Meet the new boss...young new New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger (son of the embarrassingly liberal former publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger) talked to Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian, where Sulzberger had once worked a reporter, and defended the NYT from charges of liberal bias in the Donald Trump era.
Rogoway tried to reduce the Times’ ideological problem to a merely regional one: The New York Times has an excellent brand in New York. It has a great brand in Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, but as we've seen in the past couple years in certain parts of the country and with certain politicians, the name is kind of toxic. It's used by our president that way. Can you envision that changing?
Sulzberger saw the increase in his paper’s circulation (including Trump-haters eager for a self-righteous liberal fix) as some kind of tribute to journalistic “fairness and accuracy.”
Sulzberger: “....I really do believe that the underlying act of independent journalism is something that our society wants and needs. And in fact, I think the huge growth we’ve had in readership all over the country is a sign that people want independent journalism that is obsessed with supposedly old-fashioned notions like fairness and accuracy. We’re in a tough moment where a lot of people, for political expediency, are trying preemptively to discredit the Times and other great news organizations like The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CNN, in an effort to secure short-term gains for themselves. And the reason they’re doing that is because our job is to skeptically and rigorously dig into the issues that matter and follow the truth wherever it leads.”
Rogoway changed the subject from liberal bias to urban bias: “Whenever somebody says that media, whether it's The Oregonian or The New York Times, comes with a left-wing bias, it's true that we come with an urban perspective. Overwhelmingly our reporters, and I'm sure yours as well, are in cities. Are there things we should be doing differently as journalists to understand the rest of the country?”
Sulzberger went along with the sleight of hand: “It's a hugely important question. I feel very fortunate to have worked not just in New York City but also Rhode Island, Oregon and Kansas City, and covered a much larger swath of the country. This is one of the reasons why diversity is so important in a news organization. Because I think it is important to make sure that there are people who reflect a wide variety of worldviews and life experiences as they dig into the stories of our time. One of the ways that we're trying to address that very issue is we have a significantly larger percentage of reporters based around the nation rather than New York. And I think that's an important trend and one that's likely to continue.”