Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The New York Times Reconsiders Gay Marriage
Yesterday, I wrote about "Preserving Our Readers' Trust" which is a report issued by the Siegal Committee for The New York Times that contains recommendations to "increase readers' confidence in The Times."
But is that what this report is really about?
Because, on further examination, the report seems to be more concerned about increasing subscription rates rather than the confidence of the readers it already reaches.
If you're a liberal, like me, who fully supports the right for gays to marry because it's a civil rights issue, then you might want to reconsider renewing your subscription to The New York Times.
The Times' plan seems to be designed to try and attract non-readers.
Check out "Monitoring Cumulative Coverage" from the section that explores how to handle "The News/Opinion Divide":
"Though we have our lapses, individual news stories on emotional topics like abortion, gun control, the death penalty and gay marriage are reported and edited with great care, to avoid any impression of bias. Nonetheless, when numerous articles use the same assumption as a point of departure, that monotone can leave the false impression that the paper has chosen sides. This is especially so when we add in our feature sections, whose mission it is to write about novelty in life. As a result, despite the strict divide between editorial pages and news pages, The Times can come across as an advocate."
"The public editor found that the overall tone of our coverage of gay marriage, as one example, “approaches cheerleading.” By consistently framing the issue as a civil rights matter -- gays fighting for the right to be treated like everyone else -- we failed to convey how disturbing the issue is in many corners of American social, cultural and religious life."
Can someone please explain to me why whether or not the "issue" of gay marriage is "disturbing" to certain people should have any bearing on how news is reported? Aren't topics such as war or murder or rape disturbing to most people? Does that affect how they're covered?
And what is this bullshit about social and cultural life, it's the religious freaks who are "disturbed" by this.
"Disturbed" people should mind their own fucking business and allow other Americans - who happen to be gay - to share the same benefits that heterosexual couples do.
Last year, on July 25, 2004, Daniel Okrent, the former public editor for The New York Times wrote a column entitled "Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?" which evidently factored into this report:
"But for those who also believe the news pages cannot retain their credibility unless all aspects of an issue are subject to robust examination, it's disappointing to see The Times present the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading. So far this year, front-page headlines have told me that ''For Children of Gays, Marriage Brings Joy'' (March 19); that the family of ''Two Fathers, With One Happy to Stay at Home'' (Jan. 12) is a new archetype; and that ''Gay Couples Seek Unions in God's Eyes'' (Jan. 30). I've learned where gay couples go to celebrate their marriages; I've met gay couples picking out bridal dresses; I've been introduced to couples who have been together for decades and have now sanctified their vows in Canada, couples who have successfully integrated the world of competitive ballroom dancing, couples whose lives are the platonic model of suburban stability."
"Every one of these articles was perfectly legitimate. Cumulatively, though, they would make a very effective ad campaign for the gay marriage cause. You wouldn't even need the articles: run the headlines over the invariably sunny pictures of invariably happy people that ran with most of these pieces, and you'd have the makings of a life insurance commercial."
"This implicit advocacy is underscored by what hasn't appeared. Apart from one excursion into the legal ramifications of custody battles (''Split Gay Couples Face Custody Hurdles,'' by Adam Liptak and Pam Belluck, March 24), potentially nettlesome effects of gay marriage have been virtually absent from The Times since the issue exploded last winter."
"The San Francisco Chronicle runs an uninflected article about Congressional testimony from a Stanford scholar making the case that gay marriage in the Netherlands has had a deleterious effect on heterosexual marriage. The Boston Globe explores the potential impact of same-sex marriage on tax revenues, and the paucity of reliable research on child-rearing in gay families. But in The Times, I have learned next to nothing about these issues, nor about partner abuse in the gay community, about any social difficulties that might be encountered by children of gay couples or about divorce rates (or causes, or consequences) among the 7,000 couples legally joined in Vermont since civil union was established there four years ago."
"On a topic that has produced one of the defining debates of our time, Times editors have failed to provide the three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism requires."
Does "three-dimensional perspective balanced journalism" ALWAYS require a look at both sides on all issues? Where is the line drawn? Should readers expect future articles in the "paper of record" to reflect alternate views on the Holocaust, pedophilia or the Emancipation Proclamation?
It's about time that The New York Times recognized the real threat to their empire. The left, not the right. We're getting sick and tired of the way that The New York Times seems to be bending over backwards to accomodate the kind of people who have no interest in even reading their paper.
All writing is slanted. It's ridiculous for a newspaper to claim that they "avoid any impression of bias." You can strive for balance when you write an article, but there is ALWAYS at least a trace of bias that is present. There's no getting around that.
In the past, The New York Times has done a commendable job in covering civil rights matters when it comes to gays. Will that change, in the future, so that the far right can impose their anti-gay viewpoints through the Press? I sure hope not, but I'm afraid I already know the answers to all of my questions.
The New York Times, a paper that is published in the bluest of the blue states, is apparently on a mission to gain more red state subscribers.
If all goes to "plan" what will the left have left to read?