The New York Times

The Public Editor Signs Off. De Liz Spayd

Michael Putland/Getty Images

El New York Times rompió con una tradición de 14 años de tener un ombudsman o defensor del lector, un editor independiente que recibe comentarios y quejas de lectores y asegura que sean discutidas en el equipo de editores. Esta decisión ha desatado  debate en los gremios de periodistas y editores en la prensa internacional.
Reproducimos aquí la última columna de Lyz Spayd, la última defensora del lector del New York Times; la nora del NYT donde da a conocer los acmbios; y un comentario de Lola Galán, la defensora del lector del periódico español El País.

Segunda Vuelta

There probably hasn’t been a time in recent American history when the role of the media was more important than now. The Trump administration is drowning in scandal, the country is calcified into two partisan halves. And large newsrooms are faced with a choice: to maintain an independent voice, but one as aggressive and unblinking as the days of Watergate. Or to morph into something more partisan, spraying ammunition at every favorite target and openly delighting in the chaos.

If I think back to one subject I’ve harped on the most as public editor over the last year, this is probably it. Digital disruption and collapsing business models get all the attention, but the prospect of major media losing its independence, and its influence, ranks equally high among the industry’s perils. Derision may feel more satisfying, but in the long run stories that are measured in tone are more powerful. Whether journalists realize it or not, with impartiality comes authority — and right now it’s in short supply.

Mike Morell, former acting director of the C.I.A. and a backer of Hillary Clinton, earlier this week likened the U.S. media’s reaction to Donald Trump to the Venezuelan media’s reaction when Hugo Chávez became president nearly 20 years ago. With little political opposition to Chávez, the media assumed that role, Morrell said, and ultimately lost its credibility with the Venezuelan people.

The U.S. isn’t Venezuela but the media here shouldn’t fall into the same trap. I don’t worry that The Times, or The Washington Post or others with the most resources will fail to pursue ripe investigative targets. And I hope they do. But in their effort to hold Trump accountable, will they play their hands wisely and fairly? Or will they make reckless decisions and draw premature conclusions?

And who will be watching, on this subject or anything else, if they don’t acquit themselves well? At The Times, it won’t be the public editor. As announced on Wednesday, that position is being eliminated, making this my last column. Media pundits and many readers this week were questioning the decision to end this role, fearing that without it, no one will have the authority, insider perspective or ability to demand answers from top Times editors. There’s truth in that. But it overlooks a larger issue.

It’s not really about how many critics there are, or where they’re positioned, or what Times editor can be rounded up to produce answers. It’s about having an institution that is willing to seriously listen to that criticism, willing to doubt its impulses and challenge the wisdom of the inner sanctum. Having the role was a sign of institutional integrity, and losing it sends an ambiguous signal: Is the leadership growing weary of such advice or simply searching for a new model? We’ll find out soon enough.

I leave this job plenty aware that I have opinions — especially about partisan journalism — that don’t always go over well with some of the media critics in New York and Washington. I’m not prone to worry much about stepping in line with conventional thinking. I try to hold an independent voice, to not cave to outside — or inside — pressure, and to say what I think, hopefully backed by an argument and at least a few facts. In this job, I started to know which columns would land like a grenade, and I’m glad to have stirred things up. I’ll wear it like a badge.

Thanks to the many editors and reporters inside the building who took my questions and answered them fairly and professionally. Thanks to my dedicated and wise assistant, Evan Gershkovich, whom I am grateful to have had by my side. Thanks to Eric Nagourney, my copy editor, who saved me many times from fumbling over my own words.

And thanks most of all to the thousands of readers who kept their concerns coming and kept me on my toes.

All right, enough.

Time to rip off the Kevlar and turn out the lights.

Liz Spayd is the sixth public editor appointed by The New York Times. She evaluates journalistic integrity and examines both the quality of the journalism and the standards being applied across the newsroom. She writes a regular column expressing her views. The public editor works outside of the reporting and editing structure of the newsroom and receives and answers questions or comments from readers and the public, principally about news and other coverage in The Times.
Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

——

A continuación el artículo en el cual The New York Times dio a conocer la decisión de eliminar el cargo del Ombudsman (Public Editor), en el marco de una mayor reestructuración de su equipo de editores y reporteros.

 

New York Times Will Offer Employee Buyouts and Eliminate Public Editor Role

The New York Times building in Manhattan. The buyouts announced Wednesday are aimed primarily at editors. Credit Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Daniel Victor, 31 mayo 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times offered buyouts to its newsroom employees on Wednesday, aiming to reduce layers of editing and requiring more of the editors who remain.

In a memo to the newsroom, Dean Baquet, the executive editor, and Joseph Kahn, the managing editor, said the current system of copy editors and “backfielders” who assign and shape articles would be replaced with a single group of editors who would be responsible for all aspects of an article. Another editor would be “looking over their shoulders before publication.”

