Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
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."
The New York Times suddenly distrusts left-wing scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Luther King Jr. biographer David Garrow. Why? Because the scholar unearthed F.B.I archives suggesting the civil rights icon once laughed along as a colleague raped a woman in his presence in a hotel. Garrow’s bombshell piece was rejected by many news outlets, including the Times (which actually ran an pre-emptive op-ed against it.
New York Times reporter Nicholas Fandos expressed some hope for Congressional Democrats’ fishing expedition against Donald Trump based on the Mueller report findings in Wednesday’s encouraging “Talks Over Access to Report Might Be Back On.” Fandos expressed his usual hostility to the Republican side and deference toward the Democrats, while ginning up impeach-Trump momentum: "But there appears to be little chance either former aide will testify, bolstering the case made by a growing number of House Democrats that the president is actively obstructing another branch of government from doing its constitutionally sanctioned oversight function, and that impeachment proceedings are the only proportional response."
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell (who's openly gay) earlier this year launched an international campaign to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, paying particular attention to countries like Iran, where the act carries the death penalty. President Trump recently publicized the initiative on Twitter. A grudging win for Trump from the socially liberal media, right? Not at all. New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers’ Saturday story claimed “Trump’s Celebration of L.G.B.T. Rights Is Met With Criticism.”
Reporter Catie Edmondson sounded rather perturbed that an investigation into sexual abuse of dozens of members of the wrestling program at Ohio State University by Dr. Richard Strauss failed to condemn conservative Rep. Jim Jordan, who served as an assistant wrestling coach their during part of the time period under investigation. She didn’t seem to appreciate his “Trumpian” insistence on his innocence in her New York Times piece, “Constituents Back Jordan After Report on the Ohio State Scandal.” Well, why wouldn’t they? The report didn’t condemn Jordan. Edmondson did her best to stir up controversy anyway, in snarky fashion.
What did Kentucky’s Republican governor Matt Bevin ever do to the New York Times? The lead National Section story in Sunday’s edition, “Kentuckians Face Conundrum in Governor’s Race,” by Campbell Robertson, tried to manufacture hope that Bevin’s bad personality (in the paper’s estimation) might be a stumbling block in his re-election race in November: "But what many seem to love about Trump -- the pugnaciousness, the go-it-alone attitude, the indifference to the normal political process -- are precisely the same things that turn some off Mr. Bevin."
Saturday’s New York Times “news analysis” was filled with regret that straight-shooting Robert Mueller was outfoxed by dastardly Donald Trump and his “handpicked” sidekick Attorney General William Barr. Mueller turned out just too principled for his own good: "Mr. Mueller’s refusal to pass judgment on whether the president broke the law is one example of how the special counsel operated by rules ill fitted for the Trump era. He said nothing and the president said everything. He worked in secret, allowing the president to fill the void with reckless accusations of a witch hunt. His damning conclusions were encased in dense legal jargon that the president distorted into a vindication."
Weighing in on the controversy over whether Facebook should have taken down a doctored video clip portraying Nancy Pelosi as a drunk, New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo says we should instead fight the real enemy: “The Problem Is Fox News, Not Facebook.” The text box: “Misinformation online has nothing on Murdoch TV’s lies.” Manjoo called Fox "the million-pound forked-tongue colossus that dominates our misinformation menagerie."
Renowned British comedian John Cleese is highly opinionated on all sorts of topics, including contempt for Sarah Palin and the George W. Bush-loving American South. But only when he issues (mild) commentary about multiculturalism changing London does the brilliant co-creator of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers abruptly morph into a grumpy old racist. New York Times reporter Palko Karasz saw fit to cover the “controversy” in hostile fashion in Friday’s edition: “Cleese’s Take On London: It’s No Longer English City.” Cleese's paean to England never had a chance under Karasz's sneer of disapproval.
The New York Times has developed a very strange niche beat: Gather up tweets mocking a British conservative (a reliable source of mirth for the liberal media Twitterati), and then shape it into a “news” story for the enjoyment of its own liberal readership. The latest subject of mockery culled from online British “wits” was former Conservative Party British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is releasing an autobiography in a few months. Richard Perez-Pena, the paper’s London-based International News Editor, stooped to gather up mean tweets for Saturday’s “Before Book Is Published, British Mock The Author.” Stop the presses!
