NYT Publisher: We’re Going To Report Honestly Now

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 13, 2016 12:00 PM
NYT Publisher: We’re Going To Report Honestly Now

What is going on over at The New York Times? They’re now saying they’re going to be rededicated to reporting honestly on America and the world. That’s what their publisher, Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., penned in a letter to the Times’ readers.

After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?

As we reflect on this week’s momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.

The publication also says that they reported on both candidates fairly. Is this Trump Derangement Syndrome? Granted, I read the Times. I see the bias, though Nate Cohn of the Upshot blog is good at breaking down the data. That section is worth a read, but everyone knows the Times is a biased newspaper. Heck, even die-hard Clintonites would probably (and oddly) agree with Trump supporters over the coverage, though an unauthorized and unsecure email server that possibly put America’s national security at risk is a bigger issue. Yes New York Times, you certainly missed something in your coverage regarding white working class whites, who have had it. I missed this critical block of voters as well, though we know that these folks were the foundation of the Obama coalition, who went for Trump this year. There were also millions of Obama supporters who voted for Trump. For one thing, there was Salena Zito, formerly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who reported on these folks in Western PA and the Rust Belt. She noted that they’re not breaking for Clinton, they’re angry, they’re unsure of the future, and they might just vote for a guy who will drain the swamp. Some of these voters she found were voting Republican for the first time in their lives because they saw Trump, and in this case Sen. Pat Toomey, as folks who had their backs.

But let’s get back to this reporting honestly bit. Are you kidding me? Executive editor Dean Baquet, who also signed the letter, said he would risk jail time to publish a story on Trump’s tax returns. In October, The Times published a story featuring Trump’s 1995 New York State tax return, which showed a near $1 billion loss that could have allowed President-elect Trump to legally avoid paying taxes for almost 20 years. It’s legal. Every wealthy member does this. Even Hillary Clinton declared a significant capital gains loss to lessen her tax burden in her 2015 return. The aim was clear: to paint Trump as a tax cheater. It might have boosted the confidence of the liberal elites that dot the I-95 corridor that Trump would lose. Outside the scum of cities, most working class folks noted that these were loopholes that the wealthy exploited and that they too would do the same if they had the net worth of the president-elect. It fell flat. The Hill’s Joe Concha wrote a column responding the article, where he says that the article is proof that the publication sacrificed its ethics. It was a stolen tax return by the way. The story could’ve been met with legal issues. Yes, there might be some reservations about writing about Wikileaks, but federal law doesn’t protect those documents. Tax information, on the other hand, is protected. I guess the point is that it’s a tad odd that one of the most liberal newspapers in the country is getting back to the basics on its reporting when they can’t even be honest with themselves about their story about Trump’s 1995 tax return and its intentions. So, excuse me while I laugh at the notion the Times will be honest about Trump over the next four year.

The Times’ public editor, Liz Spayd, said that maybe from here on out, the publication could make camp inside red America and report on the deplorables of America. The Trump supporter who the liberal, urban-based elites hate with every fiber in their being; the people who just aren’t really worthy of their time since they don’t have college degrees or speak with learned diction. In other words, the folks who make up the majority of the country.