Gray Lady Down
What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America
By William McGowan
(Encounter Books, Hardcover, 9781594034862, 288pp.)
Publication Date: November 2010
The New York Times was once considered the gold standard in American journalism and the most trusted news organization in America. Today, it is generally understood to be a vehicle for politically correct ideologies, tattered liberal pieties, and a repeated victim of journalistic scandal and institutional embarrassment.
In Gray Lady Down, the hard-hitting follow up to Coloring the News, William McGowan asks who is responsible for squandering the finest legacy in American journalism. Combining original reporting, critical assessment and analysis, McGowan exposes the Times’ obsessions with diversity, soft” pop cultural news, and countercultural Vietnam-era attitudinizing, and reveals how these trends have set America’s most important news icon at odds with its journalistic missionand with the values and perspectives of much of mainstream America.
Gray Lady Down considers the consequencesfor the Times, for the media, and, most important, for American society and its political processes at this fraught moment in our nation’s history. In this highly volatile media environment, the fate of the Times may portend the future of the fourth estate.
William McGowan is the author of Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Coloring The News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Encounter Books) for which he won a National Press Club Award in 2002. A former editor at the Washington Monthly, he has reported for Newsweek International and the BBC and has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review and many other national publications. A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, he has been a frequent commentator on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, Court TV as well as other cable and broadcast networks. A former Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he is currently a Media Fellow at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center. He lives in New York City.
A surprisingly sincere critique from the right of America’s leading newspaper. Here is athoughtful, vividly supported expose from a journalist who loves newspapers and the Times. As American journalism is roiled by technology and financial pressures McGowan succeeds in reminding us that arrogance and a limited world view are also to blame for the troubles of even our most celebrated newspapers.”
Juan Williams, author, NPR and FOX News Channel
"Like many New York Times readers, I got the queasy feeling that something fundamental had changed at the paper with Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr.'s ascendancy in the early 1990s. America's most important paper became somehow more unashamed of its political bias and more insulated. By skillfully reporting the telling anecdotes, disturbing incidents and outright scandals of the past two decades, William McGowan shows us that things at the Times aren't as bad as we'd thought. They're worse! If he had common sense, Pinch Sulzberger would read ths book and promptly resign. But if he had common sense he wouldn't be Pinch Sulzberger."
Mickey Kaus, Newsweek
Those of us who spent years happily reading the New York Times (not to mention thosewholike mespent years happily working at the New York Times) need to read William McGowan’s book to better understand how and why the Gray Lady has fallen on such hard times. The goal is not schadenfreude. The goal is to help her recover from what ails her.”
Clifford D. May, President, Foundation for Defenseof Democracies; former Times reporter, editor, foreign and Washington correspondent
McGowan’s Gray Lady Down has the great strength of showing how the Times's multicutural relativism on the home front and xenophilia abroad left it completely flat footed when it was called upon to report on the rise of Islamic extremism in America. The Times has developed a dangerous capacity to discover moderation” in what should be seen as Islamist maximalism and cultural practices and values squarely at odds with American norms."
Fred Siegel, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Scholar in Residence at St. Francis College in Brooklyn