The New York Times' parting public editor Arthur Brisbane accused the paper of having a liberal bias in his final column for the paper. Jill Abramson, NYT's executive editor, said she disagreed with Brisbane, but admitted that NYT employees view issues differently than the rest of the country.
NYT reporters and editors are diligent about trying to be fair and balanced, Brisbane wrote, but he believes they share a common liberal worldview and that worldview can be seen throughout the paper.
"Across the paper's many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism – for lack of a better term – that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times," he explained.
There is no conspiracy to push a liberal agenda at NYT, Brisbane said, but the bias comes from sharing a liberal worldview and not having interaction with alternative points of view. Brisbane believes that, because of this, NYT reporters and editors fail to even recognize how their liberal bias permeates their reporting.
"I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds – a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within."
Issues such as the Occupy Movement and gay marriage, Brisbane said, are "overloved and undermanaged" and treated "more like causes than news subjects."
While Abramson said she disagreed with Brisbane's "sweeping conclusions" in an interview with Politico, she also implied that NYT editors and reporters do share a common worldview that is different from the rest of the country, just as Brisbane suggested.
"In our newsroom we are always conscious that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world," Abramson said.
Abramson said she agreed with Dan Okrent, a previous public editor for NYT, that the paper "sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base."
A public editor serves as an internal critic for a newspaper and supervises the implementation of journalism ethics. Now that Brisbane's two year term is over, he will be replaced by Margaret Sullivan, former editor of the Buffalo News.