Latest update: May 16th, 2012
Far from being an impulsive act, Epstein’s break with the Times was years in the making. Though he doesn’t mention it in his Weekly Standard article, back in 1994 he wrote a lengthy essay on his problems with the paper – “The Degradation of the New York Times” – for Commentary magazine, in which he lamented the paper’s steady drift away from at least making an attempt at objective reporting to out-and-out advocacy disguised as news coverage:
[T]he news columns of the Times have become so filled with opinion that one has become all but inured to the phenomenon . Certainly, during the Reagan years it was rare to pick up a piece about the economy without finding mention of what I came to think of as that musical-comedy team of Savage Cuts and Chilling Effects: every Reagan budget cut was savage, the effect of every cut chilling. Not that one should ever read a newspaper story without a proper measure of skepticism, but in The New York Times of late the gentle whir of political axes being ground has come to serve as a kind of basso continuo to the paper’s reporting.
Here, too, Epstein’s dismay was already evident in his 1994 Commentary essay:
One can now predict how the Times will come out editorially on nearly every issue, problem, or question of the day. The only amusement, or instruction, is in watching its editorial writers squirm in defending the indefensible, or rationalizing the irrational.
Reading both of Epstein’s articles – and bearing in mind they were writen sixteen years apart – one doesn’t know whether to marvel at his ineffable patience in waiting this long before finally kicking the Times to the curb or to ask, perhaps uncharitably but with only the best of intentions, Why the interminable delay?
Jason Maoz can be reached at email@example.com
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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