Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
New York Times reporter Isabella Grullon Paz devoted nearly 1,500 words (plus three flattering photographs of her subjects) in her Wednesday edition profile of the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Ohio State University: “Why Some Young Voters Bolt the Democratic Party For Democratic Socialism.” The long story was long on pushing the students' youthful enthusiasm, and entirely absent of questioning the wisdom of trying to outflank the Democratic Party, already careening toward the left on gun control, abortion, immigration, and transgenderism.
The latest New York Times Sunday Review was graced by Justin Gillis, who served as chief environmental reporter for the paper until late 2017 and is now a contributing opinion writer free to spout in even more partisan and hysterical tones about the “troglodytes” and dangerous deniers who don’t see impending climate catastrophe: “Our Climate Future Has Arrived.” The online headline deck was a call to vote Democrat: “Fire, Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived -- The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.” The tone was confidently alarmist: "Now we suffer the consequences."
Newsweek reporter Rosie McCall offered a conspiracy theory as to how a 16-year-old environmental activist somehow failed to win the Nobel Peace Prize this year: “Greta Thunberg Snubbed for Nobel Peace Prize by Committee Run by Norway, One of the World's Biggest Oil and Natural Gas Exporters.” This new theory comes courtesy of a magazine fresh off breaking the news that opening tanning salons in urban neighborhoods were a plot to give gay men skin cancer, or something: "for many, Norway's decision to give the award to a climate activist would have been an important symbolic gesture."
New York Times political reporter Thomas Kaplan performed impressive damage control on behalf of rising Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday. But he really raised his game in his Friday “news analysis” entitled, “As Warren Rises, Republicans Probe Her Biography for Points of Attack,” which was even more shameless in its feminist favoritism toward Warren. Kaplan hurled the “sexism” card at the GOP for daring to show Warren lied about the circumstances of her leaving a teaching position in 1971.The text box: “Looking to a tactic that is often used against women.”
In a sign of the challenges ahead for Trump from social media censors and their journalistic allies as the 2020 campaign heats up, the New York Times is pouting that Facebook won’t censor a Trump campaign ad attacking Joe Biden over his son’s sketchy dealings in Ukraine. Reporter Cecilia Kang fretted that “Facebook Won’t Pull Ads That Lie.” After avoiding it for decades, the Times has embraced the word “lie” during Donald Trump’s administration, and now uses it in a headline to pressure Facebook, in effect working the refs for Joe Biden and Democrats in general.
New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan played damage control for Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren in “Warren Details Account Of Losing Teaching Job Because of a Pregnancy.” It turns out Warren has told two different stories over the years about leaving her teaching position. Previously she had claimed she left because of insufficient educational qualifications. But later she claimed she was fired for being pregnant. But the story’s headlines gave no hint of a possible contradiction in Warren’s account of her “firing” over the years. The Times instead feverishly tried to protect her reputation, even talking on Twitter of Warren “refuting a conservative news site's challenge of her account” when she did no such thing.
Extinction Rebellion, a burgeoning radical group of self-proclaimed environmentalists, that originated in England in the summer of 2018, now has a following among the hard left in America, as they do the usual left-wing protest things, like disrupting the commutes of ordinary people trying to get through the day. In two reportesr the New York Times blandly took notes on the truly bizarre, End Times-apocalyptic nature of this movement (which may not be as much about “saving the planet” after all), and tried to mainstream the disturbing group best they could.
New York Times reporter Jennifer Vineyard had a rundown of commentary on the controversial new movie “Joker,” a grittier-than-usual take on how the clown prince of crime came to be. Predictably, Vineyard hit all the liberal panic buttons in “‘Joker’:" Is it incel propaganda? Might it even be dangerous? The film arrived in theaters last week accompanied by F.B.I. warnings about the threat of related gun violence..."
The latest brand of anti-gay hate crime is sinister in its stealth, as reported by Kashmira Gander, features writer at Newsweek: “Tanning Salons Could Be Targeting Gay Men by Opening in LGBT Neighborhoods, Putting Them at Risk of Cancer.” “Targeting”? Homophobia has certainly had to adapt in this day and age; instead of committing hate crimes, gay-bashers are apparently investing in tanning salons. It’s not just an over-dramatic headline writer at fault. The bizarre “targeting” accusation recurred several times in the text itself.
The scuzzy new “supervillain” movie "Joker” has caused a strange moral panic among the left, who are equating the empathetic portrayal of the Joker to sympathy for the circumstance of “incels” – troubled men rejected by potential sexual partners. But New Yorker critic Richard Brody found a novel left-wing angle in his attack. He constructs an edifice of racism, plucking specific notorious attacks from the pages of New York City’s notorious crime history and overlays them on specific, superficially similar violent scenes from the movie -- then nervily called out the filmmakers for not hewing to the truth of the actual events (again, in a fictional movie about a comic-book character).
