Former New York Times Editor: “I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.”

Wolfe was fired by the Times after she expressed the joy of watching the arrival of then-President-elect Joe Biden at Joint Base Andrews ahead of his inauguration by writing “I have chills.”

Now, in her column in the Washington Monthly, Wolfe insists that the is nothing incompatible with being biased and being a journalist.  Indeed, she noted ever since she began as a journalist “angry people come out of their hidey-holes to yell at me.”  It is certainly true that writers today are constantly barraged by trolls and critics. However, Wolfe then proceeded to fulfill that very stereotype by embracing bias as right and good in journalism.  She attacks the very notion of objectivity that was once the touchstone of modern journalism.

“I’ve always believed it is better to be open about my views on the issues I cover, which for a long time have been war and international human rights. And yes, I often do write with an agenda—with an eye toward creating change. So yes, I am biased, and consciously so when it comes to certain subjects—especially when I’m reporting on criminality. But I don’t see that as a bad thing.”

According to Wolfe, the “bad thing” is the “relentless need to find objective balance” by news organization which “has actually led to dangerous imbalance—with outlets too often giving as much space to lies as to facts.” It is the liberal version of the “fake news” mantra. Views that you reject are “lies” and thus you cannot publish lies as a journalist. Done.

While Wolfe insists in the end that “I work very hard to create unbiased journalism—that’s what a professional does,” she makes objectivity itself into a form of journalistic malpractice. She is not alone. Everyone agrees that journalists like other professionals have bias. However, the defining struggle of modern journalist was overcoming bias to report objectively on news stories.  The new journalistic model flips that principle on its head. Now the bias is simply a preference for the truth and thus it is perfectly appropriate to frame news according to what you believe is true and correct.

We have have been discussing how writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. Even journalists are leading attacks on free speech and the free press.  This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

These journalists are killing their very profession.  While many now prefer to get their news for echo journalistic sources that offer consistent and confirming coverage, most people are not interested in learning about news through the filter of what Wolfe considers valid. For years, we have been discussing the decline of journalism values with the rise of open bias in the media. Now, a newly released report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford has found something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The plunging level of trust reflects the loss of the premier news organizations to a type of woke journalism.

The Wolfe firing was a surprise given the New York Times’ heavy bias shown in the Cotton controversy and the tolerance shown for conspiracy theories from other writers. However, Wolfe’s defense sounds a lot like the closing argument of her editors in justifying her termination.

73 thoughts on “Former New York Times Editor: “I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.””

  1. “These journalists are killing their very profession“
    When a profession goes to seed this much, killing it is an act of mercy. It’s like doctors going back to using leeches.

  2. Maybe the articles need to come with a disclaimer: “The words you just read are not facts they are the opinion of the admittedly biased author”
    Not that we didn’t know or at least strongly suspect it, but full disclosure should be required.

  3. You’re an op-ed writer, not a journalist, if you allow your personal bias to color your articles.

  4. It’s not “biased journalism.” That is a euphemism. In fact, it’s not journalism at all. It’s called presstitution. However, we must give credit to the New York Times where credit is due. As far as presstitutes go, the New York Times presstitutes are among the very best presstitutes in the entire presstitution industry.

  5. The slanting of “news” is something to be aware of. But what about the outright lies? We could go back in history and re live old history. But how about something more current. Covid originated in the Chinese lab. President Trump wanted that scenario investigated. Democrats (that includes 90% of the “news media”) lost their collective mind. In less than an hour, they all parroted the exact same line. “Its nothing but a conspiracy that has been debunked. “more lies and deflection from President Trump

    Now it is the most likely working theory. The debunking? A media created, and spread, lie.

    But as Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is so famously quoted. “We won didn’t we?”

