The excellent CounterPunch website has snarky t-shirts one can buy to support them. I own one, no longer available it seems, whose front displays, in a Gothic font, “NYT” crossed out in red and “14 Per Cent Club”. On the back it says
“14 per cent of Americans believe almost nothing of what they read in the New York Times.”
You Can Believe What You Read
In August, biking through wine country, I stopped at a winery in the middle of a scorching afternoon to cool down, drink prodigious amounts of water, and then try a little wine. An older gentleman asked me about that shirt, which I was wearing at the time. He asked what I had against the New York Times. I don’t think I gave a very good answer – he had not caught me at my best. So I thought I’d present my ideas here.
The NY Times is so intimately tied to the Establishment they just can’t provide anywhere close to the insightful critique needed by the “watchdog press”. In the last decade, their failings have grown so spectacular as to be almost satirical.
For instance, the Gray Lady is incapable of printing the word “torture”. At least, that is, when describing the conduct of the United States. It’s gotten so bad that the usually rather apolitical Boing Boing produced a popular New York Times Torture Euphemism Generator.
Another sign of fatal fealty to the Establishment is that almost any serious story is first run by the executive branch. A whistleblower went to the newspaper with an explosive story: AT&T was allowing the National Security Agency direct access to everything that went over the internet. The NSA even had their own room in AT&T’s building! The NY Times asked the Bush administration about the story. The administration asked them to please not publish because it wasn’t convenient. The newspaper acquiesced, postponing publishing for over a year.
Lately, the newspaper has run a smear campaign against Julian Assange and Wikileaks even while running stories analyzing cables from Cablegate. For many of those stories, the newspaper won’t link to the original cables, even though they are widely available. Why not? Because the Obama administration asked them.
I could go on, but I think this is a good collection of fairly shocking examples. I will include just one more: a story about which the NY Times spoke loudly with its silence.
In July, 2001, the “Group of 8” nations (G8) met in Genoa, Italy. As had become usual by then, a massive protest was planned against this meeting of the world’s elite. I was closely following news of the protest via IndyMedia, an alternative news outlet. At a certain point, things got very ugly. Two hundred police physically attacked dozens of people during a vicious night-time raid. Several people ended up in the hospital, including Mark Covell, who was brutalized and fell into in a coma for two days:
I was hit over the head, then beaten on the ground non-stop for ten minutes. Then perhaps fifty more police ran by, each giving me a kick. I hope none of you ever get to hear your bones breaking inside you as I did.
There was lots of other police misconduct, including planted evidence, lies about people resisting arrest, and mistreatment of arrestees in prison.
And not one word about this in the New York Times. Not one word.
A couple of months later, buried on A22 or something, there was an article about the inquiry into the police violence in Genoa. That was it.