New York Times editors talk Fox News, Murdoch on Kalb Report

Kalb Report host Marvin Kalb interviews Bill Keller and Dean Baquet of the New York Times. Marie McGrory | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Rob Reeve

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has mixed views about Rupert Murdoch—the CEO of News Corporation, the company which owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.

Appearing with New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet on the latest installation of the Kalb Report Monday night, Keller said he believes Fox News has created a “level of cynicism” about the news for the American people.

“I think it has contributed to the sense that they’re all just out there with a political agenda whereas Fox is just more overt about it. And I think that’s unhealthy,” Keller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said.

Similar to when he interviewed Murdoch last year about issues of conservative bias, Kalb questioned Keller about the perceived liberal bias of the New York Times.

“Many conservatives as you well know criticize the Times as being a liberal left-wing newspaper and that those views get into the news part of your newspaper. Why do you allow this to happen?” Kalb asked.

“We don’t allow this to happen,” Keller said, noting the difference between injecting bias and providing context for a story. “I don’t mind analysis in the news, in fact I encourage it every day.”

Keller and Baquet discussed competition with other news outlets, the ever-increasing pace of journalism in the information age and the value of softer feature stories versus hard news stories.

On designing the paper’s front page, Keller said he’ll know what to put on the front very early in the day when there’s breaking news, but on a slow news day he might not know until the page one meeting at 4 o’clock.

“It’s more an art than a science putting together the stories for the front page,” Keller said. “But first and foremost you want the page to seem urgent, and in the flow of events not to seem sort of optional and lightweight.”

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