33 Comments

Cohn's column is what happens when a 32 year old writer tries to please the boss instead of informing the readers. MEMO to Cohn and the NYT: Republicans still think you are biased.

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author

i think there's truth to that....never forget, everyone at the NYT understand what the career ladder looks like. and Both Sides is a big part of it. (along w/ bashing Hillary....)

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I posted this on your Twitter feed about this article:

White Supremacist Mob Assembling Gallows: "Get Pence! Get Pelosi!"

NYT: Both sides air bipartisan grievances at heated Capitol rally.

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author

ha! you too, can write for the NYT

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Sad to say it's not hard at all. I've often maintained we should crowd source their stories and headlines. It would be fun! Great article as always, by the way. Thank you for keeping me sane!!! (sort of sane).

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The good news is that, in reading the top 50 reader comments (or so), people get it and call out the idiocy of blaming both sides. The bad news is that the media just can’t quit their love of the practice. The NYT has perfected the art of bothsidism, but WAPO, MSNBC (but not all at either certainly), etc are right there with their Times counterparts. It’s lazy, dishonest, and cowardly journalism and isn’t a bulwark to the propaganda ministry that “conservative” outlets have become, but actually enables them. I don’t understand why Beltway journalists think they would be immune to the consequences if American democracy is lost. It’s despairing.

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author

agreed! readers completely get it. but the Times ignores; can't be bothered with answering criticism

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Years ago I remember an interview with Bill Moyers who said (paraphrasing here) that good journalists present the facts which draws one to a conclusion.

In other words, Journalism has nothing to do with balance.

Nate Cohn’s bio at the NYTimes says that his beat is elections, public opinion, and demographics -- all of which are data-driven areas, supported by polling and analysis. I defy anyone to find an instance in this piece that cites actual data or anything else that can back up his opinion.

This is not research based journalism, it is punditry, and not very good. This article turns the Moyers definition on its head: it is an opinion looking for facts and finds none, so goes for incredibly ham-handed attempt at balance.

I’m amazed that an editor didn’t spike this.

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author

honestly, i'm amazed editors got past the first paragraph. i worked at Rolling Stone, Salon, Media Matters and dealt w/ editors for 20 yrs. there's no way any one of them would ever let me publish a piece based on such an obviously faulty premise

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This is a cowardly NY Times piece, afraid of offending the other side, the other side being the Republicans, the bad guys. What, it might hurt the Times' sales if Nate Cohn were to portray the Republicans as being so out of control and out of touch, ah...which of course they are. So hypothetically, if Cohn was covering World War II, would he have written how Hitler and the Allied Forces were both somehow to blame for the Nazi invasion of Europe? Would he have written that both sides do it when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, or would Cohn have defended the 19 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon twenty years ago? While my examples might seem absurd, isn't it much more dangerous to ignore how the Republicans are destroying our democracy in an attempt to hold on to power? Lincoln more or less said that America will never be destroyed from outside but from within. Cohn's narrative is aiding in Lincoln's dire prophecy, helping to stir up more division within our country at a time when the truth is paramount to saving the Republic. I guess to the Times, it's better not to offend the shrinking Republican Party than it is to write the truth.

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author

the whole thing is a mess from beginning to end.

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I've read some NYT articles from 20's and 30's about how Hitler was just engaging his base with his anti-Semitic rants and had no intention of actually DOING anything. All the Fascists Fit To Fluff.

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What do they say? Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I guess the Times doesn't realize their job is to document history.

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Times sees its job as pushing an agenda when it comes to politics.

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My life is such that I can't afford the time to weed through the bad stuff. I used to graze over google news daily and have in the past year just stopped doing that because it made me so mad. Also had been reading the daily NYT email, which I've stopped. Well, now you and your fabulous Press Run have ruined me for good... and I mean real good. I'm grateful to you for your work, beyond measure. And I would read you every day, but you probably have a life that's calling you too. How can other decent media out there coalesce to create a bonafide platform that informs, tells the truth?

