Cometh the BBC Man

by Jay Nordlinger

In the last couple of days, I’ve been posting a bit about the New York Times, mainly — well, only — because its outgoing “public editor,” Arthur Brisbane, has written such an extraordinary assessment of that paper. He says that “the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds.” (The Times building sits on Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan.)

Brisbane further says, “When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so.” Really? Maybe the paper has improved since the days when I read it regularly. Brisbane continues, “Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.”

That’s more the Times I know!

“As a result,” says Brisbane, “developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”

The paper will get a new CEO, Mark Thompson, coming from the BBC. In 2010, he made this admission: “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left.” He then claimed that things had changed, dramatically (doubtful). But still: an admirable admission. May he be frank about, and at, the Times.