June 09, 2003

Lefty Blogs, Righty Blogs On

Lefty Blogs, Righty Blogs

On the left, Katrina vanden Heuvel is blogging over at the Nation; on the right, check out the New Criterion's new blog Armavirumque.

Now, be careful when surfing about the Nation as you will often stumble upon articles like this one:

"Who's the exact opposite of Jayson Blair, the New York Times reporter accused of inventing sources and quotes, plagiarizing and other sins? Well, how about Judith Miller? Where Blair is young and black and inexperienced, a rookie journalist whose job was largely to interview ordinary people, Miller is middle-aged and white and a veteran Times star whose job it is to interact with the best and the brightest in science, academia and government.

But Blair and Miller have more in common than you might think. Both are in trouble for giving readers dubious information. While Miller's alleged improprieties are of a more subtle nature, and she comes into this rough patch with an estimable reputation built over the course of a long and distinguished career, her case reveals a great deal about the state of today's news media. What Miller did, and the fact that her brand of journalism is encouraged and rewarded by the powers that be, is precisely the kind of topic that the Times's leadership ought to air during its current semipublic glasnost phase. In Blair's case, the only serious damage has been to the paper's image. Miller, on the other hand, risks playing with the kind of fire that starts or justifies wars, gets people killed and plays into the hands of government officials with partisan axes to grind."

Here's a more dispassionate look at the past, present (and future?) state of W. 43rd St:

Money graf: "The larger issue concerns the ingrained ideological bias of which affirmative action and the cult of diversity are merely currently fashionable expressions. The Times grandly announced that Jayson Blair’s behavior represented “a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” Hardly. The Blair Affair, depressing though it is, pales in comparison with many other items from the paper’s history. Consider the career of the Pulitzer-Prize-winner Walter Duranty. Duranty, who was head of the Times’s Moscow bureau in the 1930s, was an apologist for Stalin. Accordingly, he assured readers that, though there were some occasional food shortages, there was “no actual starvation” in the Ukraine. This was in the midst of what Robert Conquest has called the Great Famine, the Stalin-made horror in which millions were systematically starved. Or consider Herbert Matthews, another communist fellow traveler, whose forty-five-year career at the Times included dutiful misreporting from the Spanish Civil War and, later, writing such fulsome encomia about Castro that one wag portrayed the dictator with a sign saying “I got my job through The New York Times.” The truth is that the Times, despite its enormous reputation, is constitutionally disposed to embrace the current politically correct line whatever it is—on race, on international affairs, on culture, on politics."

Posted by Gregory at June 9, 2003 06:09 PM
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