Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Novelist John Irving heaved up “The Anti-Abortion Crusade’s Cruel History” onto the op-ed page of Monday’s New York Times. The text box provided this melodramatic slander: “Abortion opponents don’t care about an unwanted child or the mother.” That smear is repeated in Irving’s text. That tired bit of abuse skips a rather obvious point: That keeping the child from being killed is certainly an excellent start toward “caring” for it, as opposed to aborting it. While it’s not a perfect corollary between pro-life and pro-choice, studies indicate that “red states” residents are more generous givers than those of “blue states.”
The front page of Sunday’s New York Times featured Denver-based national correspondent Julie Turkewitz demonstrating hostility to private property and the dismayingly conservative billionaires who own it in “As Billionaires Snap Up Open Land in West, Public Is Fenced Out." She sounded skeptical about this odd "private property" concept: "These new buyers have become a symbol of a bigger problem: The gentrification of the interior West....The concept of private property is embedded in the nation’s framework, and many large landowners cite this as the foundation for their holdings."
In Sunday’s New York Times, the paper’s Vatican-beat reporter Jason Horowitz brought his usual caffeinated anti-conservative labeling habit to a story sketching out a clash over migrants in Italy pitting “far-right...ultra-conservative” Catholics like Cardinal Raymond Burke against the liberal views of Pope Francis: “As the Pope Champions Migrants, Some Cardinals Court the Far Right.”: "When the far-right Italian politician Matteo Salvini rose to testify that he hoped to be a better Christian despite being a divorced and first-class 'sinner,' one of the ultraconservative cardinals most critical of the pope smiled and clapped on the dais behind him."
Sunday’s New York Times featured reporter Emily Cochrane’s “At Demand for Roll Call Votes, Colleagues Grouse: ‘This Is So Stupid,'" on Republican congressman Chip Roy insisting on roll-call votes on amendments before the House. The text box quoted a colleague: “All he’s doing is making everybody mad.” Times reporters sure become easily annoyed at Republican stunts -- but Democratic ones, like the summer of 2016 Democratic “sit-in” on the House floor to demand a vote on gun control, were seen as admirable by the Times and the rest of the press.
The New York Times must have regretted missing out on the misleading and slanted coverage of the rest of the press earlier this month, when multiple outlets blared the claim that housing child migrants at Fort Sill in Oklahoma would be locking them up in a former Japanese “internment camp.” But the paper made up for it with Ben Fenwick’s coverage of a subsequent protest on Sunday: “Protesters Denounce Camp Plan for Child Migrants.”
The front of Friday’s New York Times featured campaign reporter Astead Herndon making a detour to Minnesota to name and shame local alleged Islamophobics. The headline: “Resettled Refugees Unsettle a Mostly White City -- Anti-Muslim Backlash as Somalis Start Over in Minnesota.” A front-page photo caption: “John Palmer reads conspiratorial websites at a restaurant each weekday in St. Cloud, Minn.” The online photo caption (and the story itself) gave the name of the restaurant, though the picture itself makes it relatively obvious as well.
James Poniewozik, the New York Times’ chief TV critic, ran a fevered attack on three recent works -- two television shows and a play -- that render media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his outlets, including the Roger Ailes-led Fox News, in unflattering terms. The headline hid the inflammatory nature of the text: “Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes Gave Us Fox. These Shows Try to Make Sense of It All – ‘The Loudest Voice,’ ‘Ink’ and ‘Succession’ map out the influential world the two men created.” With the media and entertainment culture almost monopolized by the left save for Fox News, it’s Fox that somehow represents an ideological danger.
The New York Times posed a set of dominantly left-wing questions to 22 Democratic presidential candidates and invited them to answer on video. Only Joe Biden declined to participate. There was a distinct, undeniable hard-left lean to the questions. Of the set of 18 questions, fully half (nine) were left-leaning, and only one classified as right-leaning. One lliberal question: "Does anyone deserve to have a billion dollars?"
New York Times reporter Andy Newman has followed up on his guilt-ridden travel piece in the paper’s um, Travel section (headlined under the buzzkillking title, “Travel’s Climate Problem – If to see the world is also to help destroy it, should we just stay home?”). Page two of Monday’s New York Times featured Newman responding to readers crushed that Newman actually went on holiday abroad: “Weighing the Cost of Personal Travel.” Fortunately he received “dispensation” from the Vatican of Vacations, the National Resources Defense Council, a left-wing environmental organization with some wacky ideas about mercury.
The front page of Saturday’s New York Times featured White House correspondent Peter Baker’s “news analysis” on Iran and attacks on oil tankers, “Trump’s Foggy Truth Meets Fog of War.” Ostensibly on the controversy over Iran’s culpability in the attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, but Baker, whose reporting has grown harsher and more partisan against President Trump, used the crisis as a springboard to attack Trump as a liar who can’t be trusted while the threat of conflict looms: "...for a president known for falsehoods and crisis-churning bombast, the test of credibility appears far more daunting."
