The New York Times Editorial Board's Creepy Avengers Fantasy
A brief note on a strange byline
Over the weekend I wrote a short piece about the leaden New York Times response to Donald Trump’s campaign announcement, “America Deserves Better Than Donald Trump.” I was far from the only person in the business to chuckle about this essay, written not by staff, but the paper’s illustrious Editorial Board.
Others noted the dramatic design, which featured a photo of Donald Trump in front of a bright red background, as a painting of a similarly posed Trump in Richie Rich tennis gear looked on from the side. It’s a unique effect: funeral home meets Bob Geldof-in-The Wall meets the Biden-in-Philly speech, with a dash of the iconic shot-within-a-shot joke featuring Lloyd Bridges leaning on his desk in Airplane:
Others noted a byline-preamble that puts the reader on notice that The Editorial Board authoring the text is a separate group of individuals, with distinct “expertise” and “longstanding values,” whose ageless wisdom places it above the common run of staff.
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.
The paper has been using this “informed by expertise and longstanding values” tag for years, but there’s a story behind the practice that speaks to the increasingly bizarre fantasy gripping its editors.
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