Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Out of Touch

"All the News That's Fit to Print."

Credit: www. ilpost.it

That slogan has accompanied the masthead of The New York Times since 1897.

It was instituted by Adolph S. Ochs shortly after he bought the newspaper in 1896. It was supposed to represent the paper's intention to report the news impartially and to differentiate the paper from the "yellow journalism" of some of its competitors.

I would suggest that the paper has veered pretty far from its original mission.

Although being a Midwesterner for most of my life I have lived in the New York City metro area twice. Although The Times always thinks of itself as a national publication I was always struck by how out of touch the paper was to the real world that exists west and south of New Jersey.

For example, when I first started reading the New York Times, as an 8th grader living in Connecticut, I usually went to the sports pages first. I always thought it was weird that if I wanted to see if Ohio State won or what happened in the Miami (Ohio)-Bowling Green game you had to look for scores played in the "West". There were no Midwest scores. Anything west of Pennsylvania was considered the "West" by The New York Times. California, Oregon and Washington were Far West.

It was a small thing but it said something to an 8th grader who had come from the Midwest. Don't they understand there is a difference between the West and Midwest? Are they so consumed in their little world around New York City that they are that out of touch?

Of course, nothing showed how far out of touch the New York Times is than the 2016 election. Trump's election was unfathomable to the The Times and most of its readership. To say they have never recovered is an understatement.

Since Trump was elected the paper has ceased any semblance of impartiality. Today its sole existence seems to be to denigrate, diminish and defame Trump in every way it can. It has become exactly the opposite of what it said it stood for when it adopted that "All the News That's Fit to Print" slogan.

In fact, earlier this year I referenced this chart that shows the percentage of all articles in the New York Times that mentioned the name of the President of the United States from 1981-2019.

It is almost as if the New York Times can find nothing else to report on. Of course, we know that coverage is also overwhelmingly negative.

In defense of The Times, the reason it is so anti-Trump all the time is that is what their readers want to read. They don't want to read good news about Trump. They want to read that he has been colluding with Russia. They want to read how he stole the election. They want to read that he is going to be impeached next week. They want to read about how the Trump economy is failing so many people.

You can see a great example on how out of touch The New York Times is with this article from July 5 that was based on a question they asked their readers about how they are dealing with the struggles in everyday life in America today.

Look at the point of view of The Times in the quote below. Americans are living today with "an inescapable sense of dread" and "struggle to acquire the markers of a middle-class life."

Being middle class in America used to come with a certain amount of leisure and economic security. Today it involves an endless series of trade-offs and creative workarounds, career reinventions and an inescapable sense of dread.
We asked readers to tell us what it’s like, and more than 500 people, with widely varied incomes, submitted responses. They described not just their financial worries but also the texture of daily life. Even those with very good incomes expressed fears of instability. They have seen their wages and bargaining power stagnate and wealth spiral to the top, while they struggle to acquire the markers of middle-class life — a college education, health care, the deed to a home.

Who are middle-class families that the Times identified that are struggling today and what are their concerns?

Six households were profiled. Only one had household income of less than $120,000. He was listed as earning between $75K-$100K. Two were in the $200-$400K range. All the rest were making at least $120K.

Let's put this in context. The median household income in the United States in 2017 (the most recent data available) was $61,372.

Perhaps these are middle class New York Times readers but they certainly don't look like middle class American voters.

Predictably, this article received a good deal of push back on Twitter since it seemed so out of touch.

What I found most interesting is the substantial disconnect in what each of the profiled families talked about in their struggles and worries.

They talked about the high cost of child care. One said they spent $92,000 last year on child care.

They talked about the struggle to buy organic foods at a discount.

They also talked about the struggle to save for retirement while also putting money away for their children's education. At the same time, they are very concerned about climate change, which if you believe what you read in The New York Times, is going to mean the end of the world in 10 years.

Fletcher Gustafson, who was profiled in the article, writes a blog  (aptly named The Rational Pessimist) which he used to defend his participation in the article after it came under attack for being so out of touch. If you don't believe how seriously these people have bought into climate change fear mongering, Gustafson mentions it 3 times in his blog post as a priority he wants politicians to address.

He even bold-faced it the last time he mentioned it in his blog post.
"Climate change is going to literally kill everything. Do your f*cking job."

This is the biggest priority for a middle class family in America?

You believe that climate change is literally going to kill everything within a decade but you are worried about being able to buy organic foods, saving for retirement and your child's college education? Do you see a slight disconnect in thinking here?

Ironically, if we do what many Democrats want to do to combat climate change through the Green New Deal, everything these households say they are struggling with is going to be 100 times worse. They also seem to be oblivious to the fact that, if carbon emissions are responsible for climate change, they better be prepared to go to war with China and India to stop it.  I guess The New York Times never pointed out that is where almost all the increase in carbon emissions is coming from.

This just goes to show you how dangerous it is to read The New York Times and not think things through on your own.

If you read something that is out of touch, you will be out of touch.

That is something you never have to worry about if you read BeeLine.

BeeLine----the shortest route to being In Touch.

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