Still more evidence that the New York Times will analyze everything Trump does only in the most cynical political terms, reporters Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman immediately put President Trump on the defensive by reducing his administration’s bipartisan criminal justice reform plan to raw political cynicism in Friday’s edition: “The White House Subject Was Criminal Justice. The Subtext was 2020.” It’s galling that the Times, after complaining for years of Republicans using tough-on-crime, gun-rights, anti-gay-marriage stances as “wedge issues,” are now calling reforming the justice system a “wedge issue”!
Friday’s New York Times showed the paper again trying to falsely link the publicly harmful anti-vaccination movement to political conservatism. Reporters Julie Bosman, Patricia Mazzei, and Dan Levin drew the strands together for “Celebrities, Conservatives and Immigrants in Disparate Groups of Skeptics.” It’s not the first time the paper has tried to falsely smear “conservatives” as the main thrust of anti-vaccine action, even though the most recent polling on the matter suggests it’s more of a left-wing cause. Amazingly for a story whose headline blasts “conservatives” for being anti-vaccine, the first sentence features Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from the famous uber-liberal Democrat political family.
The press rose as one in outrage Wednesday upon learning that Fort Sill, an Army base in Oklahoma, which is being used as a temporary shelter for migrant children, had been used as a Japanese internment camp during World War II. One fact buried and downplayed: Fort Sill was also used to hold migrant children as recently in 2014, under the administration of one Barack Obama. But at the time, it seems that zero media outlets who covered the controversy made the connection between World War II internment and the Obama administration’s housing of migrant children.
The New York Times is still trying to refurbish the thuggish reputation of the Communist regime of East Germany, once part of the Eastern Bloc, Soviet-aligned countries of Eastern Europe. The latest sad example came from reporter Thomas Rogers in Berlin, dedicated to the now-demolished Palast der Republik. The online headline: “Symbol of a Brutal Regime? Or a Fun Place to Party?” Rogers was gentle with the monstrous East German regime: "...it still arouses nostalgia among some former citizens who fondly remember its gender egalitarianism and social safety net or admire its utopian aspirations."
In Monday’s New York Times, reporter Eleanor Stanford interviewed the showrunner for The Handmaid’s Tale, “Seeking to Be More Than TV Medicine -- Bruce Miller wanted Season 3 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to be entertaining above all else.” Stanford opens with a feverish description of life in present-day America. The opening paragraphs are a particular hoot: "What do you do when reality starts looking uncomfortably like your dystopian fiction?" A similar social liberal overreaction could be found with reporter Ernesto Londono fretting over “State Dept. Alters Stance On Showing Pride Flags.” The text box: “Quietly abandoning gay rights as a foreign policy imperative.”
New York Times reporter Andy Newman led off the Sunday Travel section with a buzzkill, “Travel’s Climate Problem – If to see the world is also to help destroy it, should we just stay home?” So will the New York Times do the right thing, stop being an accessory to climate murder and kill off their travel section and the paper's very own branded, themed cruises (cruise ships, Newman assures us, are even more polluting than planes)? Also, teens in Portland, Ore. have put "climate justice" in the classroom, to the delight of the Times.
Kevin Roose, a technology writer for the New York Times, made a front-page splash on Sunday with “The Making of a YouTube Radical – How the Site’s Algorithms Played Into the Hands of the Far Right.” A caption underneath a photo of the story’s subject: “Caleb Cain likens the far right on YouTube to a “decentralized cult.” The interactive version is graphically rich, dominated by an enormous collage of some of the ostensibly harmful YouTube clips Cain watched over several years, and the 4,000-word plus print version take up two full inside pages.
When the New York Times’ hostility to police collides with the unyielding demands of solidarity and multiculturism, we get upside-down reporting like the kind that appeared in Saturday’s New York Times, when reporters Matt Furber and Mitch Smith question the harsh sentencing of a former police officer, Somali-American Mohammed Noor, found guilty in a woman’s death: “Over 12 Years in Prison for Minneapolis Officer in Woman’s Death.” Substitute “seen by some” with “seen by Times journalists” in the weasel-worded text box: “Far from building trust in the system, a case came to be seen by some as a sign of a double standard.”
New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers latched on to a minor Trump quote controversy and elevated it to Orwellian importance in Thursday’s edition: Did Trump call former actress Meghan Markle, now wife to Prince Harry and called the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty?” The online edition of the paper upped the significance of the silly spat into a battle over ultimate truth: “An Orwellian Tale? Trump Denies, Then Confirms, ‘Nasty’ Comments About Meghan Markle.” Rogers squeezed the maximum snideness out of the snit.
Covering Donald Trump’s trip to the United Kingdom, New York Times U.K. correspondent Benjamin Mueller unloaded hostile mockery of President Trump worthy of the left-wing British press in “Unloved in Britain but Still Willing to Play Kingmaker,” in Thursday’s edition. In case you didn't catch from the headline that Trump isn't beloved in Brtain, don't worry, Mueller mentions it every other sentence: "[Boris Johnson] spoke to Mr. Trump by phone for 20 minutes, rather than risk further alienating the majority of Britons who loathe the president with a face-to-face meeting."