To sentient people, saying that the New York Times is a biased rag is an unremarkable proclamation. But to have one of the paper’s former editors saying it in public is quite another thing and that is just what happened when Jill Abramson slammed the paper as “the opposition party.”
Abramson led the paper as executive editor from 2011 to 2014 when she was fired by the paper’s owners and she remains the only woman who ever ran the “Old Gray Lady.” She is also as liberal as they come.
But Abramson is not so sold out to the left that she can excuse the bias into which her former employer has descended.
According to Fox News, Abramson is going on the attack against her old employer:
In a soon-to-be published book, “Merchants of Truth,” that casts a skeptical eye on the news business, Abramson defends the Times in some ways but offers some harsh words for her successor, Dean Baquet. And Abramson, who was the paper’s only female executive editor until her firing, invoked Steve Bannon’s slam that in the Trump era the mainstream media have become the “opposition party.”
“Though Baquet said publicly he didn’t want the Times to be the opposition party, his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump,” Abramson writes, adding that she believes the same is true of the Washington Post. “Some headlines contained raw opinion, as did some of the stories that were labeled as news analysis.”
This will appear to be a “duh” to any conservative or Republican. But it is quite an admission from a leftist like Abramson.
Abramson also notes that the paper has lost its veracity.
What’s more, she says, citing legendary 20th century publisher Adolph Ochs, “the more anti-Trump the Times was perceived to be, the more it was mistrusted for being biased. Ochs’s vow to cover the news without fear or favor sounded like an impossible promise in such a polarized environment.”
She also admitted that the paper descending into a mere partisan attack machine and leaving journalism behind actually improved the paper’s bottom line as far lefties came to the paper’s support so they could get their daily fix of leftism.
“Given its mostly liberal audience,” Abramson wrote, “there was an implicit financial reward for the Times in running lots of Trump stories, almost all of them negative: they drove big traffic numbers and, despite the blip of cancellations after the election, inflated subscription orders to levels no one anticipated.”
Again. We on the right can only say “duh” to all that. It is all quite obvious. But it is very interesting to see a left-winger like Abramson admitting it.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.