The NY Times reveals itself and what news we’ll see in 2020

by Fabius Maximu

Summary: Occasionally a burst of information emerges from inside our major institutions. These are usually too disturbing and so ignored. Such as this transcript of a “town hall” discussion in the NY Times newsroom. Read it to see what they will tell you during the next few years – and why, and with what results.

TV showing "Lies! Lies! Lies!"
ID 99973436 © Luca Lorenzelli | Dreamstime.

Slate has a blockbuster story by Ashley Feinberg: “In a transcript of the newspaper’s crisis town-hall meeting, executive editor Dean Baquet grapples with a restive staff and outside scrutiny.” This has everything. A candid look inside a major institution. A preview of the news that we will be fed by most of the major news media during the next few years (like schooling fish, they independently think and act alike). A look at the results of a generational-long program to indoctrinate our young by America’s major universities (we even paid for it!).

Since this is America, it has gotten little attention. I strongly recommend that you read it. Here are some of the juiciest quotes, with a brief analysis – just scratching the surface of this rich lode of information.

Baquet:  “This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s. It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”

They built their newsroom to cover one story: RussiaGate. Now that much of what they have said has been proven false, and their conclusions delusional, they must find another story. But there are no lessons learned, no awareness of errors, and no remorse for misleading readers for two years.

Baquet: “This one is a story about what it means to be an American in 2019. It is a story that requires deep investigation into people who peddle hatred, but it is also a story that requires imaginative use of all our muscles to write about race and class in a deeper way than we have in years. In the coming weeks, we’ll be assigning some new people to politics who can offer different ways of looking at the world. We’ll also ask reporters to write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions.”

Here we have a rare candid look at how the NYT does journalism. They identify the message that they will push, the filter and slant they apply to the news. For the next few years all opposition to the Left’s agenda will be painted as racism. All opponents to the Left will be described as racists. Stoking inter-racial hatred will be their way to gain clicks.

Staffer: “Could you explain your decision not to more regularly use the word racist in reference to the president’s actions?”

Baquet has difficulty answering this because from the perspective of those in the room (if there were dissenters, they wisely remained silent), the President (and more generally, conservatives are racist). Why should the NYT not follow the Left’s standard practice and cry “racist racist racist” – constantly? He eventually comes to a practical, not ideological, reason.

Baquet: “I think that that word loses its power by the second or third time.”

One discussion they do not have, and is critical for the coming surge of inter-racial hatred: can racial minorities be racist? Leftist ideology distorts its meaning to answer “no.”

Staffer: “I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country.”

This is America’s future. Universities, especially our “elite” universities that produce America’s elites, have been teaching this message for a generation. Now there are critical numbers of people with this indoctrination in key institutions – especially entertainment and journalism. They consider our system evil. Our culture is racists. Capitalism is evil. They hate our society, and are quite open about wanting to wreck it. This meeting is a Leftist newsroom pushing the NYT’s management to become a propaganda machine, because in their eyes there is the Left and there are racist (and presumably sexist) people. There are no sides. There is no debate.

In his reply, Baquet signs on to the project.

Baquet: “…I don’t know how to answer that, other than I do think that that race has always played a huge part in the American story. I do think that race and understanding of race should be a part of how we cover the American story. Sometimes news organizations sort of forget that in the moment. But of course, it should be. One reason we all signed off on the 1619 Project and made it so ambitious and expansive was to teach our readers to think a little bit more like that. Race in the next year – and I think this is, to be frank, what I would hope you come away from this discussion with – race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration.”

The rest of the discussion is people venting about the evil of Donald Trump and presumably the half of America who voted for him, and how the NYT’s job is to fight them.

About the 1619 Project: agitprop for the 21st Century.

From the NYT’s introduction to the project.

“In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. In the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully. The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

About racism

Racism is the closest thing America has to an original sin. But it is not everything about America. Immigrants from Haiti and Nigeria, for example, have done quite well in America, suggesting that the story of racial relations is more complex than the Left says. Also, focusing the story on racism ignores the obvious pathologies in African-American culture in the US – and denying African-Americans agency (i.e., they become passive victims, not people).

Worse, abandoning the equal rights theme of the Civil Rights movement is stoking racial hatred. This is social poison, which the Democratic Party is injecting into our politics for their political gain. The consequences will be ugly, or worse.

About journalism

The Left’s conquest of so many major news media organizations will force changes. The rise of Fox News foreshadows our future, with two sets of “news” – each carefully curated to provide tribal truths and hatred of the Others. As seen in the discussion in the NYT newsroom, the staff has little interest in journalism.

But this requires our cooperation. Journalism is a business, providing a product that we consume. If we refuse their servings of propaganda, then some news services will give us what we want. Ultimately we get the news that we want. We have the power and the responsibility that comes with it.

“Choice. The problem is choice.”
— Neo in The Matrix Reloaded.

The Screwtape Letters
Available at Amazon.

A note from the past

Some saw this coming a long time ago, as in this from The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (1942).

My dear Wormwood {a junior fellow at the Center for American Something or Other},

It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier.  At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it.  They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chair of reasoning.

But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that.  Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head.  He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.”  Jargon, not argument is your best ally in keeping him from truth.

The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground.  He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting he has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below.  By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result. … Do remember you are there to fuddle him.  From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

Your affectionate uncle,
Screwtape.