Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
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."
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.