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Times News Columns Join Anti-Trump Resistance

September 26, 2020 at 10:50 pm

The approaching election seems to be tempting the New York Times into partisanship.

Here are three recent examples where the Times seems to have stopped even attempting to appear neutral.

Example No. 1. A Times news article headlined "Justice Dept. Aids Trump's False Narrative on Voting." This almost comically tilted article begins:

In the effort led by President Trump to create a misleading impression of widespread voter fraud, administration and campaign officials have seized on nine mail-in military ballots in a Pennsylvania county that Mr. Trump won by 20 points in 2016.

Federal officials have disclosed that they are investigating whether local elections officials improperly discarded the ballots, at least seven of which were cast for Mr. Trump, they said.

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Double Standard on China

September 18, 2020 at 9:08 am

Today's New York Times offers a rare opportunity for a side-by-side comparison of how the newspaper covers Democrats and Republicans with similar policies.

Here is a passage from a Times news article about President Trump proposing an arms sale to Taiwan: "The proposed sales come as President Trump and his campaign strategists try to paint him as tough on China in the run-up to the election in November. They are eager to divert the conversation among American voters away from Mr. Trump's vast failures on the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, and to paper over his constant praise for Xi Jinping, China's authoritarian leader, and his earlier encouragement or tolerance of some of Mr. Xi's most repressive policies, including in the regions of Xinjiang and Hong Kong."

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World War II

September 7, 2020 at 10:13 am

Over at the Algemeiner, I have a piece headlined "New York Times Marks World War II Anniversary With Harsh Criticism of U.S."


How To Help

August 30, 2020 at 10:42 am

With about seven posts in the past couple of weeks, this site has been more active this past month than it has been recently. If you like what you are seeing and want it to continue, please help make it possible by becoming a paying subscriber. The "How to Help" page is here. Thanks in advance.


How Trump Got Elected

August 30, 2020 at 9:42 am

A subheadline in the New York Times magazine, over an article about Donald Trump, Jr., reports, "Of all the president's children, he has the strongest connection to the politics, voters and online disinformation ecosystem that put his father in the White House."

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The Nuclear Clock

August 30, 2020 at 9:24 am

In this Sunday's New York Times Book Review, reviewing Lesley M.M. Blume's Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World, William Langewiesche writes: "The subject of nuclear war is too important not to fascinate, and though we have avoided it for 75 years, the possibility now looms closer than before."

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A Fair Trial for Steve Bannon

August 22, 2020 at 10:55 pm

A New York Times editorial, "Steve Bannon's Art of the Grift," says in part:

The looming question, however, is whether President Trump will keep Mr. Bannon at arm's length. Americans can feel little confidence that Mr. Bannon will receive a fair trial and, if convicted, a fair punishment. By commuting Roger Stone's sentence in July, Mr. Trump demonstrated a willingness to shelter his current and former associates from the legal consequences of their actions.

The Times' signal of concern that Bannon "receive a fair trial," is touching, but the newspaper sure isn't helping matters by running an editorial denouncing him as a grifter before he's even had the chance to mount a defense.

Do the Times editorialists really lack confidence that the federal judge to whom the case is assigned, U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres, an Obama appointee, will give Bannon a fair trial? Or is the issue that a Manhattan trial jury won't be fair to Bannon?

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August 20, 2020 at 8:09 am

A Times news article reports on the City of New York moving homeless people, some of them mentally ill, substance-abusing, or sex offenders, at government expense into hotels on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It includes this sentence: "The owner of a well-known French bistro, Nice Matin, which adjoins the Lucerne, said he believed the harsh rhetoric among some in the neighborhood had hurt business."

If the bistro is indeed "well-known," it's unnecessary to inform Times readers of that—they already know, so it is redundant. "Well-known" is like the word "famous"—in cases where it's accurate, it's almost always unnecessary.

The same redundancy objection applies, by the way, to the term "French bistro." Are there non-French bistros? It is late August so maybe all the editors who would ordinarily catch this sort of thing are on vacation, but maybe even at peak levels this is just about what you can expect of Times editing care these days. Would this sort of thing ever have gotten through back in the days when Allan M. Siegal was running the copy desk?

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Susan B. Anthony

August 19, 2020 at 8:36 am

A New York Times news article on President Trump's announcement of a presidential pardon of Susan B. Anthony reports: "Unlike other people the president has pardoned, Anthony is not someone whose work Mr. Trump has spoken of during his campaign or his presidency."

