Clay Waters

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Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center. His self-published whodunnit? is titled Death In The Eye.

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The New York Times has developed a very strange niche beat: Gather up tweets mocking a British conservative (a reliable source of mirth for the liberal media Twitterati), and then shape it into a “news” story for the enjoyment of its own liberal readership. The latest subject of mockery culled from online British “wits” was former Conservative Party British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is releasing an autobiography in a few months. Richard Perez-Pena, the paper’s London-based International News Editor, stooped to gather up mean tweets for Saturday’s “Before Book Is Published, British Mock The Author.” Stop the presses!



The New York Times was mightily miffed by Attorney General William Barr daring to call spying by its proper name before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In Saturday’s Times, legal reporter Charlie Savage savaged the attorney general in “Barr Again Questions Russia Inquiry, Siding More Closely With Trump.” Savage was suffused with suspicion toward Barr, portraying his motives as partisan. Savage’s hit accused the attorney general of possibly “fueling conspiracy theories” right in the lead sentence.



The New York Times front-page story Saturday brought the latest sad update from the failed socialist state of Venezuela – with a strange but predictable omission. Reporter Anatoly Kurmanaev graphically described the day-to-day tragedy in “Venezuela’s Fall Like A Civil War – A Once Robust Economy Has Become a Ruin.” But the culprit is left unnamed: Socialism, installed in the once-prosperous country by strongman Hugo Chavez, to disastrous results, is not mentioned a single time. The Times is positively allergic to the word, not daring to even mention it in multiple stories about the collapse of Venezuela’s socialist economy.



Reporter Jeremy Peters chose a novel angle in Friday’s New York Times -- how conservatives are actually winning the PR war on abortion of late. It’s an unusual topic for the paper, which is reluctant to dwell on issues that favor conservatives. Still, a predictable tone of lament and clear disappointment prevails, salted with accusations that social conservatives are distorting the debate and misinforming the public, a slant captured in the headline. Democrats Are Caught Off-Guard on Abortion -- Forceful Messages and Misinformation By Opponents Are Defining the Debate.”



The lead editorial in Thursday’s New York Times, “How to Help Protect Abortion Rights,” crossed over from laying out a pro-choice stand and into full-blown pro-abortion, Planned Parenthood-promoting activism. But don’t despair, the Times is there to help women repressed in those troglodyte states with a handy checklist of abortion-rights, er, “reproductive-rights advocates” about groups offering assistance.The editorial page doesn’t think much of pro-lifers who exercise their right to protest abortion clinics. The solution: Become a Planned Parenthood volunteer!



New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger was shocked, shocked by pro-Israel bias from the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman in “Israel is on the Side of God,’ Declares U.S. Ambassador.” The text box to Wednesday’s story: “Many are left slack-jawed by a brazen show of bias.” Speaking of being left slack-jawed by bias...has Halbfinger read his own material lately? As Hamas rockets rain down on Israeli civilians in May, Halbfinger devoted his reporting to shielding Hamas from criticism and excusing their violence as “impatience” with Israel.



New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg handled the latest disturbing anti-Israel outburst from a controversial Democratic freshmen representative...by rushing to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s defense in Tuesday’s edition under a headline that reduced the controversy to a partisan squabble: “A ‘Calming Feeling,’ a Furor and a  New Front in the War Over Anti-Semitism.” Tlaib made a bizarre and historically fraudulent comment on Jews fleeing persecution and Palestinians supposedly giving them refuge after the Holocaust. The paper’s response fits the media pattern. When a Democrat says something offensive or controversial, the media reacts not to the actual Democratic statement, but how the Republicans reacted to it, “pouncing” or otherwise.



The veteran radical leftist Frances Fox Piven serves on the board of the Democratic Socialists of America. She tried to overload welfare roles while encouraging urban riots (and is still advocating them) on the road to a socialist revolution. The New York Times has a history of being kind to Communists and fellow travelers, so no surprise that New York Times reporter Alex Traub treated the NYC prof with borderline reverence for “The Unlikely Revival of a ‘60s Radical -- Not All Liberals Are Ready to March With Frances Fox Piven, The Progressive’s Guru.” The story was more favorable.



Perhaps wary of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, international reporters at the New York Times are seeing the “far right” everywhere, in unlikely guises, such as supporting being allowed to eat and drink whatever one likes without government interference. The paper filed an odd story: “Finland’s Right Appeals to Voters With a Nihilistic View on Climate.” In Italy, it found "a far-right attempt to eschew civility and make meanness cool.” In Norway, freedom to eat and smoke were likened to the far right.



