Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
In Sunday’s New York Times, congressional correspondent Jennifer Steinhauer tried to defuse a potent line of attack by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally against her Democratic challenger Kyrsten Sinema in “Charge of Treason Escalates In Close Race for Arizona Senate Seat.” Steinhauer warned "Ms. McSally’s ads and those of her supporters have been relentlessly negative and darkly accusative, which is a great primary play, but may hurt her with general election voters."
Michelle Cottle, the lead New York Times editorial writer for national politics, issued a surprising signed lead editorial in Thursday’s edition, “Hillary Clinton’s Master Class in Distraction” (perhaps a quasi-lead editorial, as it carries the paper’s “Editorial Observer” tag, but it is in the regular editorial slot). Cottle actually mentioned respectfully the case of Juanita Broaddick, who credibly accused then-Arkansas attorney general Bill Clinton of raping her in a hotel room in 1978.
New York Times’ Susan Chira, a “senior correspondent and editor on gender issues,” handed her paper’s mighty megaphone to angry anti-Kavanaugh women in “After Kavanaugh, Some Women Feel Powerless, Others Pumped Up.” Chira had nudged against the conventional liberal wisdom that all women were against Judge Brett Kavanaugh in a Sunday Review piece. But her Wednesday piece read as emotionally charged feminist propaganda: "The words they choose: Despair. Rage. Fear. Hopelessness. Determination."
The November issue of The Atlantic devoted 8,000 flowery words to excoriate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. McKay Coppins followed the ground-breaking former Republican Speaker of the House and presidential candidate around for “The Man Who Broke Politics -- Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into bloodsport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump's rise. Now he's reveling in his achievements.”
After a bizarre, early-presidential ploy by presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren involving a DNA test, the online headline over the New York Times story spun mightily on her behalf: “Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Results Put Trump on Defensive, but Also Raise Questions,” by Jonathan Martin. Martin tried to link Trump’s anti-Warren “Pocahontas” jibe to the tawdry “birther” issue, though in this case Trump’s mockery is based in fact.
As congressional elections loom, New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis revealed Monday that “Republicans Find an Unexpectedly Potent Line of Attack: Immigration.” (Unexpected to the Times, at least.) The text box: “Heart-rending images are countered with fear-laden appeals.” Davis’s Monday story tilted the playing field with tone and labeling choices: "But Republican candidates across the country, leaning on the scorched-earth campaign playbook employed by President Trump, saw an opening nonetheless, painting Democrats as the ones pursuing an extreme immigration agenda that would fill the country with “sanctuary cities” where violent criminals roam free."
Monday’s New York Times obituary by Robert McFadden for American beer pioneer William Coors (of the brewing company that carries his name) violated the usual tasteful norms for an obit, starting with the headline and the text box: “William Coors, Ultraconservative Leader Of Brewery Based in Colorado, Dies at 102.” The text box: “A chairman’s speeches were often labeled racist, sexist and homophobic.” McFadden led off with hostility "William K. Coors, who led one of America’s biggest beer makers for decades, but whose ultraconservative speeches and anti-union policies incurred boycotts and the wrath of organized labor, civil rights groups and minorities, died on Saturday at his home in Golden, Colo."
Reporter Matt Flegenheimer prodded the Democratic party to abandno a moral high ground he is deluded into thinking the party currently holds, in “Democrats Debate if High Road in Politics Is Leading Anywhere – Party of ‘We Go High’ Is Just Getting Angry,” on the front of Saturday’s New York Times. As if the Democrats haven’t been in full angry mode for years, culminating in aggressive protests and actual violence committed against congressional Republicans, and then the anti-Kavanaugh mobs.
The New York Times carefully sandwiched the disturbing Democratic trend of increasing mob behavior by liberals and Democrats -- culminating in the hysterical reaction to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation -- into a story that made it about a hypocritical Trump. Reporter Peter Baker put the onus on the president, not the mob-instigation of his political opponents in “‘Unhinged’? No, Trump Tells Opponents, You Are.” The online headline underlined that Trump-centric spin: “Trump’s Contradiction: Assailing ‘Left-Wing Mob’ as Crowd Chants ‘Lock Her Up.’
