Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Having handed over its already pretentious arts pages wholly to ethnic and gender-based virtue signaling, the New York Times certainly wasn’t going to let the racially charged Grammys pass without commentary. Jon Caramanica celebrated an onstage rappers' revolt while slamming Adele for beating Beyonce for album of the year, in “Dealing With #GrammysSoWhite," and Joe Coscarelli fanned the Grammy flames on the same page with a conspiracy theory, “Was Beyonce Robbed of Best Album?”
New York Times’ hard-left political reporter Jason Horowitz slimed President Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, based on a second-hand reference in a speech Bannon gave two years ago. The distortion appeared in Sunday’s paper under the bias-on-steroids headline, “Fascists Too Lax for a Philosopher Cited by Bannon.” Bannon’s actual 2014 speech revealed that he’s not wholly on board with European far-right beliefs and actions. Bannon also called Vladimir Putin and his “cronies” an imperialist kleptocracy. But that didn’t stop the Times from attacking one of the mainstream media’s favorite enemies in the Trump White House.
Why don’t people think the media are sufficiently concerned about Islamic terrorism? Well there’s this, for one. And the New York Times Sunday Review brought another exhibit from columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has an obsession with trying to shrink the threat of Islamic terrorism to the size of a bathtub -- or at least, to the threat posed by bathtubs. And stairs. And husbands, as in his latest column, “Husbands Are Deadlier Than Terrorists.” To Kristof everything in the world is more important that the Islamic terror threat, which is why he regularly issues callous, tone-deaf, often innumerate attempts to convince his readers that it's some kind of right-wing paranoid myth.
How much does Donald Trump’s presidential administration resemble Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich? It’s “Too Close for Comfort,” concludes Slate staff writer Isaac Chotiner. He conducts an occasional series of politicized interviews with various figures, and he took up that disturbing parallel in his latest. The subhead: “How much do the early days of the Trump administration look like the Third Reich?"
Hitting a journalistic nadir, the New York Times ran a deeply silly environmental piece by Tatiana Schlossberg (aka Caroline Kennedy’s daughter), “Trump Has Choices to Make on Climate Policy – What Would You Do?” written in the condescending style of a choose-your-own-adventure story at a 6th-grade reading level.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell may have temporarily silenced Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, formally rebuking her for breaking Senate rules in her demagogic criticism of her colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions, before he was confirmed as President Trump’s attorney general. But the New York Times won’t shut up until Warren is seen by everyone as a feminist heroine.Times reporter Matt Flegenheimer set up the liberal senator for future glory in Thursday's “Silencing Warren, G.O.P. Amplifies Her Message.” The text box: “Catapulted into the role of avatar of the liberal resistance."
A full-court press by the left and congressional Democrats failed to take down the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, and the New York Times is bitter. Emmarie Huetteman and Yamiche Alcindor on the front of Wednesday’s paper: "Betsy DeVos, a wealthy Republican donor with almost no experience in public education, was confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s education secretary on Tuesday, but only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after weeks of protests and two defections within her own party."
New York Times Scott Shane pushed back against Donald Trump’s claim that the media was not adequately covering Islamic terrorism on Wednesday’s front page: “Terror News Underplayed? Many Say No.” But Shane, the paper’s intelligence report, does not have much credibility on that issue given that his reporting has taken great pains to downplay the terror threat from radical Islam. Less than two weeks ago Shane was featured on Sunday’s front page, approvingly quoting a silly batch of stats that attempted to quantify the terror threat down to nothingness
New York Times Kate Zernike made Monday’s front page praising the newly energized anti-Trump left with a back-handed compliment to a protest movement on the other side of the political spectrum: “Tea Party Reveals a Right Way For the Left to Make Its Stand.” That's not exactly what she was writing between 2009-2011, when she took every opportunity to smear the movement as old, white and possibly racist.
New York Times reporter Justin Gillis is a man on a mission to save the planet from the depredations of global warming (rebranded as “climate change”). The activist environmental reporter was at it again in the paper’s Tuesday Science section, “Cooling Language About a Warming Earth" (too ideological even for the news pages?). Gillis, who regularly pushes the idea of a looming environmental apocalypse in the Times’ newspages, has a bad habit of taking the front page to declare warming “records” which may not or do not actually exist, and then not deigning to explain the discrepancies, which apparently don’t matter to the “ordinary reader” anyway.