“Our goal is to significantly shift the balance of editors to reporters at The Times, giving us more on-the-ground journalists developing original work than ever before,” they said in the memo.

In a separate memo, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, said the company would be eliminating the position of public editor, which was established to receive reader complaints and question Times journalists on how they make decisions. Liz Spayd, the current public editor, will leave The Times on Friday.

The buyouts are meant primarily for editors, but reporters and others in the newsroom will also be able to apply for them, the memo said. Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn said that the savings generated by the reduction in editing layers would be used to hire as many as 100 more journalists.

The Times would turn to layoffs if not enough people volunteer for buyouts, Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn said in the memo.

The offer comes as The Times continues its shift from a legacy print operation to a more digitally focused newsroom. Reducing the layers of editing was one of the primary recommendations in an internal study issued in January, the 2020 Report, that was meant to serve as a blueprint for the next phase of that transformation.

A “print hub,” which handles the tasks involved in producing the printed newspaper on a nightly basis, was created in 2015 in an effort to free editors to focus on the digital audience, but the process of shedding longtime habits built around daily print deadlines continues to evolve. As its digital audience has grown, The Times has focused on publishing articles online quickly, placed an emphasis on visual journalism and invested in so-called service journalism with its acquisition in October of the product-review websites The Wirecutter and The Sweethome.

In May, the Times Company reported strong digital growth, including a 19 percent gain in digital advertising revenue.

But those gains were not substantial enough to offset a continuing, industrywide decline in print advertising, historically the main revenue source for newspaper companies. Print advertising at The Times fell 18 percent in the most recent quarter, causing an overall decline in advertising revenue of 7 percent.

The company has increasingly relied on subscription revenue, which spiked amid Americans’ close attention to the presidential election last year and the start of President Trump’s term. The Times registered a net gain of 308,000 digital-only subscriptions in the most recent quarter, the largest number for any quarter in its history. The surge fed an 11 percent increase in circulation revenue.

It was the second straight quarter of record-breaking subscriber growth, with 276,000 new digital-only subscriptions — more than the total for 2013 and 2014 combined — being added in the last three months of 2016. The Times now has more than 2.2 million digital-only subscriptions.

The public editor position was created in 2003 to rebuild trust among readers after the scandal involving Jayson Blair, a Times reporter who was found to have fabricated sources and plagiarized repeatedly.

Ms. Spayd, who was the sixth person to hold the position, declined to comment when reached late Wednesday but told The Columbia Journalism Review in an email: “The Times is reimagining itself in all sorts of ways, and the decision to eliminate the public editor’s role is just one part of that. I’m honored to have been among the six who’ve sat in this chair, and to be among those who tried to keep a great institution great, even as it made the inevitable stumbles.”

Just a few national news organizations, including NPR and ESPN, still have a public editor or a similar position. The Washington Post eliminated its ombudsman in 2013.

Mr. Sulzberger, in a newsroom memo, said the public editor’s role had become outdated.

“Our followers on social media and our readers across the internet have come together to collectively serve as a modern watchdog, more vigilant and forceful than one person could ever be,” he wrote. “Our responsibility is to empower all of those watchdogs, and to listen to them, rather than to channel their voice through a single office.”

On Tuesday, The Times announced the creation of the Reader Center, an initiative that appeared to overlap somewhat with the public editor’s role. The center will be responsible for responding directly to readers, explaining coverage decisions and inviting readers to contribute their voices.

As news spread on Wednesday that The Times had offered buyouts targeted at editors, some readers fretted that coverage would suffer. Most articles at The Times go through at least two or three editors before being published.

Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Fla., said that copy editors — who, in addition to editing for grammar, spelling and style, check facts, correct faulty logic and make sense of garbled prose — had frequently been targeted in cost-cutting efforts in newsrooms across the country.

“I think there is a level of scrutiny and quality control that’s kind of disappearing,” Mr. Edmonds said.

Grant Glickson, the president of the NewsGuild of New York, the union that represents Times employees, said in a statement that the buyout announcement was “devastating for our members and grave news for the state of journalism.”

“These Guild members don’t simply correct comma splices; they protect the integrity of the brand,” he said. “They are the watchdogs that ensure that the truth is told.”

It is the sixth time since 2008 that the company has offered newsroom buyouts. Some employees were laid off in 2014 when The Times did not receive enough buyout volunteers.

In the midst of those reductions, the newsroom has continued to hire. The Times newsroom has a staff of about 1,300, near its record high.

The staff had anticipated the announcement of buyouts for months, one of several sources of looming uncertainty. Management is negotiating a new contract with the NewsGuild, and the company intends to consolidate staff members on fewer floors in its Midtown Manhattan headquarters so that it can lease out more space. Some employees have been temporarily displaced to another building during construction on new workspaces, which the company has said should be completed by the end of the year.

Correction: May 31, 2017
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to an effort to contact Liz Spayd, the public editor. Ms. Spayd was contacted late Wednesday for comment; it is not the case that she did not respond to a request for comment during the day.

