The readers of The New York Times are speaking out against the newspaper's election coverage and complaining to their offices at "five times the normal level."
"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," public editor Liz 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."
"From my conversations with readers, and from the emails that have come into my office," she added, "I can tell you there is a searing level of dissatisfaction out there with many aspects of the coverage."
On Nov. 13, two of the paper's leaders addressed their election coverage in a message to their subscribers:
"We aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism," wrote the Times' executive editor Dean Paquet and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. "That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you."
"What struck me most as I spoke with readers is how much, to a person, they had something to say that was smart and reasonable," Spayd concluded. "They weren't randomly selected — I chose them from an inbox of complaints — but they had reactions that were well worth hearing.
"I found myself wishing someone from the newsroom was on the line with me, especially to hear how many of the more liberal voters wanted more balanced coverage. Not an echo chamber of liberal intellectualism, but an honest reflection of reality."
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