New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. has admitted his paper underestimated Donald Trump’s support among American voters while promising to do a more fair job with its reporting, but had the “Gray Lady” been fair to start with, it would not need to rededicate itself, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin said in a Saturday opinion piece.
“Because it demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something,” Goodwin writes. “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.”
Top editor Dean Baquet insisted Trump “challenged our language” and “changed journalism,” but Goodwin said it was Baquet who did that by deciding that the “standards of fairness and nonpartisanship could be broken without consequence.”
And now, the paper is “bleeding readers — and money,” said Goodwin, who admits he’s “pained” by the rival newspaper’s decline, and how it gave “all reporters a black eye.”
Sulzberger, said Goodwin, should use an outside law firm or in-house reporters to determine how and why Baquet made his decision, learn if reporters felt pressured to conform to Baquet’s political bias, and insist that fairness of standards be once again in play.
Further, said Goodwin, Sulzberger needs to insist on diversity, to include journalists who disagree “with the Times’ embedded liberal slant” to be employed.
“This is about survival,” Goodwin concludes. “If it doesn’t change now, the Gray Lady’s days surely are numbered.”