John Branch’s ostensible sports column on the front of Thursday’s New York Times Sports section welcomed the return of pro basketball, “Unlike Most Leagues, the N.B.A. Gets Real.” But Branch is being slippery. When he lauds “meaningful conversations” he appaerntly only means liberal political activism. For instance: "[Steve] Kerr...does not keep his gun-control beliefs to himself. [Gregg] Popovich fearlessly chimes in on politics. LeBron James and others expressed support for the Black Lives Matter protests against police violence."
The New York Times has used the term “unsubstantiated” with embarrassing regularity to talk about the charges of Biden family nepotism highlighted by President Trump. Virtually every Times story on the Biden allegations employs that adjective as a warning, signaling Republican partisanship. It’s quite the double standard. The sharp contrast was also demonstrated during the 2004 presidential campaign pitting incumbent George W. Bush against Democratic Sen. John Kerry, whose Vietnam war record came under assault by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. “Unsubstantiated” was also the paper’s favorite word to describe the allegations.
New York Times reporter Katie Rogers rebuked President Trump for his use of the word “treason” to attack his political enemies on Twitter in “As Impeachment Inquiry Advances, President’s Language Takes a Dark Turn.” Rogers was critical of Trump’s overheated Twitter account, where he has been attacking Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who’s leading the impeachment inquiry.
Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent, reviewed Tom Lobianco’s book “Piety and Power -- Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House,” but reserved his most hostile, pungent criticism for Pence’s boss: "How does a devoted evangelical Christian serve a foulmouthed, thrice-married vulgarian who boasts of grabbing women by their private parts and paid hush money to a porn star alleging an extramarital affair?"
New York Times Supreme Court beat reporter Adam Liptak used his “Sidebar” analysis to lapse into liberal judicial activist mode, praising Obama-appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s unjudicial public opposition to the death penalty, “In Death Penalty Cases, Sotomayor Is Alone in ‘Bearing Witness.’” She was praised for maintaining "a sort of vigil in the capital cases other justices treat as routine." Liptak shows passionate devotion to the liberal side of the judicial decisions he covers, especially when that side loses.
New York Times reporters David Sanger and Neil Genzlinger marked the passing of Joseph Wilson, who became a media hero in 2003, when he published an op-ed in the New York Times challenging the Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq. He became a fierce anti-war activist against President Bush and the case for war against Saddam Hussein. The Times used Wilson’s death as a chance to push an incomplete, if not false, narrative regarding the evidence of Hussein’s weapons capability in the run-up to the Iraq War, just as it did at the time.
On Friday, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters wrote about the purported right-wing, talk-radio centered news bubble around the Ukraine-impeachment imbroglio -- from the confines of his left-wing Times news bubble -- in “Talk of Misinformation, Just Not a Lot of Facts.” The online headline: “‘Everything You’re Seeing Is Deception’: How Right-Wing Media Talks About Impeachment -- The pro-Trump media has wasted no time constructing its own version of events about Ukraine.” Peters confidently informed his readership: "Their narrative omits key facts." So does the Times' own version.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s push for Brexit has made the New York Times lose its wits. Reporter Benjamin Mueller filed the audacious story on Friday: “Johnson Is Told His Slurs on Opponents Could Incite Violence – Female M.P.’s Against Brexit.” The text box: “Linking a leader’s incendiary language to death threats.” Such a story takes an amazing amount to nerve for the paper to publish, given that Brexiteers have been routinely smeared in the Times. The paper has blamed Brexit for, among other things, shorter life spans; racist and Islamophobic attacks, even “Talibanization.”
The New York Times is stepping up its attack against the “right-wing media,” while ludicrously insisting that it itself is objective, which no one buys. After ostensible “news” coverage hailing 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, the editorial page devoted its entire space Friday to condemning media outlets who would question her heroism. “Climate Kids and Right-Wing Media” was the sole editorial in Friday’s edition, an unusual signed editorial from Charlie Warzel, “Opinion writer at large.” Warzel loved Thunberg, but loved her apparent defeat of the “right-wing media” even more.
The New York Times joined the rest of the mainstream press in hiding behind 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s angry, unscientific ranting before the United Nations to push a message of environmental apocalypse. Tuesday’s front-page story by “international climate reporter” Somini Sengupta and Lisa Friedman left out the full bitter flavor of Thunberg’s rant. The Times pronounced the so-called climate crisis as an undeniable scientific fact starting with the headline: “World Dawdles On Climate Aid As Clock Ticks.”