A job ad for the NYT’s director of opinion strategy noted that a key responsibility would be “connecting and ensuring alignment between efforts in Opinion and around the wider newsroom and company.”
We’re at a point and time where trust in the mainstream media is at an all-time low. It’s been on the decline for well over a decade now. After four years of one fake news story after another about President Trump and a year of being gaslit about so-called “peaceful” Antifa/Black Lives Matter riots, Republican mistrust of the media has driven the percentages down even further.
Back in January, Axios provided a sobering look at just how bad the numbers were:
By the numbers: For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman’s annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.
-56% of Americans agree with the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
-58% think that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.”
When Edelman re-polled Americans after the election, the figures had deteriorated even further, with 57% of Democrats trusting the media and only 18% of Republicans.
Here’s the graph they included:
— Sister Toldjah Le Pew 😁 (@sistertoldjah) April 15, 2021
Even before Trump was elected, in part based on his penchant for calling out media bias, media outlets were well aware of the trust issues people had with the press. And after the 2016 election, some news organizations did a lot of virtue signaling about how they would restore trust in their industry and prove to people that Trump was wrong about them.
For example, the Washington Post added “democracy dies in darkness” to their masthead a month after his inauguration just to let people know that you could count on them to get to the bottom of every story. That is, except for the numerous instances where they either didn’t do so or went out on a story embarrassingly half-cocked):
— Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck) February 22, 2017
Well before Trump ran for president, the New York Times was making overtures to critics to improve their tattered reputation. They added a public editor in 2003 who would be a conduit of sorts between readers and reporters. This was in the aftermath of the Jayson Blair scandal and also at a time when more people were pointing out how it was becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the op/ed departments and the various news divisions (local, national, international, etc).
But in mid-2017, they eliminated the position. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. justified it at the time by saying the situation had become outdated and that social media users had effectively become their “watchdogs” instead:
Mr. Sulzberger, in a newsroom memo, said the public editor’s role had become outdated.
“Our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be,” he wrote. “Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, rather than to channel their voice through a single office.”
Four years later, and the Twitterization of the New York Times newsroom and its emphasis on catering to “woke” reporters and left-wing social media mobs with an angle to push has proved disastrous, as we’ve documented here on many occasions.
With all of that in mind, you would think that the paper would maybe put on some pretense of trying to make sure the various opinions that get churned out on the op/ed side do not bleed over to the straight news side.
But that’s not happening at all. Instead, the paper is now actively seeking a director of opinion strategy, where one of the key responsibilities will be “connecting and ensuring alignment between efforts in Opinion and around the wider newsroom and company”:
Your job, in brief, will be to:
-Collaborate with The Times’s Opinion Editor, Managing Editor and the wider Opinion leadership team in setting and executing coverage targets and operational strategy
-Help Opinion leaders shape and implement our priorities, goals and plans
-Serve as one of the key conduits connecting and ensuring alignment between efforts in Opinion and around the wider newsroom and company
-Partner closely with Opinion leadership, audience, design, video, audio, newsroom leadership and technology teams to develop and execute on the vision, strategy, and product roadmap for Opinion
-Partner with the Audience team to conduct and present analytics deep dives aimed at helping broaden the audience of Times Opinion
-As a member of the broader Newsroom Strategy and company Strategy & Development team, participate in a wide range of projects in News and across the company
The ad was the equivalent of the New York Times saying the quiet part out loud about the direction in which they were determined to go. Andrew Sullivan’s reaction pretty much summed it up:
The NYT is doubling down on critical theory. It is now the core ideology driving most of their news stories, as they abandon any pretense at even an attempt at objectivity. Notice also how their opinion section is devoted to one single worldview. https://t.co/fwV4OZwm7Y
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) April 15, 2021
And the award for the question of the week goes to:
Isn’t the separation between the two integral to journalism? Or so I’m told…
— Faysal Itani (@faysalitani) April 15, 2021
Once upon a time, it was. But clearly, the times – and “standards” – have drastically changed at American news outlets, and not for the better.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.