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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The front of Thursday’s New York Times featured more wishful thinking on the part of the paper, which is still waiting for that off-year anti-Trump electoral surge: “Atlanta’s Suburbs Wonder if Newcomers Will Turn Them Blue.” Fausset threw some old, extraneous accusations of racism into the bargain, while emphasizing alleged conservative intolerance of liberals (in a world where the evidence of political intolerance is weighted in the other direction).


The front of Wednesday’s New York Times sported a 2,600-word enterprise piece by Katrin Bennhold with a peculiar focus on fellow journalists, those of the allegedly right-wing tabloid irresponsible variety: “Did Tabloids Cause ‘Brexit’? It’s Covered With Inky Fingerprints.”  Bennhold condescendingly blamed the right-wing tabloid press for Brexit (while her paper steadfastly denies its own pro-Clinton, anti-Trump slant throughout the last presidential campaign). 


Tuesday’s New York Times celebrated the Communist holiday May Day in its own predictable way, signing on to whatever the left was marching in outrage about this year. This time around the goals seemed a bit confused, beyond inchoate hatred for the elected president, but the paper enthusiastically played along with the “extraordinary” gatherings anyway: “On May Day, Marchers Fight for Myriad Goals,” by Jennifer Medina and Vivian Yee.


New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani made the front of the Arts section Tuesday with her disgusted take on a new biography of Barack Obama by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Garrow, “On Obama; And On, And On, And ON -- A biography takes a long, long look at the former president’s early years.”


The New York Times is rather desperately still trying to make the idea of a recent, election-related surge in hate crimes stick, even after so many infamous “hate crimes” have been exposed as hoaxes in the Trump era. The latest, from reporter Audra D.S. Burch, made the front of the National section of Monday’s Times, covering three-fourths of the page: “Lawmakers Seek Harsher Hate Crime Penalties.”


Saturday’s New York Times featured the paper unwittingly showing its anti-Trump tilt, with a full page "story' featuring the first 99 days of headlines from its coverage of the Trump Administration, in “(Almost) 100 Days Of Front Page Headlines About No. 45.” While the Times obviously thinks its headlines stand by themselves as some objective and reliable historical recording of the ebb and flow of the Trump Administration, in fact the word, subject, and tonal choices reveal a political double standard.


For two days running, the front page of the New York Times has delivered Democratic talking points about President Trump’s new tax cut plans. The banner over Thursday’s front page said it all, in big bold letters: “Tax Overhaul Would Aid Wealthiest.” The coverage lacked the vital context, pointed out by James Piereson in the Weekly Standard this week, that taxes have already been slashed for the poor and middle class, and it’s hard to structure a tax cut that doesn’t “favor the wealthy” in raw monetary terms. 


The New York Times has an unhealthy obsession with firearms. Recently the paper came in for mockery for a signed editorial that actually attacked the National Rifle Association for featuring guns in its gun museum. On Wednesday it trustingly latched on to a dubious study showing a correlation between gun ownership and road rage killings. Christopher Mele penned “Firearms and Drivers, A Lethal Combination – Rapid Rise in Road Rage Since 2014.”


Television critic James Poniewozik was featured on the front of the New York Times Arts section on Tuesday with another look by the paper at the “newly relevant” Hulu version of the feminist dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The Trump-baiting headline: "Making Dystopia Fresh Again -- Drawing on an Atwood novel that feels newly relevant." And another bogus lefty reference to current events is snuck in: Offred is a captive. Nevertheless, she persists...."


The New York Times is still treating FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the case of Hillary Clinton’s emails as a leading factor in her loss. But the 7,500-word lead story in Sunday’s New York Times: “In Trying to Avoid Politics, Comey Shaped an Election – Behind-the-Scenes Handling of 2 Inquiries Thrust F.B.I. Into Center of Race” also contained a hidden “bombshell” that the Times should acknowledge to defend its own journalistic integrity against Democratic criticism.


After a series of phony “hate crimes” supposedly inspired by Donald Trump’s election, the liberal media obsession with uncovering an epidemic of anti-immigrant violence in Trump’s America has died down somewhat. But on Monday, Geeta Anand reported from Mumbai that the coverage of alleged racial and ethnic attacks in the United States has had an effect -- though of course Anand blamed Trump, not her media colleagues: “For Indians, America Under Trump Is a Land of Vanished Opportunity."