  6. Unfortunately most of the people in their 20s and 30s are too young to remember unbiased journalism. It was bland, sure. It didn’t bring in the viewers except for those who wanted to be informed. The rest tuned it out. After all it was only on 3 times a day, as a requirement for using the public airwaves. It was not for profit, nor could it be by FCC regulations and that kept it what it was supposed to be. The news. If you wanted opinion you watched Meet the Press or This Week. If you wanted in depth stories on interesting people you watched Charles Kurwalt on Sunday morning, or later on shows like 60 minutes. News was not always like it is now. It changed when the FCC regulations under the Clinton administration were changed to permit for profit 24×7 Cable News. The network? CNN. The concerns Congress asked CNN executives about before it passed? They were concerned that they’d read the news for 30 minutes, then have nothing to talk about so they’d start overanalyzing stories, editorializing and end up producing news that wasn’t properly vetted and would be replaced by speculation and hearsay, and on a regular basis. And of course that’s what ended up happening. First months on the air they talked about what, …anyone remember? Chandra Levy. The Chandra Levy murders. They talked and talked about it, speculating about whodunnit, until they ended up falsely accusing a California Congressman, Gary Condit, dragging him through the public eye, ruining his entire career, marriage, life, etc, only to find out that it was some foreign exchange student who didn’t even know her. But that didn’t repair all the damage CNN did to Gary Condit. And they were never held accountable. By then the other news networks were following suit and soon it was a free for all of unvetted news, speculation and political and ideological editorializing.

    When I was a boy, in my early 20s, I worked as a motorcycle courier in DC for a while. It was the early 80s, I had my own bike, but I used to ride my girlfriends KZ400 around doing deliveries because it was lighter and smaller, (don’t know why I included that part) and one afternoon I got a pickup at the Capitol. I assumed it was a congressman’s office I’d be going to but it wasn’t. It was ABC 7 News, they had their own office, a very cluttered and no so big two room office, and I was there to pick up a News tape. These were the old gigantic cassette like video tapes they’d put into their movie cameras. Looked like a VHS only 3 times as big. Anyway I get there and they’re actually shooting it when I walk in. There’s a blonde haired lady in a blazer with a mic and a really bright light on her, some camera guys and a bunch of people all around, many of them on the phones. I wait and watch her do her little story, didn’t have a clue what she was talking about at the time, i was young and didn’t follow politics really so I just listened and waited for her to finish. The tape had to be at the ABC station before 6PM. It was like 5:20 and she’s still doing the story. She finishes and they put the tape in one of those big yellow envelopes they send around in the Congressional mail room there, and tied the little button shut but as I reached for it they said “hang on”. I said look if you want this on air by 6 I need to fly now, I still have to run through the building, get to my bike and fight rush hour traffic to get it there. The reporter lady (can’t remember who it was, she was purty though) said “I can’t give it to you, I have to hold it, it’s still being vetted.” Not knowing what vetted was I asked and she explained how she’d gotten the story from one party in congress and had only confirmed it with one other source and before it could go on air it had to be confirmed by an additional source or the station couldn’t air it. They were adamant about it, I actually pressed and said can’t you call over to the station and tell them once it is while I take it now? She said “no you can’t touch it. I can’t release it to anyone until its vetted”. So I had to stand there and wait for almost 15 minutes until a phone call came in confirming her story and they were all shouting and she handed it to me and said “Go!”.

    I got there after 6 but apparently the story still aired that night. I did not see it. Don’t know what it was about. Some Congressman. But what I will never forget is how passionate she and some of the other staff were about vetting the story and not letting it leave that office until it was. They weren’t taking the chance it would wind up on air. It was so very different than today. But you had to be there.

    1. “how passionate she and some of the other staff were about vetting the story and not letting it leave that office until it was. They weren’t taking the chance it would wind up on air. It was so very different than today.”

      Chris, this is an exciting piece of anecdotal history. Thanks.

      Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could recount the story to this newscaster today, and she could honestly respond?

    2. Yes Chris. I am old enough to remember unbiased journalism. That was a different world.

    3. Unfortunately most of the people in their 20s and 30s are too young to remember unbiased journalism. It was bland, sure.

      I disagree. After Viet Nam was years in the rear view mirror, the big 3 networks admitted the reason the VN war was such a cluster, is because the Generals and DC pols desperately adjusted daily to try to get better PR. Better slanted “news stories”.

  7. Where does anyone get the idea that editors and journalists have to be unbiased? Journalists have ALWAYS been biased. After all, journalism came from the writing of political tracts. Just don’t claim to be unbiased. Newspapers are free to print anything they wish, and they do.

    1. “Where does anyone get the idea that editors and journalists have to be unbiased?”

      They can have personal bias, but historically, news reporting was allegedly free of bias. The Internet changed all that. At this point it is the Wild Wild West and reporting that makes the public more ignorant is ordinary fare. Sadly.

