A whistle-blowing ombudsman: Proof The New York Times has a liberal bias?

The Grey Lady's internal watchdog says its staff has a hive-like worldview that "bleeds through" its coverage, tilting its stories in favor of progressive causes

A February 2012 edition of The New York Times
(Image credit: CC BY: S. Diddy)

Arthur S. Brisbane, the departing ombudsman of The New York Times, argues in his final column that the paper's liberal worldview colors its news coverage and favors progressive standpoints over conservative ones. Brisbane says The Times treats the Occupy Wall Street movement and gay marriage "more like causes than news subjects," thanks to the paper's hive-like atmosphere of "political and cultural progressivism" that is "powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds." Brisbane notes that The Times' believability rating has "dropped drastically among Republicans compared with Democrats," and warns the problem will only worsen as the internet lets users ever more easily seek out news coverage they agree with, creating a liberal bubble incapable of reaching the other side. Jill Abramson, the executive editor at The Times, rejects Brisbane's "sweeping conclusions," arguing that the paper has always tried to report it straight. Does Brisbane have a point?

Yes. Brisbane is stating the obvious: Give Brisbane "credit for the ability to recognize the paper's obvious liberal bias," says Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. His column "is another benchmark in the confirmation of The Times' ideological tilt," and it's clear those in charge "are still in a state of denial about it." Abramson's "lame" response shows there's "no hope of correcting the corrosive and all-pervasive liberal bias in the Grey Lady on her watch."

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