New York Times Slaps Mollie Hemingway, Ben Shapiro for Precisely Picking Apart the Left

August 5th, 2020 12:32 PM

New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters has developed a beat of targeting conservative media. On Tuesday, he went after The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway, as well as personalities Ben Shapiro and Allie Beth Stuckey, in “An Outlet for the Outrage Against Trump’s Enemies.” Peters focused predominantly on The Federalist, whose influential commentary has angered liberals since 2013.

Ms. Hemingway is part of a group of conservative commentators -- who have large social media followings, successful podcasts and daily Fox News appearances -- that has helped insulate the president and preserve his popularity with his base, even as many Americans say they are likely to vote against him in November.

What these writers and pundits don’t tend to do is make the doggedly pro-Trump defenses that appear on Breitbart and erupt from the mouth of Sean Hannity. Often, they don’t bother at all with the awkward business of trying to explain away Mr. Trump’s latest folly.

Instead, they offer an outlet for outrage against those the president has declared his enemies, often by reducing them to a culture war caricature of liberalism.

….This almost entirely white cohort of conservative commentators can spend ample time mocking the mainstream and liberal media for focusing on Mr. Trump’s racist and divisive messaging without giving nearly as much consideration to the harm caused, for instance, when he promotes a video of someone shouting “white power.”

Through this lens, Mr. Trump’s transgressions seem irrelevant compared with the manifold misdeeds of everyone from the Clintons to CNN…..

For a "culture war caricature of liberalism," just consult the internal PC squad in the Times newsroom.

Peters sketched in profiles of two other conservative personalities, Ben Shapiro and Allie Beth Stuckey, then hurled this charge.

Some media scholars see the desire to pick apart Mr. Trump’s critics as a form of entertainment disinformation. “They try to get you not to believe other kinds of information that you might hear in the larger media sphere, and it’s just fun,” said Khadijah White, a professor at Rutgers University who studies race, gender and the media….


[The Federalist’s] sweet spot is with stories that feature conservatives battling liberal politicians and journalists in a clash where questions of privilege, gender and race reveal starkly different worldviews, like Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation. (Ms. Hemingway, who wrote extensively about the Kavanaugh confirmation and co-authored a best-selling book on the hearings, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Naturally, Peters managed to skip Hemingway’s Kavanaugh-related triumph for truth over the Times. Two Times reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, co-wrote a hit piece of a book about the Kavanaugh nomination, declaring Brett Kavanaugh unfit for the Supreme Court for not admitting he’d been drunk all the way through school. 

Hemingway secured an advance copy of their book and found that a piece from the book, adapted for the newspaper, deleted a vital piece of exculpatory evidence that reduced the piece’s major charge to third-hand hearsay. Hemingway’s evidence of the paper’s lack of integrity troubled even the mainstream press.

Deborah Ramirez’s uncorroborated sexual allegation against Kavanaugh (from a dormitory party at Yale) were part of the frenzy of the Kavanaugh hearings. But under pressure, the Times was forced to update the story with facts from the book: “…the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.”

Peters piled on the unflattering adjectives (“fuming commentariat, “aggrieved opposition party”) and threw in one last laugh line: All those protests, some featuring fires set in courthouses and police stations, weren’t just “mostly peaceful,” but “overwhelmingly peaceful”! Forget all the people who have died since the violent Floyd protests began.

Republicans and the Trump campaign are pushing those themes again today, focusing on images of unrest from protests in Portland, Ore., and Seattle. But there are signs that this messaging is out of step with the majority of Americans who support the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations nationwide against racism that followed the killing of George Floyd.