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The New York Times has a new beat on its political team: Covering “right-wing media” as a means to better inform its readers about what drives the political decision-making of many Americans, since these media often have ” little resemblance” to general coverage. .
Times political editor David Halbfinger announced last week that BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Ken Bensinger would “pioneer a new beat covering right-wing media as part of the democracy team at the Policy desk”.
Halbfinger said Bensinger’s new assignment, which begins Monday, was filled with “people who reject dominant narratives and question the institutions that sustain our democracy. Understanding how information is developed, circulated and absorbed on the right is vital at this precarious time and requires a good measure of patience, empathy and understanding along with ribs of inquiry, skepticism and toughness.”
Bensinger, who did not respond to a request for comment, tweeted that his new job was “important and complex” and required “sensitivity and nuance at a critical time for this nation.” When asked to elaborate on the new position, a spokesperson for the New York Times told Fox News Digital that this beat was created due to the volume of Americans who rely on alternatives to mainstream sources for their information. .
An image of the main entrance to the New York Times building in New York City.
(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File photo)
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“Our media and technology desks thoroughly cover many aspects of hyper-partisan media and disinformation (when relevant). The Policy Cabinet set a new pace on this issue because many Americans rely solely on right-wing media for to their information, which often bears little resemblance to what is being reported in the mainstream media. We want our readers to be informed about what is driving the political decisions of many Americans,” a spokesperson said.
The spokesman did not specifically respond to a question about whether a position existed or was being created at the paper to narrowly cover progressive or left-leaning media. The Times has several reporters on its media team who cover the big, ideologically diverse industry, but none seem to focus squarely on the left.
Media commentator and Fox News contributor Joe Concha said the new position was not a surprise for a newspaper known for its liberal leanings; for example, although separate from the news division, the editorial board of the New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for the White House since 1956.
“This is how ‘journalism’ works these days: there are entire outlets with people who somehow refer to themselves as media journalists who are actually activists dedicated to watching and reading what they consider media of the right and have an opinion on what they don’t agree with.” Concha told Fox News Digital. “They know their audience and just cater to it.”
President Trump’s stolen election claims have been widely reported and criticized in the New York Times.
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The Times’ media coverage has long shown a heavy emphasis on the right. According to a search of its website, 577 Times articles — including more than 200 opinion pieces — contain the term “right-wing media,” while only 48 have the term “left-wing media,” a share of more than 12 to 1. Many of the “leftist media” references came simply from quoting figures like former President Trump ridiculing the media they felt had a liberal bias, rather than the Times reporting critically on it.
Recent references to “right-wing media” in the Times’ print media, however, have been in line with the new beat: coverage of how conservative and right-wing news outlets have covered major news events, such as Mar- a- of the FBI. Raid on Lago: “Right-wing media amplifying fury directed at Biden administration,” the Times reported. The paper has also reported extensively on Trump’s stolen 2020 election claims and the media and figures who have imitated them, which the Times and other media outlets have framed as a unique threat to the democratic order.
The Times promoted some of Bensinger’s biggest stories over the years in its press release, such as when he revealed possible federal entrapment in the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot. In particular, the Times omitted that he was one of the reporters who helped BuzzFeed publish the infamous Christopher Steele dossier in early 2017, the amalgamation of unproven and salty allegations of Trump-Russia collusion that has been widely discredited. At the time BuzzFeed made the controversial decision to publish the opposition research paper, it acknowledged that the allegations in the Steele dossier were unverified and possibly in error.
The New York Times has focused much more on covering “right-wing” than “left-wing” media.
(DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)
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The new position comes as the media industry writes big deals with immense credibility problems with the public. Just 16% of Americans said they have “a lot or a lot” of trust in newspapers in 2022, a 5% drop from 2021 findings, according to a recent Gallup poll. It was the lowest number to give those answers since Gallup began asking about newspapers in 1973. Only 11 percent had those levels of trust in television news, also an all-time low.
David Rutz is a senior editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @davidrutz.