Saturday, March 18, 2006

NY Times: All the differently authentic* news that’s fit to print

Published: March 18, 2006

Editors' Note

A front-page article last Saturday profiled Ali Shalal Qaissi, identifying him as the hooded man forced to stand on a box, attached to wires, in a photograph from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal of 2003 and 2004. He was shown holding such a photograph. As an article on Page A1 today makes clear, Mr. Qaissi was not that man…

Despite the previous reports, The Times should have been more persistent in seeking comment from the military. A more thorough examination of previous articles in The Times and other newspapers would have shown that in 2004 military investigators named another man as the one on the box, raising suspicions about Mr. Qaissi's claim.

A cursory analysis of available photo evidence relating to the article in question should have raised red flags. But at ‘The Times’ close examination of photo evidence is contraindicated when the article fits their anti-military, anti-war, anti-Bush agenda.

Internet access and the blogosphere have expanded exponentially over the last 5 years and George W. Bush has been a beneficiary. Why? Because the MSM’s news filter has been crippled.

Surprisingly, pulling the curtain away hasn’t forced more objectivity in MSM reporting, just the opposite has happened. Feigned detachment ever so subtly salted with insinuation and overtone has given way to out-and-out propaganda.

And these “news” organizations are deluding themselves if they think their readers/audiences aren’t on to them.
...The public also increasingly sees the press as slanted. Nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) in the summer of 2005 saw the press as favoring one side, up from 66% two years earlier. And 60% saw the press as politically biased, up from 53% in 2003. Republicans and conservatives are even more prone to feel this way than Democrats.

This is an area that journalists have tended to dismiss over the years. Yet different surveys of journalists also suggest that while the preponderance of news people see themselves as moderate, the percentage who identify themselves as liberal is growing, while the percentage who see themselves as conservative is shrinking.

The percentage of people who believe that criticism of the military weakens American defenses has been rising as well, and in 2005 reached its highest point (47%) since 1985 (then 31%)...

Other than looking the fool to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and Internet access, what’s the upshot of the NY Times’ subjective, inaccurate, agenda-driven ‘journalism’?

Well, it certainly isn’t attracting subscribers or investors.

Over its Bush-bashing years the NY Times has increases it total circulation by 1,103 newspapers (0.10%). And while its Sunday home subscribers are up 9%, its daily home subscribers are down 3%.

Likewise, at least one Wall Street watcher is not thrilled with the company’s financial performance,
NEW YORK Moody's Investors Service said Friday it may cut its rating of the New York Times Co.'s debt because of the company's weak cash flow, high financial leverage, and declining margins.

If that wasn't enough, Moody's said it is concerned about growing media competition, including the Internet, and what it calls ''event risk'' in the newspaper sector.
nor are investors, Friday’s stock price closed within 40 cents of its five year low, recorded earlier this month.

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