Outgoing New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane used his final column Saturday to essentially accuse the paper of having a liberal bias, something he said has led topics like gay marriage and the Occupy movement to be taken up “more like causes than news subjects.”
Brisbane, who was charged with critiquing the Times’ coverage during his two-year stint, said he doesn’t believe it is the result of any kind of “conspiracy,” rather something that is “powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds.”
“When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times,” Brisbane wrote.
He continued, “As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson pushed back against Brisbane’s claims to Politico, saying the newsroom is “always conscious that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world.”
“I agree with another past public editor, Dan Okrent, and my predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, that in covering some social and cultural issues, the Times sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base,” Abramson told Politico. “But I also often quote, including in talks with Mr. Brisbane, another executive editor, Abe Rosenthal, who wanted to be remembered for keeping ‘the paper straight.’ That’s essential.”
Read the whole of Brisbane’s column here.