Reporters and columnists took a petulant tone in Wednesday’s New York Times in the aftermath of the Mueller report and the Trump Administration’s triumphant reaction. One can visualize gritted teeth and pursed lips of the paper’s journalists reporting on Trump administration insiders, celebrating vindication, But fear not, there is hope for the Democrats. Wednesday’s lead story, “Move to Nullify Health Care Act Roils Democrats,” had this cheery text box summary: “A chance to shift the conversation from the Mueller report.”
With the Mueller report out and the top-line conclusions (no “collusion,” no obstruction of justice) thoroughly chewed over, the New York Times is clearly disappointed. A “live update” featured these petulant subheads, blaming the Republicans for taking political advantage of Trump’s vindication: “Trump immediately attacks ‘the other side.’ "“Minutes after the details are released, Republicans say it’s time to move on." And the paper’s former Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt bashed Attorney General Barr to pressure him to release the full report or else be condemned as Trump’s lackey.
After 22 months of speculation, special counsel Robert Mueller released to Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday afternoon his report on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election (which the press and Democrats winnowed down to the catch-all accusation of “collusion”). While the report itself is under wraps, thus far it appears Mueller and his team have wrapped up their investigation without charging any Americans for conspiring with Russia. Saturday’s New York Times front page was laden with petulance and disappointment.
A common complaint from people in the “mainstream media” is that President Trump gives special access to correspondents at the Fox News Channel while slamming other outlets as “the enemy of the people” because they produce “fake news.” However, these reporters often ignore the fact that the Republican occupant of the White House also makes regular connections with key figures in other media organizations ranging from newspapers to online press websites.
There were lots of lefty angles to the New York Times coverage of President Trump’s well-received State of the Union address. White House reporter Peter Baker opened with a dig: "President Trump...signaled that he would continue to wage war for the hard-line immigration policies that have polarized the capital and the nation. " A fact-check article on the speech insisted socialism wasn’t the problem in Venezuela’s circle down the drain. And Annie Karni, lunging to prove Trump wrong, ignorantly asserted on Twitter: "Trump just ad-libbed 'they came down from heaven' when quoting a Holocaust survivor watching American soldiers liberate Dachau. Jews don't believe in heaven."
In an outburst on Twitter on Saturday, NBC moderator Chuck Todd lashed out at “those trying to tar all media” with the dubious Buzzfeed story by suggesting they “aren’t interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves.” That irritation carried over to Sunday’s Meet the Press where he ended the show by decrying those people once again, despite “all media” pouncing on the now-debunked report to push impeachment for President Trump.
Though not as hyperbolic or inconsolable as CNN and MSNBC were earlier in the day, Thursday’s Hardball still featured host Chris Matthews revolting over the President’s last-minute decision to cancel Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s overseas trip, dubbing it a “cheap shot” letter that “doesn’t look good for the country.” Beyond that, Matthews speculated without evidence about what would happen “if something goes wrong” with government workers furloughed and stressed.
How does the New York Times (and especially reporter Peter Baker) treat accusations that the F.B.I. overstepped their authority in a politicized effort to take down a president? That depends on who is president. On the front page of Monday’s New York Times, Peter Baker’s “news analysis,” “Trump Faces ‘Nonstop’ War For Survival,” used an overhyped Times blockbuster about an FBI counter-intelligence investigation to spread the idea of Donald Trump as a “Russian agent.” Yet Baker took the completely opposite tack on the F.B.I. when the bureau was accused of abuse of authority against Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
New York Times reporter Peter Baker marked the ceremony for former President George H. W. Bush on the front of Thursday’s edition, but his main focus was on attacking one of the attendants: President Trump, through biased interpretation of body language and some light mind-reading. At a moment that promised bipartisan respect, the Times wants to deepen the very divisions it pretends to deplore. Baker condescended: "[Historian John Meacham] also essentially explained Mr. Bush’s thousand-lights phrase to Mr. Trump."
It was a funeral for former President George H.W. Bush but all the MSNBC Deadline White House panel could focus on was Trump, Trump, Trump. Any mention of the recently deceased was only in relation to President Donald Trump. So what did Trump do at the funeral that caused such obsession over him? Actually, as they admit, nothing. He just quietly sat there but that was enough for host Nicole Wallace and her panelists Peter Baker, Michael Beschloss, and Eugene Robinson to analyze what they supposed was going on in Trump's mind.
New York Times reporter Peter Baker tastelessly marked the beginning of the four-day commemoration of the life of former President George H.W. Bush by....whining about the “dog whistle” racist Willie Horton ads from Bush’s successful 1988 campaign against Democrat Michael Dukakis. For 30 years, media conventional wisdom has been appalled at the supposedly racist campaign ads from the Bush camp criticizing the irresponsibly lax prison program of Massachusetts, which featured the story of Willie Horton, a convicted murderer who raped and killed a woman in Maryland while on a weekend furlough.
On Sunday night’s miniseries The Clinton Affair, A&E took potshots at conservatives in their attempt to create a sympathetic portrayal of Bill and Hillary Clinton. While praising Clinton as a feminist president, the network gave soundbites to Democrats attacking anyone on the right who dared to criticize the political couple for their numerous scandals.