Air conditioning: Great for prisoners, bad for the environment? That’s the unwitting and contradictory takeaway from Tuesday’s New York Times. The lack of air conditioning in some Southern prisons led the National section. Alan Blinder fretted: “In U.S.’s ‘Sweatbox’ Jails, a Constitutional Clash Over Air-Conditioning.” But the same day's Science section asked rhetorically: "...can I use my air-conditioner guilt free?" and then responded with a sniff: "Not quite," citing myriad environmental problems.
President Obama, demi-god of cool. The New York Times Gardiner Harris hailed Obama’s musical taste in his Monday “White House Letter,” “The President’s Revealing Disclosure, in Rhythm and Prose.” Yep, it’s more of that tough Times coverage of the president, as Harris got way too excited over the president's “Musical taste that includes surf rock, soul and the blues.” But when it came to documenting Obama’s cultural signifiers that appeal to the liberal elite, Harris was only following in the fawning footsteps of his colleagues.
The Obama administration is once again riding to the rescue of U.S. Muslims persecuted by Republicans. That’s the takeaway from Monday’s lead National section story by Katie Shepherd (who claimed without evidence that "anti-Islamic rhetoric and discrimination surges this presidential election year"): “To Township, It’s a Zoning Issue. To Justice Dept., It’s Discrimination – The Federal Agency Emerges as a Bulwark For American Muslims.” The New York Times covered the controversy over the proposed Ground Zero mosque in similar positive fashion, while sliming critics of the project as Islamophobes.
New New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd gets results? On Tuesday Spayd pondered, under the chiding headline, "The Clinton Story You Didn’t Read Here,” why her paper didn’t cover the latest turn in the Hillary Clinton private server saga. Finally, the Times provided some coverage of the controversy from a joint convention of minority journalists, but misleadingly called it a "press conference" and skipped the laudatory cheers those "objective" journalists gave the Democratic nominee.
In Saturday’s lead New York Times story, reporter Jackie Calmes glimpsed a silver lining in the rise of Donald Trump, as a challenge to the Republican party's myopic focus on “business and the privileged” that could relegate Reagan's "outmoded" ideas of tax cuts to the dustbin of history. The full deck of headlines: “As Trump Rises, G.O.P. Faces Push On Its Economics – Working-Class Appeal – Calling for the Party to Focus on Workers It Has Neglected.” Calmes used the prime piece of media real estate to aggressively push conservative “reformocons” who are against tax cuts.
The front page of Friday’s New York Times featured a welcome report by Anemona Hartocollis on how alumni aversion to left-wing protests and the squelching of free speech on campus is starting to hit those elite alma maters right in the pocketboo: “Amid College Protests, Alumni Are Less Fond and Less Giving." Hartocollis’ prominently placed article is a welcome corrective to the paper’s usual indulgence of such anti-speech attacks (while condemning the rare conservative campus pushback).
Thursday’s New York Times got a kick out of conservative defeats in Kansas at the local and national level, when it wasn’t from relishing Donald Trump controversies and prematurely crowning Hillary Clinton the winner of the election. Reporter Carl Hulse, always on the look-out for signs of conservative weakness, found a pattern in a defeat of “hard-right” Kansas congressman and Tea Party “firebrand” Tim Huelskamp: “Voters Send a Message in Tossing a Tea Party Firebrand From the House.”
New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani is notorious about letting her personal liberal politics infect her aesthetic judgment. In January 2009 she praised incoming president Barack Obama’s "love of fiction and poetry" that "imbued him with a tragic sense of history and a sense of the ambiguities of the human condition," as opposed to President George W. Bush's "prescriptive" reading that provided him only a black-and-white "Manichean view of the world." It’s near the end of the Obama era, and Kakutani is still keeping up with the current Manhattanite ideological fashions. The latest trend: Glibly, and offensively, comparing the violence and death-dealing of antebellum slavery to black suffering at the hands of police and the judicial system today, with a swipe at Ronald Reagan.
The New York Times covers Israeli politics much the way it does American politics:With bias toward conservatives. A headline over James Glanz’s story portrayed conservative Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a criminal who just hadn’t been caught (yet): “Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, Still a Step Ahead of Scandals, Faces a New Inquiry," smeared the PM with trumped-up scandals as being just a “Teflon-coated” step ahead of the law, a la Ronald Reagan. A day before, Netanyahu was falsely portrayed as “crushing Israel’s free press.”
