Clay Waters

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Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center. His new mystery is titled Death In The Eye.

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Whatever it takes. Wednesday’s New York Times saw the paper defending the incompetent Veterans Administration and praising “biblical imperatives,” all in the name of opposing Donald Trump. In “Harsh Critic of the V.A. May Become Its Leader,” by Dave Philipps, who often reports on the military for the paper. Became a fierce defender of the corrupt and incompetent federal agency and picked the odd target of Rep. Jeff Miller, considered by Trump to run the agency. The same day, religion reporter Laurie Goodstein took the biblical views of Catholic bishops seriously -- at least when they were criticizing Trump and calling for amnesty for illegals, two of the paper’s favorite hobbies.


Post-election, the New York Times seems dimly aware it has a “red state” credibility problem, but its pattern of coverage shows it has a long way to go. Sunday it whined about how the imminent Trumper invasion posted a threat to the cultural life of Washington, D.C., not exactly a top issue for blue-collar Macomb County voters. They aren’t as comfortable in red Texas, as shown by Manny Fernandez's stand-offish approach to his conservative fellow Texans. Reporter Adeel Hassan got an awful lot of front-page mileage out of a distressing anecdote in “Refugees Discover 2 Americas: One That Hates, One That Heals.” The NYT also asked the question on the minds of red state America -- How does Mexico feel about all this?


Sunday’s New York Times went from positioning race-baiter Al Sharpton as a credible voice of anti-Trump dissent, to hailing the wisdom of another liberal MSNBC host: Chris Matthews. Matthews' horrified reaction to Trump-supporting Rudy Giuliani led off a contemptuous profile of the former NYC mayor, written by the eccentric reporter Alan Feuer: “America’s Mayor Rolls the Dice.” Feuer threw around psychiatric slurs: "Something had gone horribly wrong with Mr. Giuliani. There seemed no other way to explain it....To Mr. Giuliani’s critics, the answer was obvious: incipient mental illness."


Remember those concerned New York Times stories about the dictatorial dangers of refusing to accept election results? Apparently they only applied to Donald Trump. In Sunday’s edition, New York Times reporters hypocritically hailed anti-Trump demonstrators in “Protesters Take Anti-Trump Message to His Doorstep, and Plan Next Steps."


After Donald Trump’s victory shocked a media that was confidently and happily predicting a safe, historic win for Hillary Clinton, the New York Times seems to dimly recognize it has a credibility problem. Times media writer Jim Rutenberg noted in a front-page mea culpa on behalf of both his paper and his industry Thursday: “Most ominously, it came in the form of canceled subscriptions, something that will surely be monitored.” It turns out the Times can’t really shape public opinion, much as the it has tried over the years. The latest evidence is a fascinating story posted to Deadline on Friday, by former Times-man Michael Cieply describing how editors put news reporting on the backburner in favor of trying to shape the news itself, by establishing a narrative of coverage and then finding facts and assigning stories to fit it


Left bereft by the election results, veteran former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr had a long rant on the site of left-wing public television omnipresence Bill Moyers, under an aggressive headline: “Agree: It Was Sexism: It wasn't because she was unqualified or didn't get the popular vote. It was sexism.” Sherr lamented "the tide that turned America into a nasty pit of hatred is a direct descendant of the entrenched male privilege -- and fear of change by both sexes -- that has kept women down for centuries. The same old insistence, barely recast, on keeping a woman in her place."


Friday’s New York Times proved the paper still hasn’t processed Donald Trump’s win, unleashing three bitter articles accusing Trump and his supporters of sexism, racism, and hate crimes. First up, Katharine Seelye and Claire Cain Miller wrote weepily about women whose dreams were crushed by sexist Trump supporters who couldn’t stand the idea of a woman president. Liam Stack spread gay panic, while Caitlin Dickerson and Stephanie Saul rounded up alleged Trump related hate-crime anecdotes to make a pattern.


Thursday’s New York Times, the first print edition to actually deal with president-elect Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning victory, wasn’t exactly elated, judging by the banner headline: “Democrats, Students And Foreign Allies Face The Reality Of A Trump Presidency.” The headline to the day’s lead story? “Grief and Glee as an Administration Once Unthinkable Becomes Real.” Yes, it’s a liberal nightmare come to life. Meanwhile, the paper's public editor had a radical suggestion: Talk to Red Staters.


Thursday’s New York Times was in panicky mode over President-elect Donald Trump, especially from an immigrant and minority perspective, with the paranoia on fully display in “Trump Win Has Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims Bracing For a Long 4 Years." This purported “news” story even recycled leftist Van Jones cries of “Whitelash” -- as if an African-American president didn’t actually win a second term in office a mere four years ago.


