Education

The Latest Left-Wing Bias by The New York Times

Charter schools require no apology.

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Not since Matt Taibbi's 2009 Rolling Stone-Goldman Sachs "vampire squid" reference has a journalistic cephalopod analogy touched such a nerve.

I am speaking of this past weekend's front-page news article in The New York Times—ostensibly, at least, more of a straight-down-the-middle outlet than Rolling Stone—about the Walton Family Foundation and what the Times called "its many tentacles."

If any Times readers who had been favorably disposed toward adorable octopi or cuttlefish missed the point, the article goes on to explain that the foundation, backed by members of the family that founded Walmart, "has helped fuel some of the fastest growing, and most divisive, trends in public education—including teacher evaluations based on student test scores and publicly funded vouchers for students to attend private schools."

Calling an idea "divisive" can be a way for a reporter and an editor to signal that they don't like it. So is the practice, seen in the Times article, of announcing that the subject of an article has "no apologies." The article reports, for example, that "Walton's Mr. Sternberg, who started his career in Teach for America and founded the Bronx Lab School, a public school in New York City, does not apologize for Walton's commitment to charter schools and vouchers."

What an odd formulation. Why would he apologize? Why should he be expected to apologize? He's helping to make schools better. He has nothing to apologize for. If anyone should apologize here, it is the Times, for suggesting that an apology is in order.

Another example of left-wing bias by The New York Times might be a dog-bites-man story, but in this case it taps in to a broader and highly significant political trend, which is the tendency by the left to blame spending by right-of-center or free-market-oriented billionaires for just about every twist and turn in the public policy debate.

Never mind that there are left-wing billionaires like George Soros or Thomas Steyer, not to mention labor unions, spending large sums, often on the other side of issues.

And never mind that these policies are not bought so easily, or in a vacuum. If parents were perfectly satisfied with regular public schools, the charter and voucher movements would face a tougher battle than they already do. Even years of support from right-wing billionaires haven't made school vouchers widely available other than in a few unusual and narrow cases of a failing school, a poor family or special-needs student, and a rare state or local government that has managed to pass a voucher law over teachers' union opposition.

For a sense of what a non-Walton public school is like, one need look no further than P.S. 111, the Adolph S. Ochs School in Manhattan. It is a taxpayer funded New York City public school named after the patriarch of the family that controls The New York Times. Over the years the New York Times Company and its foundation have been involved with the school to varying degrees, suggesting a certain hypocrisy of the Times in objecting to the Walton family's efforts.

The Times' tentacles on the Adolph Ochs school may not have been "divisive," but neither have they been particularly successful; the school earned a grade of "D" for its school environment in its most recent evaluation from the city, and the city's quality review observes "the principal acknowledges that teachers have not received written feedback this year." Only 19 percent of the school's sixth graders pass the state English test and only 24 percent of the school's fifth graders pass the state math test. If the Walton Foundation can provide a voucher or charter school option to escape this status quo, perhaps the Times should thank the Waltons rather than imply that an apology is in order.

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  1. Charter schools and Tentacles. I think the NYT is watching too much Hentai.

    Though the NYT also did a shitty hit job on the Crystal Bridge museum set up by one of the Walton offspring. Lots of navel gazing about it being moral for some hick town in Arkansas to have a bunch of modern art.

    Bunch of assholes work there.

  2. What an odd formulation, writes Ira Stoll. Why would he apologize? Why should he be expected to apologize?

    For the same reasons that we presume one needs to apologize for racist remarks. That’s how obviously wrong charter schools are.

    1. It is obviously very divisive for Ira Stoll to suggest that a moderate, balanced newspaper like the NYT would ever have an article reflecting the groupthink and echo chamber of the liberal media elite.

      Perhaps Ira should apologize for bringing up such unproductive facts such as direct quotes exhibiting bias.

    2. “That’s how obviously wrong charter schools are.”

      I don’t see how your point that racist remarks are wrong, has anything to do with charter schools.

      I see nothing obviously wrong with charter schools.

      You assert otherwise, perhaps you’d like to expain what’s supposed to be obviously wrong with charter schools?

      1. The point that Paul is making, I think, is that Liberals/progressives see charter schools as as obviously inherently bad as racism and such, not that it necessarily is.

        Basically, he’s explaining why the NYT thinks he should apologize, not necessarily condoning why they do so.

