Thursday, June 11, 2020

Calling out the NYT on its Overton Window

So, the Old Gray Lady said goodbye to James Bennet as NYT op-ed head last week. He won't be missed. Will his temporary or permanent successor reign in Bret Stephens or Bari Weiss? Probably not. Move Teapot Tommy Friedman out to pasture? Unlikely.

That's the theme of Kenan Malik's commentary at The Guardian.

Shorter, and sharpened, Malik?

The New York Times has erected its own Overton Window for the past three years. He mentions Stephens; dunno why he passed by Weiss, unless ultra-Zionism isn't on his radar screen, or unless he felt  Stephens was good enough as representative of a class. (Mondoweiss notes that Israeli guest op-eds have had Tom Cotton angles toward Palestinians before, like Schmuel Rosner, one of four such in 2018. One of them was by Stephens.)

The column has other points, though. Yeah, Bennet resigned. Riffing on Malik, this isn't the first time he hadn't read a controversial column, though. So, did the NYT push? Shouldn't it require its editorial page editor to personally read all potential guest columns before they run?

That said, Malik only touches on the tip of the problem. The NYT has long had NOBODY representing blue-collar liberalism on its pages. It's NEVER had anybody representing left-liberalism or beyond.

So, not only has it moved its Overton Window rightward with Stephens and Weiss, it created its own Overton Window in the first place.

If people would stop subscribing to the damn thing, since subscriptions, and especially digital ones, are an ever-bigger part of its revenue, maybe it would listen up.

Not likely, but maybe.

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