The Kingdom and the Power

(June 19, 2017) In 1966 Gay Talese wrote a history of The New York Times spanning the preceding seventy years or so. Since the newspaper’s influence had never been greater, Talese titled his book The Kingdom and the Power. During the 1960s the newspaper gave voice to minority opinions such as civil rights and feminism that eventually transformed our society.

Turner Catledge and Clifton Daniel were the two Managing Editors during that influential decade. Neither had graduated from New York’s Columbia University Journalism School, which was the standard entry ticket into The Times. Neither had even attended an Ivy League school and instead graduated from state universities in Mississippi and North Carolina. Despite coming-of-age in small Southern towns during the Jim Crow era, both men were open-minded enough to encourage minority viewpoints.

Presently, however, The Times, and other venerable journalistic organizations, such as The Atlantic and The Washington Post, are intolerant of minority opinions, at least in terms of Confederate heritage. In combination the three publications have released dozens of articles and editorials applauding and advocating the removal and restriction of Confederate monuments, no matter how long they have stood untouched. The trio generally insist that Confederate symbols can have only a racist meaning. With perhaps a single exception, they have refused to publish any articles giving voice to a different opinion.

It is a stretch requiring a bungee cord to believe that they have not received a number of worthy article submissions with viewpoints different than their own. Instead, it appears that they are, unlike Catledge and Daniel, censoring minority opinion. One result is that well crafted opposing essays, like “New Orleans is not New Orleans Anymore” are limited to online magazines…and there are darn few of those as well.

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8 thoughts on “The Kingdom and the Power

  1. pooreboysingray

    About in the 1980s, the elite publications became more leftist, and conservative audiences moved to media outlets more to their liking. Conservative journalists followed the audience. The elite leftist publications now cater to a leftist audience and there is no reason for them to present differing views. There is no such thing as a general publication anymore and no reason to appeal to a general audience.

    1. Phil Leigh Post author

      The hostility toward Confederate icons is not limited to the political left. It is increasingly permeating our entire society. Catledge and Daniels demonstrated that white Southerners could be both liberal and respectful of Confederate heritage, but their Yankee successors at the NYT, Wash Post, etc. cannot. No matter how much they deny it, the mainstream media and academics have a visceral hatred toward Confederate heritage. They piss on our boots and call it rain.

  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy

    Phil, you and I both know that there isn’t anyone with an opinion different from that of the Times – or the Post, The Atlantic, etc. – smart enough to write a letter voicing a differing viewpoint. Those publications are just trying to keep the rest of the world from seeing how backward and unprogressive we bumpkins are.

    1. Phil Leigh Post author

      Yet, during the 1960s when the managing editors were “bumpkins” from Mississippi and North Carolina they were open-minded enough to permit minority opinions to have a voice, even when such opinions were critical of the culture in which they grew to adulthood.

      1. Cotton Boll Conspiracy

        That was a long time ago. It’s hard to believe that the editors of the Southern papers in the 1960s were more open to different views than the so-called papers of record today. Things have certainly changed, and not for the better.

      2. Phil Leigh Post author

        Agreed. I was stunned to see Senator Diane Feinstein advocate censorship on college campuses during the Senate hearings earlier this week. I am old enough to remember Berkeley as the epicenter of the Free Speech movement in the 1960s.

        Presently, the California Democrat (Feinstein) opposes free speech and the Iowa Republican (Grassley) favors it. Its is such are reversal that I feel that our society has moved through a mirror.

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