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Friday, May 17, 2013
MRC Shutting Down TimesWatch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has announced that today is the final day for its TimesWatch blog:

The Media Research Center will be consolidating products and, as a result, TimesWatch posts and the TimesWatch Tracker will be rolled into our other sites and e-newsletters.

TimesWatch Tracker e-mail subscribers will receive their last edition on Friday, May 17. Starting on Monday, May 20, TimesWatch Tracker subscribers will automatically begin receiving the MRC’s CyberAlert e-mail which will include the New York Times’ liberal bias in its mix of daily documentation. 

The MRC was silent about whether TimesWatch writer Clay Waters would remain with the company.

The very concept of TimesWatch was always a dubious proposition. Its stated goal was "documenting and exposing the New York Times' liberal political agenda," solely by cherry-picking 10 or so items out of the hundreds of pieces of original content the Times generates per week, thus failing to provide any sort of comprehensive content analysis. But such analysis was never the goal -- spreading the meme that the Times is hopelessly liberal was.

It didn't help that Waters' idea of "liberal bias" at the Times involved things like complaining that the Times referred to conservatives as "conservatives" or that it told the truth about something about which he would rather not have the truth told. And Waters' contribution to research is to measure bias on political scandal stories by how far up in the article a person's political party appears, not size and placement of the article -- ridiculous methodology even by the MRC's low standards.

What may have actually doomed TimesWatch, was that even the cherry-picking couldn't hide the fact that the Times was not as slavishly liberal and Waters and the MRC would have you believe. In a 2010 column, then-Times public editor Clark Hoyt conceded that the the Times' editorial pages skew liberal then added:

But if The Times were really the Fox News of the left, how could you explain the investigative reporting that brought down Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Democratic governor; derailed the election campaign of his Democratic successor, David Paterson; got Charles Rangel, the Harlem Democrat who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in ethics trouble; and exposed the falsehoods that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, another Democrat, was telling about his service record in the Vietnam era?

Waters' incredibly lame response: "Of course, as the Times is always reminding us, the Republican Party has been decimated in the Northeast in recent years, meaning the region is dominated by Democrats, meaning most political scandals will involve Democrats."

Such lameness may have gotten too embarrassing for even the MRC -- it certainly didn't fall over itself promoting TimesWatch in recent year --  so it was time for TimesWatch to go.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT

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