In an unprecedented move, New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane took to the pages of his newspaper on Sunday to pledge to the reading public that they would do a better job vetting the president. Yes, you read that right: the New York Times is now channeling Andrew Breitbart. Here’s what he wrote:
The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?
Brisbane admits that critics “view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion.” He admits that The Times “basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008.” (That phrase, in and of itself, constitutes significant pro-Obama bias, of course – he uses it twice in the course of the article.) But, he says, the bias wasn’t purposeful: “I think [our reporters] see themselves as aggressive journalists who don’t play favorites.”
Finally, he says, “The warm afterglow of Mr. Obama’s election, the collateral effects of liberal-minded feature writers – these can be overcome by hard-nosed, unbiased political reporting now.”
A laudable goal, to be sure. But will The Times hold up its end of the bargain? So far, so bad. While the Times has run a couple of pieces criticizing President Obama, they’re also parroting Media Matters talking points – today, for example, they ran a piece about the American Legislative Exchange Council, labeling it a “stealth business lobbyist.” If that were true, virtually every liberal 501(c)3, particularly the Center for American Progress, would be guilty of the same thing. But that doesn’t stop the Times.
Perhaps the Times will turn over a new leaf. But before we give them credit, let’s verify that their new leaf looks somewhat different from the old leaf.