Clay Waters

Clay Waters's picture
Contributing Writer


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.

Latest from Clay Waters

New York Times Australian bureau chief Damien Cave defended the disruptive activists who make up the Extinction Rebellion climate cult, who disrupt people going about their way in an attempt to get arrested, to help save the earth, or something: “Why Is Australia Trying to Shut Down Climate Activism? -- An increasingly outraged public is demanding action in a nation intimately linked to coal mining. The government has responded by threatening a new law to punish protesters." 



The New York Times burnished its reputation for hostility toward religion with a crass tweet that denigrated the American family of Mormons, massacred by a drug cartel in Mexico, as they were traveling in an SUV caravan on Monday. Six children and three women were killed. The Times tweeted the story out on Tuesday afternoon with negative connotations of the women and children victims: 



The New York Times sounded perturbed that the blue state of Washington was resisting a return to the old divisive days of “affirmative action.” An editor insisted on calling it “Unlikely resistance to a ballot measure in Washington State” in a text box, although it makes sense that Asian-Americans would resist affirmative action, having been successful as a group without such assistance. Reporter Mike Baker’s story was loaded in favor of the ballot measure to “allow concerted efforts to increase diversity,” which sounds distressingly vague.



As the curtain rises on impeachment proceedings, New York Times’ congressional reporters Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos introduced readers to the lead Democratic player in a long, flattering profile that portrayed him as more a nerdy Elliot Ness figure than the partisan leaker and liar he proved to be during Russia-gate and the opening moves toward impeachment: “Schiff, a Trump Punching Bag, Takes His Fight to a Bigger Ring.” That would be Rep. Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, "calm, measured, reserved and brainy."



President Trump’s dangerous Twitter. That was the paper’s overriding obsession in Sunday’s edition. The enormous story launched on the top half of the front page and jumped to a special 10-page section, “The Twitter Presidency.” The timing is apt, considering the paper is pressuring Twitter to be better than Facebook and actually squelch political messaging as the 2020 campaign nears. One reason why Trump’s tweets are under attack was this line, which appeared in print over a graphic of 5889 little rectangle shapes representing Trump tweets (an undeniable wise use of time, energy, and ink): “Since he became president, the most frequent targets of his ire have been Democrats, investigations and the news media.”



The New York Times demonstrated an obvious double standard in how it treats sex scandals involving representatives in the U.S. Congress in its coverage of the explicit photographs involving California liberal Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, who officially resigned her seat Friday. The Saturday edition of the paper’s “In Her Words” newsletter from “gender editor” Jessica Bennett, “The Complicated Case of Katie Hill,” opened with a quote from Hill, whom Bennett clearly regards as a martyr to anti-female double standards and right-wing shamelessness:



The New York Times, which dispenses unlabeled liberal reporting as slant every day, is keeping a wary eye on any conservative competition in the news business, eager to drop the “fake” label on their heads. Friday’s Business pages included the warning, “Americans Trust Local News. That Belief Is Being Exploited,” by Dartmouth College professor of government Brendan Nyhan. The URL includes the words “fake local news,” perhaps an artifact of a harsher previous headline. After noting misinformation distributed by the infamous Russian Internet Research Agency, Nyhan found “dubious outlets” on only one side of the political divide.



The New York Times war against online political speech it disapproves of continues apace. Technology reporter Mike Isaac made the front of Tuesday’s Business section with “Dissent Erupts At Facebook.” The Times cleverly featured excerpts from a letter posted by “dissenting” Facebook employee, broadcasting their opposition to free political speech on the platform, in a large typeface within a graphic that took up the entire top of the front Business page in print. The message resonated even louder by being packaged within an ostensibly objective news story.



New York Times political writer Lisa Lerer made Tuesday’s edition with news of the resignation of the formerly rising Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California after a bizarre sex scandal involving campaign and congressional staffers, fueled by explicit photos reported by a conservative website. The headline was loaded to show how disturbed the Times felt about the spectacle of a Democratic congresswoman forced out of office in such fashion: “Revenge Porn Reaches Washington.”



The New York Times petulantly refused to grant President Trump any credit for the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, who died in a U.S. raid in Northwest Syria. David Sanger’s Monday “news analysis,” “Strategies Spurned by Trump Led to Triumph in Operation.” The online subhead read: “The president cast the death of the ISIS leader as validation of his disengagement strategy. But it required intelligence agencies and allies he has spurned.”



The New York Times has abruptly changed its tune on the “Deep State,” a name given to the entrenched bureaucracy supposedly determined to work via secret machinations and selective media leaks to bring down the Trump administration from within. As Trump and his Republican allies railed against the “Deep State,” the Times typically mocked the very idea as a phony conspiracy theory. The headline under a March 2017 analysis: "What Happens When You Fight a ‘Deep State’ That Doesn’t Exist.” But the Times has changed its tune in startling fashion. Now the Deep State is real, and it’s just wonderful.



