Clay Waters

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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 reporter Annie Karni followed President Trump on a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan and adopted a judgmental tone in her Friday story when Trump refused to wear a protective face mask in front of reporters. The paper also went after Mike Pence for his mask faux pas at the Mayo Clinic. But just how consistent has the New York Times and other print outlets been in moralizing over the social responsibility of wearing masks in public? A March 17 headline: “Here to Help; Cope With the Coronavirus: Masks, No. Groceries, Yes.”

New York Times fashion reporter Vanessa Friedman paid homage to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s politically powerful...facemasks? "The Many Masks of Nancy Pelosi" came complete with five photos of Pelosi in masks which were color-coordinated with her scarves and outfits. Friedman praised Pelosi for "demonstrating good mask habits, civic awareness and solicitude for those around for small businesses."

New York Times reporter Michael Wines is back on his hobby horse of downplaying vote fraud and throwing accusations of bad faith and voter suppression at Republicans. The front of Tuesday’s paper, “Republicans to Pursue a Crackdown on Voting” by Michael Wines. He dipped into anti-Trump paranoia, citing vaguely sourced “concerns that the Republican fraud drumbeat could lay the groundwork for Mr. Trump and his supporters to reject the election results should he lose."

It’s embarrassing enough for the New York Times’ Lisa Lerer, who covers "campaigns, elections and political power,” to publicly admit she has no idea what “red-pill” signifies. A reference was recently tweeted by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is fighting California’s coronavirus restrictions on business, and Lerer was on it. She turned over the descriptive responsibilities to colleague Taylor Lorenz, who gave her own crazed interpretation of the wide-spread right-wing meme: "The concept of being 'red pilled' has been widely adopted by the incel community, neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists to signify that they’ve become awakened to these fringe ideologies...."

New York Times reporter Nick Corasaniti celebrated the creators of the Facebook page Occupy Democrats in a big profile on Tuesday, “Immigrant Twin Brothers Battle Trump Machine on Facebook.” It was a friendly chat: "Meet Rafael and Omar Rivero, the co-founders of Occupy Democrats, the social media mavens of the left who are quickly emerging as a counterweight to the dominance of right-wing online sites." One can’t imagine the Times inviting readers to “Meet Ben Shapiro...” for a friendly chat.

The New York Times has not hesitated to use the coronavirus crisis to push its left-wing policy priorities. Reporter Alexander Burns devoted 2,000 words on the front page of Monday’s edition to “Biden Pursues Ideas to Match Scale of Crisis -- Left Sees an Opening for a Bolder Agenda." "The former vice president and other Democratic leaders are racing to assemble a new governing agenda that meets the extraordinary times -- and they agree it must be far bolder than anything the party establishment has embraced before. “Far bolder” translates to “democratic socialism.”

Saturday’s New York Times cheered on the no-limits left-wing spending wishlist of congressional Democrats in “G.O.P.’s Slow Approach To Aid Risks Blowback” by congressional reporter Carl Hulse. It is Hulse’s favorite type of story, one he rewrites constantly: Democrats in Congress pressuring Republicans to cave in on one thing or another -- immigration, spending, taxes, etc: "But their resistance -- born of spending fatigue and policy divisions -- is proving increasingly unsustainable...."

The front page of Tuesday’s New York Times focused on the brewing battle between Australia and China over the coronavirus pandemic in a “news analysis” by Damien Cave and Isabella Kwai: “Lesser Powers Link Up to Fill A Global Void.” It’s a semi-antidote to Cave’s previous pro-China gullibility, but still marred by extraneous Trump criticism. Cave embarrassed himself in March by shilling for Communist China’s response to the coronavirus. This new piece is much more sober, but there’s still a anti-Trump sting in the tail.

Nicholas Kristof linked his love for big-spending European nations to the coronavirus pandemic in a full-page column for Sunday’s New York Times, “McDonald’s Workers in Denmark Pity Us.” He got in tasteless cracks: "More than 35,000 Americans have already died in part because the United States could not manage the pandemic as deftly as Denmark." Then he suggested: "How horrifying would it be if the United States took a step or two in the direction of Denmark? Would America lose its edge, productivity and innovation, or would it gain well-being, fairness and happiness?"

New York Times environmental activist reporter Lisa Friedman, whose paper has taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to push liberal causes, now regrets the Republican Party has “seized” on (wholly justified) fears about Democratic environmental policy: “G.O.P. Aims to Use Pain Of Shutdown to Tarnish Climate Change Policies.” It opened: "The coronavirus and the struggle to contain it has tanked the economy, shuttered thousands of businesses and thrown more than 30 million people out of work. As President Trump struggles for a political response, Republicans and their allies have seized on an answer: attacking climate change policies."

