Dec. 14, 2023 Economist article about New York Times discusses distinction between news and opinion

I refer to an article entitled:

When the New York Times lost its way

I came across the article at the Politico website.

When I first printed out the article, some of the lines of text – at the bottom and top of some pages of the printout – got garbled. I thereupon copied and pasted the article to MS Word, and from there I set the text in Calibri 11-point at a 1.5-line spacing. I printed that out – that worked better by way of a printout of the article.

I found the article of interest because I’m working on a biography project centred on Alberta. For the project, the distinction between news and opinion is a paramount consideration.

A key issue the article discusses concerns the question of whether a particular right-wing op-ed should or should not have been published in the New York Times. The issue of what is or is not a top-rate newspaper – and what is, or is not, a top-rate reporter or columnist – is also discussed.

As well, the article discusses what does or does not constitute a valid portrayal of history.

The one comment that has occurred to me is that if a person chooses to call a specified group of people “illiberal,” it would be useful if they were to define the term very clearly. Otherwise, a person using such a term is not contributing much of value to the discussion at hand.

Broader issues

The broader issues discussed in the above-noted Economist article are of interest. I’m pleased I came across the Politico reference to it. I’ve been visiting the Politico site ever since I read The War Came to Us: Life and Death in Ukraine (2023) by Christopher Miller.

The book highlights the Euromaidan Revolution in Kyiv of 2013-2014 and the geopolitical events that have followed.

Miller has written for Politico in the past; I became interested in reading the Politico website after reading that Miller has written articles for Politico. That’s what prompted me to start to read articles at the Politico site.

Russian studies programs

The distinction between news and opinion is also at play in academic realms as I note at a previous post regarding Russian studies:

Many Russian studies programs have engendered serious academic ignorance – regarding Ukraine and its neighbours: Tomasz Kamusella, New Eastern Europe, August 11, 2023

Authoritarianism in the United States

A related topic concerns which way the United States may be heading and what it may mean for the rest of the world. I’ve discussed these topics at previous posts including:

America is more open to an authoritarian form of government than Canada – because the American Constitution has never been as awesome as it has been made out to be

Of interest with regard to this topic is a book entitled Not Here: Why American Democracy is Eroding and How Canada Can Protect Itself (2023), by Rob Goodman, an associate professor at Toronto Metropolitan University. The book’s overview of the history of American governance is of interest. From reading the book, I have learned new details about American history. Rob Goodman’s comments regarding the American scene warrant close attention.

Of related interest is Canada Alone: Navigating the Post-American World (2023) by Kim Richard Nossal. A blurb for the book reads:

Canada must prepare for an isolationist and unpredictable neighbour to the South should a MAGA leader gain the White House in 2025.

The American-led global order has been increasingly challenged by Chinese assertiveness and Russian revanchism. As we enter this new era of great-power competition, Canadians tend to assume that the United States will continue to provide global leadership for the West.

Canada Alone sketches the more dystopian future that is likely to result if the illiberal, anti-democratic, and authoritarian Make America Great Again movement regains power. Under the twin stresses of a reinvigorated America First policy and the purposeful abandonment of American global leadership, the West will likely fracture, leaving Canadians all alone with an increasingly dysfunctional United States. Canada Alone outlines what Canadians will need to navigate this deeply unfamiliar post-American world.

Of related interest are the books entitled How Democracies Die (2018) and Tyranny of the Minority (2023) by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

A Sept. 12, 2023 Harvard Gazette article is entitled: “‘Tyranny of the Minority’ warns Constitution is dangerously outdated.”

The subhead reads: “Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt urge institutional reforms, rejection of candidates who violate norms in ‘How Democracies Die’ follow-up.”

An excerpt reads:

The U.S. Constitution desperately needs updating, say Harvard government professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

“We have a very, very old constitution; in fact, the oldest written constitution in the world,” notes Ziblatt, the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government. “It was written in a pre-democratic era. It hasn’t been amended much compared to other democracies. As a result, we have these institutions in place that most other democracies got rid of over the course of the 20th century.”

In their new book “Tyranny of the Minority,” the comparative political scientists argue that these antiquated institutions, including the Electoral College, have protected and enabled an increasingly extremist GOP, which keeps moving farther to the right despite losing the popular vote in all but one of the last eight presidential elections. The scholars also survey governments worldwide for examples of democratizing reforms. And they draw from history in underscoring the dangers of our constitutional stasis.

Levitsky and Ziblatt’s 2018 bestseller, “How Democracies Die,” drew from global case studies to argue that Donald Trump represented a threat to core democratic principles, even flagging the possibility that he would refuse to cede power. Today, in light of the 2020 election — and the 147 Congressional Republicans who voted to overturn the results — the authors say it’s clear the threat is larger than Trump.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

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