Thursday, October 15, 2009


Front page of today's print New York Times -- click to enlarge:

Hmmm ... lead story is about local math test scores. Besides that, we have: story about wounded Iraq soldiers, story about the health care bill, story about competition for the New York Stock Exchange (more on that later), story about digital books, story about pollution ...

Um, what's not on the front page? Oh yeah -- this:

That's the front page of a giveaway paper here in the city. It's a compelling headline because it's what a lot of people are thinking about right now. (The Times, by the way, has the Dow 10,000 story on page B3, and doesn't seem to have a story covering the upcopming record pay year on Wall Street, as reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal.)

That one Wall Street story on the Times front page is "Rivals Pose Threat to New York Stock Exchange" -- essentially a story about how the Wall Streeters' sweet life in Gotham is being threatened by other venues for trading. In effect, that's yet another pity-the-poor-fat-cats story, a genre the Times has turned into a bit of a specialty in this recession.

The failure to even acknowledge what millions of Americans are thinking right now -- my financial situation is in the crapper, or possibly heading there, with no end in sight, while Wall Street is cleaning up -- is not at all the "liberal bias" the Times is regularly accused of by the right. If anything, it's a pro-plutocrat bias. It's certainly a tone-deafness about how all this is (understandably) perceived on Main Street. And I'd say it's an Obama-esque tone-deafness.

Yes, the Times has Paul Krugman and Gretchen Morgenson and others who properly rail against the fat cats. Dig into the back pages of the paper and there's plenty of good work being done, for instance one of the top stories in the Business section is "Lobbyists Mass to Try to Shape Financial Reform."

But this is tempered by an excess of solicitude toward the very people who got us into this mess, and a failure to fully grasp the national outrage.

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