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Out-Foxing The Times

September 30, 2009

Out-Foxing The Times

IBD: 29 Sept. 2009

Media: The New York Times, still smarting after losing scoops to Fox News, has thrown in the towel, vowing to avoid future embarrassment by monitoring the cable channel. We have a better idea — it’s called reporting.

An Illinois senator rises to the highest office in the land on pillars of a spectacularly slimy political organization, a group with a long record of voter fraud, theft, thuggery and partisanship. As sexy as such a story might seem, the New York Times didn’t consider it news.

That’s why the Times got scooped by outlets such as Fox News, for which it has nothing but contempt, on revelations that led to the fall of community organizing behemoth Acorn.

The wound was self-inflicted, rooted in little more than the partisanship of protecting a favored president. It left the field clear for a couple of journalism students to show that Acorn staffers openly encouraged pimping, child prostitution, human trafficking, mortgage fraud and tax evasion.

It’s right there on tapes posted to Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com. Unlike the disdainful Times, Fox ran with it, toppling a behemoth of political power.

Fox’s judgment now seems to play the role the Times’ once did, and the Times is no doubt left wondering how it could have lost out on yet another one.

It’s not the first: It missed the John Edwards mistress and baby scandal in campaign 2008; it missed the National Endowment for the Arts press conference shilling for Obama; it also missed the debacle over the seamy background of “green jobs” czar Van Jones.

Now it’s missed the Acorn scandals — all because of its “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues dominating Fox News and talk radio,” according to managing editor Jill Abramson, who will now “assign an (unnamed) editor to monitor opinion media.”

Baloney. Those Fox stories had impact because they were fact-, not opinion-based. The public agreed, and the politicians were forced to act. The Times’ “monitor” idea smears Fox as an opinion outfit whose product must be handled with tongs.

In fact, it’s ideological bias that keeps Times journalists from covering the news with impact. The newspaper of record should be reporting the news “without fear or favor,” as its motto says — not simply by accepting the liberal line.

If they happen to hit their favorite politicians, too bad. Because if they don’t do this, they aren’t newsmen. By taking a cheap shot at Fox and then bitterly following it instead of leading, the Times blows its credibility even more than its missed scoops do.

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