Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
New York Times reporter Dan Bilefsky took on a right-wing radio host in Quebec, for some reason, on Sunday: “‘Trash Radio’ Host in Quebec City Fires Up Outrage, and Big Ratings.” From the start it was clear this would be no friendly profile like the one’s the Times once filed to to boost liberal radio hosts, like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in 2005, back when she hosted a show on the radio network “Air America.”
The New York Times can be relied upon to push government spending everywhere, in all situations, which explains how a story from Northampton, England makes it to its front page on Saturday. The online headline: “As Austerity Helps Bankrupt an English County, Even Conservatives Mutiny.” It’s part of the paper’s series, “Britain’s Big Squeeze,” whose chief villain is spending limits aka “austerity,” which the paper is obsessively trying to discredit.
New York Times reporter Astead Herndon seethed over the rapturous reception granted to conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary, Death of a Nation: “Film Likens Democrats To Nazis, to Big Applause.” Compare that horrified evisceration to the rapturous, unchallenging reception the paper gave far-left documentarian Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11, his anti-Bush conspiratorial release in 2004.
Under the pretense of journalism, reporter Maggie Astor provided some public relations with the valuable New York Times-imprimatur for the children’s crusade for gun control (and a laundry list of made-up left-wing issues like “systems of oppression”) in Thursday’s lead National story, “Speakers, Students, Activists, Survivors – On the road with teenagers from the March for Our Lives.”
Indulging in obvious identify politics in Wednesday’s New York Times, reporter Elizabeth Dias celebrated Rashida Tlaib’s Democratic primary victory in Detroit right along with her supporters in “Candidate’s Palestinian Heritage Infuses Sense of Community in Detroit.” Already, her story offers a remarkable counterpoint to anti-Muslim policy and sentiment rising around the country, and especially to President Trump, who has banned travel from several majority-Muslim countries....Ms. Tlaib, 42, represents a new addition to the mosaic of American politics."
CNN’s Twitter account used an old liberal standby, “seize,” to denigrate Trump’s (factual) statement about the Tuesday morning terror attack in London: "President Donald Trump seizes on what he calls a 'terrorist attack' in London, even though the incident is still in the early stages of investigation." CNN's tweet linked to Jennfier Hansler’s equally silly story. Never mind that both the Associated Press and London's mayor had tweeted out similar statements earlier.
The lead National Section story in Monday’s New York Times found the paper once again trying to make campaign finance reform a winning issue for the Democrats, in “Tired of Money in Politics, Some Democrats Think Small -- More candidates are spurning PAC’s, relying instead on individual donors, and voters are responding.”
A long article in the New York Times Sunday Styles, “Civility and Culture Wars In an Iowa Gun Town – When neighbors disagree but a major voice remains silent.” Jacqui Shine left big hints that Iowans are just too nice to properly confront the NRA board chairman in their midst, “Pete Brownell, a well-known and well-liked local philanthropist....He is also the third-generation C.E.O. of Brownells, a major firearms company whose headquarters are here....His public remarks have been unsurprising in the national conversation, but also strike some as unneighborly."
The New York Times is trying its best to find dirt on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, filing an odd public information request with his wife’s employer. And in 2005 they tried to access sealed private records involving then-Bush-nominee John Roberts. Even the paper's commenters weren't convinced of the paper's fairness and balance, wondering where that investigative zeal was when it came to Democratic Supreme Court nominees..
The New York Times hired Sarah Jeong to write about technology as a member of the paper’s editorial board. Hours later came revelations from Jeong’s obsessively anti-white and anti-police ravings on Twitter, and a subsequent defense of Jeong’s hiring from the paper. Yet none of that recent controversy penetrated into “Inside the Struggle at Twitter Over What Warrants a Ban,” regarding the deplatforming of conspiracy-mongering Alex Jones. In fact, the story shows the paper doubling down on its double standards: Do as we say, not as we do.
Hope springs eternal for Democrats in the pages of the New York Times. Thursday’s lead story by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin provided Democratic predictions for winning the House in the November elections: “Clarity in Election Fog: Fall Holds Peril for G.O.P.” The reporters made hay over GOP struggles, and again exploited criminal charges faced by Rep. Chris Collins to make a pro-Democratic prediction. Other stories alternately pushed female candidates and mocked them, depending on party label.
