Saturday, March 03, 2007

For the Record

America's "newspaper of record" as it calls itself, has long been considered to be the New York Times. It isn't. The Washington Post recently ran an investigative series on the treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital which resulted in the dismissal of the Secretary of the Army and the commander of the hospital followed by the dismissal of his appointed successor. This is the highest and best tradition of journalism, both as reporting and as uncovering. The Washington Post, not the New York Times, a generation ago did the investigative series that led to the undoing of the Nixon Administration.

The New York Times has stumbled from internal scandal to internal scandal and its reporting has been locked into an ideological rigidity of that kind often characterized as "mediocre". The New York Times seems to have little to recommend it beside the identification with New York. Reading an account of events in the New York Times leaves me wondering what actually happened. Reading one in the Washington Post leaves me thinking that that is probably what happened.

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