Following the stunning results of the presidential election that turned a businessman and television star into President-elect Donald Trump, chaos has erupted across the nation.
Now, in a move that may shock many, The New York Times published an open letter to its readers in which it committed to a “rededication” to its “fundamental mission”:
Letter to NYT readers from Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Dean Baquet pic.twitter.com/jORqzx3BA9
— Sydney Ember (@melbournecoal) November 11, 2016
The open letter reads, in part:
“…we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.”
This rededication comes following the election of Trump, which The New York Times calls “unexpected,” “erratic and unpredictable,” but that some others did predict.
The New York Times open letter also vowed to avoid bias:
“[Our fundamental mission] is also to hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly. You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team.”
With regard to “holding power to account,” Newsweek had previously called the paper to task for its “bungled” coverage of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, which included “touting” her use of a private email server and failing to mention what “possible crime” had been committed:
“Indeed, if the Times article is based on the same documents I read, then the piece is wrong in all of its implications and in almost every particular related to the inspector generals’ conclusions. These are errors that go far beyond whether there was a criminal referral of Clinton’s emails or a criminal referral at all. Sources can mislead; documents do not.”
“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough commented on the open letter from The New York Times, citing an article by Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times that pointed out how the paper and the media as a whole became “cheerleaders” [for Hillary Clinton] and “stopped being journalists.”
Liz Spayd, The Public Editor for The New York Times, also wrote an article calling the paper to task for its lack of truly listening to its readers, many of whom deluged the paper with letters of complaint. Spayd urged the paper’s editors to avoid the “narrow caricature” and get more in tune with “ordinary Americans.”
President Elect Trump called the media to task on more than one occasion during his campaign. Americans will have to wait and see if this “rededication” from The New York Times is a sign of things to come in terms of the media once again being the fourth estate.