If you want to learn why many big newspapers in America are struggling to stay afloat, just read Bari Weiss’ resignation letter to The New York Times. As a staff writer and editor for the opinion section of The New York Times (whose slogan should be “All the liberal opinion whether it’s fit to print or not!”), she has seen first-hand how journalists are instructed by the newspaper’s leaders to adjust the facts to fit the hard liberal, anti-Trump narrative. Her letter of resignation is one of the most accurate and concise accounts I have ever read of what is taking place within the offices of big city newspapers. And Bari Weiss is not a conservative. She is a centrist by every definition of the word.
She confirms something I have known for some time, that real journalism today is very, very rare and that nearly all news articles today are merely opinion pieces under the guise of journalism. I would take what she says one step further and say it’s not only the newspaper wanting to promote its own liberal agenda but also the fact that it’s much easier for anyone to write an opinion and form a conclusion for the reader than it is to write a truly good, factual, informative news article that allows the reader to reach his or her own conclusion.
A good piece of journalism should be written in such a way that the reader comes away with a sense that he’s been given a set of unbiased facts without any hint of the writer’s opinion on the subject. As I have said before, if it is real journalism, you should not be able to tell the writer’s political affiliation. Run that test on any story in any big newspaper in America.
I also think the Associated Press (AP) is hurting some smaller newspapers. The AP doesn’t have a conservative or even centrist writer on its staff. If you get a story from the AP it’s going to lean heavily to the left. It’s pretty much the same with Reuters but not quite as blatant. Smaller newspapers don’t seem to have anywhere to go for unbiased news stories (if they even want unbiased news stories). It’s difficult or impossible for many small papers to have a strong, capable writer covering national and state politics on the payroll full time, and even harder to cover the necessary travel expenses. So, they are stuck buying those stories from the AP.
I think most reasonable people know that most big newspapers are liberal. I also truly believe that most reasonable people, liberal and conservative, would rather read unbiased, factual news stories than read someone’s opinion under the cover of legitimate news even if they agree with the slant. It would be very refreshing to read news stories that had no discernable slant.
I salute Bari Weiss for taking a stand and for sharing it with the world. I don’t expect it to have any effect on the way the nation’s large newspapers run their stories, but it’s nice to see a non-conservative call out such deep-rooted political bias in the news media. Especially when it’s an award-winning veteran of the news media.
Tim Dowling is a Sebring resident. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.