Last week, the New York Times declared that it had created an entirely new media beat with only one focus: Studying conservative and alternative media outlets in order to understand what kind of reporting is influencing the politics of conservative American voters.
According to Fox News, the decision was announced by NYT’s political editor David Halbfinger, who said that the new beat would be led by former BuzzFeed reporter Ken Bensinger. Starting Monday, Bensinger will “pioneer a new beat covering right-wing media as part of the democracy team on the Politics desk,” said Halbfinger.
Halbfinger went on to claim that voters who follow conservative media and other outlets that go against mainstream narratives are “people who reject mainstream narratives and question the institutions that hold up our democracy.”
“Understanding the way information is developed, circulated and absorbed on the right is vital at this precarious moment,” Halbfinger continued, “and requires a healthy measure of patience, empathy and understanding along with investigative chops, skepticism and toughness.
Bensinger said on Twitter that he considered his new position to be “important and complex,” and that it requires “sensitivity and nuance at a critical time for this nation.”
When further questioned about why such a position was created in the first place, a spokesman for the Times said that “the Politics desk created a new beat on this topic because many Americans rely solely on right wing media for their information, which often bears little resemblance to what is being reported in mainstream media.”
“We want our readers to be informed about what is driving the political decisions of many Americans,” the spokesman added.