On Christmas evening, appearing in print on Sunday, December 26, Jeremy Peters at the New York Times pretended that the term "fake news" has only gained common currency very recently during the social media era. He also effectively contended that the establishment press holds ownership rights over the term, claiming that "conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. (Donald) Trump himself ... have appropriated" it.

Peters, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 and arguably knows better, could not be more wrong. Center-right media critics, pundits and personalities have used the term "fake news" to describe establishment press reporting for at least a decade, usually with total justification. It's the press which is "appropriating" the "fake news" term in the name of marginalizing and silencing non-"mainstream" news sources.

Former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston has found a calling, and it's to take down Donald Trump by any means necessary, including assigning the R-word — racist — to the President-elect's desired policies. In his most recent attack during an MSNBC interview, Johnston effectively smeared every American who wants to see Obamacare repealed as either a racist or someone providing aid and comfort to racists and white supremacists.

I've been trying to resist taking satisfaction in David Cay Johnston's utter humiliation on his first assignment at Reuters. Y'know, there but for the grace of God, etc. I do wish him well, though I question whether the feeling is mutual. More important, I hope he recognizes the need to go into journalistic rehab. My guess is that he doesn't.

The former New York Times journalist/reporter (whatever, David) and yours truly had an extended online dustup four years ago when I demonstrated Johnston's in my view sloppy, foundation-limited, and biased reporting at the Old Gray Lady (graphic of first few paragraphs as originally presented; current link) in an item about what had happened to Americans' incomes between 2000 and 2005 (errors summarized here in "Top Six Errors Committed by David Cay Johnston and/or the New York Times in Their Income Growth Report"; I noted a seventh later).

Let's go through the development and destruction of Johnston's maiden effort at Reuters.

A former gridiron star really ought to know better than to spike the ball in the wrong end zone.

Appearing more subdued than he had on "The Ed Show" just 24 hours earlier, MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz last night admitted making an embarrassing error about News Corporation, parent company of Schultz nemesis Fox News Channel.

On "The Ed Show" July 12, Schultz claimed he knew why Fox pundits such as Bill O'Reilly oppose President Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy (video after page break) --

Do you read Ayn Rand? Do you enjoy her novels? You do? Well then, you're clearly a proponent of - or at the very least sympathize with - domestic terrorism. That, at least, is the logic put forth by Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston on last night's "Ed Show," in what may be the most absurd, laughable attempt to demonize Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to date.

Johnston insisted that Ryan, by requiring his staff to read Ayn Rand novels - a claim itself divorced from reality - was essentially endorsing terrorism by "hold[ing] out as a model people who commit felonies like blowing up buildings," a reference to Howard Roark, the main character of Rand's novel "The Fountainhead" (video below the break, via former NBer Jeff Poor).

CBS News on Sunday morning managed to examine incongruities in the U.S. tax system, highlighting those – including a former New York Times reporter – who think the wealthy aren’t paying enough, but without bothering to point out the disproportionate share of the income tax paid by those at the top nor how more than a third of those who file an income tax return pay nothing or even get more back than they put in.

Reporter Seth Doane lamented the declining top tax rate: “It declined slowly through the '60s and '70s until 1982 under Ronald Reagan when it fell to 50 percent, eventually working its way down to the current rate of 35 percent.”

In his CBS News Sunday Morning piece, Doane turned to ex-New York Times reporter David Johnston for the usual liberal clap-trap: “All the data are overwhelmingly showing that for the last 30 years money has been flowing upward. It's not trickle down economics. It's Niagara up.” Including the FICA tax, Johnston complained: “If you're a single person making $500 a week, your total federal tax burden is significantly higher than someone who makes a million dollars a day.”

If this keeps up, the shrinking number of guests on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show could dwindle even more.

For the second time this week, a Maddow invitee offered an awkward contrast to what Maddow claimed earlier in the same segment.

On her show Monday, Maddow cited three reports claiming that $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by Republicans on Capitol Hill would lead to massive job losses -- followed by economist Robert Frank telling Maddow minutes later the reductions amount to "just a drop in the bucket."

On Friday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow accurately blamed a bill enacted in 1999 for today's financial crisis, but in so doing exclusively pointed accusatory fingers at its Republican sponsors while totally ignoring the overwhelming Democrat support it received in both Chambers of Congress.

Maybe even more egregious, she chose not to address it being signed into law by President Bill Clinton until a guest inconveniently brought it up.

Of course, NewsBusters has been apprising readers about the significance of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (aka Gramm-Leach-Bliley) for many months, including articles on the subject here and here.

With this in mind, despite Maddow's supposed intellectual prowess, she's not only extremely late to this party, but she also apparently thinks only the sponsors of a bill are responsible for its content and not those that vote for or eventually sign it into law (video part I embedded right, part II below the fold with partial transcript):

DavidCayJohnston0808.jpegA former New York Times investigative journalist who wrote primarily on business and taxation will soon be speaking at a "progressive" gathering.

Further, in his inaugural column at a post-Times gig, he misrepresented the nature of the 1980 and 2000 tax-cut proposals by the Republican presidential candidates.

Finally, in another post-Times tax column, he used vitriolic class warfare-based language in analyzing matters relating to tax compliance.

Surprised? If you're familiar with the work of David Cay Johnston from when he toiled at the Times, probably not.

Last night, it occurred to me, as I was preparing an e-mail to notify New York Times business columnist David Cay Johnston about updates to yesterday's original posts (NewsBusters; BizzyBlog) about his "smaller average incomes" report and a new source data update post, that I should bring a festering Times-related business reporting matter to his attention.

So I did (links to previous NewsBusters, BizzyBlog and other posts not in the e-mail have been added by me; Mr. Johnston was advised that this portion of the e-mail would be posted):


..... Until earlier this year, I really didn't have too adverse of an opinion on the hard business reporting at the Times (outside of Paul Krugman, but he's a commentator). I've usually seen AP as consistently worse on hard biz-econ news.

Then, in February, Times reporter David Leonhardt told readers that manufacturing was in a recession. Not heading towards one. Not on the verge of one. Nope -- IN one.