Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Is the United States doomed to become the latest global victim of a dangerous strongman, a la Venezuela under Hugo Chavez? That's what economics reporter turned left-wing columnist Eduardo Porter thinks in Wednesday’s New York Times: “How Dysfunction Threatens U.S. Democracy.” What led to this dramatic conclusion? Trump’s election. Porter made a rare Times admission of the “authoritarian” nature of the Communist rule of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, only to bash Trump as a similar threat to democracy.
Congress convenes today, and congressional reporter Carl Hulse, a reliable Democrat defender and Republican critic, came loaded for bear against the Republican House and Senate, now fortified by a president from their own party, in his Tuesday New York Times column, “In Congress, Free to Govern and Face the Consequences.” The online headline is harsher: “Republicans Stonewalled Obama. Now the Ball Is in Their Court.” In it, Hulse made the same argument he’s been making for over a decade: Republicans are doomed.
The lead New York Times editorial for New Year's Eve aiming to wrap up 2016, “Take a Bad Year. And Make It Better,” marked a triumph of liberal emotion over reason. The editorial voice of this eminent newpaper reduces itself to a Woody Allen caricature of an urban liberal wimp tormented by dictator Trump and his racist fellow citizens, but without the virtue of actual humor.
Credit the New York Times for covering every possible left-wing, Manhattan-centric anti-Trump angle as Inauguration Day approaches. Reporter Emily Rueb found a surge in marriages, especially among gay couples and immigrants (preferably both), before Donald Trump takes office on January 20: “Saying ‘I Do’ Becomes A New Priority – Some Couples Feel an Urgency To Wed Before Inauguration Day."
The New York Times has two standards when it comes to defying the rule of federal law – it’s great when it comes to left-wing causes like amnesty for illegals and sanctuary cities, awful when it comes to opposition to gay marriage. And while the Times is adamantly opposed to churches who dare to act on their opposition to gay marriage, churches can gain Strange New Respect from the paper for acting as sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Religion reporter Laurie Goodstein in Philadelphia made the top slot in Wednesday’s National section with “In Trump Era, Offering a Place Of Both Faith And Sanctuary.” The jump-page text box: “Houses of worship offer shelter and aid to undocumented immigrants.” No “illegal immigrants” in Times-land. And two other recent pieces underlined the double standard.
Snopes is having its time in the spotlight in Monday’s New York Times, as reporter David Streitfeld pumped up the famous “fact-checking” website on the front of Business Day. Snopes’ profile is rising with its new relationship with Facebook, but as the site has waded more into politics, it’s getting a liberal reputation and allegations of hypocrisy have been raised. But Streitfeld dismissed any concerns as desperate conservatives lies, in “Bigger Fact-Checking Role for Snopes Brings More Attacks." And his fellow Snopes-fawner, colleague Jeremy Peters, accused conservatives of crying "fake news" to discredit the mainstream media.
Not even Christmas Day provided respite from New York Times bias: The Sunday Review was devoted to the Year in Pictures, and cast the just-concluded election as a clash of light vs. darkness. The front-page was wholly covered by a full-length photo of Donald Trump -- more accurately, Trump’s shadow -- in stark, Stygian darkness, while the back page featured a hopeful member of the Hillary faithful, clutching an American flag while watching the election results. In the Sunday magazine, devoted to remembrance of famous or significant personalities who passed in 2016, a loving remembrance of Bill Clinton’s liberal Attorney General Janet Reno stood in blunt contrast to a cynical one probing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for intellectual blind spots.
ESPN's Howard Bryant capped off a year of flag-fear and injection of racial politics into sports with his column in the magazine’s last issue of 2016: “Fight of Our Times – In a year of great victory and great unrest, the legacy of Muhammad Ali has never felt more vital. But will athletes continue to rise up in 2017?” Bryant is known for his BLM-style rants against the alleged epidemic of racist police brutality, and has a particular loathing for public patriotism in professional sports: "The veneer of patriotism baked into the sport’s DNA created an appearance of unity and oneness designed to obscure cultural divisions and intimidate dissent."
Chris Suellentrop, a former editor on the NYT’s op-ed page, took on the burning issue of sexism in Super Mario Bros video games. The famous series is making its iPhone debut, but Suellentrop’s young daughter won’t be playing it, because of “Mario’s Not-So-Super Sexism.” He condemned its "stale, retrograde gender stereotypes."
More fake news from the New York Times? On Thursday morning, the paper ran a credulous story by reporter Jonah Engel Bromwich on the alleged unjustified removal of two YouTube stars, including Internet provocateur Adam Saleh, from a Delta Airlines plane in London, for speaking Arabic on a cellphone while waiting to take off. “YouTube Stars Say They Were Removed From a Flight for Speaking Arabic.”