——

La ingrata labor de mediar. De Lola Galán

La desaparición del cargo de defensor en ‘The New York Times’ causa sorpresa y preocupación.

Lola Galán, defensora del lector o ombudsman de El País

Lola Galán, 4 junio 2017 / EL PAIS

Hace meses que la organización que agrupa a los Ombudsman de Prensa (ONO) constataba con preocupación la desaparición progresiva de esa figura en los medios de Estados Unidos. A la tendencia se suma ahora la biblia del periodismo mundial, The New York Times, que ha prescindido del cargo de public editor de la noche a la mañana, desatando la polémica. La propia ONO deploraba el viernes una decisión, “que no favorece los intereses de libertad, independencia y credibilidad de la prensa”.

Liz Spayd, la sexta defensora del lector del Times, había tropezado con los habituales problemas de un cargo independiente que no convierte a quien lo ejerce en la persona más popular de la Redacción precisamente. En la despedida que colgó en su blog el viernes, Spayd deja constancia de sus dudas sobre las verdaderas razones que han llevado al Times a tomar tan drástica decisión: “¿Se ha cansado la dirección de esta clase de recomendaciones, o simplemente busca un nuevo modelo?”.

El Times estableció el cargo de public editor en 2003, en medio del colosal escándalo provocado por los reportajes inventados y los plagios de su reportero Jayson Blair. Para entonces, el Defensor del Lector llevaba 18 años funcionando en EL PAÍS, y seis en The Guardian. El dueño del Times, Artur Sulzberger, ha justificado la decisión apelando al valor de las redes sociales, que son ahora, ha venido a decir, quienes ejercen el verdadero control de calidad en la prensa. Pero es obvio que ese control colectivo será ineficaz si no es sintetizado, analizado y evaluado de forma independiente por alguien con la autoridad necesaria para pedir explicaciones a la dirección en caso necesario.

Lo cierto es que en tiempos de transformación como los actuales, es más necesario que nunca dar voz a los lectores, que se declaran, a veces, confusos con los cambios que impone la era digital en esta profesión. Recibo con frecuencia mensajes que apuntan con preocupación a las diferencias que se observan entre el diario impreso y la web. “EL PAÍS funciona como una plataforma de producción de información”, explica David Alandete, director adjunto, “que se distribuye principalmente de forma digital en nuestra página web o en plataformas como Google y Facebook. De todas las noticias que EL PAÍS publica a diario, una selección se incluye en la edición impresa, que tiene su propio equipo de editores. Cada formato tiene sus necesidades y esto genera diferencias lógicas de elementos tan dispares como titulación o extensión, que no suponen un menoscabo de la calidad del contenido”.

La decisión tomada por el dueño del ‘Times’
ha desatado la polémcia

Los cambios son inevitables, pero deben respetar las normas periodísticas. La pasada semana recibí varias quejas por el titular que encabezaba en la web el domingo, 21 de mayo, el artículo del escritor Javier Marías. La peligrosa parodia era su título impreso en El País Semanal, pero en la portada digital pasó a ser: Podemos es lo más parecido a la Falange desde que feneció la Falange. Un lector, Diego Pérez Bacigalupe, que me escribió desde Praga para deplorar el cambio, me preguntaba de quién había sido la idea. La frase fue elegida por el equipo que se ocupa de la versión digital, cuyo responsable, Alberto del Campo, me explica al respecto:

“Los titulares de la portada de la web no pueden atenerse siempre a los criterios que rigen la edición en papel. En primer lugar porque en la primera página de la edición impresa se apuesta por cuatro o cinco temas, mientras que la portada de la web es un inmenso escaparate con 70 u 80 temas. Ante esta cantidad de contenidos, con una jerarquía menos clara que en el papel, porque se entremezcla al mismo nivel la última hora con lo importante y lo no tan importante pero sí interesante, necesitamos que los titulares sean lo más atractivos posibles para reclamar la atención de los lectores”. Del Campo asegura que una práctica habitual en los artículos de opinión es titularlos con una frase del texto. Y es lo que se hizo con el de Marías.

Entiendo las razones de Del Campo pero creo que en esta ocasión la frase elegida daba una idea falsa del artículo que, partiendo de las portadas de los diarios, pasaba revista al panorama político actual.

Los colectivos venezolanos, las bandas de civiles armados que atacan a los manifestantes y defienden a Maduro. The NYT

Cientos de miles de manifestantes han tomado las calles de Caracas y otras ciudades exigiendo que se realicen elecciones en Venezuela. Credit Foto: Meridith Kohut para The New York Times

y , 22 abril 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

CARACAS, Venezuela — Los motociclistas llegaron con un estruendo; eran una falange de chaquetas rojas con ropa oscura. Algunos llevaban los rostros cubiertos mientras aceleraban los motores ante los manifestantes. Arrojaron bombas de gases lacrimógenos para dispersar a la multitud y, según los testigos, luego sacaron las pistolas y dispararon.

