their subscribers seeing them in a poor light for not acting, and that’s why they caved. So much for demonstrating honor, professionalism and authority. They’re all weenies.

    Times columnist Bari Weiss made the point on the Ricochet Podcast two weeks ago that the paper’s income model now is more based on subscribers to the online service, as opposed to the more traditional model of newspapers, where the advertising was the driver, and the circulation income was secondary. That’s not to say advertising is unimportant — the Times isn’t going to run an editorial any time soon telling the more larcenous among the George Floyd protestors to loot Macy’s again, and while they’re at it, go over to the East Side and ransack Bloomingdale’s in the name of Great Justice — but it does mean ads don’t provide the same sort of short-term financial cushion they might have offered in the past, if the Times ran a story or op-ed that ticked off a block of their readership.

    The old guard at the paper is captive to the new guard and to the readers they’re signed up, who are there for the type of ideological messaging the new guard wants to deliver. I’d assume once you get below the Sulzberger family itself, no one at the Times is safe if they anger the SJW mob inside the building.

    • #19
  20. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Stad (View Comment):

    In the beginning of the movie Serenity, a scientist is forced to fall on the sword of a government agent as the penalty for screwing up. It looks like the left is doing the same. I know many leftists see this as a just punishment, but surely there are some who think, “Wait a minute – if I do one thing my fellow lefties say is wrong, I’m totally hosed? Game over, man!”

    In the Bill Paxton voice, right?

    • #20
  21. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Susan Quinn: No one is safe. Not only are their ideas intentionally distorted, but any news that criticizes anyone on the Left will be banned.

    Just when you think things can’t get any worse — they do. Believe it or not there was a day when the NY Times was considered the best paper in the country. What a shame that today they don’t even have the moral courage to stand behind their own editors.

    • #21
  22. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Silence dissent.  

    • #22
  23. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Rodin (View Comment):

    “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself” — attributed to Napoleon but most likely a reworking of something he actually said.

    Our challenge is to exploit the energy of those dispossessed by the Left. President Trump’s campaign message is being written by the Left: “If you don’t want more of that, vote for me. If you vote for them, you will get more of that.” It was true in 2016. It is even more true, now.

    Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

    • #23
  24. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    Since medical errors kill 300,000 Americans every year and a disproportionate number of the victims are black and brown, I propose to burn down my local hospital and defund medicine.

    Be careful–you may get a following, @GrannyDude!

    It should include something about White Coats…

    • #24
  25. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Remember, the Times and other news outlets are doing this, because this is what the readership they’ve decided to cultivate want — a newspaper (or for CNN and MSNBC a news channel), that will never force them to view information outside of their bubble, because they’ve decided the best way to survive is pander to a small-but-loyal group of middle to upper-middle income progressives (and in the Times’ case, limousine liberal wealthy). And the way they keep them loyal is to give them exactly the storyline they want, so they’ve hired young reporters and editors who are fine with doing that, because they think like the readers do.

    The Times has basically become The Village Voice, the alternative NYC weekly that was started by Norman Mailer and others in the mid-1950s specifically because they though the Times and other local newspapers weren’t aggressively liberal enough. The Voice made its name with advocacy journalism, where you knew the progressive take before the story was written, and the only question was if they had any facts to back up the story, or if it would be 1,200 words of innuendo and opnion.

    That’s the Times in 2020. You know the slant of the story before reading the first word, and you know the paper is ‘meh’ when it comes to having anything to back it up — if there is something bad on Trump, great. If there’s not, just make it sound that way, because that’s what the core readership wants to hear.

    And they can’t back out of it overnight, even if they wanted to. Unless note-holder Carlos Slim was willing to put up some serious cash to tide things over, if the Times just went back to being a reliably liberal newspaper as it was in the 1980s they’d have a tsunami of angry progressives cancelling their subscriptions, while it would take a while for people to feel safe to come back to the Times again, because it was trying to practice real journalism again.

    why would they? they are making money staying afloat with the Shite the publish now. 

    what should happen is every sane person in the USA should cancel their subscription. 