During the New York Times rather sedate and solemn (wonder why?) live election night coverage, reporter Maggie Haberman whined that “the amount of open misogyny during this campaign has been really striking, from a lot of Trump’s supporters.” Sarah Lyall’s front-page story in Wednesday’s edition (before most of the results were in) also took a feminist angle: “Many Women Feel Echoes of History in Vote for Clinton.” Its laudatory lines about Hillary Clinton’s imminent triumph were overtaken by events: “Women across the country felt history tapping them on their shoulder, propelling them out the door, following them into voting booths.” And two Times media and TV writers got together to talk Trump lies and his deplorable supporters.


New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is not taking Donald Trump’s victory well, judging by the meltdown on his Twitter feed and an aggrieved editorial he posted as Hillary’s electoral fortunes took a turn for the worst: "America, we hardly knew ye...I have warned that we could become a failed state...deep hatred in a large segment of the population."


The lead story in the New York Times Election Day, “At Election’s End, A Sunny Tone Meets Dark” was penned by reporter Michael Barbaro, last seen composing a loving vignette of a joyous Hillary Clinton dancing in the rain. Meanwhile, Matt Flegenheimer suggested Sarah Palin and the Tea Party were to blame for the campaign’s dark tone, and even blamed conservative critics of the news media indirectly for alleged death wishes against Obama and Hillary Clinton shouted at GOP campaign rallies


Columnist Paul Krugman, respected economist turned Hillary acolyte, leaned into his conspiratorial tendencies in his Monday column, “How to Rig an Election.” Plus the Times lashed out at Trump-Pence’s “brand of right-wing nationalism” on the front page, portrayed Trump as Neidermeyer in “Animal House,” and celebrated Hillary dancing joyfully in the rain.


In a story set to appear in Sunday’s New York Times, White House reporter and Michelle Obama acolyte Julie Hirschfeld Davis celebrated the first lady both as a campaigner for Hillary Clinton and for just being her awesome self in “The Closer: Michelle Obama -- Dismissed early on by critics, the first lady has evolved into a powerful presence on the campaign trail." First Davis featured the first lady as the emotional vanquisher of sexist Trump and racist Republicans. By the end she was suggesting that the adored...potent weapon" Michelle Obama could run for office herself.


Saturday’s New York Times anti-Trump roundup included an ironic compliment to the Trump campaign, which has freed journalists to label (Republican) politicians as liars and racists. Times editorial board member Brent Staples perversely celebrated “The Election That Obliterated Euphemisms.” The text box: “Donald Trump made it impossible to avoid the word ‘racist.’” Staples certainly didn’t.


How does a reporter write about the history of sexual harassment in D.C. without mentioning Bill Clinton? The New York Times managed it, in a sharply partisan view of sexual harassment in Washington on Thursday by political reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “As Politics Meets Power, Harassment Flourishes.” There was nothing of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, or of more recent vintage, Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s domestic controversies. But conservative Justice Clarence Thomas was featured prominently, and two Republican senators received unflattering mentions as well:


The New York Times David Leonhardt, a gullible fan of high taxes and Obamacare, rather pathetically tried to calm the nerves of “bed-wetting” Democrats by citing an op-ed from Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, in an online post titled  “Don’t Bother With National Polls.” (So why is the Times currently trumpeting its own national poll on its main page?) Earlier in the week Leonhardt conducted a mini-course into how to hassle your friends into voting Democrat


Andrew Rosenthal, the former Editorial Page Editor of the New York Times, who has never met a Republican he couldn’t call a racist, has joined Paul Krugman in James Comey conspiracy land. In a Wednesday post, Rosenthal accused the FBI director of trying to swing the election to Donald Trump: "One explanation, which I tend to believe, is that Comey, the director of the F.B.I., set out to interfere in the campaign on behalf of the Republican Party, a shocking act that would render him unfit for his powerful office."


The New York Times frantically played defense for Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s edition, as her smooth ride to victory encountered some unexpected turbulence in the form of FBI director James Comey’s letter to Congress. The ghost of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover hovered over the front page the day after Halloween, and the lead editorial tut-tutted over “James Comey’s Big Mistake.”


The New York Times Sunday Review section featured various neurotic Donald Trump-loathing articles, delving into personal psychological issues while blaming him and Republican men in general for pretty much everything. Besides Susan Faludi seeing anti-feminist hatred in opposition to Hillary Clinton, novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge blamed Trump for making tthe author age rapidly, and writer Peter Orner bashed a Trump-supporting "friend."