Earlier this month, hundreds of contributors to The New York Times signed an open letter condemning the paper’s recent coverage of transgender issues. The letter, addressed to Philip B. Corbett, the standards editor, described the contributors’ “serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s reporting.” The letter took issue with a number of deeply reported pieces the Times has run, including one about people who regret transitioning and another about teachers who hide from parents that their children are transitioning at school. “As thinkers, we are disappointed to see The New York Times follow the lead of far-right hate groups in presenting gender diversity as a new controversy warranting new, punitive legislation,” the contributors wrote. A second coordinated letter from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) along the same lines was co-signed by a slew of celebrities.
Conservatives may chuckle to themselves at the idea that The New York Times is viewed by some as a bastion of conservatism, standing athwart puberty blockers and whispering: “Please slow down just a tiny bit!” Indeed, the_ Times_ is no longer just liberal, as it has been for most of its history. It’s woke. As I chronicled in my book Bad News, the paper was at the forefront of mainstreaming woke conceits. Powered by a status revolution among journalists and a business model catering to credentialed professionals, legacy journalism was captured by a worldview that masks the economic privilege of its adherents by mapping power onto identity categories and valorizing weakness and victimization.
Anyone who reads the Times knows this instinctively, but computer scientist David Rozado proved it with data. He created a computer program that scanned the Times’ online archive from 1970 to 2018 and found that words like “racism,” “white supremacy,” “traumatizing,” “marginalized,” and “hate speech” had skyrocketed. His work joined that of political scientist Zach Goldberg, who found that between 2012 and 2016, Google search interest in race-related topics tracked with the prevalence of stories in The New York Times about “racism,” “privilege,” “people of color,” “white tears,” “whitesplaining,” “structural racism,” and “slavery.”
In fact, last week’s letter denouncing the _Times’ _coverage of trans issues echoes another letter in which the paper’s contributors and writers denounced their colleagues. That letter, sent at the height of the George Floyd riots in 2020, protested an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton that called for deploying the National Guard if local police failed to quell rioters and looters. Though the column expressed a view held by 58 percent of Americans and 37 percent of black Americans, more than 1,000 Times employees signed a letter to the publisher which claimed that it “undermines the work we do, in the newsroom and in opinion, and is an affront to our standards for ethical and accurate reporting for the public’s interest.”