The New York Times’ crusade to use the coronavirus to cripple its ideological enemies continued on Thursday’s front page with reporter Jeremy Peters’ over-excited hit piece “Pro-Trump Media’s Virus Pivot: From Alarm to Denial to Blame.” The subtitle: “Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing commentators turned a pandemic into a battle of us vs. them -- the kind of battle President Trump has waged for much of his life.”
The New York Times headline echoed its hostile lead story Wednesday: “Trump Exerts His Power With a Spree of Pardons – Critics Denounce Clemency for Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik as Undeserved” by Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman. Catch the echo of “crime spree” in the headline? "But the president’s announcements on Tuesday were mostly aimed at wiping clean the slates of rich, powerful and well-connected white men." But the Times took a different tone when it was Barack Obama making controversial pardons and commutations:
The New York Times, which constantly lambastes Trump for spreading lies, is now critical of Trump for bringing actual news to public attention: “Trump, Once a Fan of Stop-and-Frisk, Uses It to Cudgel Bloomberg.” Notice the word choice in the online headlines: “Trump Takes On Bloomberg and Once Again Hijacks a News Cycle -- Like an assignment editor at a tabloid newspaper, the president poured accelerant on a negative story and got it trending on Twitter and cable news.” “Hijacks a news cycle” by pointing out controversial comments made by a potential rival?
Since the beginning of the trial to impeach President Donald Trump, the New York Times has eagerly trumpeted the case laid out by the House impeachment managers, especially Rep. Adam Schiff of California. Congressional reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg gushed over Schiff, who had “secured his place as a liberal rock star -- and villain to conservatives -- with the fiery closing argument he delivered Thursday night, imploring senators to convict and remove Mr. Trump because ‘you know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country.’”
Alisha Haridasani Gupta, who writes the New York Times’ feminist newsletter “In Her Words,” made Page Two of Tuesday’s edition with “Powering the Democratic Party.” She talked to the Times' Lisa Lerer about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It's a truncated, version of a month-old Q&A from Gupta’s newsletter, suggesting its sole function is to welcome back “powerful” Pelosi as the impeachment fight kicks in again. Gupta opened with an approving anecdote of a politician attacking a press member, a seemingly odd position for a journalist to take -- until you realize it was a conservative journalist under attack.
The New York Times offered up a silly time-waster of a “news analysis” from Charlie Savage and Michael Shear in Saturday’s paper, one that elevated Trump’s mean tweets about former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to “witness tampering" They huffed: “President Trump on Friday attacked Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine he summarily removed this year, even as she testified in the impeachment inquiry about how she felt threatened by Mr. Trump. Did his behavior amount to witness tampering?"
President Trump’s dangerous Twitter. That was the paper’s overriding obsession in Sunday’s edition. The enormous story launched on the top half of the front page and jumped to a special 10-page section, “The Twitter Presidency.” The timing is apt, considering the paper is pressuring Twitter to be better than Facebook and actually squelch political messaging as the 2020 campaign nears. One reason why Trump’s tweets are under attack was this line, which appeared in print over a graphic of 5889 little rectangle shapes representing Trump tweets (an undeniable wise use of time, energy, and ink): “Since he became president, the most frequent targets of his ire have been Democrats, investigations and the news media.”
In the past couple of weeks, New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis have made TV appearances to promote their book Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration. In appearances on CNN and MSNBC, anchors have underlined revelations that President Trump suggested the extreme step of government agents shooting immigrants in the legs -- often leaving out the notion that it would be in response to immigrants throwing large rocks...and of course, often leaving out the word "illegal" to characterize the immigrants.
The New York Times has learned its lesson on front-page headlines, making sure it injected plenty of anti-Trump context to lead its Thursday edition, after being vilified by the left for insufficient hostility toward Trump (and quickly changing a banner headline) on Tuesday. The headline over Thursday’s lead story posed no such danger to liberal groupthink, as it dutifully countered everything Trump did with a liberal rebuttal: “President Uses A Day Of Healing To Stoke Discord – Trip To Ohio And Texas – Trump’s Anger at Critics Eclipses His Gestures Toward Victims.”
The New York Times’s lead story Monday morning was of course the mass murder of 29 people in two mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. The second paragraph cast some blame at “angry words directed at immigrants...by right-wing pundits and President Trump.” The theme of Monday’s paper was to tie President Trump to the El Paso mass murderer. Peter Baker and Michael Shear’s “news analysis,” “In Texas Gunman’s Manifesto, An Echo of Trump’s Language,” handed flailing Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke (and several other Democratic opportunists) a microphone to blame Trump.
New York Times reporter Michael Shear analyzed Donald Trump’s supposed admiration for strongmen, turning President Reagan’s admonition on its head against Trump: “For President, It’s Just ‘Trust,’ No ‘Verify.” Many conservatives have criticized Trump for his credulous remarks on what North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un knew about the treatment of American prisoner Otto Warmbier. But it’s a bit rich to hear the Times accusing someone else of embracing “strongmen," as Shear does: "...in more than two years in the Oval Office, the president has demonstrated an unmistakable pattern: He tends to believe what strongmen say."
Thursday’s Inside Politics led off with more kvetching about every aspect of President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to U.S. troops in Germany and Iraq, including how he didn’t meet with the Iraqi Prime Minister. Conveniently, they downplayed the positive symbolism of having a president visit troops and footnoted the similarities between Trump and Barack Obama in not meeting face-to-face with Iraqi leaders.