The Times swallowed whole the dubious story from the notorious YouTuber, whose reputation has been built on video hoaxes purporting to uncover anti-Muslim bigotry...on planes. None of those facts seemed to trigger any skepticism among the journalists at the Times, who have been primed by Donald Trump’s victory to see Islamophobia around every corner and leaped eagerly on this fishy tale of bigots on a plane. Bromwich managed to find not a single skeptical passenger on the flight, while his colleagues at other papers found plenty.
New York Times columnists and editors hmay condemn Republicans for limiting what their Democratic successors can do – as what’s happening after a tough loss by the sitting Republican governor of North Carolina Pat McCrory to Democrat Jim Cooper -- but the Times celebrates it when President Obama does it, or is being encouraged by left-wing groups to do so.
Another version of the liberal media’s self-serving falsehood that Democrats just play too nicely to win the Washington game appeared in Tuesday’s New York Times: David Leonhardt, former Washington bureau chief for the paper, subbed for David Brooks on Tuesday’s opinion page to whine that in the 2016 election cycle, “Democrats Had a Knife, G.O.P. a Gun."Leonhardt apparently forgot the threats send to electors pledged to Donald Trump, or the massive effort (egged on by the Times and other media outlets) to overturn the election results via sabotaging the Electoral College?
In their Tuesday New York Times off-lead “news analysis,” reporters Jonathan Martin and Michael Wines tried to keep anti-Trump hope alive in “Trump’s Win, But Little Else, Is Now Settled – A Vast Divide Persists After the Electors Vote.” Bill Clinton, a former president, was posed as preaching truth to power. Another reporter took pains to explain that "Trump had an advantage in the traditional battlegrounds because most are whiter and less educated than the country as a whole."
Continuing “Sore Loser Sunday” in the New York Times, the Sunday Review fans fears of Trump in its selection of outside essays, often with a racial angle. But then the paper’s new Public Editor had to ruin the self-righteous love-in by noting that when it comes to racial diversity, the Times, with its "newsroom's blinding whiteness," fails to practice what it preaches.
Sunday’s New York Times may as well have been the sore loser edition, still obsessed with conjuring up links, no matter how tenuous, between Donald Trump and Russia, as shown in the off-lead story by Mike McIntire, “How Putin Fan Peddled Trump From Overseas – ‘Patriot’ Site Promoted Hoaxes to Americans.” Two other stories complained of Trump's "radical" and "hard-line" staff picks.
New York Times reporter Liam Stack took a Pew Research Center study about religion and educational attainment around the world, and warped it into a story summarized by this mocking headline: “Christians in U.S. Are Less Educated Than Religious Minorities, Report Says.” The report, which lacks the anti-Christian animus of the headline, showed that worldwide, Jews and Christians were the most educated, and Hindus and Muslims were the least. Can you imagine either one of those facts as a headline in New York Times?
James Poniewozik, television critic for the New York Times, reviewed the Amazon Prime show Man in the High Castle, an adaptation of the alternative-history novel by speculative fiction author Philip K. Dick. When you see a Hitler reference in the liberal press, it’s safe to say that a Donald Trump reference is looming, and Poniewozik doesn’t wait long in his Friday review, “TV’s United States of ‘Sieg Heil – A second season of a drama about resisting darkness finds new relevance in a postelection nation.”
Top of the news: Our architecture critic weeps over Aleppo? Indeed, the front of Thursday’s New York Times featured critic a “Critics Notebook” from Michael Kimmelman, “Aleppo’s Faces Beckon to Us, To Little Avail.” Staggeringly, Kimmelman managed to lament the tragedy in Aleppo on the front page of a major newspaper, without a single mention of President Barack Obama, the sitting president for eight years and the architect of failed U.S. foreign policy. Yet Donald Trump, who has precisely zero to do with current Syrian policy, has two disparaging mentions.
Again showing the hypocrisy of its trumped-up contempt for Donald Trump’s pre-emptive, hypothetical questioning of the election results back when it looked like Hillary Clinton would roll, the New York Times again fosters the fight to keep Trump out of the White House and undemocratically install his Democratic opponent instead. Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor for Slate, coauthored a cri de coeur for Wednesday’s Times: “Buck Up, Democrats, and Fight Like Republicans.”
After its favored candidate lost the presidential election in shocking fashion, the New York Times is suddenly wide awake to the threat posed by Russia. It devoted 8,000 words and Wednesday’s front page to “Hacking The Democrats – How Russia Honed its Cyberpower and Trained It on an American Election.” The accompanying photo of the filing cabinet broken into during Watergate made it clear the Times considered this a national (and Democratic) tragedy. But the paper has not always been so concerned about the Russia threat, especially when it’s a Republican presidential candidate sounding the alarm. It's tone toward WikiLeaks has also changed since it was gleefully puttting hacked foreign policy memos in print.