Offensive BLM melodrama in the NYT: A "superhero” Black Lives Matter protester faced down “storm troopers” in a showdown compared to the Tiananmen Square massacre, according to the latest New York Times Magazine. Magazine photography critic Teju Cole compared a widely-circulated photo of a confrontation between police and BLM protester Ieshia Evans in Baton Rouge to the unknown “Tank Man” of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The New York Times post-convention political roundup praised Democratic stage-craft, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech, and forwarded complaints about bias at Fox News (but not CNN). Adam Nagourney’s “Stark Contrasts in Style and Substance” praised Democratic convention stagecraft and says that as a speaker who can “move a crowd, seize a moment...Barack Obama laps the field.”
The ultimate night of the Democratic National Convention saw the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee, celebrated on whole top half of the front page of Friday's New York Times. Meanwhile, Patrick Healy and Amy Chozick did their best to both humanize and historicize Hillary, "who sacrificed personal ambition for her husband’s political career and then rose to be a globally influential figure....a prize that generations of American women have dreamed about for one of their own."
New York Times coverage of Night 3 of the Democratic National Convention could be characterized by an hour-long swoon over Barack Obama’s speech -- pardon, his “stirring valedictory address." Also, Democrats were (again!) finding their voice on gun control, Bill celebrated Hillary, TMI-style, and Frank Bruni celebrated the president as "our national poet."
Night 2 of Democratic Convention coverage: A New York Times reporter referred to the Clintons’ “very rich and complicated relationship,” the “historic” card was played nonstop, and the editorial page owes Mitt Romney an apology on Russia. The reporters weren’t particularly thrilled with Bill Clinton’s speech, but one reporter still found a euphemism for Bill Clinton's personal sex scandals, finding the Clintons' marriage a "rich and complicated relationship."
The bias highlight of Night One of the Democratic National Convention from the New York Times was the laudatory coverage of “pop-culture heroine” Michelle Obama’s prime-time anti-Trump speech. The most prominent was Michael Shear and Mark Landler’a “Stirring Speech by a First Lady Backs Another." Nick Confessore found it "a moving political speech.” Meanwhile, Matt Flegenheimer looked back affectionately at how left-wing Hillary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (aka "Birdie Sanders") became cool with the kids.
Monday’s New York Times highlighted Democratic “discord” on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as outrage about the contents of a massive email leak from the Democratic National Committee, showing the DNC colluding to scuttle the insurgent campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. But a “White House Letter” from Julie Hirschfeld Davis was more congenial to Democratic feelings: “Obama: A Character Witness and a Prominent Clinton Convert.” Meanwhile, the Times can’t decide if Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine is a liberal or a centrist (sometimes he’s both within two sentences).
Liberal journalists may be spending the weekend gnashing their teeth over the New York Times Public Editor’s promise to analyze why people think the paper has a liberal bias. Liz Spayd recently became the paper’s sixth Public Editor, and she quickly got provocative in her second column for the Sunday Review: “Why Readers See The Times as Liberal.” The text box provided the flavor: “The danger of bias. Or even just its appearance.”
Ideological double standards on display in the New York Times: While it’s a “dangerous anachronism” for Republicans to appeal to conservatives when picking a vice presidential candidate, it’s apparently absolutely necessary for Democrats to appeal to liberals. The Times noted the distaste for Hillary's pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, among the left, but surprisingly also identified Kaine with the left. But it was all good for "the man of deep religious faith" -- and a perfect legislative rating from Planned Parenthood?
No sympathy for the right-wing devil: After months of hostile coverage of Donald Trump, the New York Times saved its most personal hostility toward the only candidate on the Republican side that truly challenged Trump’s rise: Sen. Ted Cruz.
The front of Friday’s New York Times featured a “political memo” by Jennifer Steinhauer and Matt Flegenheimer, “Cruz’s Gamble On Redefining Race for 2020 – Defiance May Backfire as Critics See Betrayal.” The personal insults came fast and furious. Flegenheimer, who last December cast Cruz as an unlikeable, socially awkward “bomb-thrower” ideologue and even held his facial features against him, helped penned more personal attacks on the conservative politician's "self-regard."
The final night of the Republican National Convention that crowned Donald Trump as the party’s nominee was greeted in dark tones on the front of Friday’s paper. Reporters Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin found a “vehement” and “incendiary” candidate, while Michael Barbaro found himself flabbergasted by Trump’s failure to show “humility, generosity and depth," and Adam Nagourney lamented "one of the darker speeches I’ve heard in American politics."