Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of The New York Times Means For America

William McGowan, Author
William McGowan. Encounter, $25.95 (276p) ISBN 978-1-59403-486-2
Reviewed on: 03/28/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-1-893554-91-7
Open Ebook - 300 pages - 978-1-282-88305-5
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McGowan (Coloring the News), a former New York Times contributor, delves deeply into the philosophy behind the New York Times' news coverage to assess the conceptual decline of the Times as a legitimate source of news. Despite the ideological bent of the author, it's clear that McGowan isn't simply "reaching" to support his sensibilities; he provides examples of journalistic omission, failure to fact-check, and ample evidence of a left-leaning agenda. However, it's no secret that the Times is left leaning, nor that it has changed drastically to accommodate these pluralistic, post-modern times. McGowan presents nuanced, but serious, accusations: for example, bizarre and enthusiastic human interest stories and the hiring of reporters who formerly were op-ed writers. Indeed, the suggestion that the Times tends to cover liberal-leaning books en masse while ignoring bestsellers such as Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought To Be for over a year after it first appeared on the NYT bestseller list, as well as offering certain important books to ideologically-matching reviewers, is accurate, as is the fact that equal time and energy/enthusiasm wasn't given to Obama and McCain. Carefully chosen case studies paint a not-so-rosy picture of journalistic integrity at the Gray Lady, and are sure to incite readers, no matter what their political philosophy. (Nov.)
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