Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
The photo dominated the front of the New York Times Styles section over the title “The Fashionista.” Who is this new impresario taking over the fashion world? The next line: “Fidel Castro received rock star treatment and left an indelible mark on fashion when he visited New York in 1959.” Yes, Fidel Castro, Communist dictator and fashion plate, "highly educated" and comparable to Frank Sinatra and James Dean. This nauseating propaganda as fashion piece was penned by Tony Perrottet, who with this article has successfully infiltrated another seemingly unlikely Times section with Castro propaganda.
The New York Times Friday edition was chock-full of post-Mueller report coverage emphasizing President Trump’s attempts to hinder an investigation into what amounted to no underlying crime, while glossing over his vindication from criminal charges and the discrediting of the media's “collusion” narrative of the last two years. Special counsel Robert Mueller found no conspiracy by the Trump campaign to cooperate with Russian agents and Mueller did not cite the president for obstruction of justice. So the paper changed the subject to Bob Barr's "Nixonian" spin and Democrats pushing impeachment.
After a 22-month investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller investigating Russian ties to the Trump campaign and possible presidential obstruction of justice, the final 448-page report on the investigation has been released, confirming the previous summary by Attorney General Bill Barr that Mueller found no collusion and uncovered insufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction. Which didn’t stop the New York Times from sounding bitter, and in particular targeting Barr for sounding too much like an advocate for Trump (who, after all, was not charged with anything).
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest disturbing comment, this time describing the 9-11 terror attacks dismissively as “some people did something....”, provided fodder for the New York Times to get offended. Not offended by Omar’s comment, of course, but against Donald Trump and New York Post for tough responses. Maggie Haberman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg tried to artificially widen Trump’s Twitter attack on Omar’s 9-11 comments into an assault on all Muslims in America on Tuesday’s front page: “Trump Rekindles Campaign Threat Of Islamic peril.” It began: "President Trump has often seen the political benefits of stigmatizing Muslims."
The New York Times pompously (and hypocritically) declared its concern for “privacy” with a special edition of the Sunday Review wholly devoted to the theme: “The Privacy Project.” But when it comes to the full concept of privacy, the left-hand doesn’t know what the far-left hand is doing. Times former reporter Binyamin Appelbaum made it into print on tax day Monday with “Everyone’s Income Taxes Should Be Public.” Appelbaum is making the opposite argument: Let the general public know how much you make, how you make it, even what charities you donate to, in the name of reducing income inequality.
New York Times political reporter Jeremy Peters tried to inoculate Democrats against supposedly “false” Republican attacks on the issues of abortion and socialized medicine: “G.O.P. Hones Blunt, Misleading Attacks on the Democrats." "Republican leaders are sharpening and poll-testing lines of attack that portray Democratic policies on health care, the environment and abortion as far outside the norm, in hopes of arming President Trump with hyperbolic sound bites -- some of them false -- asserting that Democrats would cause long waits for doctors or make killing babies after birth legal.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested, and the front page of Friday’s New York Times featured Scott Shane and Steven Erlanger’s recap of Assange and the effect of his leaking of classified national security information (and Democratic Party secrets) in “A Divisive Prophet of the Public’s Right to Know.” The paper noticed that the tide of sophisticated opinion, once favorable to the Assange, turned in 2016, when Assange’s actions started hurting Democrats and helping the hated Donald Trump. But Shane and Erlanger didn’t make an issue of the glaring political hypocrisy on display or mention the strange new disgust toward Assange coming from the Democratic left.
Newsweek joined the rest of the press, heavily invested in Trump’s guilt, in hysterics over Attorney General Bob Barr’s use of the word “spying” to describe the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Reporter Nicole Goodkind's analysis featured the bizarre headline “William Barr Is Redefining What it Means to ‘Spy.’” Goodkind engaged in some mindreading to assume Bob Barr is a Trump flunkie: "Attorney General William Barr exonerated President Donald Trump of all wrong-doing in the Russia investigation last month, and now he wants to take things a step further."
Democrat Stacey Abrams hasn’t actually won anything, but reporter Jennifer Schuessler made the front of the New York Times Arts section Wednesday to call her yet again a political “rising star” in “A Date With History For Stacey Abrams -- Scholars offer context on voter suppression in a conversation with a rising Democratic star.” They left out the "context" of high voter turnout in Georgia in 2018, which undercuts the "suppression" narrative.
It was a throwback to the bad old days of laughably obvious labeling bias at the New York Times. Reporter Tiffany Hsu Stark demonstrated the other end of that stark double standard on Tuesday, with the news that “Nation Editor To Step Down But Stay On As Publisher.” Hsu’s piece contained not a single ideological label to identify the hard-left magazine that has dallied for decades with defending totalitarians on the left. Yet the Weekly Standard, a right-leaning anti-Trump publication that was far closer to the mainstream of American politics, was larded with labels in articles fabout the Standard’s controversial shutdown.
