Anyone who follows my commentaries knows that I have been a constant critic of the ubiquitous appearances of New York Times and Washington Post reporters and editorialists on CNN and MSNBC. It is almost impossible to find a panel on any subject at any time during the broadcast day that does not include representatives of those two publications –sometimes even more than one of each.
First, I have long disdained the practice of reporters or anchors interviewing reporters. I prefer to hear from the newsmakers directly. Not only do these reporter/panelists come from a second-hand and prejudicial perspective, but they myopically focus on the political sideshow to the detriment of coverage of the really serious issues.
The interviews with the folks protecting our borders are far more informative than hearing from those writing about the folks protecting our borders. I observed hours of prejudiced panelists talking about what Attorney General William Barr said, but only one network (FOX) actually put the AG on camera to speak for himself. You get the point.
The last place I would have ever imagined receiving support for my view in this matter, would be from … (drum roll please) … the New York Times. I would have set the odds for that happening at something akin to winning the big lottery – and would have preferred that. However, it seems the Times has come to the conclusion that a number of programs on CNN and MSNBC are biased – too biased to have their reporters participate. So … the word on the street is that they will be withdrawing their reporters from a few left-wing cable shows.
Presumably, the Times would put some right-wing shows – such as Hannity or “The Angle” with Laura Ingraham – on the blacklist. But it is the admission by a very liberal publication that so many of those shows on CNN and MSNBC are … you know … biased, opinion based. It runs contrary to the left-wing narrative that it is FOX News that is engage in political partisanship.
According to an article in Vanity Fair, Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet fears that by appearing on left-wing opinion, his reporters will be “perceived as being aligned” to a specific partisan political philosophy. He’s right. That is exactly how I have perceived them for many years.
Specifically on the “no fly” list at CNN and MSNBC are their most popular prime time shows – including the Rachel Maddow Show, “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, and “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon. Using that standard, the Times could easily extend the ban to virtually the entire line up – particularly on MSNBC.
The integrity of reporting has also been compromised by reporters who have used their appearances to score lucrative contracts as highly-paid “contributors” – and they do not get those deals by arguing against the network’s partisan narratives. (It is noteworthy that FOX News does not engage in contributor contracts with journalists.)
Lemon responded to the news.
“I do not get the sense that they are banning reporters from my show. But, I don’t work for the Times so I can’t be sure. However, it would be extremely shortsighted if they are when journalism is under attack. We should support each other. Period.”
(Note to Lemon: Journalism is not under attack. Partisan propaganda parading as journalism is.)
The bosses at the Times fear that the frequent appearances of so many newspaper staffers on programs pushing a left-wing Democrat agenda might bring into question the objectivity of the Times. Perhaps the Times editors should be as worried about the actual perspective of their employees not just their appearances on those shows because – to a person – they endorsed, reflected and advanced the same biased narratives of their hosts. And from what they write for the Old Gray Lady of Journalism, their own biases could be the problem.
The Times handbook that outlines practices and procedures recommends that “Staff members should avoid strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering.” But, it does not prevent them from getting paid for appearances – an egregious conflict of interest and journalistic ethics.
If the Times is looking to reclaim credibility in the broader marketplace, they will need to do more than pull their employees off those politically partisan programs parading as journalism. They will have to look at the balance of their own reporting. If you read the Times, you can readily see that their approach to journalism is very similar to CNN and MSNBC.
But still, the fact that the Times has somewhat publicly recognized and called out much of the CNN and MSNBC lineup is a remarkable occurrence. To have one perceived to be of their own ratting on them in this way must be as shocking to the folks running CNN and MSNBC as it is to us conservatives.
Conservative activist Chris Barron asked, “ has anyone from the New York Times actually read the New York Times?” He suggested that “If they want to avoid the appearance of overt partisanship, they might try taking a look in the mirror first.”
The Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor touched upon the comedic irony. “This isn’t a news story, it’s a sitcom plot. The nation’s most liberal paper is suddenly concerned that the wacky network filled on air with its employees might be too far left.”
Of course, it is not just a matter of pulling its reporters off these shows, it depends on how balanced the Times coverage becomes. To upright the port capsized publication, Times management will have to do some hiring – giving conservative voices a place on the platform.
It will be interesting to see how CNN and MSNBC cover this breaking news story. It is already getting a lot of coverage out in the news media-sphere.
Of course, it could all be much ado about nothing. As a follower of ALL the news outlets, I will be interested to see if Times people are conspicuous by their absence from the most egregiously partisan programs … you know, those “strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering.”
In the aftermath of this bit of news, what, oh what, is the Washington Post going to say and do?
So, there ‘tis.