Thursday, May 12, 2005

More Than Disturbed At The New York Times

Thanks to the article I posted yesterday, "The New York Times Reconsiders Gay Marriage", The New York Times has decided to reconsider their reconsideration of gay marriage "cheerleading."

Bill Keller - Executive Editor for the news section of The New York Times - wrote me an email which told me the whole thing was a big misunderstanding.


As if.

Anyway, a few other bloggers blogged about it. And some of them are mighty pissed about this. And they weren't as "polite" as I tried to be (stop snickering...I did try).

Peter, who blogs at The Kvetch, titled his post " Why I Hate the New York Times, Reason #4,502":

"Recently, the Times saw fit to create a committee to investigate the decline in reader confidence and to issue some recommendations on how to fix the problem. The report, as it turns out, was enough to make me wanna puke. The Times has completely stepped over the line on this one."

"I'm officially sick and tired of having to take into account the feelings of people who would prefer that I not exist. Tolerance for the intolerant? I'm sorry, but it IS a civil rights issue! Should we have taken into consideration the feelings of racist assholes before overturning anti-miscegenation laws to allow blacks and whites to marry? Would someone please tell me what country I live in? I thought that in America citizens' rights trump the feelings of uninformed, hateful racists and homophobes. According to the Times, apparently not."

This is uppityliberal at Stark Raving Liberal - Ugh:

"Who gives a flying fuck if gay marriage is "disturbing" to some people? Interracial marriage, women working and men with long hair are also disturbing to some people. Why cater to them?"

"This is not about tarriffs or pork futures. This is about the basic human rights of a group of people whom recognized science has determined are not choosing to be the way they are. Why on earth would any respected publication decide that that's just an "issue" to take sides on?"

"I understand the importance of being non-biased when reporting about political news in general, but when it comes to human rights issues, there SHOULD be bias on the part of the media. Catering to hateful bigots should never be thought of as merely giving them equal time. Unless the paper is going to start covering Neo-Nazi groups and the KKK with the same "balance" this ridiculousness needs to end right here."

Tas at Loaded Mouth wrote:

"Could you begin to imagine the coverage provided by the Times if they applied these standards to other issues? Could you imagine segregation getting this kind of, uhm, balanced coverage? I can just see the stories: "But musician David Allen Coe thinks integration would be harmful to the country. 'Yep, I don't want those niggers in our schools, I'm not for integration. We need to keep those niggers in their place if we want a better nation.'"

"Wow, what a respectable position. What's next? Times reporters goto NAMBLA meetings to get some balanced quotes on why they should be allowed to stick their cocks into a child's asshole? I can't WAIT for that story. Because, you know, we certainly wouldn't want the media to be cheerleaders for all of those abnormal people who limit their sexual activity to other consensual adults. And I can't wait for those balanced stories about rapists where they can get juicy quotes like "They asked for it." You know, our newspapers are doing those scumbags a grave injustice by treating them like criminals."

"The conclusion of the Times audit on themselves goes beyond ridiculous. This is just offensive. Why is it that their new standards are only applied to the issues that wingnuts are rabidly against? Could they at least be honest and admit this double-standard?"

Katharine Q. Seelye wrote an article about the report that was published in the Business section of The New York Times on Monday ("Times Panel Proposes Steps to Build Credibility") that contained over 1250 words but not one word about the recommendation to balance gay marriage coverage, evidently, was "fit to print."

On Tuesday, oddly enough, The New York Post saw "fit to print" the news hidden inside the report ("Tiems A Changing"). The Post's Business reporter Keith J. Kelly interviewed Steve Cody ("a managing director of crisis management firm Peppercorn"): "I don't think [the reporters and editors] are flawed, but there is no doubt that they are the whipping boys of the Bush Administration and the right. And there is no doubt that they represent the beacon, the bright shining light of the Democratic, liberal blue states...there seems to be a disconnect with a large part of the United States population."

As The New York Post saw "fit to print" but The New York Times didn't: "The committee seemed to acknowledge such concerns and pointed to the Times stance on gay marriage as an example."

According to Seelye:

"One area of particular concern to Mr. Keller at the outset was the relentless public criticism of the paper, amplified by both the left and right on the Internet, that peaked during last year's presidential campaign. The paper was largely silent during those attacks, and Mr. Keller asked the committee to consider whether it was "any longer possible to stand silent and stoic under fire.""

"The committee asserted that The Times must respond to its critics. The report said it was hard for the paper to resist being in a "defensive crouch" during the election but now urged The Times to explain itself "actively and earnestly" to critics and to readers who are often left confused when charges go unanswered."

""We strongly believe it is no longer sufficient to argue reflexively that our work speaks for itself," the report stated. "In today's media environment, such a minimal response damages our credibility," it added."

Well, consider this an attack on your paper's credibility, Mr. Keller. Does your work speak for itself?

Is The New York Times planning to cater to its non-readers who are "disturbed" by gay marriage or to its readers who recognize it as a civil rights issue and find the notion of "balancing the coverage" offensive and backward?

Perhaps we need to send The New York Times some "politely" worded letters stating how we feel about such a craven and cowardly capitulation to the far right agenda since they claim to be interested in "preserving our readers' trust."


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