Own It, Jill!

by Jay Nordlinger

As Kate Trinko pointed out below, the New York Times’s outgoing “public editor,” Arthur Brisbane, has written some parting words about the Gray Lady. He says that “a kind of political and cultural progressivism . . . virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.” The paper’s chief editor, Jill Abramson, has objected.

That’s what drives people like me — people like all of us NR- and NRO-niks? — crazy. If only they would “own” it. If only they’d say, “Yeah, we’re left-wing, what’re you gonna do about it? Besides, it’s a free country.”

Years ago, the Times’s Supreme Court reporter, Linda Greenhouse, participated in a “pro-choice” rally. That’s how it should be. Isn’t it only natural for the Times’s Supreme Court reporter to be a “pro-choice” activist? Earlier this year, Les Moonves, the head of CBS News, attended an Obama fundraiser in Hollywood. Again, isn’t that natural? I mean, would you expect the head of CBS News to do other than attend Obama fundraisers in Hollywood?

The frustrating thing is the pretending: the fiction that “We’re just reporting the news here.” National Review is an opinion journal. It was created to be that, and it has forever been labeled that way. Truth in advertising. If the New York Times, CBS News, and the like are going to be opinion organs — and they surely are — they should simply say so, so we can kind of get on with life, if you know what I mean.

Three more points: Brisbane says that “the hive on Eighth Avenue,” where the Times building is located, “is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds.” I was interested in the use of that word “hive”: the same one Bill Bennett used, many years ago, to describe the education establishment.

Point 2: Surely this Arthur Brisbane is a descendant of the Arthur Brisbane, one of the leading newspapermen in America in the first part of the 20th century?

Point 3: Isn’t “Kate Trinko” a seriously cool name?

Oh, one more thing: In 2004, I wrote a piece called “Going Timesless,” which was mainly about those who had given up reading the Times. Let me quote a slice:

A noted Washington-based political journalist says, “I consider reading [the Times] an odious professional duty.” He complains not just about the news and editorial pages. (The radical journalist George Seldes, in one of his books, had a chapter called “How To Read the Editorial Pages.” It consisted of one word: “Don’t.”) No, “it’s the arts pages and the food pages and the headlines and the captions — it’s every nook and cranny of that paper.” 

“Virtually bleeds through the fabric” (as Brisbane wrote), “every nook and cranny” — yes. Exactly right.