Reporter Maggie Astor profiled several young conservatives for her full-page lead National story in Thursday’s New York Times: “For Young Republicans, Abortion Fight Remains a Deal Breaker.” The framing of that headline is so strange. At first glance, one could easily think the “deal breaker” refers to the abortion issue being an electoral problem for the Republican Party, as liberal young people flock to the more socially liberal Democrats.

Tuesday’s New York Times used the coronavirus pandemic to push both the leftist fight against “inequality” and left-wing politician Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was fawned over in the lead National story slot, a full-page profile: “Lonely Voice in Congress Amplifies Plight of a Stricken District.” And from the “don’t let a crisis go to waste” department, Tim Arango and Thomas Fuller rooted on the state's left-wing ideologues: “In Crisis, Liberals See a Shot At Change.”

The New York Times is belatedly waking up to Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault against likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Yet the paper is still flattering the Democratic Party with its concern over #MeToo issues, “vitally important to many members of his party.” The reporters dismissed Reade's story as "a single allegation of assault." And a front-page “news analysis” sympathized with the feminist hypocrites now suddenly obliged to have an opinion on a sexual harassment case against a Democratic candidate: “The Allegation Is Against Biden, but the Burden Falls on Women.”

The New York Times may have slightly changed its tune on reporting how Communist China is indeed covering up and taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, but the paper is still reliably shilling for the World Health Organization’s China-corrupted response to the coronavirus crisis, as demonstrated previously and in several recent pieces. A rather hysterical piece debating whether President Trump should have his speculation over a disinfectant treatment removed from Facebook, flattered the W.H.O. Another reporter piled on praise: "Yet the W.H.O. has still managed the coronavirus crisis as well as it could, and better than the Trump administration has, many experts say."

Recently appointed New York Times media columnist Ben Smith has hit the ground running. Unlike his predecessor Jim Rutenberg, Smith manages to find alternatives to attacking Fox News again and again. On Friday he dove in to the lack of press time for Tara Reader, who has accused probable Democratic nominee Joe Biden of sexual assault: “Why Won’t Television News Put the Accuser on the Air?” It's old news for liberal media bias devotees, but it’s refreshing to read it in the paper of record, at last.

As some states take tentative steps towards resuming normal life, the New York Times on Thursday warned that Attorney General Bill Barr was getting into the debate on the side of fighting state restrictions on commerce and assembly. Reporters Lisa Lerer and Kenneth Vogel penned "Justice Dept. Signals Support for Fight Against Restrictions.” The text box set the hostile tone: “Conservative groups make an assault on virus orders.” The neutral headline hid a stark labeling discrepancy dominated, as ten “conservative” labels to underline the concern readers were supposed to take, versus zero liberal ones -- this in a story that quotes the ACLU.

In “Reconciling the Pandemic With the Nation’s Self-Image,” her left-wing essay disguised as news in Wednesday’s New York Times, culture reporter Jennifer Schuessler used an ill-concealed gloating tone, as if the pandemic, which caught the whole world (except China) off guard, is the final blow to naive Reaganesque pride in American uniqueness: ....others see the crisis as the outgrowth of an exploitative system that leaves everyone fending for themselves."

The New York Times used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unleash hostile anti-Trump opinion on its front page Wednesday in a “news analysis” by Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer that played the tired trope of Trump vs science: “Science Speaks (But President Rarely Listens).” There was an awful lot about "climate change" in this story ostensibly about Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic: 

The front of Tuesday's New York Times tackled how various states plan to re-open for business over a surprisingly sunny banner headline, “States Set Course To Unlock Doors Of U.S. Commerce.” But the optimistic headline was overridden by the doubt-ridden tone of reporters Jack Healy, Manny Fernandez, and Peter Baker, teaming up to seed the ground to say “I told you so” if the states' plans backfired: "Governors across the country forged ahead Monday with plans to reopen their economies, even as the nation hit a grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus and public health experts warned against lifting stay-at-home orders too quickly."

Reporter Matt Flegenheimer on the front page of the New York TImes: "Mr. Trump’s performance that evening, when he suggested that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help combat the coronavirus, did not sound like the work of a doctor, a genius, or a person with a good you-know-what....No modern American politician can match Mr. Trump’s record of false or illogical statements, which has invited questions about his intelligence."