Public editor cites fury over NYT coverage of Trump

Public editor cites fury over NYT coverage of Trump
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The public editor for The New York Times reported on Sunday that complaints to the paper are at their highest since 2001 following the election of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE.

Public editor Liz Spayd described the comments and dissatisfaction with the news organization’s coverage of the 2016 election as “searing.”

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“The number of complaints coming into the public editor's office is five times the normal level, and the pace has only just recently tapered off,” Spayd wrote. “My colleague Thomas Feyer, who oversees the letters to the editor, says the influx from readers is one of the largest since Sept. 11.”

The complaints include charges that the Times was biased against Trump during the presidential election and that it favored Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Russian pop star linked to Trump Tower meeting cancels US tour Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies MORE over Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders2020 Dems seize on MLK Day for campaign messaging Sanders knocks Trump in MLK Day speech Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices MORE (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary.

Readers complained that “The Upshot” column forecasting the race was hopelessly wrong; it had said Clinton had an 80 percent or better chance of winning the election.

Letters and comments to the public editor also registered unhappiness with the coverage of Trump supporters, arguing they were stereotyped and misunderstood. And the public editor said many complained that the Times is not even aware of the “liberal tint” it applies to its coverage.  

Spayd highlights one letter to the paper in particular that claims the paper is responsible for Trump supporters being painted as “homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim.”

“THERE is a group of 10 friends in Charlotte, N.C., all women, all in their 50s, all white. They’re college educated with successful careers, and they have a message for The New York Times: Come visit us,” Spayd writes.

“They voted for Donald Trump and don’t consider themselves homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim. But now, they say, thanks to The Times and its fixation on Trump’s most extreme supporters, most people think they are,” wrote Spayd, who took over as public editor in July.

“They would like a chance to show otherwise, and one of them, Cindy Capwell, wrote my office to extend the invitation.”

The report over complaints around coverage comes one week after New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Dean Baquet wrote a letter to readers promising that the paper would “rededicate” itself to “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.”

“You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team,” Sulzberger and Baquet wrote. 

The Times reported last week that it added 41,000 print and digital subscriptions since Trump's victory on Nov. 8. 

It marks the most subscribers the paper has added in one week since digital subscriptions began being offered in 2011.