You know you’ve gone too far down the leftist rabbit hole when New York Mag is calling out your brand of biased crazy.
There are certain times when the pose of objective journalism falls apart completely, and Sunday’s New York Times story about the Walton Family Foundation’s sponsorship of charter schools is one of those times. A straightforwardly left-wing attack on charter schools would be coherent. But since the Times’ news section can’t run an ideological polemic, the argument is instead submerged in the form of insinuations.
The scandal, as it were, is that the Waltons give a lot of money to charter schools in Washington, D.C., which serve mostly poor, black children.
Lefties aligned with the teachers’ unions and Bill de Blasio have decided that charter schools are the greatest evil since nuclear power and expecting Third World countries to pay back their debts.
And Walmart is obviously evil because it’s beneath the class of the liberal elites.
And Jonathan Chait does something unusual in the mainstream media by exposing the biased language of the New York Times. This kind of liberal journalism is commonplace but rarely called out.
Marc Sternberg, the Walton Foundation’s education director, is interviewed for the story, and comes across as a man struggling to understand what he stands accused of:
“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’s the argument there?” he said during an interview. “Don’t help anybody until you can help everybody?”
“He said the foundation was focused not on ideology but on results, a word he repeated many times.”
The language here is typical. Sternberg, we are told, “does not apologize,” as if somebody caught in the act of helping a nonprofit organization educate underprivileged children should be expected to apologize. He exhibits a suspicious tic of repeating the word results, possibly because he is hiding something, or possibly because he believes that is the appropriate way to judge his work.
This sort of insinuation-without-accusation pervades the tone of the story.
The story continues: “With its many tentacles, it has helped fuel some of the fastest growing, and most divisive, trends in public education.” Divisive? Tentacles? There aren’t any cuddly, benign creatures that have tentacles, are there?
I prefer open bias to this kind of sneaky attack cloaked in the guise of journalism. It’s not even an investigative report. It’s someone reading a story and dropping his voice a few octaves to clue the audience in that something is wrong while making vague insinuations.
This is what the mainstream media’s high end has become. Its low end is just a loud, angry freak show.