Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
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The New York Times is accepting, even supportive, of liberal Democrats who protest the disappointing results of free and fair elections. Democratic Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams' classless attempts to poison the well after her close defeat at the hands of Republican Brian Kemp were greeted with consolation on the front page of the New York Times. The paper also supported attempts by liberals to overturn Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. But after Trump hypothetically raised the possibility pre-election of not respecting the results, there were accusations of dictatorship.
New York Times reporter Sydney Ember traveled to Columbus, Ohio to celebrate the re-election victory of liberal Democrat (and presidential candidate?) Sen. Sherrod Brown on Page One of Friday’s edition: “Senator With Ohio Sensibility May Be Democrats’ 2020 Star.” The online headline: “Sherrod Brown: Rumpled, Unvarnished and Just Maybe a Candidate for President.” Ember has a history of folksy, sometimes embarrassing, profiles of Democrats.
Reporter Patrick Kingsley followed in the left-foot only footsteps of his New York Times colleague, Peter Goodman, in finding child “hunger” in the United Kingdom and blaming it on “gleeful” austerity by the ruling Conservatives, in Wednesday’s “Touring World’s Fifth-Richest Nation for Lessons on Poverty.” A Times’ front page from September warned, “Warning Sign in Leaner Times: Hungry Children.”
The front of Tuesday’s New York Times featured reporters Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman in the Florida capital Tallahassee, the heart of the latest controversial voting issues related to recounts to hit that state, for a “news analysis” that cast the Republican Party as ruthless and cynical and the Democrats as meek: “G.O.P. Fears Over Senate Edge Drive Push to Discredit Recount.” The reporters downplayed past and present examples of Democratic electoral shenanigans and managed to mention long-controversial Broward County supervisor of elections Brenda Snipes just once.
Paul Krugman embarrassed himself on several fronts in his Tuesday New York Times column, jumping on the latest liberal outrage bandwagon over the awarding of a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson. But Krugman truly stepped in his own hypocrisy when he tried to elevate a late Republican solely to bash Trump: "A genuine hero like John McCain, who was critical of Trump, gets dismissed as a failure." Is that the same "hero" who Krugman called "awful" just last year?
New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica pompously condemned an entire genre of music for not writing about what he cares about: Gun violence. It follows the paper’s recent expressed annoyance that country isn’t on the entertainment industry’s ineffectual gun-control bandwagon: "It should be neither remarkable nor courageous for a country singer to address the plague of gun violence in this country. That mass shootings tore apart a country music festival a year ago and a country-music bar just two days ago makes the genre’s silence on the matter irresponsible and infuriating."
New York Times Nicholas Kristof has taken on an old nemesis, the National Rifle Association, in two multi-media pieces over the last two weeks – two weeks that have witnesses shooting tragedies. The Sunday Review brought the photo-heavy “Witness the N.R.A’s Evolution -- It’s magazine covers show how it shifted focus, to fanaticism.” A week earlier he said the group had been "hijacked by extremist leaders."
Paul Krugman’s Friday New York Times column, “Real America Versus Senate America,” is another dose of Blue State urban smugness from Krugman. He becomes the latest liberal who, while accusing Trump of violating all political norms, turns around and advocates tossing aside traditional political structures like the Electoral College, the Supreme Court, and now the Senate when they interfere with Democrats obtaining power. Krugman also asks, :how do we explain those Senate losses?" without mentioning Brett Kavanaugh.
Perhaps annoyed that “jingoistic” country music is not yet as infested with left-wing promotional politics as other musical and entertainment fields, a major newspaper again used the annual Country Music Association Awards to push gun-control politics onto the industry, Reporter Elizabeth Harris garnered the front page of the New York Times Arts section for her Saturday piece “Singing About Pain, But Not Its Source -- A country awards show may discuss its slain fans, but guns and politics are unlikely topics.”
The Republican Party did better in the midterm elections than many in the media and the anti-Trump “Resistance” expected. The New York Times let its pro-Democratic hopes overwhelm its objective journalism in several instances before and after the voting. The lead National section story on Election Day morning was “Democrats See Close Sun Belt Races as Key to Senate.” Meanwhile, the Times has ignored one historic "first" from Tuesday: Republican candidate Young Kim is on track to become the first Korean-American woman to serve in Congress.
Texas-based New York Times reporter Manny Fernandez sounded perturbed that the “Kennedyesque” Texas hope, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, lost to that unlikable conservative incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday: “Cruz Stays in Senate As Democratic Gains Fall Short in Texas.” On Thursday, Fernandez hewed to Democratic talking points by proclaiming Beto O’Rourke the moral victor in “Texas Looks Less Daunting to Democrats After Narrow Loss to Cruz.” The article was graced with a sentiment-inspiring photo of O’Rourke and his wife hugging. It’s clear the Times doesn’t want to give up on the charismatic liberal Texan just yet.
