Monday, February 24, 2003

Vast Right Wing Blog Conspiracy

Andrew Sullivan posted an item earlier today excerpting a speech by New York Times executive editor Howell Raines. Said Mr. Raines:

"(W)e report and edit the news for our papers, but we don’t wear the political collar of our owners, or the government, or any political party. It is that legacy we must protect with our diligent stewardship. To do so means we must be aware of the energetic effort that is now underway to convince our readers that we are ideologues. It is an exercise of, in disinformation, of alarming proportions. This attempt to convince the audience of the world’s most ideology free newspapers that they're being subjected to agenda driven news reflecting a liberal bias. I don't believe our viewers and readers will be in the long-run misled by those who advocate biased journalism. But perhaps those of us who work for fair-minded publications and broadcasters have been too passive in pointing out the agendas of those who want to use journalism as a political tool, while aiming an accusing finger at those who practice balanced journalism. I believe as Coach Bryant used to say, 'The fourth quarter belongs to us.'" (emphasis added)

Does he really believe that a vast conspiracy of bloggers is making an "energetic effort" to pollute the minds of his readership with a "disinformation" campaign of "alarming proportions?" Does he really believe that The New York Times is "ideology free?" My guess is that the answer to these questions is: "yes, he really does believe that."

It's not the Twilight Zone, I suppose. But it's not reality, either. No doubt The New York Times has its enemies. But I wouldn't count among them Mickey Kaus and Glenn Reynolds and Jane Galt and Andrew Sullivan. I'd call them critics.

And what's with the Nixonian football metaphors?