New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has gotten a lot of attention with his latest, “Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl.” Kristof, who fervently opposed intervention in Iraq during the Bush years, now wants to guilt America and Obama into taking sides in a Syrian civil war by comparing it to the war against Nazi Germany, as well as accepting thousands of Syrian refugees. That’s despite there being no Nazi-style genocide plan, and the war taking place in a land where America has no vital strategic interests. Add to that the concerns about refugee sexual violence that took place in Cologne and other places in Europe. In addition, Kristof’s previous callousness toward the persecution of ordinary Iraqis makes him look pretty hypocritical when he now wants America to lead the world in taking Syrian refugees.
Self-impressed with its own cultivated “weirdness,” the college town of Austin, Texas, is a blue redoubt in a red state, so it’s no surprise that some students vulgarly protested the state’s concealed-carry law, which now allows concealed handguns to be carried on campus. New York Times reporter Dave Philipps couldn’t get enough of it, celebrating the protest in Thursday’s edition: “Texas Students Wield Absurdity as a Weapon." It makes quite a change from the horrified reaction the Times has when conservative Texas A&M students mount protests.
The New York Times’ chief Hillary-following reporter Amy Chozick delivered some unfiltered Clinton campaign propaganda in Tuesday’s “'Conspiracy’ Validation Seen by Clinton Camp,” vindicating Hillary’s notorious late-90s paranoia about a “vast right-wing conspiracy” taking on the innocent, scandal-free First Couple, with Chozick defending the claim as "not entirely baseless."
Hillary Clinton evidently doesn’t actually commit scandalous or criminal behavior, she merely is pressed by questions that passively “shadow” her and “follow” her presidential campaign. That’s the tone of recent New York Times scandal coverage on Clinton’s various controveries involving her foudation and her handling of classified documents, both of which have gained new life with a big new batch of previously undisclosed emails.
While some have criticized Donald Trump’s predictions of a “rigged” election in favor of Hillary Clinton, the New York Times went inflammatory on Monday’s front page, playing the race card on the candidate by dismissing suspicions of vote fraud as just anti-black fear-mongering: “Trump, Claims of ‘Rigged’ Vote And Issues of Racial Politics.” The fretful text box: “Election law officials fear a self-fulfilling prophecy, all but ensuring fraud claims.” Reporters Maggie Haberman and Matt Flegenheimer found “alarmed” Republicans and outraged Democrats, and fanned the racial flames early and often.
So long, democracy. Larry Wilmore's Comedy Central show got cancelled. That was the dramatic message from the far-left culture magazine Salon, with a headline ripe for ridicule: “Losing ‘The Nightly Show’ matters: Larry Wilmore’s satire was crucial for our democracy,” especially "in the middle of an election cycle where many segments of our society feel totally disenfranchised, if not outright persecuted." Lest you think the headline was clickbait, the piece by Sophia A. McClennen, a professor at Penn State, face-planted right out of the starting gate with the same magnificent exaggeration: "This week saw the end of one of the most significant satire news shows in our nation’s history. "
New York Times liberal TV critic Mike Hale found every excuse for the cancellation of left-wing comic Larry Wilmore’s Comedy Central show save the obvious one. The headline flattered the failed TV host: “A Characteristically Low-Key Farewell for a Cerebral Host.” One would have to read all the way through, and very carefully, to get the vague hint that "The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore" just may have been too unremittingly left-wing and humorless to succeed with the public.
New York Times sports/TV columnist Richard Sandomir complained (with an awkward pun) Friday that NBC was tolling “their jingo bells” with excessively pro-American coverage of the Olympics in Rio: “NBC Coverage Doesn’t Stray From Home.” The online headline was harsher: “Little Is Medal-Worthy About NBC’s Coverage of Foreign Athletes.” Of course, the United States has earned a huge haul of medals, far more than any other nation. Social media commenters pointed out it was hardly unusual for a nation’s Olympics coverage to favor their national teams and wondered why Americans weren’t allowed the same privilege.
After literally fitting up President Obama as a candidate for Mt. Rushmore (“Obama was better than we imagined, better than the body politic deserved...”) Jim Nelson, editor-in-chief of men’s fashion magazine GQ (Gentleman’s Quarterly), followed up Friday with some fashionable Hillary hagiography and a side of Trump sexism: “The Trump Campaign Is Fueled by the Fear of a Female President.” Nelson posed the question “why were his followers so drawn to that hot temper and fulminating rage?” and answered it: “...fear of a gynarchy. Rule by women."
The New York Times did its part for the Hillary Clinton campaign (and President Obama’s legacy) in Thursday’s edition, offering happy talk about lost coal jobs in Kentucky, skipping over some inconvenient facts that would cloud the pro-Democratic narrative, while another story bashing Donald Trump’s tax plan passed up a golden opportunity to revive Clinton’s infamous “dead broke” comment.
The New York Times “Interpreter” column is a recent addition to the paper’s news pages. Sold as a philosophical fact-check, it comes off as an excuse to sneak yet more liberal opinion into the paper under the guise of offering an elevated perspective on current events. Most egregious yet: Wednesday’s column by Amanda Taub, in which she goes to ludicrous lengths to wave away the problem of the threat of sexual assault by Islamic migrants and denigrate conservative critics of the assaults as she offensively compared valid concerns about Islamic refugee sexual violence and refugee attitudes toward women in general to Jim Crow and the lynching days.
Olympic judo competitor Islam El Shehaby of Egypt refused to shake hands with Or Sasson, the Israeli opponent who defeated him, after their August 12 match. Media coverage, though not widespread, was condemnatory of the Egyptian’s unsportsmanlike snub and religious hostility. Except for a post by the semi-anonymous blogger “N.P.” at the U.K.-based magazine The Economist, a magazine with an anti-Israel ideological line, which argued that “Israel’s holier-than-thou protestations, though, risk sounding shrill," and that it could have been a lot worse, referring to “the bullets that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.” Only “bullets” killed the Israeli athletes?
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.