        At least that was my interpretation.

  3. NYT Comments = “Self-Awareness Not Included”


    jb
    San Francisco 2 days ago
    There is a direct analog here to public broadcasting.
    Right wing politicians and their wealthy patrons have cut funding of PBS, not to kill it, but to make it hungry enough to make it depend on the Koch Brothers and sponsors like Chevron and BEA Systems.

    The wealthy have done every they can to escape paying taxes leading to cuts in education funding. They are keeping the public schools hungry enough to need “private funding.”

    In both public broadcasting and public education, these forces are leveraging OUR tax dollars to promote their political agenda through “donations.”

    When you control the purse strings, you wind up controlling the content.”

    1. Excellent point. That’s why our tax dollars shouldn’t fund content.

    2. When you control the purse strings, you wind up controlling the content.”

      This is why the government must have full control of the media!

    3. Right wing politicians and their wealthy patrons have cut funding of PBS, not to kill it, but to make it hungry enough to make it depend on the Koch Brothers and sponsors like Chevron and BEA Systems.

      It sounds like this idiot has only been watching PBS in the last 15-20 years or so, and doesn’t realize that this has been going on for a loooong time.

      Hell, I remember watching the Sesame Street/Electric Company/3-2-1 Contact troika as a kid and they ALWAYS had some corporate sponsor announcement before the episode.

      1. Yes, it’s been part of their funding for as long as I can remember. Incidentally, I’d say the influence of the federal government is wholly disproportionate to the amount of money it contributes. The businesses get screwed like crazy, as do “viewers like you.”

        NOVA will occasionally bang the AGW drum, even though KOCHS!!!!!!

      2. When I was little it was Sears Roebuck & Co. I always wanted to know why our local Sears didn’t have any robots.

        1. They did. Just what do you think tested all of those Toughskins?

          1. And who roasted the nuts?

            1. The only sponsors that I remember are letter A and number 1, but I never pay attention to advertisements.

    4. Excellent point. That’s why government shouldn’t be in the schooling business.

      When government gets out of schooling our children, then neither party can use public schools to promote their political agenda.

  4. I noted earlier today = the Politico story defined and frame the news regarding the still-incomplete backbone of the Healthcare.gov as “part of the Republican Narrative of Government mishandling”

    Read = this information was ONLY NEWSWORTHY in the sense that “OMG, Republicans *will use this information* in some way to further their nefarious oppositionisms!*

    There was zero concern with the fact *itself*, independent of its ‘political ramification’.

    Same with most of these people’s spewings about “Education”.

    The school system in the NYC area has been at the bottom of the toilet for decades now. A judge years ago declared the system ‘unconstitutional’ in its epic failure to deliver even a modicum of ‘education’ while spending more $ per pupil than most other systems. (was it right before Joel Klein? ~1997?) The Charter Schools that have emerged since then are shining the light on how bad the regular schools are run, and the unions want them DEAD. Meanwhile, the only gloss the nyt will allow anyone to put on them is, “OMG! Private Money!?! KOCHTOPUS~CORPORASHUNS!”

    As if the author sent their kid to city schools. Bullshit.

    1. Focusing on the criticism makes it a partisan issue. It’s code for the independents and low information folks – nothing to see here. Your Father in Washington will take care of you.

  5. Curse you, Sam Walton!

  6. The NY Times is the best new organization in the world. I know this fact disturbs wingnuts who like Fox News but the comparison is laughable.

    1. I don’t like Fox News, but if the New York Times is the best news organization in the world, that just speaks to what lousy shape the news world is in.

    2. You’re right. Fox News never sent Duranty to laud a totalitarian dystopia as the next big thing.

    3. Well now that would be an affirmative condition claim.

      Therefore you are required to prove it to be so with unequivocal and absolute definitiveness or you’ve proven absolutely nothing at all.

    4. As someone who is lousey at spelling and also working with a pad, which makes it harder, i do sympathise. That said, you do realise that calling the NYT a “new” orgamization insteas of a news organization makes your comment absurd, don’t you?

      1. I actually think Shrike might be making a joke here.

        Only saying he loves the NYT to get a reaction.

        If I had to guess I think shrike loves the WSJ. Coincidentally owned by the same guy who owns Fox News.

    5. The NY Times is the best new organization in the world.

      It’s a yuppie zine.

