A curious event has just happened to the long-lived newspaper The New York Times, as hundreds of Twitter users began to block the media and, in addition, to campaign for other users to block it. Users accuse the newspaper of promoting “corporate disinformation online.”
The situation has escalated so much that a makeshift -albeit rather elaborate- page called “Block The New York Times” was created.
Just by entering the page, you can read a banner that begins by announcing the users’ initiative, “Blockers take the lead in the fight against disinformation,”and then there is a rather humorous advertisement: “New app blocks 800 reporters from The New York Times in seconds. Block 800 NYT reporters for $0.”
Users against the Times
The page has had a strong engagement in recent days with critics of the New York newspaper. In fact, Block The New York Times opened a Twitter profile and in a matter of hours had already reached over 2,000 followers getting thousands of users to go viral with their first tweet:
“It’s time to block. Twitter users have begun mass-blocking New York Times-linked accounts to control the flood of corporate disinformation online. Now, a new app automates the process. For a limited time, block 800 NYT reporters for the low price of $0,” the Twitter account reads.
But the “Block The New York Times” initiative is not a simple move to block the newspaper. On the page, you can read several “articles” criticizing the media for the scandalous cases of disinformation that have dogged the paper.
In one of the pieces there is a striking headline: “The Times wins Pulitzer for genocide denial.” There, they quickly comment that The New York Times won a Pulitzer for Walter Duranty, “the Stalin apologist,” who covered up “the mass starvation of five million Ukrainians.”
Another section reads, “The Times in crisis: ‘A juicy collection of grand narratives.'”
“Long marketed as the ‘paper of record,’ The New York Times Company now faces an economic and reputational reckoning. Employees are revolting, traffic is plummeting, colleagues write scathing rebukes, and readers are blocking it” the section comments.
The Times‘ “The 1619 Project” is not spared from criticism either. The controversial piece, which has been accused as a racial falsification of history, and which won a Pulitzer for “reexamining the legacy of slavery in the United States,” is also mentioned on the “Block The New York Times.”
“Setbacks, quiet changes and distortions continue to plague the controversial ‘The 1619 Project’ months after it won a Pulitzer under controversial circumstances,” the page reads. Emerging information reveals that the New York Times company ignored their own fact-checkers, resulting in criticism from prominent historians “appalled” by “factual errors,” the website adds.
The page brings up dozens of comments critical of the paper, such as “Times opinion editor ousted for publishing controversial opinion,” or “Too good to fact-check? How a fake story won real awards,” and proceed to comment on the famous case of the “successful terrorism Caliphate article that had its Pulitzer Prize rescinded due to concerns about ‘accuracy.'”
There are also scathing criticisms of the Times‘ prominence in articles that made it into court cases: “No Defense: How The New York Times Convicted an Innocent Man”.
That title, added on the “Block The New York Times” page, belongs to a report by Robert Scheer explaining the case of Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese-American scientist wrongly imprisoned in the 1990s on a charge of stealing U.S. nuclear secrets for China.
The Taiwanese scientist was condemned by many media outlets at the time for his alleged espionage, including the Times, which devoted many articles to Ho Lee.
“There are too many low points in the history of this nation’s journalism to afford to easily employ superlatives about the Times‘ astonishing levels of transgression. I don’t know if it makes the all-time top ten list, but Lee’s judgment and condemnation in the pages of the Times – both in its news columns and on its editorial page – is certainly up there,” reads Robert Scheer’s hard-hitting article against The New York Times.
We will have to wait and see how much the campaign against it affects the New York newspaper. But, a priori, the movement in the social networks has not started badly, considering that it has only been in existence for a short period of time. Perhaps, this new form of harsh criticism towards traditional journalism is a new way of checking the press.