The muckity mucks in the liberal media pshaw the claim like you’ve said the sun rises in the west. Big wigs across the massive media conglomerates repeat the denial until they’re blue in the face: There is no liberal bias in the media, they say.
They cite “experts,” like Larry Atkins, author of “Skewed: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias,” who says there’s just no such thing.
“The Republicans’ complaints about liberal media bias are overblown and over exaggerated. Reporters are trained to be fair and balanced (not the Fox News kind), impartial, neutral and detached,” he wrote in the Huffington Post (a shining beacon of journalistic impartiality).
Anything short of total belief in that unbiased world is mercilessly mocked: “Oh, right, we liberals all get together once a month and decide how we’re going to cover the news!”
But that utopia exists only in their minds and is easily refuted by those pesky gnats known as facts. Like this one: A recent Harvard study found that news coverage of President Trump by such stalwarts of journalism as CNN was 93 percent negative.
Still, no smoking gun.
In a new video released Tuesday by Project Veritas, the internet muckraker James O’Keefe continues a series on The New York Times — and this one strips away any pretense that the vaunted “Gray Lady” practices anything close to the journalism of yore.
The 13-minute video shows excerpts from what appears to be an undercover video shot in a bar in London. The main subject: New York Times senior home page editor Des Shoe, who’s based in the city. Her Times bio says she is “part of the team that produces the digital report for home page and mobile feeds,” but she says in the bar she “curates the front page.”
Ms. Shoe says the paper is “widely, widely understood to be left-leaning.” (OK, that one’s not shocking.) But this admission is: “Our main stories are supposed to be objective. It’s very difficult in this day and age to do that.”
Then Ms. Shoe starts breaking down the new way things get done at America’s most prestigious paper.
“This is what I was trying to say is, like, the last couple years it’s changed for the bad. I think the business model itself is just — there’s so much panic about what to do that, you know, what else is a company supposed to do? That’s the conundrum, is that a business model, in this time, is built on what the readers want.”
Well, then, who are the readers of The Times? Ms. Shoe, occasionally taking sips of a pint of beer, says “some of the readers are liberal,” then pauses before she amends that to, “a lot of them are liberal.”
So, The Times is just giving its customers what they want. “The main objective is to grab subscribers. You do that any way that you can,” Ms. Shoe says.
And bashing Mr. Trump is tried and true.
“Since the election, like, you know, speaking on, you know, for The New York Times, our subscriptions have skyrocketed since — I mean, they call it the Trump bump,” Ms. Shoe says.
Mr. O’Keefe, who narrates the video, pops in to note that the paper’s revenue for the second quarter jumped 9.2 percent and digital subscriptions are up 63.4 percent since Trump was elected.
But isn’t that pandering, one person in the bar asks? “What else are you supposed to do?” Ms. Shoe says.
Of course, Ms. Shoe says all the predictable things about how Times staffers feel about Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. “I feel like Trump is, is just a, is sort of an idiot in a lot of ways. Just an oblivious idiot.” And she adds that Mr. Pence is “f—-ing horrible.”
But why, then, someone asks, did the paper cover Mr. Trump so heavily throughout his early days of campaigning?
“I think one of the things that maybe journalists were thinking about is, like, ‘oh, if we write about him, about how insanely crazy he is and how ludicrous his policies are,’ then maybe people will read it and be like, ‘oh wow, we shouldn’t vote for him.’”
The Times just last week put out new guidelines for its journalists. “In social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.”
But we know that’s just a ruse. The mainstream media wants us to think that they are the paragons of virtue, above petty things like, oh, opinions. But they’re not. Far from it.
Journalism is a business and newspapers like The New York Times cater to their customers. When all your readers are liberal, hey, give the customer what he wants. Ice cream vendors do it, why not newspapers?
But that doesn’t mean you have to believe a word they say. And if you’re looking for facts, it’s time to look elsewhere.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @josephcurl.