Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
The back page of the New York Times magazine typically features a liberal journalist (often Audie Cornish of NPR) interviewing a liberal hero. This Sunday it was April Ryan, the Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and analyst for CNN, notorious for her anti-Trump attacks in the White House press room, and her denial of certain realities, in “April Ryan Asks Political Questions No One Else Will.” No matter how ridiculous, ideologically charged, or conspiratorial they may be.
New York Times reporter Katrin Bennhold’s front-page story commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, “Still Chipping Away at a Wall Demolished a Generation Ago,” contained an incredibly ignorant paragraph about the freedoms of East German women: "Eastern women, who were part of the work force and with free child care, were more emancipated than their western sisters...." But it's far from the worst Times story celebrating the former East Germany.
New York Times’ reporter Jennifer Schuessler provided the latest entry in the paper’s strange admiration for left-wing dictators, and those “intellectuals” that admire them. Tribute to Castro-loving Communist Angela Davis on the front of Wednesday’s Arts page, “The Davis Papers: Harvard Gets Them – Angela Davis’s personal archive traces her evolution from obscurity to activist.” Schuessler gushed, "Now she has achieved canonization of a more scholarly sort."
The New York Times is using the Winter Olympics to hand North Korea’s gulag nation a public relations victory over Vice President Mike Pence, in the smiling form of the dictator’s influential sister: “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns on the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.” The reporters delighted in using Pence as a stooge stand-in for the loathed President Trump.
Meet the new boss...young new New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger (son of the embarrassingly liberal former publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger) defended the NYT from charges of liberal bias in the Donald Trump era: "I think the huge growth we’ve had in readership all over the country is a sign that people want independent journalism that is obsessed with supposedly old-fashioned notions like fairness and accuracy."
The front of the New York Times Sunday Styles section features a profile of MSNBC host Joy Reid, “A Hero of the Resistance,” by Laura Holson. The online headline’s subhead: “The daughter of immigrants, she spars fiercely with supporters of President Trump, both on the air and in the Twitter ether.” How original! It was quite the change from Holson's sinister treatment of a conservative female pundit, Dana Loesch, last month.
New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg’s essay for The Wilson Quarterly was hailed as a “behind-the-scenes look” at the paper coming to journalistic life after being attacked by Trump: “How ‘Fake News’ Changed The New York Times – and Didn’t.” The first subhead of the Wilson Quarterly piece gave the game away: “Suddenly, Our Mission Got Really Clear” (Right when Trump became president!) Remember that it was Rutenberg who penned the notorious front-page jeremiad on August 8, 2016, "The Challenge Trump Poses to Objectivity." He asked, “If you're a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation's worst racist and nationalistic tendencies....how the heck are you supposed to cover him?"
Friday’s New York Times featured a “Sidebar” column by the paper’s left-leaning Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak celebrating Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “24 Years on the Bench, and Still Putting Them in the Seats.” The online headline gave her the nickname: “On Tour With Notorious R.B.G., Judicial Rock Star.” Liptak is a long-time fan of Ginsburg’s social-justice approach to interpreting the law, and the text box summed up the tone of his lead National section "news": "Boisterious applause for a genial justice in city after city." Before digging up Ginsburg’s silly nickname (a reference to the rapper Notorious BIG), Liptak compared her to a music superstar of another eraL Bob Dylan.
A tale of two speeches: On Thursday, the New York Times Sheryl Gay Stolberg celebrated House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s marathon speech, “8 Hours, 7 Minutes and 1 Pelosi Soliloquy.” While not wholly laudatory, Stolberg fawned over Pelosi’s "heart-rending" defense of the so-called Dreamers. Sen. Rand Paul also delivered a delaying tactic of a speech, but Rand isn't nearly so highly regarded at the Times, accused of "bemoaning" and "sloganeering."
New York Times immigration correspondent Vivian Yee responded defensively to Trump tweeting about the death of NFL player Edwin Jackson by an alleged drunk-driving illegal immigrant, in “Politics At Play In a Death On I-70.” The online headline to the Wednesday story: “How an N.F.L. Player’s Death Turned Into a Political Exhibit.” Of course, the Times regularly uses tragedy to push dubiously connected political issues, like “climate change” in the aftermath of a deadly hurricane.