As Australia’s election looms, the New York Times’ Australia bureau chief Damien Cave is spreading opposition research for the liberals in “Toxic Speech Derails Politicians in Australia. Some Call It Progress.” Cave, paranoid as ever about racism in conservative politics, managed to string together some tasteless social media posts into a general condemnation of conservative politics worldwide, for Friday’s New York Times. He blamed the usual suspects: "These groups have already had some success. Their perspective on immigrants is frequently found in the Murdoch-run news media..."



Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg buttered up another influential Democrat, House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings. Rep. Cummings, who is aggressively, some would say recklessly, going after the Trump administration and threatening the president with impeachment, was hailed in Thursday’s New York Times: “Evenhanded Chairman Changes His Tone as the President Tests His Patience.” The paper also showed a sudden respect for Christianity, at least when it is practiced by a Democrat.



After it emerged that the Trump Administration is considering labeling the terrorist-linked Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists, several strange defenses of the group appeared in the New York Times. The Muslim Brotherhood has already been banned by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Tuesday’s Times tried to poison its portrayal of Trump Administration foreign policy by again linking it to international autocrats, a common theme in the paper, “Pushed by Autocrats, Trump Pursues Hard Line on Muslim Brotherhood.” (How subtle.)



On the front page of Monday’s New York Times, political reporters Astead Herndon and Lisa Lerer were given room to celebrate Democratic female candidates under the pseudo-clever headline: “Women Who Won Are Asked if They Can Win.” (Why are they trailing so badly in the polls then?) The text box on the jump page: “The misogyny Clinton faced in 2016 resurfaces for 2020.” (So that’s why they’re trailing so badly: Misogyny.) Rather than question her, Herndon and Lerer set the table for Gillibrand to make her case: "Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York had a request: Before anyone mocked her claim that she was the Democratic presidential candidate best positioned to take on President Trump, at least listen to the evidence."



On the front page of Sunday’s edition, New York Times reporter Shane Goldmacher propped up leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden as an old-fashioned guy who might be too bipartisan and nice to fit the angry anti-Trump Democratic mood: “Democrats Split Over Targeting Trump or Party.” But is Biden really a nice-guy “moderate”? The evidence, suppressed by Goldmacher suggests Biden is just an old-fashioned Democratic attack dog, a role he played to perfection a Obama’s running mate.



New York Times reporter John Eligon, after years of criticizing police in the aftermath of racially charged shootings, is suddenly concerned about police being unfairly treated. He led off Saturday’s National section page with “Black Officer, White Victim and Rare Murder Conviction,” on the verdict of third-degree murder a Minneapolis jury returned against Mohamed Noor, a former police officer and Somali-American Muslim, in the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk. The text box: “Uncomfortable questions about the racial dynamics of a deadly shooting.” A slanted “questioning” process, helped along by Eligon leaving out Noor’s discredited defense of his decision to fire on Justine Ruszczyk.



The New York Times and the rest of the media were miffed by Attorney General William Barr daring to call spying by its proper name during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The media’s amusing aversion to the word “spy” was obvious on the front page of Friday’s Times, which came up with this wonderful euphemism: “F.B.I. Sent Cloaked Investigator To Question Trump Aide in 2016."



Need any more evidence the New York Times has given up appealing to Middle America and is concentrating on satisfying its left-wing anti-Trump rump? Behold Wednesday’s Food section, ominously pitched as “A collaboration with the New York Times climate desk” and left a bitter ideological taste. The appropriately green front cover introduced readers to a hectoring litany of questions: “Does what I eat affect climate change?” “Should humans stop eating meat altogether?”



New York Times reporter Lisa Friedman performed if not quite a victory lap, then a victory jog, while reporting that some Republicans in Congress are seeing the light and voicing concern about climate change albeit for cynical political reasons: “In Shift for Republicans, Some Point to Climate When Proposing Policy.” Friedman, the former editor of ClimateWire, took the activist mindset throughout, taking on the mantle of former reporter-activist Justin Gillis.



Irin Carmon, a former Washington Post contributor and fierce abortion supporter, found a novel angle from which to attack the urprise hit pro-life movie Unplanned, “A Hit Anti-Abortion Film Is Inspiring Real-World Harassment.” No, it isn’t -- and if it is, Carmon failed to present any evidence to support that headline under her story for New York magazine’s “Cut." Carmon relied on other left-wing journalists to make her case and to assure readers Johnson was lying



An anti-Semitic cartoon in the International edition of the New York Times depicted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog with a big nose and Star of David around his neck, leading a corpulent, equally large-nosed President Trump wearing a yarmulke. the cartoon does not mark the paper’s first foray into anti-Israel tropes. After its first response flopped, the Times issued a somewhat stronger statement, saying it was “deeply sorry” for publishing the cartoon. But the stakes were raised on Monday when the Times own columnist Bret Stephens criticized the paper: “A Despicable Cartoon in The Times.”