New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz’s book “Antisocial – Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation” is a nearly 400-page episode of moral panic about right-wing, anti-Semitic extremists on the Internet, who he blames for ushering in the Age of Trump. The book itself actually doesn’t go as far as his October New York Times essay, “Free Speech Is Killing Us.” Yes, he means it literally, calling for regulation of hateful social media, which evidently directly caused recent ethnically motivated massacres. But it’s crammed with extraneous and dishonest attacks on conservative figures past and present.



Argentine-born Communist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara murdered and imprisoned thousands, supervised firing squads during revolutionary tribunals, founded forced labor camps, and dissolved free press in Cuba. Bizarrely, none of that made it into Tony Perrottet’s shallow, symbolic travelogue of Revolutionary Cuba that appears in the Smithsonian, the official journal of the federal-funded Smithsonian Institution. The writer palled around with Che’s son, bopping around the island to various shrines to the mass killer (and lousy father to boot).



As the presidential race deepens, the New York Times is trying to convince voters that two safely liberal Democratic candidates are in fact moderates or even “centrists.” They went all out on Thursday’s front page, with reporter Reid Epstein’s “Buttigieg Slips Into the Lane To Biden’s Left.” The jump-page headline: “Buttigieg Slips Into a Centrist Lane Between the Progressives and Biden.” The online headline underlined: “As a Centrist Path Opens, Pete Buttigieg Moves Toward It.” Liberal Sen. Amy Klobuchar was also constantly called a moderate by reporters.



Some nerve: New York Times anti-Brexit reporter Benjamin Mueller devoted 1,350 words Monday to going after his competitors on the Brexit-beat, accusing other media outlets of slanting the news in favor of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s quest to fulfill the 2916 vote to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union. As if the Times and Mueller himself hasn’t been notoriously, often hysterically, anti-Brexit in news coverage: “Pro-Brexit Press Frames Johnson as Defiant Hero.” The online headline deck: “For Pro-Brexit Press, Boris Johnson Is Already a Winner -- The right-wing newspapers that dominate in Britain shaped a narrative of events that could have not been more pleasing to the prime minister.”



New York Times media reporter John Koblin made the front page of Monday’s Business section with “As News Drives Late Night, Anchors Join A-List,” which snuck in ideological bias and promoted MSNBC host (and Russia-gate obsessive) Rachel Maddow with a photo talking to late-night host Stephen Colbert. Yet again, the Times promotes and celebrates the mere fact of liberals talking to liberals, with the anti-Trump ideological content unacknowledged, while liberal Times readers experience the joy of raeding about their left-wing heroes on both sides of the desk.



The New York Times devoted three full pages of valuable Sunday Review real estate (the full front page and two full inside pages) to a left-wing, ageist, anti-Trump voter lament disguised as a call for the political empowerment of youth via a lowering of the voting age: “They’ve Got The Whole World In Their Hands.” “Old people have the money and the power. Young people have been left out. But for how long?” It’s written by Astra Taylor, a Puffin Foundation/Economic Hardship Reporting Project fellow. The online headline: “Out With the Old, In With the Young.” (AARP, call your office.)



The New York Times lead story Sunday told a slanted, sympathetic tale of Democrats being outgunned in social media campaign ads in the 2020 election runup by a ruthless and lying Trump campaign: "On any given day, the Trump campaign is plastering ads all over Facebook, YouTube and the millions of sites served by Google, hitting the kind of incendiary themes -- immigrant invaders, the corrupt media -- that play best on platforms where algorithms favor outrage and political campaigns are free to disregard facts."



The New York Times is again trying to police the boundaries of allowable debate, with a supposed controversy over a scheduled meeting at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort by a group reviled by the left for its documentation of the threat of radical Islam: “Mar-a-Lago Again Under Fire for Hosting Group That Promoted Islamophobia.” Reporter Mihir Zaveri used two discredited pressure groups to make his case against the Center for Security Policy: the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic pressure group which the U.S. Senate has tied to terrorism, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the fundraising mill targeting gullible liberals.



The New York Times, keeping support for free expression at arms length when it appears President Trump may employ it for his reelection campaign. The paper was alarmed by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who announced that Facebook would not serve a privatized Ministry of Truth for political ads in 2020, no matter how much the Times (representing the aggrieved Democratic Party) may whine. Cecilia Kang and Mike Isaac listened to Zuckerberg’s speech Thursday at Georgetown University and filed “Defiant Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Police Political Speech -- In an address at Georgetown University, the Facebook chief executive called for more free speech -- not less -- as his company has been assailed for allowing lies and falsehoods to appear.”