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Archive for the ‘newspapers’ Category

The New York Times

nytimes-masthead-2001-09-11

The New York Times (1851- ), also known as the Grey Lady, is a daily newspaper that comes out every morning in New York City. It does not have the most readers in the city – it is aimed at those with a good education – but it is by far the best and most serious of the lot. The New York Times, in fact, is one of the top newspapers in America, if not the world.

It sees itself as the newspaper of record and reports political and world news seriously and in depth. “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” as it says at the top of the front page.

The New York Times is a left-wing newspaper. While it does attempt to report the news fairly, it is obvious to most Republicans (as well as those on the far left) that politically it sides with the Democratic Party.

The newspaper’s political bent is invisible to its reporters and writers and its readers on the left because they all have the same left-wing view of the world. To everyone else it is as plain as day.

The New York Times does not just side with the Democrats, it sides with the Democratic Party establishment itself. For example, in 1988 when Jesse Jackson ran against the party establishment, the numbers reported in the Times showed that he would do well in the South. Yet the Times read these same numbers to prove he would do poorly!

But it is not quite as simple as all that.

Like a lot of newspapers, the New York Times ordinarily does not bite that hand that feeds it: it is soft on those who feed it news, be it the police, large companies or the government. That means it is soft on sitting presidents, even Republican ones.

For example, in 2003 it did not originally question whether weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, the reason President Bush, a Republican, gave for war. Those questions only came later when it was too late.

On the other hand the New York Times has printed government secrets on occasion. The most famous example was in 1971 when it printed the Pentagon Papers. These were papers taken out of the Pentagon that detailed what the military had secretly known about the Vietnam War. It showed that the government had been lying to the public.

World news in the Times largely follows American foreign affairs. This leaves China, India and Africa heavily underreported.

New York City north of 96th Street and east of the East River – where most New Yorkers live – is also greatly underreported. I once saw a picture of my neighbourhood! But the picture was taken from a police car.

The New York Times first appeared on the web in 1995. It looks just like a newspaper put on a website – a perfect example of shovelware. It even has page numbers!

In 1997 the Grey Lady became a bit less grey: she started printing pictures in colour.

– Abagond, 2006.

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The Economist

The Economist cover from April 16th 2005.

The Economist cover from April 16th 2005.

The Economist (1843- ) is a White British news magazine well to the right that comes out of London on Friday. In 2013 it had 1.55 million readers. Only 14% live in Britain. Over half live in North America.

It was founded in 1843 by a Scottish hat maker to oppose the Corn Laws. It championed free trade then and it still does now.

I like its:

  1. Writing style, even if it requires a university reading level.
  2. Strong opinion that is counter to mine, making it easier to separate fact from opinion.
  3. Coverage of world news. It does not just cover the parts that directly affect US foreign policy.  
  4. Seriousness in trying to understand the world.

Website: In 2006, its free part was useless, but the paid part was one of the best news websites out there. Especially good was the way it tied news stories into backgrounders.

Viewpoint:

The Economist calls itself liberal – not in the American sense of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton, but the British sense of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, what Americans would call neo-liberal or libertarian. It has been called Thatcherite, which is not way off.

It sees all men as born equal, each acting according to reason and self-interest. There is such a thing as human nature, of people acting out of love or honour, but nine times out of ten it comes down to self-interest, to money. While this makes it less racist than most English-language news outlets, it is still wilfully blind to racism and pushes stereotypes, like Broken Africa and black pathologies.

Since people are reasonable and can make their own decisions, government should allow people (and businesses) as much freedom as possible. It will be better for everyone in the end. Greed is good. Equality is inefficient. Government should only limit freedom for the sake of public order and safety.

The Economist has

  • Supported: free trade, free markets, capitalism, internationalism, decolonization, the US war in Vietnam, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, gun control, gay marriage.
  • Opposed: Corn Laws, capital punishment, communism, Islamism, Hugo Chavez.

It is bigger on green issues than the US press. It is weak on international law, especially as applied to the US and Israel.

Eurocentrism: Although it seems to cover the world, it is largely by and for the 18% that live in North America and Europe. That is where 88% of its readers live and what 50% of its pages of political news are about. It has 29 staff reporters all over the world – yet 97% of them are White (in 2015).

The average reader is an upper-middle-class, middle-aged White man from North America.

To read The Economist in a somewhat demographically balanced way, read the following number of articles from each section (as of 2020):

  • 1 US
  • 1 Americas
  • 6 Asia (3 from India)
  • 3 China
  • 3 Middle East and Africa (2 from Africa)
  • 1 Europe / UK

Blind spots: It depends too much on governments, companies and think tanks for news.

Censorship: It has been banned or censored at times by India, Singapore, Iran and the Missouri Department of Corrections.

– Abagond, 2006, 2021.

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