Katie Frates, DCNF
New York Times readers are writing to the publication at a rate on par with what was seen after 9/11 with an angry message: “I expect more from The Times.”
That’s what reader Judy Barlas told NYTimes editor Liz Spayd for her article, “One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed.” Barlas supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, and felt like the Times pushed a narrative that then-competitor Hillary Clinton was always going to win the Democratic nomination.
Times readers are writing and calling the Times and commenting on articles in droves to express, according to Spayd, “a searing level of dissatisfaction” with the 165-year-old paper’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Complaints to the public editor are at five times the normal level; customer care is also seeing an uptick in calls.
A decidedly liberal lean, the narrative that Clinton was sure to win (both in the primary and general election), and a lack of fair coverage of President-elect Donald Trump supporters have liberals, moderates and conservatives upset.
A few instances of lackluster coverage include the Times failing to cover sexual assault allegations against former President Bill Clinton like it did allegations against Trump; a columnist joking about an assassination attempt against Trump; reporter John Harwood being outed as very cozy with Clinton’s campaign; the paper giving little coverage to thousands of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails released by WikiLeaks; and the Times actually editing a story about Clinton at her request.
To top it off, even liberal readers felt the Times mischaracterized Trump supporters as racist bigots.
They wanted “a news source that fairly covers people across the spectrum,” Spayd wrote, and they weren’t getting it.
Readers are calling for fresh blood, “I’m tired of the old guard,” one said.
Cindy Capwell, a Trump supporter disenfranchised by the Times’ characterization of his base as racist, anti-Muslim and homophobic, told Spayd, “I hope you guys will give people like us a chance too. It’s time to lay down our arms.”
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