Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
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New York Times columnist Paul Krugman provided his usual sane and balanced take on current events: "In both countries the ruling parties -- Law and Justice in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary -- have established regimes that maintain the forms of popular elections, but have destroyed the independence of the judiciary, suppressed freedom of the press, institutionalized large-scale corruption and effectively delegitimized dissent. The result seems likely to be one-party rule for the foreseeable future. And it could all too easily happen here...."
The New York Times lead editorial Monday was dedicated to Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who passed away on Saturday: “A Scarred but Happy Warrior.” But the liberal editorial page just couldn’t stay classy for the entire 12 paragraph tribute, lapsing into accusations that McCain’s obituary Robert McFadden mostly managed to avoid: "He had principles, and he had flaws, from time to time betraying those principles -- most grievously in the 2008 presidential campaign....he then allowed his own campaign, and himself, to descend to the same debased level, portraying Mr. Obama as a shadowy, untrustworthy and even unpatriotic figure."
New York Times reporter Emma Fitzsimmons wrote “Outrage Over a Sting in a Poor Chicago Neighborhood,” using the story of a “bait truck” that resulted in a few arrests to play the anti-law enforcement race card: "Even in a city rife with distrust of law enforcement, residents were shocked by the sting operation: A tractor-trailer filled with Nike sneakers parked in an impoverished neighborhood on the South Side....More than two weeks after the bait truck was deployed in a neighborhood where nearly all of the residents are black."
Republican Sen. John McCain, a war hero who suffered five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison camp in Vietnam, and who became an independent, influential senator, has died at 81. The New York Times obituary was broadly admiring. But the Times hasn’t always treated Sen. McCain so respectfully. Look back to the 2008 campaign. Reporters suggestied McCain was too old or even constitutionally ineligible for office, a “warmonger” with “hints of racism,” who may have had an affair with a lobbyist and who spread vicious anti-Obama falsehoods on the campaign trail.
Saturday’s New York Times provided a soft profile of Cristhian Rivera, the accused killer of Mollie Tibbetts: “From Quiet Village in Mexico to a Lonely Furrow in an Iowa Cornfield.” They wrote: "Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the Mexican farmworker accused of killing a 20-year-old college student and concealing her body beneath corn leaves, seemed to have built a quiet, productive life in the seven or so years since he slipped across the southwest border and found work in the fields of Iowa."
Friday’s New York Times featured political reporter Jeremy Peters hypocritically worrying President Trump and Republicans were politicizing the murder of Iowa woman Mollie Tibbetts by an illegal immigrant: “Lament Quickly Turns Into Politics In Wake of Young Woman’s Death.” Yet the paper didn’t hesitate a millisecond before politicizing the school shootings in Parkland, Fla. to push stricter gun-control measures. The reliable liberal media incantation “seized” made an appearance -- a code word for “A Republican is bringing up an issue we would rather not have to talk about.”
The New York Times broke the news that Asia Argento, an Italian actress prominent in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment in Hollywood, has herself been accused by a man who says she sexually assaulted him five years ago, when he was 17. Now, reporter Elisabetta Povoledo has written a sympathetic article about Argento for Wednesday’s edition: “Italy, Already Wary of Unorthodox Star And #MeToo, Pounces on Actor’s Claim.” The story’s text box lamented the possibility that #MeToo may apply to victimized men as well as women: “‘This will be used as an excuse to blame all women,’ one said.”
Reporting from Sydney, New York Times Australia bureau chief Damien Cave provided a conservative-mocking “news analysis,” “Coal Lobby Turns Up Heat, and Australia Wilts Under Climate Change.” The text box reproached the country: “A progressive nation remains in thrall to the energy industry.” The online headline: “Australia Wilts From Climate Change. Why Can’t Its Politicians Act?” In Cave's mind, Australia is throwing away its wonderful left-wing history for the devolutionary “circus” of global-warming skepticism.
Lisa Miller wrote an embarrassingly obsequious profile of the incredibly vulgar and aggressive anti-gun student activist David Hogg for the August 20 New York Magazine, as Hogg's 15 minutes of fame continues after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla.: "Like so many young men in so many foxholes before him, Hogg discovered in himself a powerful drive not to leave this Earth without making a mark...."
