Lawrence G. Proulx
August 28, 2017
The Unz Review

During a recent interview at my local unemployment office, the man charged with my case looked at my résumé and expressed his admiration of American journalism. “You people just report the facts; here in France it’s nothing but opinion,” he said.

I told him that while I agreed with the sentiment, his viewpoint was unfortunately out of date. American newspapers today prefer the evidently more exciting role of opinion monger and ideological prosecutor.

I base my view largely on reading the New York Times, for whom I worked for 18 years as a copyeditor, first on the International Herald Tribune and then on the International New York Times. The company treated me well and paid me well, and it did much excellent reporting that inspired my respect, but it also taught me some probably unintended lessons.

Reading the paper, I gathered that its editors and writers had little love for the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee. I drew this conclusion from the implicitly approving way in which they dealt with the persecution by European governments, particularly the French, of people, almost always on the right, who violate the many legal restrictions on public speech. Fines and prison sentences, usually suspended, are the punishment prescribed by law for saying the unacceptable, and I can recall only one protest in the paper during my 18 years there. (Oh, sorry, two: I forgot its defense of Bob Dylan.)

I also learned that its writers and editors judged that white people generally were fair game in a way that other categories were not. I drew this conclusion from the many articles which accused, blamed or pointed an invidious finger at white people and which had no equivalent with regard to other peoples. Nicholas Kristof’s six-part series on “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” for instance, has had no counterpart for any other distinguishable ethnic or racial group. The same might be said for the opinion pieces by Charles M. Blow, Michael Eric Dyson, George Yancy and Roxane Gay.

And of course, the Times, among the most ardent exponents of virtually unlimited immigration into the United States and Europe, rarely could find any motivations but fear and racism in many people’s reluctance to admit thousands or millions of non-European strangers into their countries. Its lack of sympathy with the ordinary people of these countries was evident.

The Times is hardly alone in its biases. They permeate the vast majority of America’s leading newspapers and magazines (and, perhaps, television, but fortunately I don’t see that from here). Even if you have never particularly thought of yourself as white, you will learn to as you read the papers. You will become accustomed to being on the defensive, and you will observe that any journalist who attempts to do something similar to blacks or Jews or other distinct categories of human being is very likely to be branded a racist or antisemite. Those who fail to conform are cast out into the wilderness of the blogosphere.

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