New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof caught “A Smell of Treason In the Air" around the Trump White House. The title is a recent quote on the Trump administration from liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, which Kristof was no doubt eager to glom onto so he didn’t have to go even further out on a leftist limb by saying it himself. Or is that odor really Kristof’s own flop sweat? Every sentence of his column is redolent with rich conspiracy theorizing and maximalist interpretation of anything a Trump associate has ever done or said, matched by a minimum of actual hard facts. The column is pleasing the paper’s lefty readers: It’s now the second-most read shared and discussed post across nytimes.com.
New York Times Katie Rogers tried to have it both ways in her story on Chelsea Clinton’s Twitter feed, claiming the Clinton daughters’ tweets were “innocent,” and forwarded advice from a Clinton friend to Chelsea’s “naysayers”: “Just unfollow.” Yet Rogers still reprinted some of Clinton’s highly politicized tweets, as if to keep her in the partisan mix anyway. Rogers’ front page Styles section report, “Calm Before the Tweet Storm – Chelsea Clinton shows a more confrontational side online,” was news-free publicity for Clinton, while avoiding controversy -- and actual news value -- like the plague
New York Times media reporter Jim Rutenberg took his usual spot on the front of Business Day on Tuesday, with a new angle in his regular hammering of Trump, this time praising “Pod Save America” (get it!?) a popular podcast under the auspices of the ironically named Crooked Media, produced by former Obama White House aides: “Opposition and a Shave – Former Obama aides use a podcast to counter Trump on his terrain (And they have advertisers.)” Go team!
New York Times arts reporter Randy Kennedy covered the controversy over the audacity of a white artist exhibiting a painting at the Whitney Biennial, based on photographs of the body of Emmett Till, the teenager murdered in Mississippi in 1955: “Painting of Emmett Till Draws Protests -- A white artist’s work at the Whitney Biennial has some calling for its removal.” Strikingly, the article, from a purportedly pro-free-speech media organization, included not a single word of dissent about the idea of leftist protesters wanting to have a piece of art not only removed from an exhibit, which would be awful enough, but destroyed. No one came to the defense of free expression in the face of a frankly racist attempt to suppress and destroy art based on the skin color of the artist
The New York Times two-column lead story Tuesday was predictable: FBI director James Comey’s testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, where he announced that the FBI is in fact “investigating whether members of President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” (The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch were relegated to page 20.) “Comey Confirms Inquiry On Russia And Trump Allies," breathlessly reported that Comey had “placed a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House.” As a snotty sidebar, Tuesday’s front page also featured reporter Michael Shear, “G.O.P. Reply Is to Change The Subject.” Shear also eagerly used the “criminal investigation” formula.
Veteran former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr pleaded with her fellow journalists: Stop doing journalism on Donald Trump when he and his spokespeople are only “spewing garbage” anyway! In her Friday post at the site run by left-wing public television omnipresence Bill Moyers, Sherr also actively discouraged practicing balanced journalism when it comes to the president, a la Jim Rutenberg’s front-page editorial for the New York Times during the campaign.
President Trump’s first proposed budget resulted in a patchwork of short, dire stories dominated two pages of the print edition Friday. The headlines provide the tone for the ideologically loaded stories: “Researchers Bristle at Extent of Cuts” at the National Institute of Health and Department of Energy. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development was “‘Hurt and Upset’ Over Potential Losses,” and “States Would Lose Help in Emergencies” because of cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Let’s focus on perceived Trump attacks on two liberal playpens in particular: public broadcasting, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.
New York Times reporter Michael Shear lead off Friday’s paper with the usual liberal horror show on President Trump’s proposed budget. You didn’t hard to read far to get the loaded liberal language, where taxpayer- and deficit-funded spending on all but the military is sacrosanct: “Trump Gambles in Cutting Services That Aid His Base – Budget Billed as Necessary, but Opponents Label it ‘Draconian’ and ‘Shameful.’
New York Times reporter Katie Rogers celebrated anti-Trump protests as “the new brunch” in the big-government stronghold of D.C.: “A City Where Dissent Becomes a Lifestyle.” Rogers’ story occupied two-thirds of the page, with photos down the middle from various D.C. protests and a long and fawning explainer of a photo caption, full of liberal blandishment.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow may be an object of mockery, even among her liberal media colleagues, for breathlessly hyping (and then endlessly milking) a “big scoop” about Donald Trump’s tax returns Tuesday night. The big leak turned out to be a two-page 1040 form from 2005, showing that Trump paid $38 million in income taxes that year. Even Slate headlined it a “Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle.”