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The New York Times does so many things so well. It's fascinating that when it comes to politics, it is totally amateurish and stupid. Yes, the diseased hundredth-of-a-cent streetwalkers who comprise the DC political media brothel and its satellites are bad. But Nate Cohn is usually smarter than this. He must have consulted "The Habes."

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“So the reason every Republican member of the House and Senate voted against the Covid relief bill was because they view Democrats as the enemy? Even though the bill enjoyed overwhelming public support. The reason every Republican will likely vote against the infrastructure bill is because they see Democrats as the enemy? Even though that bill also enjoys bipartisan support. The reason Republicans categorically oppose every common-sense gun safety bill as America drowns in mass murders is because Republicans view Democrats as the enemy?“

I might be a little unclear on what you’re saying here, because yes, I think that’s exactly why Republicans do these things.

It’s ludicrous that Cohn thinks both sides do this (and really exposes the elite media mindset that it seems to never occur to him that he isn’t producing any evidence of Democratic sectarianism), but Republicans are absolutely acting this way. Can sectarianism be asymmetrical? Or does that make it something else?

Certainly there’s a generation (maybe even two) of Republicans who don’t even know why they believe what they believe, which seems to fulfill part of the definition ...

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author

right, but as I note Cohn gives no reasons why GOP views Dems as enemy. He notes all the dangerous things conservatives now do (oppose elections etc), which drives liberal anger. but he can’t explain right-wing viewing liberals threat to democracy

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Would love to know the discussions between writer and editor that shaped what was published. Did the initial draft fall into the both-sidism trap? Or was Cohn pushed to make the piece more "balanced," as in a false portrayal of the situation?

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Our experiment in self-governance never foresaw a disloyal opposition.

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This is the best statement I've seen, simple, right to the point, and true. This is the statement that should be blasted non-stop by the media.

"Instead, it features a struggle between a mainstream center-left party trying to pass an infrastructure bill, and a party that has divorced itself from reality, embraced a cult-like devotion to a pathological liar in Trump, opposes free and fair elections (and welcomes foreign interference), sponsored a deadly insurrection, surrendered itself to lunatic ravings of a conspiratorial Q cabal, and spent the last year spreading deadly misinformation about a public health crisis."

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Calling us sectarian doesn’t make it so. I stopped reading Cohn’s piece y’day - just now read it all the way through - when I came upon the sentence Eric referenced, ‘.....each see the other as the enemy.’ I certainly don’t. I see no evidence that any D wants that. Perpetuating the view that we are now sectarian vs democratic, imo, is a big stretch and an irresponsible way to turn this tortured metaphor into a truism. I too was astonished that Cohn played both sides to make his case and then gave not one example about the dem’s acquiescence to prove his premise. Poorly done, and hubristic in this 73 year old’s opinion. Some of us have lived awhile and know the difference.

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It continues to astound me how the right wing echo chamber and media ecosystem can manipulate the mainstream media into promoting false and misleading narratives or completely change the narrative when they are under attack for egregious behaviour.

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Is Nate related to Roy? Wow what a screed. The NYT has already lost its mantle as "The Paper of Record" etc., and they keep digging the hole deeper. This is the same mentality that once equated Michael Moore to Rush Limbaugh, caz the agenda obviously was to let Limbaugh off the hook. And so it is with this piece. It must have been ghost written by Frank Luntz - it has all the Rethug talking points, down to the "unity" business. I appreciate Eric reading this so we don't have to.

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Once again the Screw York Times goes full Luke Russert with the Both Sides Do It thing.

It's nothing more than another cog in the Republican 24/7 BS Machine.

Their masthead should post "All The Propaganda Republicans Tell Us To Print"

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founding

Luke learned this from his dad.

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Truth.

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Are there any papers doing a good job providing actual political journalism during this time of an increasingly anti-democratic Republican movement?

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author

good question! i think there's good journalism being done at lots of different mainstream places. but i can't think of any that consistently get it right all the time. i.e you have to sort of weed through the bad stuff

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