Journalism 20-30 years ago was mostly funded on a subscription model. In this model they work hard to maintain their reputation, so that people will trust them as an accurate source of news.
Journalism today is mostly funded per click. Which means that the most important thing is a headline that grabs people's attention and causes them to click. The incentive is for the most outrageous and attention grabbing headline possible. With no incentive for being accurate - by the time you realize that the article is junk they've been paid and are looking for another sucker.
If you're interested in a book length exposition of how this change in dynamics has changed the news landscape, I recommend https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Me-Lying-Confessions-Manipulato.... The trends that it discusses have played out for another decade since it was written, but played out along the direction that it described.
The result is that the NYT today is better than CNN is today, but they do not meet the same standard that they did 25 years ago. In fact they might not be better today than CNN was 25 years ago.
I think this is a losing proposition because as you target a smaller and smaller part of the population, if you step out of line by publishing something that is against their world view, they will unsubscribe and take their money elsewhere. Look at what happened with the Tom Cotton oped in the NYT. The editor that approved that quit because of the outrage, and I wonder how many subscriptions they lost. If you think that oped was horrible, then why not post a rebuttal? Why is the mere act of publishing the opinion of a senator such a crime? I think this shows that the subscription model is not protecting against the degradation of the NYT in quality. If you had a wider user base, and appeal to a wide range of people, you could lose some subscriptions when putting out some controversial article, but it wouldn't cripple you.