The incident could not have happened in the era when the Times adhered to rigorous standards of news gathering and the separation of news and opinion. Both the sense of entitlement among readers and the editors’ craven response shows that the rot has reached critical levels.
In effect, the Times has become a victim of the monster it created. Instead of informing readers and challenging them to question their own views, an approach the paper was proud of under legendary editor Abe Rosenthal, it now provides comfort food for the committed.
That historic mistake is biting the people who made it. The business model, which has thrived by being a bullhorn for the Trump resistance, now depends on a willingness to deliver a certain point of view without the slightest deviation.
That upends the Times’ tradition of journalism and makes the paper a very different enterprise than it was for the first 120 years that the Sulzberger family owned it. Given the unleashed partisanship among editors and reporters, there is no reason to think the paper could return to its old standards even if the owners wanted to.