    • #25
  26. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    But there is a powerful paradigm at work here and, even though it is weakening, it is far from finished; The New York Times is America’s “Newspaper of Record” and outlets such as the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, and even NPR are not far behind. If you notice, even right-leaning commentators (Howard Kurtz, Chris Stierwalt, etc) still have a fascination with the “talent” at the NYT.

    I can’t figure it, the NYT does show occasional flashes of journalistic competence but not enough to show that they are interested in being anything but a propaganda platform for the progressive movement.

    So, what needs to change the most; The New York Times or its readership?

    Can we get BLM to burn it down? /jk only a little bit. 

    • #26
  27. Keith SF Member
    Keith SF
    @KeithSF

    I have to remind myself that any institution is just a group a people. And that a group changes over time – people leave, new people arrive. We reflexively respect the “old gray lady” even though there’s relatively little continuity between what it once was and what it is now. It’s like the old joke about the hammer – “Can you believe, I’ve had this hammer for 30 years! Still works just fine. I did have to replace the handle. And the head…”

    When I read NY Times (I notice it most explicitly in the feature articles – cultural observations, trends, arts, film, whatever) more and more I notice a breathless, naïve quality that can come through in the writing – a youthful combination of smug self-assurance and ignorance that makes me think I could be reading Buzzfeed… or a college paper for that matter. I tell myself that the Times is full of earnest and self-righteous kids who don’t have much to teach me, and I shouldn’t let the masthead intimidate me.

     

    • #27
  28. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Keith SF (View Comment):
    I tell myself that the Times is full of earnest and self-righteous kids who don’t have much to teach me, and I shouldn’t let the masthead intimidate me.

    Exactly. 

    • #28
  29. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    The admission that woke weenies have veto power over all content means that the NYT no longer can even pretend to be a professional news organization.

    I can’t read the editors’ minds, but I wonder if they were concerned about their subscribers seeing them in a poor light for not acting, and that’s why they caved. So much for demonstrating honor, professionalism and authority. They’re all weenies.

    That’s what powers the cancel culture. There’s a state of fear and everyone is worried about how others will see them, not due to vanity but real fear of losing their livelihoods. But why is it that it is liberal wrath that everyone fears, and not that of conservatives? Is it because conservatives, by their nature, are not wrathful in the way liberals are?

    • #29
  30. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Remember, the Times and other news outlets are doing this, because this is what the readership they’ve decided to cultivate want — a newspaper (or for CNN and MSNBC a news channel), that will never force them to view information outside of their bubble, because they’ve decided the best way to survive is pander to a small-but-loyal group of middle to upper-middle income progressives (and in the Times’ case, limousine liberal wealthy). And the way they keep them loyal is to give them exactly the storyline they want, so they’ve hired young reporters and editors who are fine with doing that, because they think like the readers do.

    The Times has basically become The Village Voice, the alternative NYC weekly that was started by Norman Mailer and others in the mid-1950s specifically because they though the Times and other local newspapers weren’t aggressively liberal enough. The Voice made its name with advocacy journalism, where you knew the progressive take before the story was written, and the only question was if they had any facts to back up the story, or if it would be 1,200 words of innuendo and opnion.

    And they can’t back out of it overnight, even if they wanted to. Unless note-holder Carlos Slim was willing to put up some serious cash to tide things over, if the Times just went back to being a reliably liberal newspaper as it was in the 1980s they’d have a tsunami of angry progressives cancelling their subscriptions, while it would take a while for people to feel safe to come back to the Times again, because it was trying to practice real journalism again.

    why would they? they are making money staying afloat with the Shite the publish now.

    what should happen is every sane person in the USA should cancel their subscription.

    Some people have linked extreme TDS to the Times’ online subscription jump, and they’re wondering if Biden wins in November, do all those types keep their Times subscriptions?

     

    • #30