Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The record changes

In an extraordinary feat, Marc Shulman, of American Future, waded through a decade's worth of New York Times editorials to chart the significant change in viewpoint at the self-described "newspaper of record":

A war can be lost because public opinion turns against its continued prosecution. The New York Times – the self-described “newspaper of record” – is among the world’s most influential opinion leaders. As shown by the cited quotations, the newspaper’s stance on Iraq underwent a complete transformation during the decade separating 1993 and 2003. While its editors never lost their fear of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their prescription for countering the threat posed by the weapons was altered beyond recognition. In 1993, by arguing that cease-fire violations nullified U.N. protection, the Times affirmed the right of a victorious party to resume hostilities at its sole discretion if the party it defeated did not abide by the terms of the agreement to which it affixed its signature. Ten years later, the Times reversed its stance, asserting that the United States should not go to war without the approval of the United Nations. In so doing, the Times implicitly argued that going to war with the approval of a multilateral institution took precedence over the use of military force to expeditiously eliminate the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD.
This link will lead you to the first of three posts containing editorials from the New York Times. The change is manifest and undeniable. What's intriguing, of course, is what occurred at the NY Times to cause these changes. Was it easy to demand action when there was a President who almost certainly wouldn't take that action? Perhaps the change occurred because, in 1997, Arthur ("Pinch") Sulzberger, Jr. took over at the helm of the New York Times, dragging the company to the left? Or could it just be that the Times' fanatical hatred of the Bush administration will always drive it to take a contrary position -- even if that means turning its back on its own decade long stance.