New York Times stringer Daniel Politi teamed with the paper’s Brazil bureau chief Ernesto Londono to cover a failed attempt in Argentina to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of a pregenancy: “Though Abortion Bill Failed in Argentina, a Movement Took Hold -- A Narrow Loss Inspires Women.” The text box to Friday’s story assured the paper’s pro-choice readership: “‘Abortion will be legal soon. Very soon,’ one woman said.” The online version carried a Reuters photo of “An abortion-rights supporter in Buenos Aires on Thursday after a bill to legalize abortion was defeated.” Who, by the way, was in the act of throwing a colored smoke bomb. The text ignored the eruptions of violence in the aftermath of the defeat of the abortion bill, which it usually does when it comes to left-wing protest violence
Thursday’s New York Times showed itself all too eager to use new charges against Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York to help Democrats. The front-page story was accompanied by an over-the-fold photograph of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announcing the charges against Collins, which the photo caption took care to identify as a Republican. The paper piled on with a story inside by Goldmacher, showing the paper already taking a sharp pro-Democratic partisan angle on the November elections. Contrast that instant identification by the New York Times to how the paper covered a Democratic congresswoman convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.
Rosie O’Donnell and a motley troupe of Broadway actors past and present bussed down from New York City for a protest “show” in front of the White House on Monday (Broadway’s traditional day off) and the New York Times decided the silliness was worthy of the lead National section story slot Wednesday. Reporter-intern Alexandria Yoon-Hendricks’ “A Free Broadway Show Starring Putin, Trump and Jean Valjean” ignored O’Donnell’s unrepentant Trutherism and took her seriously as an anti-Trump voice, though the two had been personally feuding years before Trump’s presidential campaign.
After Roseanne Barr lost her hit show over a tweet, the blurb introducing television writer James Poniewozik’s report was morally convicting: "....when people decide to let racism slide, it costs the rest of us." A shame the Times chose not to apply that maxim to itself. Fast forward to the controversy over the paper’s hiring of Sarah Jeong to write about technology for the paper’s editorial board. Hours after the announcement came revelations from Jeong’s obsessively anti-white and anti-police ravings on Twitter, and a defense of Jeong’s hiring from the paper.
New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Adam Liptak’s review of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his involvement in Ken Starr’s independent counsel investigation of President Bill Clinton, made the front page of Sunday’s edition. It conveniently served as a defense of the Clintons against the “puritanical” “hatred” of Republicans: “Court Pick, Soldier in the Battle to Impeach Clinton, Has Regrets.” The reporters's opening and closing quotes are from former Clinton adviser current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, surely a nonpartisan source of objective wisdom on the matter at hand.
There was a recent outburst of respect for religion on two consecutive front pages of The New York Times, after Pope Francis changed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Times desperately desires to get religion out of politics when it comes to companies like Hobby Lobby that refuse on religious grounds to pay for birth control, eagerly embraces Christianity when it comes to leftist issues like global warming, immigration, and now the death penalty. Friday’s front page excitedly reported: “Pope Declares Death Penalty Always Wrong – Doctrine Change Could Hit U.S. Hardest.”
Yahoo! writer Hope Schreiber made the site’s front page with her contribution to the controversy over Sarah Jeong, the New York Times’ new editorial board member with a long history of racist anti-white tweets. It’s clear from the headline that Yahoo! considers the whole thing a right-wing hit-job against Jeong: “Right-wing websites target New York Times' new writer over what they call 'anti-white' tweets.” Here’s the Yahoo headline as it appeared in the tab for the story: “Alt-right targets journalist over ‘anti-white’ tweets.”
Obituary writer Robert McFadden went past respect for the dead to mark the passing of hard-left former liberal congressman Ron Dellums in reverential fashion on Tuesday: “Ron Dellums, 82, Dies; Vocal and Unrelenting, He Upheld Left’s Ideals.” The text box: “A mantra over three decades in Congress: Stop war. Help people.” A photo caption in the print version called Dellums “a lifelong champion for social justice.” It’s a standard the paper doesn’t apply to conservative figures.
For years, Michiko Kakutani was the most feared and revered New York Times book critic. Now the reviewer becomes the reviewed with her new book with a self-explanatory title: The Death of Truth – Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump. On the plus side, it’s short. Yet this slim, 173-page undersized hardback still manages to be a slow read, dense and repetitive. The widely read Kakutani uses boringly familiar quotes from predictable wells of anti-totalitarian wisdom like Hannah Arendt and George Orwell to attack Trump and the new GOP for abandoning truth, reason, even common decency.