The New York Times finally caught up with the surprise hit pro-life movie Unplanned on the front of Tuesday’s Arts section, “Anti-Abortion In Hollywood – The makers of Unplanned have a hit despite hurdles.” Reggie Ugwu reported from a screening under the headline “With Unplanned, Abortion Opponents Turn Toward Hollywood.” But the Times never even reviewed the movie, unlike the flood-the-zone coverage it provided to the documentary of pro-abortion liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and found critics to rebut Unplanned's assertions.
The Israeli elections are looming Tuesday, and conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former army chief, Benny Gantz, are running a close race. In the runup, the New York Times piled on its usual anti-Israel and specifically anti- Netanyahu hostility. Monday’s front page featured David Halbfinger, the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief, portraying Netanyahu, who is supported by Trump and derided by many Democrats, as ruthless and desperate, a "rapacious alpha dog" with "an antipathy for liberal voices, a discomfort with Muslim minorities and a willingness to work with the far-right."
A new Netflix offering, The Highwaymen, is the story of the murderous bank-robber duo Bonnie and Clyde, with a twist: The tale is told from the other side. It’s advertised as “the untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde,” with the lawmen played by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. It debuted on Netflix last week, and the film put New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott in a grumpy and sour mood – a disposition he projects upon the law-and-order audience he assumes is the movie’s audience. His review led off with moral preening and political disapproval.
New York Times Magazine staff writer Jonathan Mahler and media reporter Jim Rutenberg teamed on a colossal, three-part investigation of Rupert Murdoch’s family drama and media empire that served as a hit piece on Fox News. The Times offensively attempted to tie the network to recent anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim terrorist attacks: "...some Fox News hosts and guests had been moving ever closer to openly embracing the most bigoted sentiments of the white-nationalist movement. A few days before the anti-Semitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 Jewish worshipers, a guest on Lou Dobbs’s show had said that a migrant caravan headed to the United States border from Honduras was being funded by the “Soros-occupied State Department.”
New York Times Magazine staff writer Jonathan Mahler and media reporter Jim Rutenberg teamed on a colossal, three-part investigation of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire (and family drama), using the mogul’s sale of his 21st Century Fox empire to Walt Disney as the catalyst for an incredibly noxious hit piece on Fox News, which is accused of virtually everything wrong with the world. The tone is amazingly ideological and personally hostile, perhaps the most virulent and conspiracy-minded attack on Fox News ever issued by the paper, certainly the longest one, against some stiff competition. It reads more like a paranoid left-wing screed from The Nation or In These Times than it does content for an objective newspaper.
New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson was puzzled, wondering how the February scandals of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, accused of posing either in a Klan hood or blackface, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, accused by two women of sexual assault, somehow faded into the ether. Actually there’s no mystery: It’s because the politicians are Democrats, and Republicans threaten to take over the Virginia General Assembly in November 2020.
Tuesday’s New York Times kept track of new allegations of inappropriate behavior with women by potential Democratic candidate Joe Biden with “Second Woman Says Biden Made Her Uncomfortable,” by Sydney Ember and Jonathan Martin. Yet half the story was composed of strenuous denials and unrelated minor gaffes by right-leaning entities, in what seemed a ham-handed attempt to distract from or neutralize Biden’s behavior: "Mr. Biden’s advisers believe that the more the right pushes images of him, real or fake, the more it will help them persuade Democrats that Republicans are trying to derail a potential challenger who performs best in polls against President Trump...."
The latest New York Times Sunday Magazine found room for 11,000 words by Nathan Thrall to push the anti-Israel, often anti-Semitic, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. (B.D.S.) Thrall is a director at the International Crisis Group, which the paper notes but fails to mention is funded by the Gulf state of Qatar, which funds the anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas. The deck of headlines for Thrall’s story: “The Battle Over B.D.S. How the Battle Over Israel and Anti-Semitism Is Fracturing American Politics -- The growing prominence of the B.D.S. movement -- and the backlash to it -- is widening fault lines from college campuses to Capitol Hill.”
The April 2019 issue of Esquire features a long, eye-opening article on how attacks on Trump may have permanently damaged the media’s reputation (always fragile) for objectivity. Boyer's main focus was the New York Times: “Donald Trump Changed The New York Times. Is It Forever? -- Donald Trump has shattered presidential standards. In response, The New York Times and other elite news organizations have scrapped their rigorous, long-held standards of objectivity. But will the Times’s changes have unintended consequences? And what does Trump himself think of all this?" The president had some criticism for one Times story in particular.
New York Times reporter Nicholas Fandos has for two years spun in favor of the Democrats’ Russian collusion theory, supporting Robert Mueller and Democrats on the committee, especially ranking member (now chairman) Rep. Adam Schiff. He did so again after Republicans demanded Schiff resign from the House Intelligence Committee in Friday’s “Demands for Ouster at Explosive House Hearing.” Fandos’ revealed his apparent disdain for the Republican move: "It went downhill from there."