Times Asks Readers If They Think It Has a Liberal Bias

A NYT online survey gives hints at what executives at the paper are worried about.

Vanity Fair writer Bruce Feirstein took a New York Times online survey and probably learned more about the paper's mindset then anything the paper got from his answers. The survey offered unwittingly intriguing hints on what's going on inside the heads of the head honchos at 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Midtown.

The Times' survey dragged up for public inspection such dirty laundry as Judy Miller's exaggerated accounts of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction; the long-running saga of the fabulist "Jason [sic] Blair;" even the "General Betray Us" advertisement from MoveOn.org that appeared in the paper at huge discount.

Gabriel Sherman of The New Republic made some calls and got an anonymous NYT newsroom staffer to opine: "Some knucklehead in the business department must have done it."

What sort of feedback has the Timesbeen getting to compel them to gauge public response to those controversies?

Here are a few more survey questions, courtesy of Vanity Fair, which posted a screen grab of the survey. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement:

· The New York Times has a liberal bias in the way it reports the news.

The survey didn't ask about conservative bias, only liberal bias.

Two more questions:

· In general, do you think the New York Times is pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian in its coverage of the Middle East?

· In general, would you describe the New York Times overall as very liberal, somewhat liberal, neutral, somewhat conservative, or very conservative?