Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why the New York Times’ front page editorial matters

By Jenna Careri

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(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The New York Times ran an editorial on the front page of its newspaper Saturday.

The editorial, titled “End the Gun Epidemic in America,” addressed the country’s most recent mass shooting, in San Bernardino last Wednesday. The editorial board argued that the country needs to impose stricter gun regulations and criticized politicians for voting down gun control measures.

This is the first time an editorial has been on the front page of the New York Times since 1920.

What matters most, though, is not that it is the first front page editorial in 95 years. What matters most is why it is the first one in 95 years.

Traditionally, most newspapers do not run editorials on the front page. It gives off the wrong impression. Editorials argue. They pick one side over another and attempt to convince the audience to do the same. Creating an image for the readers that the entire paper agrees on a divisive issue, such as gun control, can be conflicting for the readers, who often demand less partisan material.

By putting an editorial on the front page, the impartiality that a newspaper strives to uphold is called into question because it seems like the issue is of significant importance to the paper above others. The paper takes a more political stance than it typically would.

So why does it matter that one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world put an editorial on the front page? It matters because it means that it doesn’t care if you think it is trying to convince you of something. Which means, in short, the issue is of incredible importance.

With this article, the New York Times is putting its reputation on the line. Its editors are saying that this issue is important enough to all of them that they do not care that it is not impartial. The Times is making a statement. The New York Times said, in its own words that, “it is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.” The editorial board dared to say that the United States of America is not trying. They did not say we are not trying hard enough. They said we are not trying at all.

The New York Times does not often share its opinion on its front page: it is usually within. That is why it has such a good reputation. That is why there has not been a front page editorial since 1920. To run a front page editorial, the editorial board needs to feel, without a doubt, that their opinion is worth their reputation.

If the New York Times is telling you it believes we need to do something about the gun epidemic, we need to do something about the gun epidemic. A paper like the New York Times doesn’t put its name on the line for nothing.

Jenna Careri is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]  

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Why the New York Times’ front page editorial matters”

  1. David Hunt 1990 on December 7th, 2015 9:45 am

    And everyone knows that the New York Times is a non-partisan entity. Not.

    You want my guns? Come and take them. Make sure you wear body armor.

  2. KB on December 7th, 2015 10:26 am

    Hmm..seems like the NYT deliberately or not ..is always “editorializing” on it’s front page.
    How’s That?… Because virtually every single newspaper editor follows the lead of the New York Times. It’s not front page news worthy until the NYT says so.
    For example the NYT ran Page One Stories on Abu Ghraib for 32 straight days. A story that met no journalistic standards whatsoever. “Torture?..come on ..it was guys with underwear on their heads …we all know there’s worse stuff goin down at I Felta Thigh and Tappa Kegga Beer.
    Meanwhile the UN Oil For Food scandal ran on page one ..for one day

    Interestingly the NYT EDITORIAL ADMITS GUN CONTROL DON”T WORK saying “Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.
    But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not.
    BUT AT LEAST THOSE COUNTRIES ARE TRYING!! ..huh?

  3. David Hunt 1990 on December 7th, 2015 10:41 am

    Want some perspective on US murder rates vs. gun ownership rates? Of course you don’t. You KNOW what the Truth is; the NYT sayeth so.

    For those open-minded enough to actually listen to a few minutes of actual data…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pELwCqz2JfE

    Partial transcript:

    Every time there is a shooting in America, our moral betters on the left immediately ammo up the assault rifle of their rhetorical arsenal: namely, our country’s sick, twisted obsession with personal firearms; our adolescent, psychosexual, dangerous and frankly embarrassing when facing our European film critic friends AMERICAN GUN CULTURE.

    Hopping over to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, for example, we discover that when it comes to per capita gun ownership, the USA does in fact top the list: when measured as the number of guns per 100 residents, the US comes in first, at ninety! NINETY guns per one hundred residents: evidence for the Progressives on the left that they do in fact live in the murder capitol of the world; because when it comes to gun ownership, America IS number one with a bullet, with by far the highest per capita gun ownership in the world – 90 guns per 100 people being half again more than the number two spot held by Serbia, with 58.2.

    Now all we have to do to prove the left-wing Progressive weenie case for banning guns is to do is a quick search for the per capita MURDER rate… and sure enough, leading the number two country by about half again more with 90 murders per 100,000 people is… Honduras.

    Socialist, gun-controlled Honduras. Because even though America has by far the highest per capita gun ownership rate, we don’t have the highest per capita murder rate. And unfortunately for the Progressive leftist argument, we’re not second either. Or third.

    When it comes to per capita murders, Team USA didn’t even make the top five.

    As a matter of fact, we didn’t even make the top ten.

    (And it goes on.)

  4. KB on December 7th, 2015 12:06 pm

    Reason I mentioned the Abu Ghraib story was ..that as a “NEWS STORY” it might have deserved One Day on the front page. But the NYT used it as a 32 day long editorial about moral equivalency .. basically saying : “You think they’re bad? …just look at us!”

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