Carlos Moreno, de 17 años, cayó al suelo y un charco de sangre se formó alrededor de su cabeza. “Se le estaba saliendo la materia cerebral”, recordó Carlos Julio Rojas, un líder comunitario que presenció el tiroteo sucedido en Caracas el miércoles pasado.

Quienes estaban en la protesta dicen que los hombres uniformados que dispararon contra Moreno no pertenecían a las fuerzas de seguridad del gobierno. Eran miembros de bandas armadas que se han convertido en agentes clave para el presidente Nicolás Maduro, quien intenta sofocar las crecientes protestas contra su gobierno.

Esos grupos, que reciben el nombre de colectivos, forman parte del escenario político venezolano desde hace mucho tiempo, pues fueron fundados como organizaciones comunitarias a favor del gobierno. Según los expertos que estudian su conformación, se trata de civiles con entrenamiento policial que han sido armados por las autoridades.

Los colectivos controlan un vasto territorio del país y en algunos casos se financian por medio de actos delictivos como la extorsión, el contrabando en el mercado negro de alimentos regulados y el narcotráfico. El gobierno tolera sus actividades a cambio de lealtad.

Actualmente parece que desempeñan un papel importante en la represión de la disidencia.

Cientos de miles de manifestantes han tomado las calles de Caracas y otras ciudades exigiendo que se celebren elecciones. Las protestas se han intensificado debido a la crisis económica que ha generado una gran escasez de productos básicos como alimentos y medicinas —así como una reciente resolución del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia con la cual intentó asumir las funciones de la Asamblea Nacional— lo que ha contribuido a la desestabilización del país y se han convertido en la amenaza más grande para el gobierno actual desde el golpe de Estado que en 2002 destituyó, por unas pocas horas, a Hugo Chávez.

Maduro ha respondido desplegando efectivos de la guardia nacional armados con cañones de agua, balas de goma y perdigones para dispersar a las multitudes. Pero diversos expertos y testigos aseguran que, junto a las fuerzas de seguridad, también actúan los colectivos que se dedican a una intimidación más brutal y, en muchos casos, mortal.

“Esos son los verdaderos grupos paramilitares de Venezuela”, dijo Roberto Briceño-León, director del Observatorio Venezolano de Violencia, un grupo académico que monitorea los actos delictivos en el país.

Los colectivos se han convertido en agentes represores a medida que han disminuido los ingresos del gobierno venezolano a causa de la creciente deuda externa y la caída de los precios del petróleo. Según muchos venezolanos, los colectivos aparecen en casi cualquier protesta en la que el gobierno perciba que los ciudadanos se pasan de la línea, desde los rutinarios conflictos laborales con sindicatos hasta las manifestaciones estudiantiles.

Read in English

Durante las recientes confrontaciones en Caracas, los efectivos policiales han perseguido a los manifestantes, lanzado gases lacrimógenos y disparado balas de goma. Credit Meridith Kohut para The New York Times

Eladio Mata, un dirigente sindical del sector salud, dice que el año pasado los miembros de un colectivo le dispararon cuando se estancaron las negociaciones en el Hospital Universitario de Caracas.

Mata cuenta que cuando llegó a la puerta principal del hospital se encontró con varios hombres que le impidieron salir. Él cree que fueron llamados por la directiva del hospital. Los miembros del personal intentaron ayudarlo a salir, pero un miembro del colectivo le disparó en la espalda. Luego tuvo que ser arrastrado a una sala de operaciones para una cirugía de emergencia.

“En este país está prohibido disentir”, dijo Mata.

Oscar Noya, un investigador de enfermedades infecciosas tropicales, dijo que su laboratorio ha sido objeto de actos vandálicos en unas 30 ocasiones, perpetrados por miembros de los colectivos que destruyen sus equipos y se llevan los cables eléctricos.

Noya cree que ordenaron vandalizar su sitio de trabajo porque suele publicar información sobre epidemias de enfermedades infecciosas que el gobierno no informa, particularmente la propagación de la malaria.

También comentó que las autoridades han guardado silencio ante sus repetidas denuncias, por lo que cree que los colectivos han “alcanzado un nivel de impunidad total”.

“Si la revolución pierde la presidencia mañana,
los colectivos inmediatamente se convertirán
en una guerrilla urbana”.
Fermín Mármol, criminólogo

Los expertos dicen que los colectivos se originaron en los primeros días del gobierno de Chávez, quien originalmente los concibió como organizaciones sociales que le ayudaran a instaurar su visión de una revolución socialista que transformara los barrios pobres de Venezuela. Muchos tenían sus propios nombres, banderas y uniformes. Finalmente, el gobierno les impartió entrenamiento de armas y seguridad, para desplegarlos como un grupo de milicias.

