Monday, June 23, 2008


Thomas Riggins

The idea behind the op ed page was to promote diversity of opinion by letting the opinions of people who were not professional journalists as such have an avenue for expression. Of course we see at the New York Times, for example, paid staff who are professional journalists also writing op ed pieces.

Op ed pages also provide a palce where scholars and academics can express themselves and influence the reading public. A recent study of the op ed pages at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the The Star-Ledger (the major New Jersey paper) has revealed the op ed pieces accepted for publication from academics AGREE WITH THE EDITORIAL STANCES OF THE PAPERS ON THE ISSUES WRITTEN ABOUT 90 to 95% of the time. That is not diversity, it is propaganda.

This shows that to really get a different take on the world than that dished out by the bourgeois media you should be reading Political Affairs, The People's Weekly World and other left publications. Despite Fox News, The New York Times is NOT a left publication!

(this news is from the NYT 6/23/08 "Media Talk" in the Business Section).


Anonymous said...

The New York Times, which endorsed Roosevelt twice for president, endorsed his opponents twice, endorsed Dewey and Eisenhower and stopped endorsing Republicans for President with Nixon(who did they as ruling class centrists have to endorse on the GOP ticket, Goldwater, Nixon again and again, Ford, the famous B movie actor, Ronald you know who, the Bush Der Este, Dole, Bush Der Dummer?)
Op eds in capitalist media are most of the time for rightwingers, traditional conservatives, centrists, and Clintonesqe "new Democrats." Sometimes you will get a traditional liberal, but that is, barring a crisis that produces direct contradictions in ruling class media, as far as you will get.
Norman Markowitz
What would it take to have the NYT have you, me, and Joe, and Joel, discussing transitions to Socialism, the relationship of democracy to socialism, the role of revolutionary violence? Now that would be diversity, but not the kind their editors would accept or stockholders would like(except of course it they would see it bringing them profits in an international edition, perhaps aimed at that old dream of U.S. capitalists, the China Market.

Joel said...

The Times also endorsed McCain and Clinton in these here primaries, don't forget. Sign of waning influence? I suspect so.

Anonymous said...

They are on a losing streak, but the "good thing" about capitalist pundits is that they can be wrong again and again and simply pretend that there mistakes never happened.
P.S. Neither you, Tom, Joe, or myself would endorse McCain and fortunately, we have been saved from the lousy task of supporting Clinton against McCain.

Thomas Riggins said...

McCain, however, has just been endorsed by the Vietnamese gentleman who kept him as a guest at the Hanoi Hilton!

Harold said...

While it is true that the NYT is a piece of trash and hardly worth the paper it is printed on, there is a problem with the left media as well, which basically falls into the same category as that of the corporate press. The problem of the (true) left media, including PA, the PWW, the International Socialist Review, CounterPunch (online) and most others, is that it is essentially preaching to the converted.

And while I of course agree that people should be reading the PWW and PA, there is also something to be gained from reading so-called "centrist" periodicals, such as Foreign Affairs. I like Foreign Affairs because it presents a wide array of opinions, and while it can't really claim to be all that diverse because all of the pieces in it fall within the scope of the mainstream corporate media, it does run the gamut on mainstream opinions.

And while we can always learn from our enemies, I would never recommend that anyone read the far-right publications or watch Fox News, for obvious reasons. Diversity only goes so far.

Anonymous said...

Harold has a reasonable point. In the 1930s, Communist leaders suggested that members sometimes read the Wall Street Journal to get a clearer idea of what the capitalist class was thinking about both the economy and the issues of the day. Marx also used the classical economists and the data catalogued by the capitalist class to analyze capitalism. The trick though is to read between the lines, to use material from capitalist media in a Marxist framework not to import the framework that informs capitalist thinking
Norman Markowitz