Today, The New York Times editorial board published the most one-sided, biased, and unfair attack on the leading Republican contender. It was so partisan that it presented a textbook case of why conservatives must rely increasingly on foreign newspapers like The Economist to get objective news.
Now, before people point out that editorials are, by definition, opinions, I would counter that those who write them usually base their arguments on fact, or at least they present an informed point of view.
This editorial did neither.
Furthermore, opinion editorial writers tend to be individual citizens, and tend not to wrap themselves under the august mantle of an American institution.
So what was wrong with this editorial? Well, I simply do not know where to begin. For one, the opening line was rife with pure progressive snark:
“The more Mitt Romney pretends to empathize with the millions of Americans who are struggling in this economy, the less he seems to understand their despair.”
Pretends to empathize? Really? Does The New York Times editorial board have evidence for this assertion?
The more the liberal “elite” media pretend to speak for the American people, the more they betray their true colors. I expect overweening snark from Paul Krugman. At least I know where he stands. But The New York Times editorial board?
The editorial then maintains that more than a fifth of the “flailing” companies Mitt Romney purchased later went bankrupt. If the editorial board had done its homework or had bothered to speak with anyone who knew anything about the private equity industry, it would have learned that the average buyout fund has a failure rate in this range. The fact that it was not higher is a testament to the value that buyouts provide to the American economy in both saving companies and making them more efficient. Had Bain Capital not intervened, chances are that even more of these companies would have gone under, leading to even more job losses.
In its argument against voting for Romney (and its implicit endorsement for Obama), the editorial board cited only one Bain Capital transaction — an investment in which the company laid off 1,700 employees. Of course, the editorial board ignored a host of other Bain Capital transactions like Staples (a gain of 89,000 jobs), The Sports Authority (15,000 jobs), and Domino’s (7,900 jobs). While many have disputed the absolute numbers of jobs these companies may have created on Romney’s watch, it is indisputable that Romney’s investments in these companies ultimately resulted in the creation of successful and sustainable businesses.
But balance apparently matters little to The New York Times editorial board. In fact, the only thing this article lacked was the following statement:
“I am President Barack Obama, and I approved this message.”
Of course the Wall Street Journal’s editorials are often fiercely and I think even more blatantly anti-Obama. Editorials are editorials after all, not news.
I can’t speak for the WSJ since I don’t have a subscription. You have to admit though, the way this editorial is written completely undermines the credibility of The New York Times.
No, the editorial does not undermine the credibility of the New York Times, just as the very conservative (and openly so) editorials at the WSJ undermine its credibility as a reliable newspaper. Editorials have biases, some stronger than others. Editorials have never been meant to be objective or balanced. That’s why they are called editorials, that’s why papers can take strong opinion on their editorial pages!
“No, the editorial does not undermine the credibility of the New York Times, just as the very conservative (and openly so) editorials at the WSJ undermine its credibility as a reliable newspaper.”
I disagree. I think both hurt their images by being biased.
“Editorials have never been meant to be objective or balanced. That’s why they are called editorials, that’s why papers can take strong opinion on their editorial pages!”
I said as much in my post. My issue is with the tone and assertions (which the NYTs doesn’t even try to substantiate). It is simply WAY over the top.
I don’t think the NYT should be allowed to use the “they do it, too” excuse on this one (nor should the WSJ or any publication be allowed to use it either, for that matter). Sorry, Scott, not trying to be argumentative! 🙂
I agree with Sean I think in that if they had thrown in a “that’s why we like President Obama” then it would have been a more respectable editorial piece.
It’s not “they do it too,” it’s recognizing that for decades editorials have been the place where newspapers take positions on issues, ENDORSE candidates (remember how the GOP hopefuls were going for New Hampshire endorsements — you can’t get any more biased than endorsing someone!) When I was in high school debate we were told to look at editorial pages of newspapers we’d cite to find out the bias of the paper — it’s supposed to be obvious there! But news coverage is supposed to be as objective as possible.
Fair point about editors’ lack of objectivity. But, are any editors really objective? That aside, since Romney brags so much that his business experience is his #1 qualification to be President, isn’t it fair game to examine Romney’s work at Bain? Isn’t it fair to question his claim that he created “100,000 net-net” jobs when most experts say it’s nearly impossible to quantify the number of jobs Bain’s investments may or may not have helped generate? Isn’t it fair also to ask HOW Romney and Bain made their money, especially in situations where he/they made millions from companies that failed? How much did Romney/Bain make in “management fees”, re-purchases of their stock from new debt or sale of assets or “over-funded” pension plans, and other techniques that both minimized their own risk exposure and guaranteed a return regardless of how well their acquired companies did? We know that when some of their failures went bankrupt the Federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation had to rescue workers’ pension plans that were now under-funded. And, isn’t Romney against government bailouts?
It’s fine to question these things. My problem is that the New York Times never gave candidate Obama even remotely similar treatment, despite his never having run anything larger than a household before he was a US Senator. This kind of double standard is pervasive in the US media.
Remembering what I said about editorials being opinions and not news, they have been critical of Obama. A very short search yielded a couple of examples:
And they did so in July 2008 during the campaign:
In both these examples, the editorial starts out by softening and apologizing for taking a critical stance on Obama’s perfect. The editorials on Romney are a hit job from the first sentence. Surely, you don’t see these two editorials as remotely negative as the one the NYT posted on Romney, do you?