The New York Review of Books February 22 issue prominently displayed journalist Michael Tomasky’s blessing of two virulently anti-Trump books, Michael Wolff’s infamous Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, and the anti-conservative jeremiad Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republican by David Frum. The NYRB’s cover teaser read “Fire in the White House.” The review's title was “The Worst of the Worst.” Tomasky warned of the danger of Trump’s “incitement of private violence to radicalize supporters.”
The front page of Sunday’s New York Times provided yet another entry in the bulging file of Times articles that brim with optimism about Democratic prospects and dousing the hopes of Republicans. Alexander Burns and Alan Blinder reported that “G.O.P. Braces As Statehouses Are Put in Play -- Energized Democrats Sense Momentum.” Burns and Blinder promised a bumpy ride in the 2018 midterms for the GOP.
The media meltdown continues, in the wake of the release of the House Intelligence Committee memo detailing alleged misconduct by the FBI and the DOJ. In “Trump’s Unparalleled War,” on the front of Sunday’s New York Times, reporters Sharon LaFraniere, Katie Benner, and Peter Baker’s fancy they’ve uncovered a conspiracist in the White House who has launched “an unparalleled war on law enforcement.” It’s quite odd and hypocritical for the liberal New York Times, which giddily leaks sensitive information to wreck terror-fighting programs and published the name of a covert CIA official, to suddenly hallow the nation’s domestic surveillance organization as a vital and sacred institution.
President Trump isn’t just empowering dictators by criticizing the mainstream press, he’s also doing so by abandoning the promotion of human rights overseas. That’s the thrust of Friday’s front-page New York Times story by Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh, “In Unquestioning U.S. Embrace, Autocrats Steamroll Opposition.” The text box: “A president’s silence on abuses by allies emboldens despots in Egypt and elsewhere.” But where was this concern for human rights when Republicans criticized ran this year, or Russia or Egypt previously?
The days before the release of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act memo alleging a pattern of malfeasance by the FBI and Justice Department in its surveillance of members of the Trump campaign were marked by dread and hysteria in the media, and the New York Times participated.
New York Times Michael Grynbaum’s latest paranoid attack on President Trump’s harsh criticism of the media appeared in Tuesday’s paper, “In Age of Trump, Political Reporters Are Under Attack, and in Demand.” Once again, Grynbaum found a threat in the term “fake news,” which originated as a mainstream media attack on false pro-Trump Facebook posts, but has since been appropriated by Trump, to the media’s chagrin:
Reporter Peter Baker’s front-page “news analysis” in Wednesday’s New York Times, written before President Trump’s first State of the Union speech, tried to frame the president as an unpopular, divisive, uncompassionate exaggerator: “The Salesman Most Still Aren’t Sold On.” And Helene Cooper’s live coverage provided this snarky bit: “All of the invited guests were used to show how foreigners are bad. Except for the kid who put the flags all over the place."
Showing classic journalistic hypocrisy, New York Times reporter Nicholas Fandos shared the Democrats’ alarm that Republicans may actually reveal what the country’s domestic surveillance organization is doing behind closed doors in his report for Tuesday’s front page, “Republicans Vote to Release A Secret Memo.” An aggrieved Fandos led with criticism of the Republican vote to release the now-famous four-page memo: "Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, disregarding Justice Department warnings that their actions would be 'extraordinarily reckless'...."
Sunday’s New York Times carried reporter Amy Chozick’s exit interview with Cecile Richards, the retiring president of Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood Chief, Exiting, Plans Her Next Move.” She led off with an unlikely anecdote from Richards making pro-lifers out as hypocrites and the leader of America’s largest abortion mill as an advocate for women’s health care.
Carrying on the tradition of celebrating a leftist with a softball interview, the latest “Talk” page at the back of the New York Times Sunday magazine showcased Christiane Amanpour, CNN international correspondent and leftist host of Amanpour, in “Christiane Amanpour Wants More Local News.”