Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times was once considered the gold standard in American journalism and the most trusted news organization in America. Today, it is generally understood to be a vehicle for politically correct ideologies, tattered liberal pieties, and a repeated victim of journalistic scandal and institutional embarrassment.
In Gray Lady Down, the hard-hitting follow up to Coloring the News, William McGowan asks who is responsible for squandering the finest legacy in American journalism. Combining original reporting, critical assessment and analysis, McGowan exposes the Times obsessions with diversity, soft” pop cultural news, and countercultural Vietnam-era attitudinizing, and reveals how these trends have set Americas most important news icon at odds with its journalistic missionand with the values and perspectives of much of mainstream America.
Gray Lady Down considers the consequencesfor the Times, for the media, and, most important, for American society and its political processes at this fraught moment in our nations history. In this highly volatile media environment, the fate of the Times may portend the future of the fourth estate.
"McGowan (Coloring the News), a former New York Times contributor, delves deeply into the philosophy behind the New York Times' news coverage to assess the conceptual decline of the Times as a legitimate source of news. Despite the ideological bent of the author, it's clear that McGowan isn't simply 'reaching' to support his sensibilities; he provides examples of journalistic omission, failure to fact-check, and ample evidence of a left-leaning agenda. However, it's no secret that the Times is left leaning, nor that it has changed drastically to accommodate these pluralistic, post-modern times. McGowan presents nuanced, but serious, accusations: for example, bizarre and enthusiastic human interest stories and the hiring of reporters who formerly were op-ed writers. Indeed, the suggestion that the Times tends to cover liberal-leaning books en masse while ignoring bestsellers such as Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought To Be for over a year after it first appeared on the NYT bestseller list, as well as offering certain important books to ideologically-matching reviewers, is accurate, as is the fact that equal time and energy/enthusiasm wasn't given to Obama and McCain. Carefully chosen case studies paint a not-so-rosy picture of journalistic integrity at the Gray Lady, and are sure to incite readers, no matter what their political philosophy. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A surprisingly sincere critique from the right of Americas leading newspaper. Here is athoughtful, vividly supported expose from a journalist who loves newspapers and the Times. As American journalism is roiled by technology and financial pressures McGowan succeeds in reminding us that arrogance and a limited world view are also to blame for the troubles of even our most celebrated newspapers.”
Juan Williams, author, NPR and FOX News Channel
"Like many New York Times readers, I got the queasy feeling that something fundamental had changed at the paper with Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr.'s ascendancy in the early 1990s. America's most important paper became somehow more unashamed of its political bias and more insulated. By skillfully reporting the telling anecdotes, disturbing incidents and outright scandals of the past two decades, William McGowan shows us that things at the Times aren't as bad as we'd thought. They're worse! If he had common sense, Pinch Sulzberger would read ths book and promptly resign. But if he had common sense he wouldn't be Pinch Sulzberger."
Mickey Kaus, Newsweek
Those of us who spent years happily reading the New York Times (not to mention thosewholike mespent years happily working at the New York Times) need to read William McGowans book to better understand how and why the Gray Lady has fallen on such hard times. The goal is not schadenfreude. The goal is to help her recover from what ails her.”
Clifford D. May, President, Foundation for Defenseof Democracies; former Times reporter, editor, foreign and Washington correspondent
McGowans Gray Lady Down has the great strength of showing how the Times's multicutural relativism on the home front and xenophilia abroad left it completely flat footed when it was called upon to report on the rise of Islamic extremism in America. The Times has developed a dangerous capacity to discover moderation” in what should be seen as Islamist maximalism and cultural practices and values squarely at odds with American norms."
Fred Siegel, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Scholar in Residence at St. Francis College in Brooklyn
Who is responsible for squandering the finest legacy in American journalism? Can the "The New York Times" recover from the Jayson Blair's deception? McGowan ponders such questions in the inside story of what happened to America's "Paper of Record."
About the Author
William McGowan is the author of Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Coloring The News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Encounter Books) for which he won a National Press Club Award in 2002. A former editor at the Washington Monthly, he has reported for Newsweek International and the BBC and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review and many other national publications. A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, he has been a frequent commentator on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, Court TV as well as other cable and broadcast networks. A former Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he is currently a Media Fellow at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center. He lives in New York City.