New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd is on a roll. Last week she criticized the paper’s op-ed page for its whitewash of an op-ed about a Palestinian hunger strike to protest supposedly arbitrary arrests by Israel. The paper failed to mention why contributor Marwan Barghouti was in prison: He was convicted of five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Her latest weekly column for the Sunday Review weighed how effectively the paper had burst its “hermetic bubble” in the first 100 days of the Trump administration: “New Voices, but Will They Be Heard?”  


Since when does modern poetry make the front page? When it can be used to attack President Trump. The front of Saturday’s New York Times featured the breaking news that poets don’t like him. It's a convenient excuse to mainline left-wing anger straight onto the front of the paper, and proving it will leave no angle behind in its quest to denormalize the president: “American Poets, Refusing to Go Gentle, Rage Against the Right.”


Amanda Taub’s “Interpreter” piece on the upcoming election in France, in Friday’s New York Times was snottily headlined “A Small French Town Infused With Us-vs.-Them Politics.” That town, Frejus, was no doubt also infused with current events, as suggested by the Times’ own lead story on Friday: “Gunman In Paris Shoots Officer; Terrorism Seen.” Taub managed to completely ignore that issue in favor of condescending theories about France’s “us and them” ethnocentrism, making Taub’s think piece chiding the town’s punitive politics (doubtless written before the attack) look both out of date and sanctimoniously naïve.


Is there any more the media can do to promote a new Hulu show, The Handmaid’s Tale, as an ominous parallel to the Donald Trump administration? Yes, apparently: A feature on the front of next Sunday’s New York Times Arts section, yet again promoting the show, based on the dystopian feminist novel by Margaret Atwood, which drops on Hulu April 26. Katrina Onstad, a Canadian journalist and movie critic, filed from the fraught set in Toronto earlier this year, after the trauma and travesty of Trump’s victory. 


Reporter Somini Sengupta continued demonstrating her strange hostility toward Nikki Haley, the U.S envoy to the United Nations, in “Trump Envoy Aims to Show That Rights Are a Priority” in Wednesday’s New York Times. The text box read: “A discussion in the Security Council draws criticism.” It’s a follow-up to Sengupta’s previously, and widely condemned, Haley-bashing and ardent defense of the United Nations, which is evidently not at all “corrupt” like Haley rudely claimed. Sengupta tried to put Haley on the backfoot from the lead in her new story.


Georgia Democrat and newly minted liberal hero Jon Ossoff may have failed to take advantage of glowing media coverage and huge out-of-state donations by falling short in a special election to fill a congressional seat, but Thursday’s New York Times front page used Ossoff’s moral victory (?) to spur national Democrats to fight in another special election, for a House seat in Montana. Inside the paper, reporter Richard Fausset hyped Ossoff optimism even after he failed to win on Tuesday. 


More strange new respect for the faithful on display in Monday’s New York Times, which suddenly gets religion when it is helpful to the political left (gay marriage and abortion opponents still reliably receive the Darth Vader treatment). The front of the National section featured reporter Fernanda Santos in Yuma, Arizona on a collection of Latino ministers “Preaching Gospel of Salvation for the Colorado River.” The text box: “Pastors pack sermons with tips to save a struggling waterway.” The new devil? Climate change.


New York Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis took a third bite of the chocolate Easter Egg on Tuesday, writing her third prominently featured story about the supposedly troubled White House Easter Egg hunt. (Yes, three stories, plus a video.) Her review of the Easter Sunday festivities on the South Lawn of the White House made the front of Tuesday’s National section: “Putting Aside Red vs. Blue for a Day (in Favor of Pastels) – Planned Late and Pared Back, Egg Roll Still Draws Thousands to the White House.” She took a lame metaphor for White House disarray and rolled with it.


You know it’s getting serious when the New York Times is sending its media columnist on a mission to Moscow, to find ominous parallels between the state of the Russian press, squelched and persecuted under Vladimir Putin, and the American media. Jim Rutenberg filed a 1,600-word report for Monday’s New York Times. The Times doesn’t do much these days to hide its adamant opposition and hostility to Trump, and neither did Rutenberg’s story and headline: “In Russia, a Pliant Press That Trump So Craves.” Could it happen here?