The New York Times penned a letter to readers Friday promising that the paper would “reflect” on its coverage of this year’s election while rededicating itself to reporting on “America and the world” honestly.
Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s embattled publisher, appealed to Times readers for their continued support.
“We cannot deliver the independent, original journalism for which we are known without the loyalty of our subscribers,” the letter states.
Times reporter Michael Goodwin wrote, “because it (The Times) demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something. And because the paper decided that Trump’s supporters were a rabble of racist rednecks and homophobes, it didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the lives of the Americans who elected the new president.
Sulzbergers letter was released after the paper’s public editor, Liz Spayd, took the paper to task for its election coverage. She pointed out how its polling feature Upshot gave Hillary Clinton an 84 percent chance as voters went to the polls.
She compared stories that the paper ran about President-elect Donald Trump and Clinton, where the paper made Clinton look functional and organized and the Trump discombobulated.
Spayd wrote, “Readers are sending letters of complaint at a rapid rate. Here’s one that summed up the feelings succinctly, from Kathleen Casey of Houston: “Now, that the world has been upended and you are all, to a person, in a state of surprise and shock, you may want to consider whether you should change your focus from telling the reader what and how to think, and instead devote yourselves to finding out what the reader (and nonreaders) actually think.”
She wrote about another reader who asked that the paper should focus on the electorate instead of “pushing the limited agenda of your editors.”
“Please come down from your New York City skyscraper and join the rest of us.”
Sulzberger—who insisted that the paper covered both candidates fairly– also sent a note to staffers on Friday reminding the newsroom to “give the news impartially, without fear or favor.”
“But we also approach the incoming Trump administration without bias,” he said.