A medida que los grupos se hicieron más poderosos, ejercieron su propia influencia, sobre todo respecto al control de actividades del crimen organizado como el tráfico de drogas en los barrios de Caracas.

Su poder llegó a ser tal que, en 2014, algunos tuvieron violentos enfrentamientos con la policía como parte de un esfuerzo por expulsar a un ministro del Interior y Justicia que trató de frenarlos. Más recientemente, otros miembros de colectivos han librado mortales reyertas con soldados durante el despliegue de operaciones militares que buscan contener el crimen organizado.

Según Fermín Mármol, un criminólogo de la caraqueña Universidad Santa María, esos grupos controlan el 10 por ciento de los pueblos y ciudades de Venezuela. Mármol explicó que la profunda inclinación ideológica de los colectivos significa que defenderán a Maduro a toda costa.

“Si la revolución pierde la presidencia mañana, los colectivos inmediatamente se convertirán en una guerrilla urbana”, dijo el experto.

Paramédicos evacuan a un manifestante que resultó herido durante los enfrentamientos con policías. Credit Meridith Kohut para The New York Times

Las bandas de colectivos han sido acusadas de ataques contra periodistas que cubren sus actividades en las calles. Sin embargo, en algunas entrevistas, sus líderes han negado cualquier vinculación con actividades criminales y dijeron que se dedicaban a defender la revolución.

A pesar de sus ataques contra los disidentes, para algunos venezolanos de los sectores más pobres los colectivos se han convertido en una fuente de orden aceptada por la gente.

Haide Lira, de 58 años, es una asistente administrativa que vive cerca del barrio de clase trabajadora La Vega y dijo que los enfrentamientos entre manifestantes y los colectivos han sorprendido a los vecinos. Ella simpatiza cada vez menos con quienes protestan. “Así no se presiona a un gobierno”, opinó.

Sobre los colectivos, comentó: “Ellos ponen orden donde hay desorden. Es cierto, son civiles armados, pero ¿qué se puedes hacer en este mundo que está al revés?”.

Pero los ataques contra los manifestantes han traumatizado a muchos, como es el caso de Rojas, el líder comunitario que fue testigo de la muerte de Carlos Moreno. Cuenta que los manifestantes intentaron salvar a Carlos; subieron su cuerpo a una motocicleta para que llegara rápido a un hospital, donde fue declarado muerto.

Algunos trataron de perseguir a los agresores, pero fueron refrenados por otros que les dijeron que sería inútil. Rojas trabaja con políticos de la oposición y explicó que se había acostumbrado a los ataques, que durante mucho tiempo han formado parte de su trabajo como activista.

“Atacan a sus vecinos cuando están en las filas para alimentos y son identificados como miembros de la oposición, atacan a los dueños de tiendas cobrándole extorsiones y atacan a los panaderos quitándole parte de su producción para venderla en el mercado negro”, contó. “No son verdaderos colectivos, o actores políticos. Son criminales”.

Can President Trump Be Presidential? Editorial/THE NEW YORK TIMES

NEW YORK TIMESEditorial, 20 enero 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

A special strength of American democracy has been the desire of newly elected presidents to unite the public with healing words after the sound and fury of the campaign.

Now comes President-elect Donald Trump. He has won the office and yet has continued his vindictive, disruptive style of politicking. He has run a post-campaign that has corroded the traditional grace period of considerate political transition that the nation needs. The hope of citizens for a better future, for a sense of uplift, has wound up hostage to his impetuous Twitter attacks on individuals, institutions and nations.

Fellow Republicans like Senator John McCain openly wonder whether Mr. Trump’s chief obsession is to “engage with every windmill that he can find,” rather than to focus on “the most important position on earth.”

This is the question haunting Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday. Is he up to the job of uniting and leading the nation — of achieving and sustaining the tone that Americans for generations have called presidential? Or will self-absorption and free-flowing peevishness be the hallmarks of an era of domestic and global crises, stirred up by grossly uninformed perceptions of reality?

Poll numbers suggest that the public already has lost heart during the transition, rating Mr. Trump the least popular president-elect of modern times. Mr. Trump, of course, reacted with a fresh Twitter attack that the polls were “rigged.” Sad, as he likes to say, that he did not realize that the nation, and his standing, would be better served by a hint of humility and resolve to win over all Americans. Instead we had more “Trump Lashes Out …” headlines.

The contrast with President Obama’s incumbency and personal demeanor could not be more vivid or less encouraging. Mr. Trump’s first news conference as president-elect, just last week, was a clinic in bombast and self-aggrandizement, punctuated by denials of the need to make his tax returns public or to curtail business interests that could invite corruption. His breathtaking ignorance about health care and the Affordable Care Act made him seem clueless about just how he imagines replacing it.

Mr. Obama’s final news conference this week was a study in the sort of intelligent public speaking on complex issues that has characterized his eight years of scandal-free governance. It was leavened with a bit of self-deprecation, as Mr. Obama referred to “No-Drama Obama” in noting his own optimism, as if mindful of the years of melodramatics that might follow.

