I think the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have some of the best journalists on the planet. Their editorial boards? So partisan most of the time their words aren’t worth reading, which is about the same thing you can say for most of the readers’ comments. In fairness, only a small percentage of readers post comments and may not be representative of overall readership. One can hope.
Upon the passing of George H. W. Bush, most columnists and reporters of the New York Times wrote well of the 41st president even as they pointed out some of his inglorious moments and mistakes. Last I checked, he was a human being and therefore not perfect. These writers got that. On balance, in perspective, their conclusion was, dare I say, he was a good man with a good heart that led this country well.
But then there was the completely graceless editorial by the editorial board of the New York Times, an editorial that seemed to chart every failing of Bush, and many that actually weren’t, to create a mean-spirited caricature of a decent man. It is clear that one of the reasons we have the bankruptcy expert in the White House is that some on the left have always been so willing to crucify moderate Republicans. This doesn’t forgive the sins of the many Republicans who have overlooked racism, xenophobia and an assault on core American principles in the ultimate deal with the devil. But it does say very much about the character, or lack thereof, with the hardened ideologues on the left. Even today, after seeing all that George H. W. Bush stood for and how he lived his life, to say nothing of his close to flawless handling of international affairs, the New York Times editorial board chose partisan ignorance over journalistic balance and perspective.
With the Wall Street Journal’s editorial army, the same partisan ignorance rears its ugly head. But it tends to be more glaring due to the past few years of Republicans’ steep descent into lies. Politicians from both parties have always lied to an extent. In part that’s because we Americans tend to punish politicians that tell us the truth, as opposed to rewarding those that tell us what we want to hear. That said, Republicans have staunchly supported their liar-in-chief. He lies about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, from the size of the 2017 inauguration “crowd” to Obama’s birthplace to rampant voter fraud. (Special note of irony: the only voter fraud discovered in the past two elections was this year at the hands of Republicans in North Carolina.) Lies are also those that undermine the credibility of institutions we need to trust for our democratic republic to exist, such as the judicial system, national security apparatus and a free press. But instead of the WSJ editorial staff standing up for the most basic of truths, they turn apologists and moral relativists. I always wonder if they are so lacking a moral compass or are they really that ignorant? Or both?
Fortunately, there are journalists who still do a superb job of discovering stories and doing so with real facts. They are the firewall for our democracy.