      1. The opinion line-up includes Friedman, Dowd, and Krugman.

        You mean to tell me we can’t find a better outlet with better talent than those three?

        Come on.

        1. Don’t forget they have the conservative side nailed down by David Brooks.

          1. Only because Foster Brooks was already dead.

    6. They could cease to exist tomorrow and no one would know the difference, because *Reuters*, douchebag

    7. Best how? It isn’t the most intellectual news organization out there. It certainly isn’t the most objective. Hell, it isn’t even the most elitist.

      It may be the best at being a famous newspaper.

    8. The NY Times is the best new organization in the world.

      Is “new organization” the new euphemism for “propaganda organ”?

      -jcr

    9. Like you are the dumbest motherfucker in the world, you are one brain dead idiot.

    10. The NY Times is the best new organization in the world…

      [Triumph] … for me to poop on! [/Triumph]

  7. The wealthy have done every they can to escape paying taxes leading to cuts in education funding.

    This person, obviously a renter, has never heard pf property taxes.

    1. I looked up the school tax burden for a local evil billionaire (who shall go unnamed). Between the local and state school taxes, he paid $229,227.76 last year, out of a total of $486,885.00 in property taxes on a single residential property.

      1. Yeah, but that only pays for the education of, like, 10 public school students.

        1. Why so generous?

          1. I bet his orphans perform much better than their public school peers on a battery of tests such as monocle polishing speed, mining operation logistics, and competitive richshaw pulling.

  8. The New York Times, NPR, CNN, AP — all bending over for some hard Big Gov’t lovin’.

  9. Sounds like the NYT editorial board needs to be waterboarded.

  10. the school earned a grade of “D” for its school environment in its most recent evaluation from the city, and the city’s quality review observes “the principal acknowledges that teachers have not received written feedback this year.” Only 19 percent of the school’s sixth graders pass the state English test and only 24 percent of the school’s fifth graders pass the state math test.

    Just a suggestion…perhaps you should have opened with the failures of the New York Times school.

    1. Yeah, an opinion magazine needs to order its material to pack the greatest punch consistent with accuracy.

    2. A “D” for school environment? We should be aware of grade inflation.

  11. “When you control the purse strings, you wind up controlling the content.”

    Why the government should control the money spent on campaigns!

    1. relax douche. rich people and corporations control what goes for political discourse so why aren’t hyperbolic scumbags like you more happy. maybe you should try Xanax– preferably at toxic quantities.

      1. maybe you should try Xanax– preferably at toxic quantities.

        And enrich Big Pharma? You, sir, are no true socialist.

      2. rich people and corporations control what goes for political discourse

        Make sure to vote and show your support.

      3. You are babbling AGAIN…..

      4. rich people and corporations control what goes for political discourse

        NYT obviously excluded, papers being charitable non-profits and all…

  12. “Never mind that there are left-wing billionaires like George Soros or Thomas Steyer, not to mention labor unions, spending large sums, often on the other side of issues.”

    Or the Government Tax Ranchers, spending the *Trillions* they extort out of their captive Tax Cattle.

  13. A couple of years ago I remember there was a study/bias test put out which basically involved switching the headlines on the main pages of the NYT and Fox news sites then asking the reader to judge the bias of the news organization. Anyway, I saw the NYT fake headlines first and this is how my exact thought process went: “meh, it’s going to be super liberal…wait. This isn’t liberal at all. Wow I guess I really misjudged the NYT. I stand corrected.”

    Then I found out they weren’t actual NYT headlines.

  14. things i’m learning from libertarians:

    1. when a reporter uses the word “divisive” about a divisive topic one can be sure this reporter is a left-wing stooge.
    2. there are right-wing billionaires who pour money into projects to promote their special interests over the interests of of people who live in those communities. this is ok because there are left-wing billionaires.
    3. there are shitty public schools in nyc. the way to make them better is to divert the money going to these schools to charter schools, who don’t do any better with the same students, but who have more affluent parents.

    1. the way to make them better is to divert the money going to these schools to charter schools

      The Waltons were using their own money, idiot. So the money left over provided more funds per pupil in the state institution.

      Reading comprehension. Get some.

    2. 1. when a reporter uses the word “divisive” about a divisive topic one can be sure this reporter is a left-wing stooge.

      No, it usually means that the reporter disagrees with the idea in question, like the article said.

