The New York Times Tweets Like a Democratic Party Operative Against GOP Tax Plan
Journalism reaches the public in a variety of ways. Whereas print, radio and television were the standard bearers for delivering journalism to people, the internet changed all the rules. Those changes are mostly positive.
Journalism also takes on many forms. Reporting, investigative reporting, lifestyle, pop culture and yes, even opinion writing all fits under the umbrella of journalism. The editorial page of the newspaper provides another journalistic outlet and one that represents the view of the organization. Nobody expects an editorial page to be free from bias. The role of an editorial page is to present a point of view about any number of issues and provide an argument to persuade readers to agree.
It’s no secret The New York Times presents a liberal point of view just as The Wall Street Journal takes a conservative stance on issues.
The Times took their liberalism to a whole new level on Wednesday. The editorial board took over the Times opinion Twitter account. They didn’t just express a point of view for The New York Times organization. They became active players in politicking, using the Twitter account to urge people to call Republican senators to vote against the GOP tax bill.
For just over two hours, the editorial board of the Times used their opinion account for the following:
Note how they even created a hashtag for their purposes. Some people called their behavior unethical, but that really isn’t the case. There were two concerns about what they did:
1. It’s nakedly partisan – By urging people to call senators and using a hashtag, the Times wasn’t taking a position on behalf of the organization, but instead took it to a level reserved for a political organization, not a news organization. The board used the opinion account. It is likely that not everybody who writes opinion for the Times agrees with their position. How hard would it be for them to create an account specifically for the editorial board and go with that? Instead, they chose to act like Democratic operatives instead of journalists.
2. It’s hypocritical – Anybody who reads The New York Times knows the editorial board strongly opposes the Citizens United decision. Here is a for-profit company engaging in the same kind of politicking they don’t want organizations like the NRA or the Koch Brothers to do. J.P. Freire, the former communications director for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent out some tweets explaining this conflict:
Freire is absolutely correct. The newspaper utilized their resources to act on behalf of Democrats and against Republicans. They didn’t just take a position in an editorial. They blatantly engaged in the very kind of behavior they decry in other private businesses and organizations.
People are going to remember that, the next time The New York Times behaves like an arbiter of fairness.