Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Katie Benner caught up to a weeks-old story, keyed to a speech by Attorney General William Barr to The Federalist conservative legal society that frightened the left. On Monday’s front page, they tried to transform Barr into a “far-right...authoritarian” bogeyman: “Right Rejoices As Barr Assails Liberal Culture -- No-Apologies Style Fits the Party of Trump.” They wrote: "His politicization of the office is unorthodox and a departure from previous attorneys general in a way that feels uncomfortably close to authoritarianism, critics said."
In the latest entry in the New York Times’ increasingly shameless attacks on Brexit, the Conservative Party in Britain, and those who voted to leave the European Union. Patrick Kingsley reported for the front of Sunday’s paper, “A Brexit Road Trip, With Disunity at Every Stop.” Kingsley pined for the days of coal mines, an odd position for an environmental paper to take. But the sudden concern for coal miners was just another cynical weapon to attack Brexit, Margaret Thatcher’s free-market efforts, and conservatism in general.
Ever since the surprise referendum result in June 2016, the New York Times and rest of the mainstream press has been virulently anti-Brexit. That has translated into hostile coverage of Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has called an election to strengthen his position as he attempts to make Brexit a reality. The New York Times is clearly stretching to attack Johnson with any weapon to hand, including actor Hugh Grant.
Saturday’s New York Times ran a full-page lead National section story claiming “Transgender People See Protections Slip Away.” The story by reporter Lola Fadulu is the latest overheated, un-journalistic genuflection to the aggressive side of the transgender movement, while conveniently conflates “gender identity” with post-surgery transgender people. In October 2018 the paper embarrassed itself with its panicky coverage of the Trump administration’s initial stand under the headline “At Rallies and Online, Transgender People Say They #WontBeErased.’
New York Times impeachment testimony coverage on Thursday almost completely ignored the labored, pseudo-clever mean pun from law professor Pamela Karlan, who bizarrely named Trump’s 13-year-old son Barron to make some unrelated point. The controversy, which inflamed Republicans and even made some liberals cringe, was relegated to the last two paragraphs of the paper’s large front-page story.” The hidden bias was the partisan manner in which the main congressional players and witnesses were described by congressional reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak.
Showing that its Boris Johnson-bashing tradition will be upheld through the British elections December 12 (in which he is currently favored to prevail), Tuesday’s New York Times found a way to use the latest London Bridge terror attack to put Conservative Party Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the defensive in “For Johnson, a Week of Courting Allies and Hosting Sometimes Rivals.” Reporters Mark Landler and Benjamin Mueller checked attacks by Boris Johnson against his left-wing opponents in the Labour Party, especially leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Time magazine's latest cover story, for the Dec. 2-9 issue, by editor-at-large Anand Giridharadas, is a 3,000-word-plus excoriation of plutocrats and "manic hypercaptialism," and a celebration of Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's radical ideas to end it: “How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip.” Giridharadas wrote: "The choice facing Americans is whether we want to be a society organized around money’s thirsts, a playground for the whims of billionaires, or whether we wish to be a democracy."
On the front page of Saturday’s New York Times, reporter Catie Edmondson concerned herself with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is evidently being dragooned into defending President Trump against impeachment the way he stuck up for Judge Brett Kavanaugh: “Prodded by the Right, Graham Joins the Impeachment Battle.” Judging by her choice of adjectives in these passages, Edmondson has not gotten over Kavanaugh’s success in earning a seat on the Supreme Court.
The New York Times lined up its usual attacks against the supposedly dark hidden history of the Thanksgiving holiday, serving up heaping helpings of Western liberal guilt. But with the woke left busy repurposing Thanksgiving as a day of Western guilt and genocide against Native Americans, Times columnist Paul Krugman counterintuitively, perhaps insincerely, portrayed the Thanksgiving holiday as something worth celebrating. Why? To bash Trump and his supporters as bigots, naturally: “Why Trump Should Hate Thanksgiving.”
The Inspector General’s report on the origins of the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia will be released Dec. 9, and New York Times reporter Adam Goldman got a pre-emptive peak (and a pre-emptive defense of the bureau’s conduct) in: “Russia Inquiry Review Is Expected to Undercut Trump Claim of F.B.I. Spying -- The F.B.I. never tried to place undercover agents or informants inside the Trump campaign, a highly anticipated inspector general’s report is expected to find.” The print text box encapsuated the story's themes: “Debunking claims spread widely by conservatives.”
