- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A leading progressive news organization has a warning for zealous liberals and Democrats who punished the New York Times for running a headline that was fair-minded towards President Trump — one which said he was urging national unity over racism during a difficult week, and amid a contentious campaign.

“Progressives should still subscribe to the newspaper of record. Just don’t expect it to save us from Trump,” wrote Jeet Heer, national affairs correspondent for The Nation.

Readers should do that themselves through political activism, he advised.

The outcry from offended Times readers was swift and noisy. They cancelled subscriptions and took to social media; the events made national news. Their complaints, however, prompted the venerable news organization to alter the headline to something more caustic — version No. 2 suggesting Mr. Trump was “assailing hate but not guns.”

As a news media moment, this could be an example of unprecedented reader influence. But The Nation suggests Times readers have better things to do.

“Rage against the Times is often justified, but it also springs from readers’ wanting too much from the paper. With the story line of ‘All the President’s Men’ playing in the back of their heads, many Times readers seemed to hope that the paper would take on the mantle of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, bringing down a corrupt president. This was always a misunderstanding of the role of journalism,” wrote Mr. Heer.

“The push for mass subscription cancellations is misguided. Progressive Times readers would do better to read the paper with a critical eye, aware of its establishment bias. More importantly, we have to realize that the Times won’t save us — from Trump or anything else. The only solution to a racist president and the mass movement he leads is political activism,” he continued.

“The New York Times is no giant killer, merely a tool a giant killer might want to pick up. It’s up to the public to be the David that brings this Goliath down,” he concluded.

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