Americans who voted for Mr. Trump, as well as those who voted against him, surely must see that few incoming presidents have been in greater need of an informed cabinet and experienced public officials. Yet his cabinet choices have largely been ideologues and plutocrats who may or may not carry out Mr. Trump’s contradictory campaign promises.

This is not the first time that “transition” has seemed too gentle a word for a startling if not shocking swerve in public policy and presidential style. A youthful John F. Kennedy succeeded the aged Dwight Eisenhower; the rock-ribbed conservative Ronald Reagan followed the liberal Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama came on the heels of George W. Bush, who himself followed Bill Clinton. Each of these presidents came into office with passionate opponents who worried for the future of the nation.

Yet each president also seemed awed by the responsibilities of the office, and each seemed to grasp what the country needed. “Our unity, our union, is a serious work of leaders and citizens and every generation,” Mr. Bush declared at his first inaugural, after, like Mr. Trump, losing the popular vote but winning in the Electoral College. “And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.”

The campaign is over. The nation needs to hear Mr. Trump pick up this grand American theme and then find enough personal conviction to make it a central aspiration of his presidency.

Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President: NEW YORK TIMES/Editorial

El 24 de septiembre el New York Times publicó un editorial dando su apoyo a Hillay Clinton. Es una tradición de los grandes periódicos de Estados Unidos publicar recomendaciones en las elecciones importantes. El día siguiente, el New York Times publicó otro editorial expliando porque Trump no debe ser presidente de Estados Unidos.

Segunda Vuelta

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-10-24-03-pm

Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.

NEW YORK TIMESEditorial, 25 septiembre 2016 / NEW YORK TIMES

When Donald Trump began his improbable run for president 15 months ago, he offered his wealth and television celebrity as credentials, then slyly added a twist of fearmongering about Mexican “rapists” flooding across the Southern border.

From that moment of combustion, it became clear that Mr. Trump’s views were matters of dangerous impulse and cynical pandering rather than thoughtful politics. Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.

Now here stands Mr. Trump, feisty from his runaway Republican primary victories and ready for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Monday night, with Hillary Clinton. It is time for others who are still undecided, and perhaps hoping for some dramatic change in our politics and governance, to take a hard look and see Mr. Trump for who he is. They have an obligation to scrutinize his supposed virtues as a refreshing counterpolitician. Otherwise, they could face the consequences of handing the White House to a man far more consumed with himself than with the nation’s well-being.

A financial wizard who can bring executive magic to government?

Despite his towering properties, Mr. Trump has a record rife with bankruptcies and sketchy ventures like Trump University, which authorities are investigating after numerous complaints of fraud. His name has been chiseled off his failed casinos in Atlantic City.

Mr. Trump’s brazen refusal to disclose his tax returns — as Mrs. Clinton and other nominees for decades have done — should sharpen voter wariness of his business and charitable operations. Disclosure would undoubtedly raise numerous red flags; the public record already indicates that in at least some years he made full use of available loopholes and paid no taxes.

Mr. Trump has been opaque about his questionable global investments in Russia and elsewhere, which could present conflicts of interest as president, particularly if his business interests are left in the hands of his children, as he intends. Investigations have found self-dealing. He notably tapped $258,000 in donors’ money from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses, according to The Washington Post.

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El editorial apoyando a Clinton

A straight talker who tells it like it is?

Mr. Trump, who has no experience in national security, declares that he has a plan to soundly defeat the Islamic State militants in Syria, but won’t reveal it, bobbing and weaving about whether he would commit ground troops. Voters cannot judge whether he has any idea what he’s talking about without an outline of his plan, yet Mr. Trump ludicrously insists he must not tip off the enemy.

Another of his cornerstone proposals — his campaign pledge of a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim newcomers plus the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants across a border wall paid for by Mexico — has been subjected to endless qualifications as he zigs and zags in pursuit of middle-ground voters.

Whatever his gyrations, Mr. Trump always does make clear where his heart lies — with the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist signals that he scurrilously employed to build his base.

He used the shameful “birther” campaign against President Obama’s legitimacy as a wedge for his candidacy. But then he opportunistically denied his own record, trolling for undecided voters by conceding that Mr. Obama was a born American. In the process he tried to smear Mrs. Clinton as the instigator of the birther canard and then fled reporters’ questions.

Since his campaign began, NBC News has tabulated that Mr. Trump has made 117 distinct policy shifts on 20 major issues, including three contradictory views on abortion in one eight-hour stretch. As reporters try to pin down his contradictions, Mr. Trump has mocked them at his rallies. He said he would “loosen” libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations that displease him.

An expert negotiator who can fix government and overpower other world leaders?