Showing once again its warped priorities, the New York Times, which takes great pains to downplay the threat of Islamic terror, took another whack at the “Islamophobia” of Fox’s “24” reboot (and President Trump) in an essay by TV critic James Poniewozik on page one of Monday’s Arts section: “‘24’ Reboot Has a Dire Ring to it – President’s views on terrorism fit right in with the script.” The text box: “Terrorists are scary and all over the place, according to the script and Donald J. Trump.”
New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg took his standard place on the front of Business Day, hyperventilating this time about the pushback to Kellyanne Conway’s comment about the “Bowling Green massacre” being a turning point in the battle against “fake news.” The headline wasn’t subtle: “The Massacre That Wasn’t: A ‘Fake News’ Turning Point.” The text box cheered: “The internet acted quickly to dismantle a Trump adviser’s false claim.”
Democrats are looking for a scalp among President Trump’s cabinet nominees, and seem to have settled on his pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, a firm conservative and advocate for charter schools in her home state of Michigan. Dana Goldstein, an education journalist who recently came aboard from the liberal site Slate, contributed to the liberal mockery of DeVos and slammed school vouchers in “Opposition to Education Pick Is Broad and Vocal.”
On the front of the paper's Friday Arts section, New York Times TV critic Neil Genzlinger checked out the reboot of the popular serial thriller “24,” making its debut after the Super Bowl Sunday night on Fox. But Genzlinger was less concerned about the action and more about the show's supposedly anti-Muslim messaging in this sinister Trump era: "...certain people, including some now working in the White House, can’t, or won’t, separate the real from the fake when it supports their interests or beliefs...an insidious part of human nature thrives on having somebody to hate."
New York Times Emily Badger dominates all of page 3 of Thursday’s print paper, with “Immigrant Shock: California Offers Hint of Nation’s Future,” a long “Upshot” analysis operating under the unspoken assumption that Donald Trump voters were prejudiced and skitterish of different-looking people invading their neighborhood. She even roped Rush Limbaugh’s 1980’s Sacramento radio show into her essay as a marker of racist anti-immigrant hostility.
It’s official: There’s no escape from anti-Trump politics – it featured on the front page of every inside section of Thursday’s New York Times. The NYT thought it vitally important to tell its readership how fashion designers and actors feel about Trump, and how a new TV cop show featuring a “results-oriented boor” is a painful reminder of the new president.
New York Times Washington correspondent Carl Hulse has been writing versions of the same story for years -- Republicans on the defensive. On Tuesday, he paired his standard trope with the issue the NYT is most liberal on -- amnesty for illegal immigrants -- to starkly slanted effect for his “On Washington” column, “Are ‘Dreamers’ Next? G.O.P. Fears Backlash.”
The front of Sunday’s New York Times featured David Barstow, known for blessing the paper’s readers with dubious Pulitzer bait every couple of years, tackling the story of authoritarian President Trump’s falsehoods, backed up by liberal good-government types, liberal plagiarist authors, and liberal “fact-checkers”: “‘Up Is Down’: Unreality Show Echoes a History of False Claims.”
Some serious bias by omission about President Trump’s executive order Friday on immigration, especially in the New York Times, none of whose reporters appeared to have actually read it. Trump’s executive order has its roots in previous legislation, The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act signed into law by...President Obama in 2015. But that was ignored by intelligence reporter New York Times in his “news analysis” for Sunday’s front page, “Visceral Fear, Dubious Cure.” The jump-page headline: “A Dubious Cure for Terrorism That Indulges Visceral Fear.”
Hysterical liberals are rushing to buy dystopian novels like 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale, regarding them as playbooks for the new Trump administration, and the New York Times is eagerly validating their fears: "...in recent months, [Handmaid's Tale author Margaret] Atwood has been hearing from anxious readers who see eerie parallels between the novel’s oppressive society and the current Republican administration’s policy goals of curtailing reproductive rights." But the NYT skipped a vital alternate reason why Handmaid is selling more of late: It's coming to Hulu this year.