New York Times Sheryl Gay Stolberg argued in a “news analysis” that “G.O.P. Folds Up the Big Tent and Unfurls Its Banner as the Party of Trump.” The online headline: “Two Years and Hundreds of Inflammatory Ads Later, the G.O.P. Is the Party of Trump.” Stolberg predictably found racist appeals from Republican presidential candidates going back to Ronald Reagan.
Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo wrote on a web-based internet phenomenon that political “junkies” (to coin a phrase) are obsessed with: “Certain Readers May Have a Nervous Reaction’: The New York Times Election Needle Is Back, with a Few New Safety Feature -- After the trauma of November 8, 2016, the Times is taking steps not to trigger its readers -- even as it rolls out not one, but two midterm-election needles.” The needle injected Democratic political addicts with a false sense of well-being. And managing editor Joe Khan revealed a bit too much about the special snowflakes that populate his paper’s newsroom.
The New York Times devoted two full pages of its Sunday pre-election edition to “The Faces of Change in the Midterm Elections.” It's an enormous statistical breakdown of “These 410 -- women, people of color and L.G.B.T. candidates – are running for House, Senate and governor seats.” But the paper’s commitment to political diversity only goes so far. The paper apparently hasn’t devoted a full story to Republican congressional candidate Young Kim, who could be the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress. But rest assured they’ve got the Democratic “faces of change” well covered. Maggie Astor profiled Native American Paulette Jordan a long-shot candidate for Idaho governor in “Winning Idaho? Isn’t Unlikely. But She Is Turning Heads.”
Monday’s pre-Election Day New York Times was absolutely stuffed with bias. First, the front page featured Kevin Roose and Ali Winston’s web warning, “Web’s Far Right Can Hear Itself As Trump Talks -- Cheering the Spread of Once-Fringe Views,” which conflated Trump supporters with neo-Nazis. Reporter Michael Shear went to West Virginia to mock Trump supporters as trapped in a “presidential bubble,” from his own liberal bubble of snotty smugness. And Jim Rutenberg took a trip down “Racist Republican” memory lane with the Willie Horton ad.
With her position in the Democratic Party up for grabs as the elections loom, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the recipient of a loving profile by New York Times reporter Kate Zernike, “Demonized or Celebrated, Pelosi Stands Firm and Refuses to Agonize.” The text box: “A lawmaker eagerly awaits more female legislators to mentor.” Zernike's text is fawning and defensive of her supposed news subject: "The [anti-Pelosi] caricatures come easily."
The New York Times hit the campaign trail around the country over the weekend and offered several dispatches, including the strikingly titled “A purple flying unicorn discovered in Texas” from reporters Manny Fernandez and Mitchell Ferman. The paper’s hostility to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is well-documented, so Fernandez’s loaded name-calling wasn’t surprising, but it was odd that he conveniently found on the spot an undocumented “unusual phenomenon” of Republican Cruz-haters that are putting his re-election in jeopardy.
Sunday’s front-page New York Times featured reporter Jeremy Peters’ horrified reaction to President Trump’s aggressive push (or “demonization”) on behalf of Republicans as Election Day closes in: “G.O.P. Tactics Amplify Theme Of Us vs. Them – Sticking to President’s Script in Tight Races.” The Times tried as best they could to paint Trump as a racist and bigoted without actually using the words: "....Mr. Soros, the liberal philanthropist who has been smeared with anti-Semitic attacks; Mr. Kaepernick, the black football player famous for kneeling during the national anthem; and now the migrant caravan."
With elections fast approaching, Friday’s New York Times was packed with accusations of President Trump as a racist and hostile to immigrants, most intensely in the lead story by Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. The headline deck: “Trump Invoking ‘Crisis’ at Border As Voting Nears – Message For Midterms – A Presidential Theme Is Built Around a Fear of Immigrants.” Illegal immigrants, actually, but don’t count on the Times to ever clarify.
Political reporter Astead Herndon appeared on Thursday’s New York Times front page with “Obama Uplifted Them. Now They Want to Fight – Ex-President’s Idealism Tests Supporters in a Time of Hard Hits.” The text box: “Some Democrats say their party needs to fight fire with fire.” As if the Democrats under Obama ever occupied some kind of moral high ground in their political tactics (harassing politicians trying to eat in public, screaming at Republicans while protesting in the halls of Congress). Yet judging by the paper’s coverage of #MeToo, the Times clearly thinks they are).