Tuesday, May 10, 2005

What doesn't sell in Peoria

Apparently, The New York Times has had a bit of a credibility problem lately. Making shit up does that to you. But the Times is also very concerned about that pernicious liberal bias you've probably heard about. Their solution? Well, for one thing, they've got a committee on the case, and they've produced a report:

In part because the Times's editorial page is clearly liberal, the news pages do need to make more effort not to seem monolithic. Both inside and outside the paper, some people feel that we are missing stories because our staff lacks diversity in viewpoints, intellectual grounding, and individual backgrounds. We should look for all manner of diversity. We should seek talented journalists who happen to have military experience, who know rural America first hand, who are at home in different faiths."

Pardon Cole Slaw Blog, but isn't trying "not to seem monolithic" basically another way to say that the Times will make sure to avoid looking liberal? I think we already have several papers and cable channels that do this.

Read that first sentence again and see what it's saying. Because the edit page is liberal, the Times intends to make sure it's articles don't appear to be that way, too.

What happens when the facts happen to favor the liberal point of view? Will they just ignore them? This would help their credibility problem much in the way that one could fix their car's annoying rattle by giving the keys to this cat.

The Times' effort to ensure a greater background in viewpoints certainly seems reasonably worthy, in a rather obvious sort of way.

Of course, in speaking of that greater diversity, the report cites rural America and different faiths as areas for improvement. These sound to Cole Slaw Blog like the kind of things one would assume appeal to people in places like the "middle of the country." Or even "exurbs and hinterland" as the report so charmingly refers to the kind of places where Cole Slaw Blog's owner-operators were born and raised.

Perhaps the Times is worried that the rest of the country thinks of it as the kind of paper that doesn't care about the things they care about. The kind of paper that is out-of-touch, obsessed with silly, frivolous things, and not interested in the concerns of "real America."

But I don't know who they'd have to blame for that.

To which CrimeNotes adds: This sounds like the opening gambit for the paper to backslide even further into its identity crisis. What the hell happened to hard news? This isn't just a CNN-type bid to dumb down its coverage, but a move to further the paper's features-driven mania. If it wants to be a better paper, it would put a fire in the belly of its Washington staff and recommit itself to serious international coverage. Fortunately, as the Times becomes a debauched backwater, we still have Great Britain.

No comments: