Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has dropped out of the presidential race, and The New York Times (which bizarrely endorsed both Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar) is bitter. The headline to Friday’s front-page “news analysis” by Lisa Lerer blamed sexism: “A Two-Man Race? Women Aren’t Surprised.”
More coronavirus bias from the New York Times, with congressional reporter-columnist Carl Hulse on Thursday, “A Sense of Emergency And Fear Can Become Powerful Political Tools,” pretending that only Republicans play partisan politics with potential pandemics. And Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni positively gloated in a “news analysis,” “A Bad Week for the President, Made Worse by Biden.”
Suddenly, “sanctuary cities” are a problem worthy of front-page coverage in the New York Times -- but only if they are pro-life places that are opposed to abortion clinics. Reporter Dionne Searcey made Wednesday’s front page with her report keyed to a city council meeting in Texas. Note the hostile choice of words in in the headline: "‘Sanctuary Cities’ for Unborn Reflect a Nation’s Rising Walls.” "Walls" weren't a problem when liberal cities were shielding illegal immigrants from federal law.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, respected economist turned classless Democratic hack, demonstrated his unseemly willingness to politicize crises, in his Tuesday column “Paranoid Politics Goes Viral.” The text box: “When everything is a liberal media conspiracy.” From there he went after “right-wing” media and politicians and spread the lie that Trump called coronavirus a hoax. He attacked the “paranoid style” of the right, which “can be deadly,” and shoehorned "climate change" into the conspiratorial mix.
The New York Times kept up its feverishly partisan coronavirus reporting Monday: “How Response to Virus Is Already Being Seen Through Partisan Lens.” The text box: “Could harsh rhetoric make an outbreak harder to fight?” Of course the paper only perceived partisanship on the part of Republicans. The reporters milked a single anecdote for all it was worth: "Rob Maness, a Republican commentator, recently wrote a column, outlining his concerns about how the coronavirus outbreak could disrupt supplies of medicine. He was not ready for the backlash -- from his fellow conservatives....Already, the partisanship has seeped into how many Americans, in particular Mr. Trump’s supporters, view the crisis.
These days, even the silliest concepts get respectful and prominent feature play if they are sufficiently “woke.” The New York Times previewed the play “Help” Sunday under the headline “Claudia Rankine Flies the Unfriendly Skies.” Why “unfriendly”? Because they are clogged with “white male privilege." The play is based on Rankine's notorious 2019 Times essay: “I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege. So I Asked.” There were no challenging questions from that perspective from Times writer Salamishah Tillet, a professor of English and Africana Studies.
The New York Times caught up to last month’s huge Trump rally in New Jersey, reporter Katie Rogers devoting a full-page National section lead story to denigrating Trump supporters: “Stoking Grievances, and Collecting Data." Rogers wrote: "But Teddy Goff, the Obama campaign’s former digital director, said the Trump campaign had taken traditional digital tactics in a new direction by spreading misinformation and news of the president’s latest political skirmish -- basically, keeping supporters angry enough to vote[.].”
The New York Times Wednesday displayed more sudden respect for religion, at least of the left-wing variety, in an opinion by veteran journalist, presidential historian, and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek Jon Meacham, “Jesus May Be the Best Hope Against an Amoral President.” The text box: “Religious history can inspire activists in the Trump resistance.” Meacham, who has just published The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross, at least delivers a historically accurate rendition of what Christians believe (unlike some Times writers who delight in redefining it).
Continuing to politicize the coronavirus, the New York Times Abby Goodnough on Friday attacked President Trump putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the coronavirus task force in “Trump Said Pence Had ‘Talent’ on Health Policy. A Review of His Record.” Compare Goodnough’s instant hostility to Pence, with the hosannas that greeted Ron Klain, political operative, as Obama’s Ebola czar: "While Mr. Klain does not have medical expertise, he knows his way around the worlds of government and business."
The New York Times used the coronavirus story as a carrier for the same Trump-bashing that infects the paper like the common cold. Thursday’s edition led with the banner headline, “Trump Taps Pence To Lead As Virus Spreads.” Underneath was “news analysis” by Annie Karni, Michael Crowley, and Maggie Haberman, “Facing Potential Test in Public Trust, Too.” They led with Trump’s silly “Sharpie” moment during Hurricane Dorian, then quickly raised the stakes: "For years, experts have warned that Mr. Trump has been squandering the credibility he could need in a moment of national emergency, like a terrorist attack or a public health crisis."
