Upper management (the editors that fashion themselves liberal demi-gods) at the NYT decided to employ writers whose daily landscape consists of keeping a bankruptcy scorecard for the Tribune Company's newspapers (including the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and the Hartford Courant). The narrators are staff writers and editors from the Times that attempt to explain the collapse and decay of the newspaper industry while defending the NYT as the last great bastion of journalism in the world, and defend its criminal misuse of information to promote the reputational, economic and political weakening of the United States of America. This entire production reeks of an NPR fundraising effort and it tries to achieve this result by trashing other newspaper owners and by pulling on the heartstrings of the weak-minded. Sorry NYT staff, if you have gotten into the business of portraying the previous owner of the Tribune newspaper conglomerate as an anti-journalistic fool because he wanted his newspapers to turn a profit, who are more deluded than I could have ever imagined.
Juxtapose their pejorative commentary about a billionaire's goal to keep his investment alive by transforming his newspapers into something the public would enjoy with the NYT's desire to mortgage their historic building (a wretched and baffling business decision that will only hasten their insolvency) to remain alive long enough to write a few more liberally slanted articles that can further tarnish the minds of predisposed readers. One man employed tens of thousands of people and tried to evolve to keep pace with the media industry. What did the NYT do? They began charging for use of their website (when let's face it, Google News is a thousand times better a source for hundreds of articles daily from across the world) and using Twitter? Really? Twitter is the answer to all of your problems? Why not the now defunct Myspace? How about Facebooking the news?
While stating they were in no way interested in "hit jobs", the narrators managed to further tarnish the image of the Tribune's owner by trying to sensationalize his "sex scandal". Lots of people get blow jobs when they are billionares, but it is alright for Congressman Wiener to humiliate his pregnant wife as long as he hates republicans? Sorry for the digressive tangent. Moreover, the newspapermen in the "Page One" meetings are about as lifeless, dull, pretentious, and arrogant a group I have ever witnessed. They could put a hyperactive six year old to sleep.
My personal favorite is filmmaker Rossi's insistence on defending the NYT for its prior publication of the Pentagon Papers which let's face it was a political maneuver intended to discredit President Nixon, and continuously tied that decision with the WikiLeaks scandal. The editors of the Times would have us believe they published military and State Department documents characterizing the U.S. military and their diplomatic negotiators as scoundrels and lying fools, because other papers would do the same thing. They even had the audacity to claim they were both objective and concerned with publishing only the facts. However, in the case of Judith Miller, they made her out to be a "stenographer" of hawkish republican military and State Department personnel. How evenhanded to dismiss one reporter as a bellicose and misinformed transcriptionist and others as cutting edge visionaries.
The sad truth is journalists never consider the ripple effects of their stories. Their only consideration is how they can make their story interesting enough to be counted as front page news. If this involved speculation, risk taking, or even reporting facts that are questionable, so be it. Just so long as they can poke fun at other media outlets that are guilty of the same thing (here's looking at you Brian Williams at NBC) while putting on their poker face. This documentary, Page One: Inside the New York Times is nothing more than liberal fundraising and propaganda. How dare they seek to diminish the reputation of newspapermen who seek to make money while promulgating their method which loses millions and verges on bankruptcy and insolvency? How dare they indeed...with a camera.
After reading this review, my editor Charmaine Saratan decided that my article (though well-written) is too harsh and does not isolate the positive qualities of the NYT staff and business ethic. According to Charmaine, the writers strive to obtain the most accurate information and the editors are ever vigilant in asserting their need for veracity. I countered by suggesting that this documentary shows only a fraction of those editorial meetings and processes and is more salient for what is left out. She also quipped that the NYT is one of the most well-written newspapers in the world and it may in fact be one of the few real printed news sources left standing in this media war that is occurring every day. In Charmaine's view, Page One is fascinating and evenhanded. She and I debated about the merits of the NYT documentarians, but ultimately, she deserves a lot of credit for compelling me to write about the NYT's positive qualities. It is indeed a brilliantly written paper. Many of the writers are intellectually gifted. I have always enjoyed the paper despite what I perceive to be its consistently overwhelming political narrative. I shudder to think of what the world would be like in the absence of newspapers, and perhaps particularly the Times. Charmaine assured me that our audience would enjoy Page One and would find it more intriguing than vexingly biased. There you have it folks, this one is worth watching and worth discussing.
You will likely find Page One at local theaters, and if you live in South Florida, enjoy the intimate and luxurious setting of the brand new Living Room Theaters as you watch and enjoy.
Copyright © 2010 Screen Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Certain product data © 2010-present Screen Media, Inc. For personal use only. All rights reserved.