“Deadly Storm Transforms Houston Streets Into Raging Rivers” That was the main headline of the New York Times on August 28th, 2017. Since 1851 you can expect these kind of direct, journalistic headlines from the Times in its’ classic and nationally recognizable font. You can also expect award winning journalism, as in its history it has won over 100 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other paper in the world. The New York Times has been one of the most important journalistic institutions in the United States in the 19th, 20th and 21st century. The newspaper has been rated as one of the most reputable sources of news in the country. It has covered every single major American event since the Civil War and has been instrumental in recent American history. Its’ powerful political influence began when it took on Tammany Hall’s corruption in NYC in the latter half of the nineteenth century and by the 1940s it was being shipped nationally. The paper’s influence spread and began to take shape into what it is today.
Simply put, the NY Times helps Americans fulfill their civic duty by delivering them the news taking place in the country and the world.. By doing this patriotic duty it keeps Americans literate and knowledgeable. It keeps them engaged in current events and what is happening in their government and otherwise in the world. It offers a whole view of the world from Sports and Arts to opinions from dozens of writers who all compete to be featured on the opinion pages of the Times.
The Times has also performed its civic duty when it has challenged the laws of the United States government and has exposed scandals and has pushed the boundaries of investigative journalism. In 1964 the Times went to the Supreme Court in a landmark case that expanded Freedom of the press for all newspapers. The case established a precedent in the use of malice in the media and it placed a burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove they had been libeled so that Newspapers could legally criticize public figures. In the Case of NY Times V Sullivan the Times defended a suit against a Montgomery civil servant who claimed the Times published an advertisement that he believed was libeling him. The Times won and expanded the freedoms of the press in the United States
The paper also went head to head with the United States government in 1971 by publishing the Pentagon Papers, which were documents on the Vietnam War that had been leaked to them. The government didn’t want them publishing these documents and sued the Times for what they claimed was the sake of national security. The Times believed the people had a right to know what the government was doing, as it was their job. The case again went to the Supreme Court and again the Times won landmark freedoms for the press in the United States. The Times had again performed their civic duty of informing the people and maintained their journalistic integrity. Their tagline has been “All the News that’s fit to print” and that is what they have done.
In recent years the Times role as the “newspaper of record” has been called into question. It has been referred to as “failing”, “fake news” and “Sad!” Those are only a few of the insults they’ve endured over the last couple years but the liberal bias it has had for years is now being criticized more and more in our polarized society. Yet while it has come under these attacks, the newspaper has done the same thing it has done since day one; it publishes the news that the American public needs.. Their mission has always been to search for the truth and give it to the American People and in that way, The New York Times fulfills its civic mission to the citizens of the United States and the World.