Trump's March 10 2017 Weekly Address said, "We are a greater, stronger, and more just Nation today because of women like Clara Barton, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and so many others."

In a March 2017 panel discussion on women's empowerment, Trump said, "we've had leaders like Susan B. Anthony—have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?—[laughter]—I'm shocked that you've heard of her—who dreamed of a much more equal and fair future, an America where women themselves, as she said, 'helped to make laws and elect the lawmakers.'"

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David Brooks Gets Samuel Adams Wrong

August 14, 2020 at 9:58 am

David Brooks writes:

But if you look at who actually leads change over the course of American history, it's not the radicals. At a certain point, radicals give way to the more prudent and moderate wings of their coalitions.

In the 1770s, the rabble-rousing Samuel Adams gave way to the more moderate John Adams (not to mention George Washington, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton).

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The Times Spins for Kamala Harris

August 12, 2020 at 8:22 am

The New York Times greets the selection of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's running mate with three above-the-fold front-page articles, and all three offer an assessment of her ideology.

The lead Times news article describes her as "A pragmatic moderate who spent most of her career as a prosecutor."

A "news analysis" (as if the other articles are analysis-free) reports that Biden and Harris are "two moderates with relatively cautious political instincts."

And a profile of Harris describes her as "cautious on substantive issues more often than many liberals would like."

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Harvard's Mission

July 12, 2020 at 11:07 am

A New York Times article about how Harvard is treating its students, particularly first generation and low income students, during the pandemic reports: "some scholars say a fundamental tension remains between the school's explicit mission in the first centuries of its existence — to reproduce the white gentry by educating its sons — and its stated role now, as a beacon of diversity and democracy where a prestigious education is available to any and all who merit acceptance."

The Times doesn't name any of these "scholars." Just for the record, though, it is not accurate that the school's "explicit mission in the first centuries of its existence" was "to reproduce the white gentry by educating its sons."

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Times News Article Minimizes Church Arson

June 4, 2020 at 10:44 pm

A New York Times news article headlined, "Trump and Aides Try to Change the Narrative of the White House Protests" begins:

WASHINGTON — President Trump and his aides spent much of Wednesday trying to rewrite history, claiming that Mr. Trump was merely "inspecting" a bunker last week during riots over the death of George Floyd and insisting falsely that peaceful protesters near the White House were attacking the police when the authorities used chemical agents to make them move so that Mr. Trump could have his picture taken at a nearby church.

Eventually the Times gets down to explaining what the White House "rewrite" of the history of the "peaceful protesters" amounts to. The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, the Times reports, "cited the fact that St. John's, where Mr. Trump posed for the cameras, 'was burning' the night before."

The Times news article corrects McEnanay on that point: "In fact, there was a relatively small fire in the basement that was quickly extinguished."

Glad they cleared that one up!

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February 27, 2020 at 5:48 am

A front-page Times news article reports about comments by President Trump about U.S. Supreme Court justices:

Weighing in on a domestic matter as he began a day of ceremony, meetings and a joint appearance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Mr. Trump seized on a dissenting opinion last week by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and a years-old comment by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to demand that the two Democratic-appointed jurists recuse themselves from any cases involving him.

The "years-old" part of that made me chuckle, particularly as Vice President Biden has made assailing Trump's years-old comments about a Charlottesville, Va., racist march a key part of his presidential campaign. The Times regularly trots out "years-old" comments as a way to criticize men targeted in the me too movement, without so heavy-handedly dismissing them as such. It seemed like the Times was saying there's some sort of especially short statute of limitations that applies to comments made by Justice Ginsburg.


Prince Sulzberger Praises Meghan and Harry

January 11, 2020 at 10:50 pm

The New York Times — currently published by A.G. Sulzberger, the sixth member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family to control the paper since Adolph Ochs acquired it in 1896 — has an editorial headlined "Good for Meghan and Harry," asserting that "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are right to blaze their own trail." The editorial praises them for "renouncing some level of privilege to seek their fortune in the real world," noting their plan "to become financially independent." It described them as having been "trapped in a gilded cage."

It'd be interesting to see the Sulzberger family members who are now laboring in the family business follow Meghan and Harry's example of renouncing privilege to seek their fortune in the real world. The parallel move would be for A.G. and his cousins to quit the New York Times and go work at, or start, another news organization or media company. "Blaze their own trail," indeed.

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