Clay Waters

Clay Waters's picture
Blogger


Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center. His new mystery is titled Death In The Eye.

Latest from Clay Waters

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, who in an August 2011 column likened the Tea Party movement to terrorists strapping on suicide vests (he later apologized), fiercely defended the Chevy Volt electric car against what he saw as a Fox News conspiracy campaign against it.

Nocera had breakfast with Volt owners during the New York International Auto Show for his Saturday column, "The Right Flames the Volt," and sounded like an enthusiastic gear-head himself when it came to the Volt:


New York Times welfare reporter Jason DeParle clearly considers his previous doomsaying reporting on welfare reform vindicated in his latest 2,700-word lead story Sunday, "Welfare Limits Left Poor Adrift As Recession Hit – The Struggle To Get By – An Acclaimed Overhaul Under Clinton Meant Rolls Barely Grew."

In 1996 DeParle predicted poor mothers would "turn to prostitution or the drug trade. Or cling to abusive boyfriends. Or have more abortions. Or abandon their children. Or camp out on the streets and beg." None of which came to pass, until now (or so his new anecdotes suggest).


On Good Friday, New York Times Rome bureau chief Rachel Donadio emphasized the Pope's "stern Holy Thursday homily" and used a harsh nickname for him in the lead to her Friday story, "Pope Rebukes Priests Who Advocate Ordaining Women and Ending Celibacy," and threw in extraneous unflattering details about "a Vatican hierarchy in disarray."


Sorry, Masters golf tournament, you may be the most prestigious contest in the sport, but you don't meet the exacting standards of feminist activist/NYT golf writer Karen Crouse: "High-ranking players with daughters are not willing to talk about it. Somebody has to make a stand. Why not me in my own little way?”

The New York Times reporter is not done with her crusade against Augusta National. After excoriating the club's all-male membership policy in both a column and news story yesterday, the opening day of The Masters, Crouse told Golf.com's Damon Hack that she did not want to cover the tournament again until a woman was admitted to the club.


No "embarrassment" here. Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, last spotted (before the Supreme Court's arguments on Obama-care) calling skeptics of the law's constitutionality "simply wrong," was defiant in her online column Wednesday, even after the administration's case fell embarrassingly flat. In "'Embarrass the Future?'"(the headline is a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts on the Court's controversial "strip-search" decision) she still thinks Obama-care will prevail.

Greenhouse gathered much mockery for her column two weeks ago calling Obama-care opponents "simply wrong" in their belief that the legislation is unconstitutional, their case "rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection."


Wishful thinking on behalf of Obama? New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes fancies that criticizing the Supreme Court might be a winning issue for Democrats for a change, in Thursday's "Court's Potential to Goad Voters Swings to Democrats."

For decades, Republicans have railed every four years against the Supreme Court and its perceived liberal activism to spur conservatives to elect presidents who will appoint like-minded justices. Now strategists in both parties are suggesting this could be the Democrats’ year to make the court a foil to mobilize voters.


New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis's interview with the Columbia Journalism Review put his unapologetic "climate change" activism on display, and compared climate-change skeptics to people who don't believe in evolution.

(Environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr., who nominated Gillis's December 2011 piece accusing Republicans of blocking measures to document "climate change" as perhaps "the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change," says the interview unmasks Gillis as more advocate than journalist.)


Tuesday's New York Times "Gotham" column by Michael Powell went after conservative guerilla journalism in New York City: "At Advocates' Offices, Confronting an Anti-Liberal Scheme."

Powell, a well-known opponent of former New York City Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a Metro reporter, portrayed methods that have an honored place in investigative journalism as "dirty tricks" when done by young conservative activists. While admitting ACORN did wrong, he chalked it up to stupidity, as if there was nothing sinister about giving a pimp advice on how to falsify taxes to conceal a prostitution ring.


On Monday Julia Preston, one of the New York Times's most reliably pro-amnesty reporters, slid into Denver bureau chief Kirk Johnson's usual slot of using a news story to promote a different kind of Western Republican (i.e. not one of those harsh conservatives), in this case Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who is "A Die-Hard Conservative, but Not on Immigrants."

He is a Republican and a Mormon. He opposes abortion. Mark L. Shurtleff, the attorney general of Utah, also rejects President Obama’s health care law as an assault on states’ rights and he went to Washington last week to urge the Supreme Court to throw it out.


Matt Bai, chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, delivered Sunday a 10,000-word epic cover story on last summer's failed debt negotiations between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner: "Who Killed the Debt Deal?" Bai, who appeared on ABC's This Week on Sunday to say the public was missing "all the good things" Obama-care will do for them, and sees a racial element in virtually every GOP attack on Obama, basically sided with the president in his epic tick-tock on the debt negotiation imbroglio that captured D.C. last summer.

