The New York Times has a job to do – and it has done that job spectacularly well over the past few months. The Times is a leader, in the opinion of this writer, the leader in spelling out the US narrative on the war in Ukraine, a tale designed to keep up morale, give the war a high moral purpose and justify the untold billions pouring from the taxpayers’ pockets into Joe Biden’s proxy war on Russia. Day in and day out in page after page of word and picture it has been instructing one and all, including politicians and lower level opinion shapers, exactly what to think about the war in Ukraine. So, when the Times says that things are not going well for the US and its man in Kiev, Volodymyr Zelensky, it is a man bites dog kind of story. It tells us that some truths have gone from uncomfortable to undeniable.
New York Times
A “newspaper of record” is a major newspaper with a large circulation whose editorial and news-gathering functions are considered authoritative. In this country, that newspaper has been the New York Times. It is believed that librarians began to refer to The New York Times (NYT) as the “newspaper of record” in 1913 when it became the first U.S. newspaper to publish an index of the subjects covered in its pages. Regardless of how it became known as the authoritative source for editorial and news content, it is time that we stop calling the NYT the “newspaper of record” now, especially during this conflict in Ukraine. The NYT’s March 18th digital headline reads: “130 Rescued from Mariupol Theater, Official Says.” Beyond the headline and under the section, “Here are the latest developments in Ukraine,” more details are provided...
Tech workers at The New York Times voted 404-88 to unionize as the New York Times Tech Guild, the union announced Thursday. The guild, which includes more than 500 engineers, project and product managers, designers and analysts, is now the largest unit of tech workers with bargaining rights in the country. They are organized by the NewsGuild, the largest union of journalists. As an official from the National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots Thursday, the guild marked the occasion with a live vote tracker. “This is a historic win,” the union tweeted. “We stand in solidarity with all workers organizing to build better workplaces in the tech and media industries.”
The New York Times Tech Guild has won their union vote, making them the largest majority union of software workers in the United States so far. The Tech Guild went public with their unionization efforts in April 2021, and faced an enormous amount of union-busting from New York Times management. At time of writing, the Tech Guild had counted an overwhelming majority of “yes” votes, with over 80% of the bargaining unit voting yes.
The New York Times handed over its popular The Morning daily newsletter on January 18 to new hire German Lopez, formerly of Vox. His debut edition of the data-driven newsletter (usually helmed by David Leonhardt) was headlined “Examining the Spike in Murders.” As criminal justice activist and expert Alec Karakatsanis (Twitter, 1/18/22) pointed out, the analysis presented as indisputable the notion that a rise in homicides demands a police-based solution—a position that is, in fact, highly disputed, and worth debunking in detail, since it’s a popular one these days, both in the Times and in other prominent outlets (FAIR.org, 6/24/21, 7/20/21). Lopez describes an increase in the murder rate over 2020 and 2021 (which, it’s worth pointing out, is still lower than it was from 1970 through 1996) and explains that victims are disproportionately Black, framing his analysis in terms of racial justice
In a lead article, on page one of the New York Times on January 13, Li Yuan an NYT reporter, has equated the public health and medical personnel behind China’s successful battle against Covid-19 in the city of Xi’an to Adolph Eichmann, a princiapal architect of the Holocaust. The article’s opening sentence views them as typical of “the millions of people who work diligently toward” containing Covid-19 in China. The anti-Covid campaign in Xi’an, a city of 13 million has now terminated the spread of Covid-19 without a single death and limited its spread to about 2000 cases. The Nazi Holocaust designed and managed by Eichmann resulted in the extermination of millions of Jews.
The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon's confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This follows its high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes. Many journalists will, rightfully, praise the New York Times for its reporting on U.S. airstrikes and the civilian cost. Far fewer will point out how the inhumanity of U.S. airstrikes were first revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Daniel Hale.