His plan for cutting the national debt was far from a confidence builder: He said he might try to persuade creditors to accept less than the government owed. This fanciful notion, imported from Mr. Trump’s debt-steeped real estate world, would undermine faith in the government and the stability of global financial markets. His tax-cut plan has been no less alarming. It was initially estimated to cost $10 trillion in tax revenue, then, after revisions, maybe $3 trillion, by one adviser’s estimate. There is no credible indication of how this would be paid for — only assurances that those in the upper brackets will be favored.

If Mr. Trump were to become president, his open doubts about the value of NATO would present a major diplomatic and security challenge, as would his repeated denunciations of trade deals and relations with China. Mr. Trump promises to renegotiate the Iran nuclear control agreement, as if it were an air-rights deal on Broadway. Numerous experts on national defense and international affairs have recoiled at the thought of his commanding the nuclear arsenal. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell privately called Mr. Trump “an international pariah.” Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced global warming as a “hoax,” although a golf course he owns in Ireland is citing global warming in seeking to build a protective wall against a rising sea.

In expressing admiration for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump implies acceptance of Mr. Putin’s dictatorial abuse of critics and dissenters, some of whom have turned up murdered, and Mr. Putin’s vicious crackdown on the press. Even worse was Mr. Trump’s urging Russia to meddle in the presidential campaign by hacking the email of former Secretary of State Clinton. Voters should consider what sort of deals Mr. Putin might obtain if Mr. Trump, his admirer, wins the White House.

A change agent for the nation and the world?

There can be little doubt of that. But voters should be asking themselves if Mr. Trump will deliver the kind of change they want. Starting a series of trade wars is a recipe for recession, not for new American jobs. Blowing a hole in the deficit by cutting taxes for the wealthy will not secure Americans’ financial future, and alienating our allies won’t protect our security. Mr. Trump has also said he will get rid of the new national health insurance system that millions now depend on, without saying how he would replace it.

The list goes on: He would scuttle the financial reforms and consumer protections born of the Great Recession. He would upend the Obama administration’s progress on the environment, vowing to “cancel the Paris climate agreement” on global warming. He would return to the use of waterboarding, a torture method, in violation of international treaty law. He has blithely called for reconsideration of Japan’s commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. He favors a national campaign of “stop and frisk” policing, which has been ruled unconstitutional. He has blessed the National Rifle Association’s ambition to arm citizens to engage in what he imagines would be defensive “shootouts” with gunmen. He has so coarsened our politics that he remains a contender for the presidency despite musing about his opponent as a gunshot target.

Voters should also consider Mr. Trump’s silence about areas of national life that are crying out for constructive change: How would he change our schools for the better? How would he lift more Americans out of poverty? How would his condescending appeal to black voters — a cynical signal to white moderates concerned about his racist supporters — translate into credible White House initiatives to promote racial progress? How would his call to monitor and even close some mosques affect the nation’s life and global reputation? Would his Supreme Court nominees be zealous, self-certain extensions of himself? In all these areas, Mrs. Clinton has offered constructive proposals. He has offered bluster, or nothing. The most specific domestic policy he has put forward, on tax breaks for child care, would tilt toward the wealthy.

Voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, degrading comments about women, mendacity, crude generalizations about nations and religions. Our presidents are role models for generations of our children. Is this the example we want for them?

El editorial del New York Times que endosa a Hillary Clinton

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NEW YORK TIMESEditorial Board, 25 septiembre 2016 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.

Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.

The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.

The next president will take office with bigoted, tribalist movements and their leaders on the march. In the Middle East and across Asia, in Russia and Eastern Europe, even in Britain and the United States, war, terrorism and the pressures of globalization are eroding democratic values, fraying alliances and challenging the ideals of tolerance and charity.

The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.

Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena.

Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change. As a candidate, she has struggled to step back from a pointillist collection of policy proposals to reveal the full pattern of her record. That is a weakness of her campaign, and a perplexing one, for the pattern is clear. It shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.
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Similarly, Mrs. Clinton’s occasional missteps, combined with attacks on her trustworthiness, have distorted perceptions of her character. She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience. Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington.

Mrs. Clinton’s record of service to children, women and families has spanned her adult life. One of her boldest acts as first lady was her 1995 speech in Beijing declaring that women’s rights are human rights. After a failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system, she threw her support behind legislation to establish the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now covers more than eight million lower-income young people. This year, she rallied mothers of gun-violence victims to join her in demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.

After opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants during the 2008 campaign, she now vows to push for comprehensive immigration legislation as president and to use executive power to protect law-abiding undocumented people from deportation and cruel detention. Some may dismiss her shift as opportunistic, but we credit her for arriving at the right position.

Mrs. Clinton and her team have produced detailed proposals on crime, policing and race relations, debt-free college and small-business incentives, climate change and affordable broadband. Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans. They would also depend on passage by Congress.

That means that, to enact her agenda, Mrs. Clinton would need to find common ground with a destabilized Republican Party, whose unifying goal in Congress would be to discredit her. Despite her political scars, she has shown an unusual capacity to reach across the aisle.