The New York Times has found its line of attack against the seemingly unassailable Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Reporter Matt Flegenheimer went phony populist as he signed on to the approved Democratic angle against President Gorsuch, in Tuesday’s “Democrats Move to Cast Justice Nominee as Enemy of the Little Guy.” The day before, the Times had attacked from the left another Trump pick, Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta, Flegenheimer led off with the maximalist dose of Democratic attack rhetoric: "Corporate tool. Enemy of disabled people. Deferential to the privileged, including the man who chose him."
The front page of Monday’s New York Times documented how liberals are seeking mental comfort food through old-fashioned means -- by binging on left-wing talk and comedy shows in front of the television set -- in “Seeking Communal Solace, Liberals Turn Back to the TV," which began with this unpromising opening line: "There is a new safe space for liberals in the age of President Trump: the television set."
Following the trail of angry liberals on social media, Jack Healy in Sunday’s New York Times attacked a comment by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah suggesting people should invest in their own health care instead of buying the new IPhone. Healy defended the necessity of having a cell in “Having No Insurance Is Hard, Families Say. No Phone? Unthinkable.” Healy even found a racial angle, even though President Barack Obama has used the same cell phone talking point in the past. Needless to say, the president wasn’t accused of anti-black racism.
Nate Silver, editor-and-chief of fivethirtyeight.com, a polling analysis and prediction website, had a rough Election Night, as his final odds favoring a Hillary Clinton victory were wrecked by reality. Yet, Silver was relatively less wrong about the presidential election results than most other outlets (including his former colleagues at the New York Times and mocking liberal Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post), with numbers consistently south of the 95-plus percentage chances for a Hillary victory that other outlets were spouting. Silver also constantly hedged his more modest pro-Hillary statistical predictions with reminders that her victory was far from guaranteed. Indeed, Silver’s prediction, in the final hours before the election, that Trump had a 29% of winning was mocked by liberals as being far too generous to Trump. (How did that turn out, anyway?)
Violent leftist mobs driving conservative speakers off campus is a story often sidelined by a liberal media reluctant to make the enemies of their conservative enemies look bad. An exception was made on the Monday, March 6 episode of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, featuring New York TImes columnist Frank Bruni as a guest discussing the physical attacks committed during conservative scholar Charles Murray’s failed attempt to give a talk at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Tuesday’s New York Times tried to surround the story of illegal immigrants with a full-page spread, “The Reality of Illegal Immigrants Who Live in the United States,” from reporters Vivian Yee, Kenan Davis, and Jugal Patel. The story was actually more balanced than the paper’s usual offerings on the subject (starting with that striking use of “Illegal” in the headline). But the story still included a striking, perhaps unintended admission of labeling bias. The Times actually admitted “undocumented” was a euphemism for “illegal,” even while the NYT uses it all the time, even making a shift in its style in 2013 to discourage the use of “illegal.”
Thomas Fuller's New York Times piece pushed for a public works program in La La Land that comes with a big promise and a $64 billion price tag: A high-speed railway that will one day, theoretically, connect San Francisco and Los Angeles in less time than in takes to watch The Dark Knight Rises. The story’s headline and tone pit stingy, stick-in-the-mud conservatives against sunny, striving liberal futurists: “Silicon Valley Rail Upgrade Is Imperiled Amid G.O.P. Ire.” But some of the dirty details got lost in Fuller’s glittery view of the future of “high-speed rail” in California, the ones that less starry-eyed outlets like the Los Angeles Times have noted.
The arts and literature pages offer no respite from the New York Times political thrust. Lisa Birnbach hung out with actor Mark Ruffalo, perhaps best known for his role as The Hulk in the series of Avengers superhero movies, for her front-page Arts story, “The Actor’s Activist, Onstage.” Ruffalo is participating in a politicized revival of Arthur Miller’s obscure anti-capitalism play “The Price,” and Birnbaum indulged the actor’s love of Bernie Sanders, John Kerry, and left-wing protests. Meanwhile, Sunday book reviewers found ominous parallels to Stalin and the Red Scare in Trump's America.
From the “Trump can’t do anything right department” comes a front-page story in Saturday’s New York Times: “Handshakes at the White House, Hand-Wringing at Black Colleges” by Anemona Hartocollis and Noah Weiland. The Times has spent the last year excoriating then-candidate, now-President Trump for either being racist himself or encouraging racism in his supporters. But after a productive meeting at the White House with representatives of historically black colleges and universities, the paper devoted space on Page A1 to keep the fires burning. The reporters instantly inserted racially inflammatory left-wing protest graffiti.
President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress was analyzed live by an assortment of NYT journalists. Glenn Thrush, a Politico alum now with the New York Times, stood out as more partisan than the other journalists, which is pretty tough. And Times politicized television critic Jamie Poniewozik saw dark, possibly violent anti-immigrant fear-mongering behind Trump’s positive tone.