The New York Times was mightily miffed by Attorney General William Barr daring to call spying by its proper name before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In Saturday’s Times, legal reporter Charlie Savage savaged the attorney general in “Barr Again Questions Russia Inquiry, Siding More Closely With Trump.” Savage was suffused with suspicion toward Barr, portraying his motives as partisan. Savage’s hit accused the attorney general of possibly “fueling conspiracy theories” right in the lead sentence.
The New York Times front-page story Saturday brought the latest sad update from the failed socialist state of Venezuela – with a strange but predictable omission. Reporter Anatoly Kurmanaev graphically described the day-to-day tragedy in “Venezuela’s Fall Like A Civil War – A Once Robust Economy Has Become a Ruin.” But the culprit is left unnamed: Socialism, installed in the once-prosperous country by strongman Hugo Chavez, to disastrous results, is not mentioned a single time. The Times is positively allergic to the word, not daring to even mention it in multiple stories about the collapse of Venezuela’s socialist economy.
Reporter Jeremy Peters chose a novel angle in Friday’s New York Times -- how conservatives are actually winning the PR war on abortion of late. It’s an unusual topic for the paper, which is reluctant to dwell on issues that favor conservatives. Still, a predictable tone of lament and clear disappointment prevails, salted with accusations that social conservatives are distorting the debate and misinforming the public, a slant captured in the headline. Democrats Are Caught Off-Guard on Abortion -- Forceful Messages and Misinformation By Opponents Are Defining the Debate.”
The lead editorial in Thursday’s New York Times, “How to Help Protect Abortion Rights,” crossed over from laying out a pro-choice stand and into full-blown pro-abortion, Planned Parenthood-promoting activism. But don’t despair, the Times is there to help women repressed in those troglodyte states with a handy checklist of abortion-rights, er, “reproductive-rights advocates” about groups offering assistance.The editorial page doesn’t think much of pro-lifers who exercise their right to protest abortion clinics. The solution: Become a Planned Parenthood volunteer!
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger was shocked, shocked by pro-Israel bias from the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman in “Israel is on the Side of God,’ Declares U.S. Ambassador.” The text box to Wednesday’s story: “Many are left slack-jawed by a brazen show of bias.” Speaking of being left slack-jawed by bias...has Halbfinger read his own material lately? As Hamas rockets rain down on Israeli civilians in May, Halbfinger devoted his reporting to shielding Hamas from criticism and excusing their violence as “impatience” with Israel.
New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg handled the latest disturbing anti-Israel outburst from a controversial Democratic freshmen representative...by rushing to Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s defense in Tuesday’s edition under a headline that reduced the controversy to a partisan squabble: “A ‘Calming Feeling,’ a Furor and a New Front in the War Over Anti-Semitism.” Tlaib made a bizarre and historically fraudulent comment on Jews fleeing persecution and Palestinians supposedly giving them refuge after the Holocaust. The paper’s response fits the media pattern. When a Democrat says something offensive or controversial, the media reacts not to the actual Democratic statement, but how the Republicans reacted to it, “pouncing” or otherwise.
The veteran radical leftist Frances Fox Piven serves on the board of the Democratic Socialists of America. She tried to overload welfare roles while encouraging urban riots (and is still advocating them) on the road to a socialist revolution. The New York Times has a history of being kind to Communists and fellow travelers, so no surprise that New York Times reporter Alex Traub treated the NYC prof with borderline reverence for “The Unlikely Revival of a ‘60s Radical -- Not All Liberals Are Ready to March With Frances Fox Piven, The Progressive’s Guru.” The story was more favorable.
Perhaps wary of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, international reporters at the New York Times are seeing the “far right” everywhere, in unlikely guises, such as supporting being allowed to eat and drink whatever one likes without government interference. The paper filed an odd story: “Finland’s Right Appeals to Voters With a Nihilistic View on Climate.” In Italy, it found "a far-right attempt to eschew civility and make meanness cool.” In Norway, freedom to eat and smoke were likened to the far right.