The New York Times blames President Trump for everything, including the nasty and personally insulting tone of the Democratic primary race. Trump was blamed no less than four times in Trip Gabriel's story ostensibly about divided Democrats: “A Sign of the Times? The Democratic Primary Has Become a Free-for-All.” The text box expressed who was really at fault: “A level of personal animus that was rare before the Trump era.”
After Sen. Bernie Sanders doubled down on his past praise for aspects of the Communist regime of Cuba, Patricia Mazzei reported “Florida Democrats Try to Limit Harm From Sanders’s Castro Comments” in Tuesday’s New York Times. But the paper’s sudden concern about Sanders noting the high literacy rates under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship look hypocritical, considering how often Times reporters have embraced the factoid in defense of the island regime. That suggests this new concern is motivated more by fears of Trump than of communism.
Though The New York Times is undeniably liberal in its reporting, it has been distinctly cool in coverage of the most left-wing Democratic candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). It was obvious back in 2016, when reporters tried to pester Sanders out of the race against Hillary Clinton. Is it principled ideology on the part of reporters, or partisan fear? Either way, the paper fired a shot across Bernie’s bow Sunday with a story bluntly warning Sanders he better watch out, then laid out why, even using an old insult to Ronald Reagan: “Sanders, the Teflon Candidate, Faces New Tests as a Front-Runner.”
Well, the big lead story in Friday’s New York Times shouting “House Is Warned Or Russian Effort To Bolster Trump,” has been challenged by a national security official cited by CNN’s Jake Tapper. But don’t think the Times is done trying to resuscitate the Russia controversy as a cudgel against Trump. The paper reported petulantly on Richard Grenell, ambassador to Germany and now the new acting director of national intelligence, in the slanted “Grenell Brings In Expert On Trump Conspiracies To Help Run Intelligence.” "Conspiracies" defined here as "justified concern over treatment of Trump campaign official Carter Page."
In the aftermath of the fiery Democratic debate in Las Vegas, the New York Times queened Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s return to form, but provided a chillier reception to Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Friday’s piece, “Facing a Potential Last Stand, Warren Unleashes Rhetorical Howitzers,” played Warren’s attacks on debate newbie Michael Bloomberg dramatically, with her as vanquishing hero. But the paper insulted "largely white" editorial boards for daring to endorse the supposedly "centrist" Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The New York Times news pages are attacking Donald Trump from all angles to deny him a second term: The Europeans don’t like him! On Wednesday, Steven Erlanger, the paper’s chief diplomatic correspondent, fretted about how “Europe Ponders a ‘Deeply Damaging’ Trump Re-election.” Erlanger’s piece has a strong whiff of anti-Trump, pro-European superiority for a “news” story: "Many anticipate a collapse in the already eroding trust in American leadership and credibility."
New York Times reporter Maggie Astor noted Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fierce takedown of late entry Mike Bloomberg Thursday morning after the fiery Las Vegas debate, and betrayed both pro-Warren cheerleading and grievous gaps in her knowledge of popular political analysts: “Elizabeth Warren, Criticizing Bloomberg, Sent a Message: She Won’t Be Ignored.” Astor: "Even before the debate had ended, some commentators -- including the conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin...were criticizing Ms. Warren as 'mean,' 'angry' and 'nasty.' But others saw it quite differently."
The New York Times headline echoed its hostile lead story Wednesday: “Trump Exerts His Power With a Spree of Pardons – Critics Denounce Clemency for Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik as Undeserved” by Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman. Catch the echo of “crime spree” in the headline? "But the president’s announcements on Tuesday were mostly aimed at wiping clean the slates of rich, powerful and well-connected white men." But the Times took a different tone when it was Barack Obama making controversial pardons and commutations:
New York Times reporter Katie Rogers used the wedding of White House immigration advisor Stephen Miller to Katie Waldman, press secretary to VP Mike Pence, to show Trump staff as purposefully isolating themselves from D.C. society in Tuesday’s “Pairing Off in Trump’s Political Bunker.” Rogers ignores the left-wing groups and outraged individual lefties mobbing Trump staff (including Miller himself) and Trump supporters as they go about their lives in the city.
The front of Sunday’s New York Times featured yet another climate lecture from Australia bureau chief Damien Cave. The alarmism was labeled a “Reporter’s Notebook,” but was not so much reporting as pleading with his unfortunate subjects to radically reorganize their lives in the name of “climate change.” The online headline deck: “The End of Australia as We Know It -- What many of us have witnessed this fire season feels alive and monstrous. With climate change forcing a relaxed country to stumble toward new ways of work, leisure and life, will politics follow?”