It follows the Washington Post's 4,600-word effort on March 17, which leaned toward Obama as the chief culprit in the failed negotiations: "Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner -- already facing long odds -- to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed."


New York Times reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas feared for the consequences of a world without Obama-care on Saturday's front page: "A Health Law At Risk Gives Insurers Pause." The Times quoted nine people, from insurance executives to liberal activists, who suggested that a defeat for Obama-care at the Supreme Court would be harmful for U.S. health care, compared to only one who welcomed the prospect, treating that side as a vast minority, even though 26 states have sued to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. (Another quote was deemed neutral.)


New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt fretted about the loss of public attention on the "populist" (not left-wing?) Occupy Wall Street movement on Sunday: "For Occupy Movement, a Challenge to Recapture Momentum." (The Times didn't exactly treat the plight of the Tea Party with such sympathetic concern.)


Van Jones, "Lefty Dreamboat"? The New York Times assures us that yes, he is. Jones was the Obama administration's Advisor for Green Jobs until he was booted in September 2009 when his name showed up on a list of people who had signed a 9-11 Truther petition, suggesting he thought there was a Bush administration coverup of what really happened on September 11. In his new book "Rebuild the Dream," Van Jones denies ever having signed it, and Andrew Goldman's weekly Q&A for the Times Sunday magazine takes his word as law, under the sick-making headline "Meet the New Lefty Dreamboat – Can Van Jones Take on the Tea Party?"


Jackie Calmes, White House reporter for the New York Times, made a surprise appearance in the Friday Weekend Arts pages to talk about cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.: "A Fleeting Beauty, Shared With the Multitudes." What was unsurprising was Calmes shoehorning in yet another defense of Obama's economic "stimulus" and a chiding of conservative Republican Rep. Eric Cantor. (The article hasn't yet made it to nytimes.com.)


The New York Times has previously reported on the dangers of the arcane problem of "epistemic closure," whereby the conservative movement (but evidently not the liberal one) suffers from "a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement....a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation."

Speaking of which...In Wednesday's edition of the weekly online chat at nytimes.com among columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, posted under the heading "Moral Arguments," the more liberal Collins unwittingly provided Exhibit A of ideological intolerance, liberal-style.


Why is the New York Times so invested in promoting J Street, the minor, left-wing group of Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)?

Reporter Helene Cooper Wednesday gave the benefit of the doubt to J Street, which wants to, in its words, "end the occupation" of Palestinian land, complains on its website about the influence on Israeli policy by the American "far right," and receives funding from George Soros. Yet Cooper insisted, against that evidence and more, including smearing supporters of Israel by the offensive term "Israel Firster," of calling J Street "Pro-Israel," as did the headline over her story: "J Street, Pro-Israel but Opposed to Attacking Iran, Takes Its Message to Washington."


Support the Second Amendment and gun rights? Gail Collins doesn't want your kind in her town. In her Thursday New York Times column, "More Guns, Fewer Hoodies," the paper's former editorial page editor dropped her trademark (attempts at) humor in her attempt to use the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for severely limiting access to firearms: "Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?"

Collins, a sudden liberal convert to states rights, was notably mute on the recent cases of Meredith Graves and Marine Ryan Jerome, arrested in Manhattan under dubious circumstances for carrying concealed handguns.


Peculiar priorities at the New York Times. Reporter Scott Sayare, in Toulouse in the aftermath of the killings of seven by a radical Muslim, seemed to think that the top story out of the tragedy was Muslim fear of rising tensions and loss of "diversity": "After Killings in France, Muslims Fear a Culture of Diversity Is at Risk."

Toulouse is by no means without racism, anti-Semitism, crime or the deep social segregation that marks many French cities, but with a culture shaped by successive waves of immigration, it is described by its inhabitants as a place of particular tolerance.


New York Times reporter turned columnist Frank Bruni is on a nasty streak. He devoted his long Sunday Review column, "Rethinking His Religion," to a former classmate with a pat liberal morality lesson that seemed a lot like an invasion of patient privacy, then attacked Newt Gingrich and insulted Gingrich's wife. James Taranto at Best of the Web explained:

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has some insufferable friends. Yesterday he spent nearly 1,500 words profiling one of them, a classmate at the University of North Carolina whom he knew at the time as a conservative frat boy who "attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie." Bruni, who is gay, "kept a certain distance from him" under the assumption that the young man, whom he does not name in the column, would be hostile to the future Timesman because of his sexual orientation.


Movie reviewer A.O. Scott on Wednesday applied his expertise to the scientific ssue of global warming and rising sea levels, in his sarcasm-laden review of "The Island President," a documentary about "climate change" and the danger it supposedly poses to the island of Maldives: "In Paradise, and Closer Than Ever to Disaster."