Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Unprofessional all around: The decision by the New York Times Sunday Book Review to publish a laudatory review of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. At this point, the grievous flaws flushed out by critics on the left and right should have required that any review come with a warning label. Yet even months after criticism from outlets across the political spectrum, the Times still ran a review by Heather Boushey of Duke professor Nancy MacLean’s deceitful history of the free-market movement, Nobel-winning “public choice” economist James Buchanan, with the Koch Brothers standing in as modern-day Enemy No. 1 in the left’s fevered imaginings. The online headline: “How the Radical Right Played the Long Game and Won.”
In Sunday’s New York Times, the paper’s most activist environmental reporter Justin Gillis, who has a knack for getting scary yet inaccurate stories on the paper’s front page, delivered a condescending lecture to the effect that if you believe an eclipse will occur on Monday, then you’d better believe everything “science” tells you about “climate change” as well, in “Should You Trust Climate Science? Maybe the Eclipse Is a Clue.” It’s the latest climate change article from the Times evidently written for children.
The New York Times’ obsessive contempt for Fox News boiled over in its hysterical coverage in Thursday’s edition of Trump’s comments in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Jonah Engel Bromwich’s piece on a tweet from the media’s preferred president managed to lump neo-Nazis and Fox News fans together. Reporter Michael Grynbaum had fun reporting Fox host Eboni Williams’ criticism of Trump: “A Fox News Host Criticizes Trump, and Some Viewers Bristle," writing "Fox News, television’s equivalent of a presidential safe space..."
Republicans are doomed, once again, this time on the front of Thursday’s New York Times: Split in Party After Remarks on Racial Past -- Political Class Recoils; Voter Base Cheers.” The online headline is blunter: “Trump’s Embrace of Racially Charged Past Puts Republicans in Crisis,” reported by Jeremy Peters, Jonathan Martin, and Jack Healy. None of those reporters are renowned for giving Republicans an even break, and they take glee in shoveling dirt on a party that their paper has consigned to the ashbin so many times before (including before the last election), using some of the same Republican voices that were wrong then to do the work.
The New York Times' Gardiner Harris came up with a Trump-centric spin on an annual report about religious persecution worldwide, which this year focused on the terrorists of ISIS, in his Wednesday report “Islamic State Criticized As Persecutor In U.S. Report.” The text box: “Singling out ISIS in a study of threats to religious freedom.” Harris had some other threats in mind: The Trump administration, for one, both for attacks on Muslims and for failing to bring more of them in as refugees.
Liam Stack pulled himself off his anti-Trump Twitter feed long enough to file “Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa, Cuck: A Brief Glossary of Extremist Terminology” for Wednesday’s New York Times, while his colleague Linda Qiu assured us that “anti-fascist” Antifa, the bat-wielding, window-smashing black bloc, are not actually domestic terrorists. Both stories soft-pedaled the violence emanating from Antifa.
New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters’ story on President Trump’s controversial response to the racist violence and killing in Charlottesville was posted online Tuesday: “Theories Abound Over Meaning of Trump’s ‘Many Sides’ Remark.” Peters did talk to some conservative media and was thus able to provide some useful countervailing facts about left-wing protester violence from the likes of the window-smashing, bat-wielding “anti-fascist” movement Antifa.
Illegal immigrants (or rather, “undocumented immigrants”) remain safe under the rhetorical protection of the New York Times, if not the legal protection of American law. The top of Sunday’s Times front page featured a 3,000-word sympathetic tale, complete with huge photos, of an illegal immigrant family in Hampton, Iowa, choosing to self-deport after the husband was arrested. Reporter Jack Healy unfolded his long tale under the headline “Loving and Leaving America -- Stay, Hide, ‘Self-Deport’? Facing Hard Choices in the Heartland.”
Even in this feminist era, some personal choices women make can still be made fun of, especially when they involve Fox News women. The latest exhibit is New York magazine's “Political Peroxide – Blonde privilege” by Amy Larocca. The magazine’s Fashion issue features “plus-size” model Ashley Graham on the cover and acceptance of “fat girls” inside, making Larocca’s attack on blonde women -- conservative blonde celebrity women in particular -- as “a wink-wink to the power of racial privilege” all the more jarring.