The recent outbreak of the Delta variant in China “shows that its strategy no longer fits. It is time for China to change tack.” So declared a lead essay atop the New York Times Opinion/Editorial section on Sept. 7 by Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The Delta outbreak that “changed the game” in Huang’s words emerged after an outbreak at Nanjing international airport in July traced to a flight from Russia. Did this outbreak change anything in fact? Let’s do the numbers. Let’s do something that Huang did not; let’s look at the numbers from July 1 until Sept. 7 the date of the article, a period that brackets the Delta outbreak cited by Huang. During that period China experienced 273 new cases, about 4 per day, and no new deaths. That hardly seems like a failure.
On August 11th, after months of management’s union-busting and stalling, New York Times tech workers staged the tech industry’s first ever walkout over unfair labor practices. Among the over 300 workers taking part was Kathy Zhang, a senior manager of newsroom and product analytics at the New York Times, who echoed hundreds of years of militant worker organizers when she explained the simple yet monumental rights at stake: “we want better working conditions and we want to be able to advocate for those conditions together.” The future of organizing in the tech sector is dependent in large part on what happens here in the next few months. Because the tech industry sits at the nexus of commerce, mass media, finance, entertainment, and nearly all modern forms of communication, a strong labor movement in that sector could result in workers having power over some of the most consequential decision-making of our time.
Over 300 members of the New York Times Tech Guild walked off the job this afternoon in a planned half-day work stoppage to protest the New York Times Company’s aggressive union-busting. The stoppage was a specific protest against three unfair labor practices, or ULP’s, that the News Guild contends New York Times bosses management engaged in while trying to delay, distract or outright bust their tech workers’ fledgling union. A representative for the News Guild, which represents the NYT Tech Guild, confirmed that three specific ULPs are currently under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board. The work stoppage is the culmination of months of frustration for the Times‘ massive tech workforce, which maintains and builds all of the papers’ digital products, from its website to its various apps.
Steven R. Donziger—the human rights attorney who in 2011 won a $9.5 billion legal victory in Ecuador over the Chevron Corporation for the dumping of roughly 16 billion gallons of toxic waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon—has been under house arrest for 696 days. This unprecedented legal situation is happening in New York City, the hometown of the New York Times—but the paper of record has yet to report on Donziger’s arrest.
Like any African who grew up with a TV, I’ve always been exposed to Western perceptions of Africa. Living in a postcolonial African education system that still relies heavily on Western literature, one becomes intimately aware of how the world sees Africa. Still, I have always bristled against what is now famously called “the single story,” which presents Africa as a one-dimensional scene of tragic suffering and endless despair. Coverage of Covid-19 in Africa, despite the continent’s relatively low infection rates, is disproportionately grim and macabre compared to the rest of the world, as two New York Times articles illustrated. Last November, the Times (11/27/20) published a lengthy article about efforts in East Asia to fight Covid.
Media coverage of heightened violence in Israel/Palestine has misrepresented events in the Israeli government’s favor by suggesting that Israel is acting defensively, presenting a false equivalency between occupier and occupied, and burying information necessary to understand the scale of Israeli brutality.
You know you’re in for a hard sell when the New York Times (3/29/21) publishes an article under the headline “An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.” And Times Beijing bureau chief Steven Lee Myers doesn’t disappoint. He asserts: China hopes to position itself as the main challenger to an international order, led by the United States, that is generally guided by principles of democracy, respect for human rights and adherence to rule of law. “Generally” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. I don’t think I have to spend too much time reminding you that the United States is a massive supporter of coups and undemocratic governments; has an ongoing history of torture, detention without trial and extrajudicial killing; and asserts the right to invade and coerce countries in defiance of international law.
The Brazilian Supreme Court on March 8 dismissed all charges against former President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva made during the Lava Jato investigation, a little over a month after the investigation was officially ended. The termination came shortly after the Supreme Court admitted 6 terabytes of leaked Telegram chats between public prosecutors and judges as evidence in the case. A small portion of the leaks, released slowly by the Intercept Brasil and local media partners in 107 articles, revealed that Judge Sergio Moro illegally instructed prosecutors in cases he was ruling on; these leaks also exposed dozens of secret, illegal meetings with agents of the US FBI. Lula’s defense lawyers have now released new, devastating information, in the context of a series of motions to dismiss. In one conversation, Lava Jato taskforce chief Delton Dallagnol refers to Lula’s imprisonment as a gift from the CIA.