The New York Times and Washington Post have been great newspapers for a long time. No news organization has won as many Pulitzer Prizes as the Times. The Post will go down in history for its Watergate reporting.
Recently both papers seem to have decided that fine journalism is not their top priority. Instead, they want to help Hillary Clinton by doing a hatchet job on Donald Trump. The Post has assigned twenty reporters to dig up dirt on him (I wonder how many are looking into the Clinton scandals). So far their big expose is that Trump called a reporter twenty-five years ago pretending to be a publicist. So what?
Obviously attracting the women’s vote is a key strategy in the Clinton campaign. Part and parcel is the attack on Trump’s treatment of women. As if on cue, the Times responded with a front page story on how he has mistreated women. It opens with a 1990 account of a “debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew”. There is just one problem. The woman says that the Times distorted what she told them. The story continues with allegations going back over fifty years to his days in prep school. Even his late father is criticized. The tone is often strident, not journalistic. His record of appointing women to powerful positions is barely mentioned.
I am in no way trying to defend Trump. I dislike him both as a person and as a candidate. We should all speak up when someone is being mistreated irrespective of our feelings about them.
A good newspaper should have strong journalists and editorialists. A great newspaper should be able to tell the difference.