    3. I believe there are numerous studies that show that charter schools often do better with the same students.

    4. The things I’m learning from american socialist.

      Yawn !

    5. Things I’m learning from the wannabe Hugo….he babbles a lot and happens to be a fucking idiot.

    6. You’re not interested in learning anything. You appear to think you already know everything.

  15. And then along comes Mary.

    1. And does she want to give me kicks and be my steady chick and give me pick of memories?

    2. American socialist is Mary?

  16. who don’t do any better with the same students, but who have more affluent parents.

    Um, wrong again.

    WASHINGTON ? DC Prep operates four charter schools here with 1,200 students in preschool through eighth grade. The schools, whose students are mostly poor and black, are among the highest performing in Washington. Last year, DC Prep’s flagship middle school earned the best test scores among local charter schools, far outperforming the average of the city’s traditional neighborhood schools as well.

    Another, less trumpeted, distinction for DC Prep is the extent to which it ? as well as many other charter schools in the city ? relies on the Walton Family Foundation, a philanthropic group governed by the family that founded Walmart.

    1. 4. libertarians blindly accept anecdotal evidence that support their opinions rather than peer-reviewed dispassionate research. this is ok, because they have plenty of right-wing think tank money from billionaires to write position paper arguments.

      1. I guess you are right. After all, I read it in that right wing nutjob rag, the New York Times.

        1. And, we come full circle.

        2. The NY Times trades on the NYSE so it’s right wing.

          1. The NYT is so left-wing that it gives away its daily paper for free. Err…

      2. …and goes on to make (the usual) unsubstantiated claim.

      3. Test result scores and anecdotal evidence alike prove that public schools generally stink.

        I went to an average high school, and my Asian parents dutifully spent money out of their pockets to send me to academies and tutors. Even now, SAT and college prep in high school is weak.

        It’s beyond all logic and reason that parents will somehow oppose a voucher system that allows their kids to attend better schools. Or academies. In fact, if the vouchers apply to private SAT academies and such, it will be a huge hit with the Asians.

      4. Care to provide some actual evidence instead of just throwing around assertions?

      5. “. libertarians blindly accept anecdotal evidence that support their opinions rather than peer-reviewed dispassionate research…”

        With at least 97% consensus, making it’s findings irrefutable and beyond debate, except to all but the bitter clingers and deniers…

      6. libertarians blindly accept anecdotal evidence that support their opinions rather than peer-reviewed dispassionate research.

        You clearly don’t know what anecdotal evidence is and appear to have a naive belief in the effectiveness of peer review.

  17. It’s an interesting pathology. 1. “Progressives” and socialists make most of their decisions based on their emotions and 90 year old myths. 2. They call libertarians and repubs heartless which confirms 1. 3. They only look at one side of issues and want to shut down any debate. 4. They somehow think that they are the bastions of reason and everything they believe is “proved” by peer-based research, of of which they have only read one (see Rule 3.) Amusing.

    1. An interesting anecdote. I once worked doing construction in the Poconos. On a newly hired NYC high school graduate’s first day of work, I hade to teach him how to use a tape rule. It didn’t take too long, but I had to start with a picture of a pie and only had to go to sixteenths.

  18. Anecdote, but, hey:
    A year or so ago, I mentioned to a Chron writer that she was writing for a lefty rag. She took offense!
    Fish don’t know they’re swimming in water.

    1. Christ, Sevo, that’s almost as bad as calling Obama a socialist.

  19. The whole point of American liberalism is that everyone should be loved. It’s what drives American religiousity and sensibilities. And it’s in large part what motivated Horace Mann, et al, to set up public school systems. That women were also cheap and available not being in anyway a small part. But it was felt the poor needed a surrogate family. And if you think back to all the school reformers, that’s what it’s always been about. The teachers’ unions and Obama, in line with a long tradition.

    1. If the “whole point of American liberalism is that everyone should be loved” then perhaps, you can explain why liberals hate conservatives?

  20. The businesses get screwed like crazy, as do “viewers like you.”

  21. The title is incorrect. It’s not the latest left-wing bias of the NYT, just some of the bias in that one article. And that article appeared on the 25th, and this article was posted on the 28th. In the meantime, there’s been more left-wing bias printed in the NYT, besides other left-wing bias in the issue on the 25th.

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