For starters, it’s important to accept that the New York Times has always — or at least for many decades — been a far more editor-driven, and self-conscious, publication than many of those with which it competes. Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”This is why the University of Virginia rape hoax was uncritically reported, and why every white cop shooting of a black suspect immediately became front page news.
It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.
Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”As Steve Sailer comments:
The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”
You can see this in agenda-driven stuff like World War T and the Military / Campus Rape Culture hysterics. These are not news, they are planned campaigns of psychological warfare.Also the entirely contrived "race war" started with the Trayvon Martin shooting and continuing through to this day (though suddenly disappeared in the heat of campaign season).
The effort backfired because it caused two divergent effects. One, it pushed much of the country to the right, priming the country for Trump. Two, it blinded much of the left, who believed they were reading news stories and not a propaganda effort. The result was wildly divergent expectations on Election Day, leading to confirmation of reality for one side, and Narrative-collapse on the other. It is unclear at this early stage whether the narrative will be dropped or will be amplified because America is far more racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic than previously believed.