NYT’s reporter’s corporate ties and sources

That the major media have institutional biases that cause them to frame politics in ways that are beneficial to the establishment is not news. But the way this works is not by the people who own or run the media giving orders to those below, though in some cases such as Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes at Fox News that does happen. How the media filters work is by hiring people who share the values of the institution and then letting them report ‘freely’, since you can be sure that they will believe what they are saying. Such reporters will be outraged if they are accused of bias because they have internalized all the biases and do not see them as such. This is a much better propaganda model than giving direct orders because the propaganda is so invisible. (Noam Chomsky and Edward Hermann explored these and other media biases in their excellent book Manufacturing Consent.)

Cory Doctorow reveals that the reporter assigned by the New York Times to cover Bernie Sanders fails to identify that the sources for her stories are corporate lobbyists.

Sydney Ember is a news reporter who covers Bernie Sanders for the New York Times; her coverage is consistently negative (part of the Times’s overall pattern of negative reporting on Sanders, including “stealth edits” to make its coverage less positive, to the dismay of the paper’s public editor).

Ember’s negative reporting on Sanders might be the result of her deep connections to the finance world: she came to the Times after a career as an analyst at the coal-boosting hedge fund Blackrock and she’s married to Mike Bechek, son of the former CEO of Bain Capital, where he also worked.

FAIR’s Katie Halper has dug deep into Ember’s network of go-to sources for quotes on why no one should vote for Sanders, showing that they are drawn from the ranks of the finance and corporate lobbyist world.

[UPDATE: A reader sent me an email with a correction.

“The story you reference in your post incorrectly notes that Sydney Ember’s husband Mike Bechek was a senior associate consultant at Bain Capital. He worked at Bain & Company (the consulting firm), not Bain Capital (the investment firm), and his father was CEO of Bain & Company, not Bain Capital. Here is a link to Bechek’s LinkedIn which verifies this: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbechek”]

The link above to the ‘stealth edits’ pointed out by the public editor shows what happened in 2016 where an initial article that was quite positive towards Sanders quietly got changed to make it much less so.

Hundreds of Times readers expressed their disappointment or anger in emails to me on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Many saw these changes as evidence that The Times strongly favors Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. And some object to the practice of making substantial changes to articles without explaining that to readers – a practice sometimes called “stealth editing.”

That the Times, and indeed the major media in general, have no love of Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is no surprise. That they resort to these dubious tactics to cast them in a negative light should also come as no surprise.


  1. Steve Cameron says

    Today’s episode of The Daily, the New York Times’ daily podcast is another good example of their “centrist” bias. It’s a profile on freshman house representative Mikie Sherrill, a moderate democrat who wrested her seat from the Republicans after their incumbent retired. She’s presented in explicit contrast to AOC and the Squad with some pretty shameless framing that I think she wouldn’t have endorsed if she had known about it. The reporter behind the profile, Kate Zemike, is a good example of the filtering that’s done through hiring.

  2. jrkrideau says

    As I believe I mentioned before, given a choice between the current NYT and the Soviet era Pravda, I might go with Pravda.

    The People’s Daily in China also sounds good.

    I have never been fond of Peanuts.

  3. Holms says

    “Editor’s Note: This article has been changed to more closely reflect the editor’s personal opinion. It’s Hillary’s turn, dammit!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *