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Gray Lady Down

What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


The New York Times was once considered the gold standard in American journalism and the most trusted news organization in America. Today, it is generally understood to be a vehicle for politically correct ideologies, tattered liberal pieties, and a repeated victim of journalistic scandal and institutional embarrassment.

In Gray Lady Down, the hard-hitting follow up to Coloring the News, William McGowan asks who is responsible for squandering the finest legacy in American journalism. Combining original reporting, critical assessment and analysis, McGowan exposes the Times’ obsessions with diversity, “soft” pop cultural news, and countercultural Vietnam-era attitudinizing, and reveals how these trends have set America’s most important news icon at odds with its journalistic mission—and with the values and perspectives of much of mainstream America.

Gray Lady Down considers the consequences—for the Times, for the media, and, most important, for American society and its political processes at this fraught moment in our nation’s history. In this highly volatile media environment, the fate of the Times may portend the future of the fourth estate.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 28, 2011 – McGowan (Coloring the News), a former New York Times contributor, delves deeply into the philosophy behind the New York Times' news coverage to assess the conceptual decline of the Times as a legitimate source of news. Despite the ideological bent of the author, it's clear that McGowan isn't simply "reaching" to support his sensibilities; he provides examples of journalistic omission, failure to fact-check, and ample evidence of a left-leaning agenda. However, it's no secret that the Times is left leaning, nor that it has changed drastically to accommodate these pluralistic, post-modern times. McGowan presents nuanced, but serious, accusations: for example, bizarre and enthusiastic human interest stories and the hiring of reporters who formerly were op-ed writers. Indeed, the suggestion that the Times tends to cover liberal-leaning books en masse while ignoring bestsellers such as Rush Limbaugh's The Way Things Ought To Be for over a year after it first appeared on the NYT bestseller list, as well as offering certain important books to ideologically-matching reviewers, is accurate, as is the fact that equal time and energy/enthusiasm wasn't given to Obama and McCain. Carefully chosen case studies paint a not-so-rosy picture of journalistic integrity at the Gray Lady, and are sure to incite readers, no matter what their political philosophy.

Customer Reviews


I've been reading the NYT every day for 35 years, and this excellent book not only helped me understand how and why the newspaper became so highly partisan, but also provided unique insight into some of our era's most important events. I loved the section about how the NYT started downplaying the significance of 9/11 within a few years of the event. It's understandable, I suppose, that the paper has ignored "Gray Lady Down," but I certainly hope A.G reads it.

Gray Lady Down
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  • $25.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: Nov 16, 2010
  • Publisher: Encounter Books
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings