New York Times Admits "Searing" Complaints About Coverage Hit 15 Year High

Amid the chaos surrounding Trump Tower and The New York Times, the so-called "failing" publication's readers are complaining at a rate on par with what was seen after 9/11 with an angry message: "I expect more from The Times."

As's Katie Frates reports, Times readers are writing and calling the Times and commenting on articles in droves to express, according to Spayd, “a searing level of dissatisfaction” with the 165-year-old paper’s coverage of the 2016 presidential election.

Complaints to the public editor are at five times the normal level; customer care is also seeing an uptick in calls.


“I expect more from The Times.”


That’s what reader Judy Barlas told NYTimes editor Liz Spayd for her article, “One Thing Voters Agree On: Better Campaign Coverage Was Needed.” Barlas supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, and felt like the Times pushed a narrative that then-competitor Hillary Clinton was always going to win the Democratic nomination.


A decidedly liberal lean, the narrative that Clinton was sure to win (both in the primary and general election), and a lack of fair coverage of President-elect Donald Trump supporters have liberals, moderates and conservatives upset.


A few instances of lackluster coverage include the Times failing to cover sexual assault allegations against former President Bill Clinton like it did allegations against Trump; a columnist joking about an assassination attempt against Trump; reporter John Harwood being outed as very cozy with Clinton’s campaign; the paper giving little coverage to thousands of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails released by WikiLeaks; and the Times actually editing a story about Clinton at her request.

To top it off, even liberal readers felt the Times mischaracterized Trump supporters as racist bigots.

They wanted “a news source that fairly covers people across the spectrum,” Spayd wrote, and they weren’t getting it.


Readers are calling for fresh blood, “I’m tired of the old guard,” one said.


Cindy Capwell, a Trump supporter disenfranchised by the Times’ characterization of his base as racist, anti-Muslim and homophobic, told Spayd, “I hope you guys will give people like us a chance too. It’s time to lay down our arms.”

As The Hill reports, readers complained that “The Upshot” column forecasting the race was hopelessly wrong; it had said Clinton had an 80 percent or better chance of winning the election. Letters and comments to the public editor also registered unhappiness with the coverage of Trump supporters, arguing they were stereotyped and misunderstood. And the public editor said many complained that the Times is not even aware of the “liberal tint” it applies to its coverage. 

Spayd highlights one letter to the paper in particular that claims the paper is responsible for Trump supporters being painted as “homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim.”


“There is a group of 10 friends in Charlotte, N.C., all women, all in their 50s, all white. They’re college educated with successful careers, and they have a message for The New York Times: Come visit us,” Spayd writes.


“They voted for Donald Trump and don’t consider themselves homophobic, racist or anti-Muslim. But now, they say, thanks to The Times and its fixation on Trump’s most extreme supporters, most people think they are,” wrote Spayd, who took over as public editor in July.

Ironically, The Times reported last week that it added 41,000 print and digital subscriptions since Trump's victory on Nov. 8. It marks the most subscribers the paper has added in one week since digital subscriptions began being offered in 2011.

But, oh to be a fly on the wall in Trump Tower today.