Former New York Times Journalist Says the Publication ‘Lost Its Way’ When it Started Catering to the Left

By: Lauren | Published: Jan 12, 2024

A recent essay from the former opinion editor of The New York Times has become headline news as the editor claims that the newspaper has “lost its way.”

James Bennet has essentially told the world that publications, like his former employer, are no longer providing people with the facts but, instead, are providing one-sided opinions. And consequently, the American people have lost faith in the entire industry.

Who Is James Bennet?

James Bennet once worked at The New York Times as the editorial page editor, but since leaving the company, he has since released an essay detailing all the issues he believes they and the rest of the industry are facing.

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Copies of the New York Times newspaper sit for sale on a rack

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In his essay in The Economist, Bennet explains that “truth-seeking journalism” has “fallen out of fashion not just with journalists at the Times and other mainstream publications but at some of the most prestigious schools of journalism.”

One-Sided Journalism

Bennet also argues that while the Times has always leaned a little to the left in its reporting, in recent years, it has gone from “bias to illiberal bias.”

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The New York Times headquarters in New York City

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What was once “an inclination to favor one side of the national debate to an impulse to shut debate down altogether,” wrote Bennet.

A Serious Lack of Opinion-Free Journalism

Bennet’s lengthy essay dives deep into his personal experience working at the Times, but the core message was clear: There is a real lack of opinion-free journalism within the industry.

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Reporters with cameras

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And while the news and media field is certainly seeing the downsides to this reality, it is the American public who truly feels its negative effects.

Journalism in America

It’s important to understand that journalism was once considered an extremely respected profession.

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Journalist at the New York Post on September 16, 1965

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From print to television, the journalists of the 20th century focused on giving Americans the facts as opposed to their opinions on topics such as politics, the economy, and ongoing wars. However, that’s simply not the case anymore.

Journalists Are Now Writing as Activists

Bennet argues that many journalists are now reporting as if they were activists, attempting to mold the viewpoints of readers to fit their own.

People participating in an Earth Day march titled “End the Era of Fossil Fuels”

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This extreme change from what journalism once was has created mistrust in mainstream media and even a complete abandonment of the industry.

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Americans Can’t Trust Journalists

In fact, things have gotten so bad that there is now a nationwide term for incorrect or biased information: Fake news.

A chalk message about "Fake News" is written on the street near the White House

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Many Americans feel as if they cannot read or watch the news anymore as they have no faith that the information they are being given is even true.

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Turning to Social Media for Information

As a result, many have turned their attention to social media platforms such as X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, in the hopes of getting information that hasn’t been fine-tuned to represent a certain network’s opinion.

Photo illustration of the logos of US online social media and social networking sites

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And there is no doubt that previously popular news sources, such as The New York Times, CBS, ABC, and CNN, are struggling to stay relevant.

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Independent Journalism Is Still Important

America’s First Amendment clearly states the right to a free press, which means the media can and should express its opinions without fear of government intervention.

Illustration of the 1st Amendment from the US Constitution

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And Bennet, as well as the vast majority of Americans, agree that independent journalism is absolutely vital to the success of the nation. The problem is that opinion-based journalism has completely saturated the industry and is now seldom based on facts.

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The New York Times Responded to Bennet’s Essay

A.G. Sulzberger, publisher at the Times, gave a statement shortly after Bennet’s essay was released.

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger speaks to an audience

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He said that the Times is committed to “independent journalism” and that the publication continues to offer a “wide range of viewpoints,” including conservative opinions.

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Mainstream Media Is in Trouble

Long before Bennet’s essay made headlines, Americans have been wondering what is next for mainstream media and the news industry as a whole.

Exterior of a CBS building with the company logo

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With some sources offering solely right-wing views and others leaning extremely to the left, it feels as if there are no options for those who want to understand the facts, not the network’s opinions.

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Is Change on the Horizon for American News?

Publications around the country and even the world often look toward the beloved New York Times for inspiration. But now, with its own journalists speaking out about the issues within the company and the industry as a whole, real change may be on its way.

Screenshot of the New York Times X profile

Source: @nytimes/X

There’s no doubt that Americans want to see a more unbiased news source, but whether or not that will be The New York Times remains to be seen.

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