The October 1-14 issue of New York Magazine issued 10 pages of anti-Kavanaugh bile under the heading “Her and Him -- The hearing that broke America.” It’s a collection of brief essays on the September 27 Senate Judiciary committee testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh: Ten pages of inchoate liberal rage, from liberals including Jonathan Chait, Frank Rich, Rebecca Traister (preserved in amber at the moment after the testimony and before Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote), all shamelessly junking any pretense of due process while loudly assuming Kavanaugh’s guilt.
The New York Times is still leading the cheers for Democrat Beto O’Rourke in his quest to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in November. In Wednesday’s lead story for the National section, Elizabeth Dias devoted 1,900 words to sudden respect for Christian evangelicals: “In Deep-Red Texas, Evangelical Women Trickle Toward O’Rourke -- Citing moral imperative to fight Trump’s agenda.”
It’s evidently going to take some time for the post-Kavanaugh confirmation healing to begin at the New York Times. With near unanimity the paper’s columnists, some of them former reporters, are reacting with anger and contempt over Trump’s victory against the Democrat’s Supreme Court smear campaign. Columnist Paul Krugman rehashed his tired old line about “The Paranoid Style in G.O.P. Politics.” The text box read “Republicans are an authoritarian regime in waiting.” Not to be outflanked, columnist Michelle Goldberg claimed “Trump Gives Dictators the Green Light.”
New York Times editors must have thought Alexandra Alter’s article a timely response to conservative Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation: “How Feminist Dystopian Fiction Is Channeling Women’s Anger and Anxiety.” They even placed it on Wednesday's front page. Thanks to President Trump’s attacks on women’s rights America’s, women are just a few weeks away from mandatory Handmaid’s Tale uniforms, judging by this ominous overview of recent novels in the genre.
The New York Times is not taking the Kavanaugh confirmation very well. The paper has recently followed its left-wing audience down the rabbit hole of intersectionality, filling it opinion pages with emotional discourses on “white privilege,” race, gender and related topics of interest to left-wing “social justice” activists. But the dig may have hit bottom in an opinion piece by feminist Alexis Grenell keyed to Kavanaugh's successful confirmation, “White Women, Come Get Your People -- They will defend their privilege to the death.”
Brett Kavanaugh may have won his Supreme Court nomination, but New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak tried to defuse the excitement on the front page of Sunday’s paper: “Confirmation Battle May Have Eroded the Public Trust.” Now that conservatives have an apparent majority, the Supreme Court is now suddenly “injured and diminished.” Liptak also warned with this liberal talking point: "It cannot help the court’s reputation that a third of its male justices have been questioned about sexual misconduct."
Liberal media petulance and bitterness was evident on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times after the Senate narrowly confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Reporters Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos reported “A Nomination Is Rescued by a Display of Rage and Resentment.” Because how dare someone get angry over being accused of sexual assault.
NYT reporter Elizabeth Williamson swooned over the left-wing protestors rampaging through the Senate hallways as the Kavanaugh saga approached boiling point : “Stories on the Court Steps and Mass Arrests as Capital Boils.” She ignored the condescending disrespect toward a Republican U.S. senator shown by left-wing protestors while accusing Sen. Orrin Hatch of being "dismissive." And two editorials slimed Kavanaugh as a "jerk" who is "credibly accused" of sexual assault.
In a Kavanaugh debate already full of anguish and anger on the part of a liberal press which has already convicted Judge Brett Kavanaugh in their own minds, Adam Serwer of The Atlantic made a quantum leap into irresponsibility with “The Cruelty Is the Point -- President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear,” posted Wednesday. One suspects a lack of rational discussion forthcoming when the column opens with a description of archive photographs of lynchings.
After its shattering "ice" expose of Brett Kavanaugh’s college concert-going days, Wednesday’s New York Times provided yet another bombshell revelation in the Kavanaugh controversy, we learn that in high school he helped organize a week at a beach condo over the summer. This shocking development was solemnly reported by Kate Kelly and David Enrich and appeared in Wednesday’s paper: “Letter From 1983 Offers Glimpse of Nominee’s High School Clique.”
The New York Times found the Senate torn apart by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and blamed the lack of decorum on -- the Republicans and Brett Kavanaugh, for daring to respond to unsubstantiated accusations of sexual assault and Democratic chicanery. Reporter Nicholas Fandos tut-tutted under the headline “Kavanaugh Hearing Shows Drift From Decorum.” Fandos bewailed the lost sense of senatorial civility, which conveniently coincided with Republicans and Supreme Court nominee fighting back against an unsubstantiated accusation of sexual assault.