An upcoming tough-on-crime vigilante movie is now Exhibit A of “alt-right” racism, according to the reliably left-wing U.K. newspaper The Guardian. The remake of the popular 1974 action-family vengeance-drama Death Wish, with Bruce Willis cast in Charles Bronson’s shoes as the tormented hero, is scheduled for release around the Thanksgiving holiday. But is it just a fascist alt-right fantasy? Guardian critic Graeme Virtue piece was one long piece of virtue-signaling and throat-clearing, an apparent requirement for movie critics these days, not even getting around to addressing the entertainment value of a movie with content that may possibly offend some liberal interest group somewhere (months before it’s even coming out).
Google engineer James Damore was fired Monday for his now-famous internal memo questioning left-wing diversity schemes at the company. The New York Times’ Katie Benner, “a technology reporter covering venture capital and startups,” took to Twitter on Monday and called it one of many “racist/sexist” writings from the field, without bothering to point out exactly where the rather mild manifesto, backed by research, was offensive.
Veteran journalist Kurt Andersen’s 13,000-word cover story for the September issue of The Atlantic, “How America Lost Its Mind," is an attack on Trump and what he sees as the Republican Party's recent retreat from reality, but skips Democratic embrace of conspiracy theories, and assumes the news was fair and balanced before Rush Limbaugh's "unending and immersive propaganda" and Fox News came along.
Anti-Trump paranoia -- it’s not just for the New York Times’ news pages. The front of the Sunday section featured “The Politics of White Resentment” by the author of the surely fair and unbiased book White Rage. The story’s text box described Trump: “He doesn’t want to make things better. He wants to stoke racial fears.” Other Sunday articles included a feminist, anti-Trump defense of Bridezillas, and a writer using fear of a Trump-ruled land to justify being rude to people.
New York Times labor reporter Noam Scheiber, former editor for the liberal New Republic magazine, sounded rather bitter about another autoworker union setback in the South, under the loaded headline “U.A.W. Accuses Nissan of ‘Scare Tactics’ as Workers Reject Union Bid." He also played the race card in an article before the vote. In Times-world, if unions lose, something must be fishy.
The New York Times special Education section Sunday soft-pedaled the authoritarian left-wing movements afoot on many college campuses, including the violence black-bloc "anti-fascist" movement Antifa. First, Laura Pappano’s solid if slightly muddled piece on left-wing campus intolerance of dissenting views appeared under a euphemistic headline: “Where ‘Everything Is Under Attack’ -- Students are demanding more control over faculty, curriculums and their own identities.” Next, the violent “anti-fascist” movement Antifa got some sympathetic coverage.
New York Times reporter John Eligon talked to acclaimed movie director Kathryn Bigelow about her new provocative movie “Detroit,” based on a real police incident in the racial powder-keg of Detroit in the summer of 1967: “A White Director, the Police and Race in ‘Detroit.’”
Taking a left-wing angle on “climate change,” New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor swerved into radical racial ideas on black victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Alcindor reported from Galveston, Texas, “In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Workplace Hazard.” The text itself had a more provocative racial activist tone, with unchallenged allegations of racism around Hurricane Katrina and the Trump administration, and a shout-out to Black Lives Matter.
Jason Horowitz, the New York Times’ most showily left-wing political reporter, made common cause with a piece making the rounds of Catholic intellectual circles singling out “ultraconservative” Trump-supporting conservatives as dangerous, in “From the Vatican, a Warning Shot for Hard-Line Catholics in the U.S.”
New York Times’ journalist Adam Nossiter let some righteous pro-refugee anger seep into his Wednesday report from Paris, “France Ordered to Provide Bare Essentials for Migrants -- Policies Assailed As ‘Degrading.’” Nossiter certainly sounded more like an advocate than reporter in his lead: "After banking on neglect, hostility and mistreatment to discourage a steady trickle of migrants, the new French government was ordered by France’s highest administrative body to do better this week and at least provide water and toilets to the people."
Media columnist Jim Rutenberg’s latest New York Times column provided the odd image of a reporter regretting that his colleagues actually covered news, under the neutral headline “Germans Covering Election Await a Trove of Stolen Files.” The Times in 2006 proudly used leaks to cripple anti-terrorist programs put in place by Republican presidents, as well as secret diplomatic cables via the stolen Wikileaks trove. A December 2010 article treated the anti-American oddball Julian Assange and his Wikileaks as a Christmas gift, under the galling title “The Gift of Information.” But publication of the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee may have hurt Hillary Clinton, so it’s suddenly time to break out the sackcloth and ashes and apologize for actually covering the news.