When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good. Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.

Her most lasting achievements as a senator include a federal fund for long-term health monitoring of 9/11 first responders, an expansion of military benefits to cover reservists and the National Guard, and a law requiring drug companies to improve the safety of their medications for children.

Below the radar, she fought for money for farmers, hospitals, small businesses and environmental projects. Her vote in favor of the Iraq war is a black mark, but to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history.

As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism. She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial. She led efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Mrs. Clinton led efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Myanmar, persuading its junta to adopt political reforms. She helped promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. Her election-year reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters, but her underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt. Mrs. Clinton’s attempt to reset relations with Russia, though far from successful, was a sensible effort to improve interactions with a rivalrous nuclear power.

Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.

Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, governed during what now looks like an optimistic and even gentle era. The end of the Cold War and the advance of technology and trade appeared to be awakening the world’s possibilities rather than its demons. Many in the news media, and in the country, and in that administration, were distracted by the scandal du jour — Mr. Clinton’s impeachment — during the very period in which a terrorist threat was growing. We are now living in a world darkened by the realization of that threat and its many consequences.

Mrs. Clinton’s service spans both eras, and she has learned hard lessons from the three presidents she has studied up close. She has also made her own share of mistakes. She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it. Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk. And, viewed against those challenges, Mr. Trump shrinks to his true small-screen, reality-show proportions, as we’ll argue in detail on Monday.

Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.

What Will Come After Paris. Editorial The New York Times

Editorial, 15 noviembre 2015 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

NEW YORK TOMES NYTThe terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, along with twin bombings in Beirut on the day before and the downing of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, show a new phase in the Islamic State’s war against the West, a readiness to strike far beyond areas it controls in Iraq, Syria, and increasingly, Libya.

16mon1sub-1447625096808-blog427The challenge for threatened countries is huge. The sort of attacks the Islamic State, or ISIS, has launched are hard to anticipate or prevent, yet in Europe each one intensifies the raucous xenophobia of far-right nationalists ever ready to demonize Muslim citizens, immigrants and refugees, and shut down Europe’s open internal borders. The Islamic State must be crushed, but that requires patience, determination and the coordination of strategies and goals that has been sorely lacking among countries involved in the war on ISIS, especially the United States and Russia.

President François Hollande of France defiantly declared the attacks in Paris “an act of war” and vowed a “pitiless” response. On Sunday, French warplanes bombarded Raqqa, the Syrian city that is an ISIS stronghold. Mr. Hollande is expected to offer other proposals when he addresses the French Parliament at a special session in Versailles on Monday. France already has some of Europe’s most intensive antiterrorist policing; adopting draconian measures of the sort demanded by far-right nationalists like Marine Le Pen of the National Front can only further alienate France’s Muslim population of five million, without offering any assurance against more attacks.

The discovery of a Syrian passport near one of the attackers, which matched one used by an asylum-seeker who had entered Europe through Greece, was bound to intensify anti-refugee sentiments and calls to close Europe’s open internal borders. There is no proof that the owner of the passport was one of the gunmen. And even if one of the attackers had entered Europe in the guise of a refugee, the first gunman to be conclusively identified, Omar Ismail Mostefai, was not a refugee, but a French citizen born and raised in a town just south of Paris.

Pouring fuel on the passions swirling around refugees and Muslims in Europe was no doubt a major goal behind the ISIS attack. The choice of the neighborhoods where most attacks occurred, an ethnically diverse area in eastern Paris increasingly populated by young professionals, seemed designed to send the message that tolerance would be no protection against what ISIS described in a communiqué as the coming “storm.”

France must take measures to protect its citizens, as must the United States, Russia and all the other countries — Western and Middle Eastern — threatened by the Islamic State’s murderous dream of a new caliphate. At the same time, it’s clear that the prevention of further ISIS attacks will require threatened states to find a way to end the Syrian civil war, which has made it possible for this terrorist group to gain wealth, territory and power. That means closely coordinating action among countries already engaged in the fight — most notably the United States and Russia — and it means persuading more European and Middle Eastern nations to join in the mission.

Until the latest spate of ISIS attacks, America’s focus on that terrorist organization as the primary enemy had not been fully shared by Russia, which has used its military actions more to defend its ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. But there have been several promising moves of late toward greater cooperation.

At a meeting in Vienna on Saturday, representatives of more than a dozen countries with an urgent interest in ending the Syrian war, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, agreed on a tentative plan for a phased transition to an interim government and elections in Syria. And at the Group of 20 summit meeting underway in Turkey, Syria and ISIS have been a topic of urgent discussion, as they presumably were when President Obama met separately with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The attacks in Paris sent a major shockwave around the world, and the Beirut bombings and the downing of the Russian civilian jetliner were every bit as horrific. ISIS has demonstrated that there is no limit to its reach, and no nation is really safe until they all come together to defeat this scourge.