New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky took on a right-wing radio host in Quebec, for some reason, on Sunday: “‘Trash Radio’ Host in Quebec City Fires Up Outrage, and Big Ratings.” From the start it was clear this would be no friendly profile like the one’s the Times once filed to to boost liberal radio hosts, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in 2005, back when she hosted a show on the radio network “Air America.”
The New York Times can be relied upon to push government spending everywhere, in all situations, which explains how a story from Northampton, England makes it to its front page on Saturday. The online headline: “As Austerity Helps Bankrupt an English County, Even Conservatives Mutiny.” It’s part of the paper’s series, “Britain’s Big Squeeze,” whose chief villain is spending limits aka “austerity,” which the paper is obsessively trying to discredit.
New York Times reporter Astead Herndon seethed over the rapturous reception granted to conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary, Death of a Nation: “Film Likens Democrats To Nazis, to Big Applause.” Compare that horrified evisceration to the rapturous, unchallenging reception the paper gave far-left documentarian Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11, his anti-Bush conspiratorial release in 2004.
Under the pretense of journalism, reporter Maggie Astor provided some public relations with the valuable New York Times-imprimatur for the children’s crusade for gun control (and a laundry list of made-up left-wing issues like “systems of oppression”) in Thursday’s lead National story, “Speakers, Students, Activists, Survivors – On the road with teenagers from the March for Our Lives.”
Indulging in obvious identify politics in Wednesday’s New York Times, reporter Elizabeth Dias celebrated Rashida Tlaib’s Democratic primary victory in Detroit right along with her supporters in “Candidate’s Palestinian Heritage Infuses Sense of Community in Detroit.” Already, her story offers a remarkable counterpoint to anti-Muslim policy and sentiment rising around the country, and especially to President Trump, who has banned travel from several majority-Muslim countries....Ms. Tlaib, 42, represents a new addition to the mosaic of American politics."
CNN’s Twitter account used an old liberal standby, “seize,” to denigrate Trump’s (factual) statement about the Tuesday morning terror attack in London: "President Donald Trump seizes on what he calls a 'terrorist attack' in London, even though the incident is still in the early stages of investigation." CNN's tweet linked to Jennfier Hansler’s equally silly story. Never mind that both the Associated Press and London's mayor had tweeted out similar statements earlier.
The lead National Section story in Monday’s New York Times found the paper once again trying to make campaign finance reform a winning issue for the Democrats, in “Tired of Money in Politics, Some Democrats Think Small -- More candidates are spurning PAC’s, relying instead on individual donors, and voters are responding.”
A long article in the New York Times Sunday Styles, “Civility and Culture Wars In an Iowa Gun Town – When neighbors disagree but a major voice remains silent.” Jacqui Shine left big hints that Iowans are just too nice to properly confront the NRA board chairman in their midst, “Pete Brownell, a well-known and well-liked local philanthropist....He is also the third-generation C.E.O. of Brownells, a major firearms company whose headquarters are here....His public remarks have been unsurprising in the national conversation, but also strike some as unneighborly."
The New York Times is trying its best to find dirt on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, filing an odd public information request with his wife’s employer. And in 2005 they tried to access sealed private records involving then-Bush-nominee John Roberts. Even the paper's commenters weren't convinced of the paper's fairness and balance, wondering where that investigative zeal was when it came to Democratic Supreme Court nominees..
The New York Times hired Sarah Jeong to write about technology as a member of the paper’s editorial board. Hours later came revelations from Jeong’s obsessively anti-white and anti-police ravings on Twitter, and a subsequent defense of Jeong’s hiring from the paper. Yet none of that recent controversy penetrated into “Inside the Struggle at Twitter Over What Warrants a Ban,” regarding the deplatforming of conspiracy-mongering Alex Jones. In fact, the story shows the paper doubling down on its double standards: Do as we say, not as we do.
Hope springs eternal for Democrats in the pages of the New York Times. Thursday’s lead story by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin provided Democratic predictions for winning the House in the November elections: “Clarity in Election Fog: Fall Holds Peril for G.O.P.” The reporters made hay over GOP struggles, and again exploited criminal charges faced by Rep. Chris Collins to make a pro-Democratic prediction. Other stories alternately pushed female candidates and mocked them, depending on party label.