Tuesday’s New York Times featured a column from Michelle Goldberg, perhaps the paper’s most frenzied anti-Trump and Republican hater: “Republicans’ Big Lie About Russia.” The text box: “Collusion wasn’t a hoax and Trump wasn’t exonerated.” The alienation got deeper, with Goldberg dismissing the way the country has always elected presidents (the Electoral College) as an undemocratic loophole. Goldberg has revealed all too much of her pathetic anti-Trump obsession, like this mortifying admission from September: “[Pollster Stanley Greenberg’s] confidence will not be enough to lessen the insomnia that has plagued me since the cursed night when Trump was elected.”
More proof that the New York Times ideological scale is way out of calibration appeared in Monday’s edition, first in reporter Alexander Burns’ long profile of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the Democratic political field: “Bloomberg Hits Democratic Presidential Race Running to the Center.” The online subhead underlined Bloomberg’s supposed centrist appeal: “Mr. Bloomberg brings a huge personal fortune and moderate views to an increasingly fluid race, but issues like criminal justice and his late start loom as vulnerabilities.” Another story had an even more ludicrous "moderate" label for a well-known liberal Democrat.
The New York Times tried to shore up a major source of the left’s anti-Trump conspiracies in the paper’s Sunday Review section by running an op-ed, “Don’t Let Trump Rewrite History,” by Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, founders of Fusion GPS, which put together the notorious and discredited anti-Trump dossier, full of lurid and sensational Russian-gleaned disinformation. But in its concern over “Trump rewriting history,” the paper let them get away with a pretty hefty omission of their own.
The New York Times is officially “triggered” by Donald Trump Jr.’s book of the same title somehow hitting #1 on the paper’s own best-seller list: “R.N.C. Spent Nearly $100,000 on Copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s Book." After years of controversy, the Times finally recognized problems with its best-seller lists -- but only when a book by Donald Trump Jr. claims the top spot. Alter and Confessore skip over the black-box nature of how the paper itself rigs its best-seller lists, which conservatives suspect with good reason to be stacked against conservative books and in favor of liberal ones.
New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker got really excited over impeachment, making comparisons to John Dean and Watergate in his front-page “news analysis” of the hearings into “quid pro quo” allegations involving President Trump and Ukraine: “Democrats Detect Watergate Echo.” The headline to the “jump” page betrayed the same giddiness: “An Echo of Watergate As Sondland Remarks Refocus the Debate.” Baker didn’t wait a single sentence before breathlessly declaring Sondland’s testimony a “John Dean moment” -- as in the infamous witness for the prosecution in the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.
In the aftermath of the guilty verdict for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) for sham book sales, New York Times editor Emily Eakin ran a slanted history of politicians who previously got into supposedly similar “book trouble.” (Meanwhile, Clintons and Obamas make multi-million dollar book deals with virtually no press scrutiny.)
New York Times Australian bureau chief Damien Cave somehow keeps making it into the paper “news” pages with the same old shameless left-wing crusading against coal and mockery of conservatives: “As Australia Burns, Its Leaders Trade Insults.” The text box: “Classic pragmatism seems to stop at climate change.” The online subhead: “The country has long been a model for common-sense public policy. But this week’s fires have revealed once again that its pragmatism stops at climate change.” So what does Cave’s “common-sense” “pragmatism” entail in Australian reality? Nationalized health care and gun bans.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof attacked the one network not pushing all-out for a Trump impeachment in the Sunday Review: “Is Fox ‘News’ Or Trump’s Bodyguard?” For the veteran liberal commentator, things were better when the three networks spouted the same brand of anti-Nixon corporate liberalism to an audience with few other news choices. Kristof got wacky: "Some 18,000 people died in that flu epidemic, so it seems logical that some died because they believed Fox News.....In the meantime, Fox News is aggressively defending Trump, joining in smears of public servants and playing a role in history that embarrasses many of us in journalism."
The New York Times offered up a silly time-waster of a “news analysis” from Charlie Savage and Michael Shear in Saturday’s paper, one that elevated Trump’s mean tweets about former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to “witness tampering" They huffed: “President Trump on Friday attacked Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine he summarily removed this year, even as she testified in the impeachment inquiry about how she felt threatened by Mr. Trump. Did his behavior amount to witness tampering?"
New York Times impeachment coverage continued with the paper casting as heroic the testimony of Maria Yovanovitch under a predictably treacly banner headline over Saturday’s front page: “Ex-Envoy ‘Devastated’ As Trump Vilified Her.” Sheera Frenkel was strangely unconcerned that powerful social media companies were squelching speech online by trying to memory-hole a name being bandied about online as the possible identity of the White House “whistleblower” -- Eric Ciaramella.