      People like David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite were the real news people. You cannot find that today.

  8. I wonder if she is OK with killing or burying news stories that are undermine her agenda, e.g., the Hunter Biden laptop computer or the Wuhan virus lab stories/

  9. Perhaps “journalism” (and the public) would be best served by returning to the standards of the late 1800’s. At that time newspapers often included their politics in their name (i.e. “city name” Democrat or “city name’ Republican). Many newspapers still carry those names today. The trend toward “objective journalism” is relatively recent (1930’s and 1940’s). I would have no problem with modern news outlets flying their biases like a flag. Let the people choose who they want their information slanted. Maybe some outlets could even have stories presented in a point-counterpoint basis. It seems to make more sense to me than having so many folks upset about journalists being biased. Make bias part of their identity.

  10. “Lauren Wolfe,…“I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.”

    – Professor Turley

    “[We gave you] a republic, if you can keep it.”

    – Ben Franklin

    Women got the vote.

    Women killed America.

    Women got the vote.

    America got a death sentence.

    Women got abortion.

    Women became men.

    America lost its fertility rate.

    Americans are vanishing.

    The American population is being imported.

    More Americans die than are born.

    The American fertility rate is in a “death spiral.”

    China – 1.4 billion.

    India – 1.3 billion.

    Southeast Asia – 1.2 billion.

    America – 250 million (80 million foreign hyphenates).

    America literally destroyed itself; America destroyed its babies.

    America was destroyed from within.

    “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

    – Abraham “Crazy Abe” Lincoln

  11. It’s all subjective

    But when your out to hang a man, you better look at him

  12. “Former New York Times Editor: ‘I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.'”

    – Professor Turley

    A biased journalist is a propagandist, an indoctrinator. .

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America are bold enough to admit they are destroying and conquering America.

    The communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America are bold enough to admit they have nullified the Constitution.

  13. Journalists Facing Slow News Day As Biden Has Not Eaten Ice Cream Yet

    (the above is a headline from a Babylon Bee article)

  14. The problem is not merely biased writing. The NY Times actively promotes a progressive agenda. For example, the number of stories each Sunday about same sex weddings is disproportionately greater than all same sex weddings as compared to conventional male-female weddings. Presumably the hidden agenda is to persuade readers that same sex weddings are normal.

  15. You see that she is not only obligated to tell you what’s going on but how you should think about what’s going on.

  16. That is something I noticed back in 2016 and it continued on in the media: They keep saying “truth.” But never “facts.”
    Then they could report their truth, and ignore the facts.
    And when the facts counter their truth, they just ignored it ever happened or they ever reported it.

  17. Sorry to say, Turley…, I don’t consider you within a five iron distance of being able to comment on what constitutes the principles of objective journalism.


    1. Eb, on this forum as on all the forums where Professor Turley appears he does not claim that he is a journalist. He makes it clear that the things he writes are his opinion. He tries his best to be fair but he makes no claim to objectivity. For your edification, a journalist is a person who writes a story without allowing personal bias to be part of the narrative. There should be a separation between journalism and opinion. Of course you yearn for a journalism that will tell you what your itching ears want to hear. So we understand where your coming from. A question. Do you have MSNBC on as you comment?

      1. “Eb, on this forum as on all the forums where Professor Turley appears he does not claim that he is a journalist. ”

        And you’ll obviously notice that you commented on something you implied from what actually said. Didn’t say Turley was a journalist, or that I consider him one. In fact if you extend the tone of what I *actually* wrote you can see I not only don’t consider Turley a journalist, I don’t consider him to be in a space where he can accurately comment on the principles of objective journalism…

        His blog here is a talking point push piece op ed collection, at best.

        Why is it so many people respond here with this one shot pattern of personal attack followed by straw man argument? I’m asking seriously because you do this all the time and seem incapable of any other sort of response.


  18. “Today we define good citizenship as knowing that America’s history, economy, & power structure are utterly corrupt, while also believing that only the federal bureaucracy, corporate media, elite universities, CIA, FBI, & DOD can save us from it. I need a word or phrase for this.”

    “The idea seems to be: Everything that’s gone before was corrupt, but the people currently in charge are good, and anyone who doubts either of those points is dangerous and must be rooted out. This usually only happens after a successful conquest or revolution.”

    Jun 23, 2021·@martyrmade


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