- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

COMMENTARY:

The nation’s largest left-wing newspaper and the bible for network news producers and bookers may be going under. This week, The New York Times announced more staggering losses: nearly $75 million in the first quarter alone.

The New York Post reports that the Times Co. owes more than $1 billion and has just $34 million in the bank. A few months ago, the company borrowed $250 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim at a reported 14 percent interest. With things going south fast, pardon the pun, Mr. Slim might want to put in a call to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

The spin from Mr. Sulzberger is that the Internet is strangling the newspaper industry, and there is some truth to that. Why read an ideologically crazed paper when you can acquire a variety of information on your computer? But other papers are not suffering nearly as much as the Times, so there must be more to it.

There is no question that the Times has journalistic talent. Last week, the paper won five Pulitzer Prizes. It’s true that the Pulitzer people favor left-wing operations (the last eight Pulitzers for commentary have gone to liberal writers), but New York Times journalists often do good reporting.

The problem is that under Mr. Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller, the Times has gone crazy left, attacking those with whom the paper disagrees and demonstrating an almost pathological hatred for conservatives (particularly former President George W. Bush). The Times features liberal columnists in every section of the paper, and they hit low, often using personal invective to smear perceived opponents.

That unfair and unbalanced approach has alienated a large number of readers and advertisers. According to a recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, 46 percent of Americans define themselves as conservative. Just 34 percent say they are liberal. In this very intense marketplace, insulting half the country on a daily basis may not be a great business plan.

The Times Co. also has a major problem with the Boston Globe, which Mr. Sulzberger bought in 1993. That paper is on the verge of bankruptcy and recently told its employees it will cut their pay and health benefits. Because the Times and the Globe are big on universal health care, that caused some giggling in anti-Times precincts.

Over the past few months, newspapers in Chicago, Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver have either folded or filed for bankruptcy. With the exception of the Rocky Mountain News, all the papers were committed left-wing enterprises.

The truth is that most Americans are traditional-minded folks. They believe their country is noble; they want respectful discourse. Fanaticism of any kind is not the American way.

The Times most definitely is a committed left-wing concern that is openly contemptuous of the conservative, traditional point of view. That is the primary reason the paper may soon dissolve. And all the cash in Mr. Slim’s fat wallet won’t change that.

Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Who’s Looking Out for You?”

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