Clay Waters

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Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center. His new mystery is titled Death In The Eye.

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The New York Times’ recently launched Race/Related project produced yet another piece aimed to appeal to the broad social justice warrior faction among its readership: “What Racial Terms Make You Cringe?” The short answer for over-sensitive Times reporters: Any term used in a conservative talking point. Among those “cringing” NYT staffers was immigration-beat reporter and Phoenix bureau chief Fernanda Santos, a long-time activist reporters for illegals “in the shadows,” who lectured on the evil of the term "illegal immigrants" to refer to illegal immigrants.


New York Times political reporter Jeremy Peters used the failure of President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal Obamacare in order to pile on the hostile ideological labels in his Monday post-mortem, particularly on top of those “Republican hard-liners” who don’t believe in good governance: “G.O.P., Once Unified Against Obama, Struggles for Consensus Under Trump.” In all there were 15 ideological labels in the 1100-word story: 11 “conservative” labels, two “right,” one “far right,” and one “hard-liners.” 


Nursing its liberal  obsession with “income inequality,” the New York Times made it the cover story of its Sunday Book Review. Economist Angus Deaton, who won the Nobel in 2015, penned the lead review of “The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution – Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic,” by Ganesh Sitaraman, under the headline “When the Rich Get Richer.” The online headline: “It’s Not Just Unfair: Inequality Is a Threat to Our Governance.” But Deaton showed an incredible lack of understanding of American wealth in a previous statement: “If you had to choose between living in a poor village in India and living in the Mississippi Delta or in a suburb of Milwaukee in a trailer park, I'm not sure who would have the better life."


The mainstream media’s obsession with Fox News continues, as the New York Times sends intrepid reporters into the fierce jungle-land of right-wing television to watch an entire day of it. They have escaped back with this dispatch from the front lines: “One Nation, Under Fox: 18 Hours With a Network That Shapes America -- Fox News is a singular force, crafting a searing narrative about what’s happening in the world for millions of viewers, including President Trump.” One can’t picture the Times undertaking such an expedition during the Obama years, going on a brave quest into the left-wing fever swamps of MSNBC (and CNN, and ABC...).


The New York Times engaged in some serious labeling overload (and a bit of post-mortem grave-dancing over the House Freedom Caucus) in the run-up and aftermath of the failure of Republicans in Congress to pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare. A nasty online headline no doubt brought chortles to the smug liberals who read the Times: “Republicans Land a Punch on Health Care, to Their Own Face.”

 


New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof caught “A Smell of Treason In the Air" around the Trump White House. The title is a recent quote on the Trump administration from liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, which Kristof was no doubt eager to glom onto so he didn’t have to go even further out on a leftist limb by saying it himself. Or is that odor really Kristof’s own flop sweat? Every sentence of his column is redolent with rich conspiracy theorizing and maximalist interpretation of anything a Trump associate has ever done or said, matched by a minimum of actual hard facts. The column is pleasing the paper’s lefty readers: It’s now the second-most read shared and discussed post across nytimes.com.


New York Times Katie Rogers tried to have it both ways in her story on Chelsea Clinton’s Twitter feed, claiming the Clinton daughters’ tweets were “innocent,” and forwarded advice from a Clinton friend to Chelsea’s “naysayers”: “Just unfollow.” Yet Rogers still reprinted some of Clinton’s highly politicized tweets, as if to keep her in the partisan mix anyway. Rogers’ front page Styles section report, “Calm Before the Tweet Storm – Chelsea Clinton shows a more confrontational side online,” was news-free publicity for Clinton, while avoiding controversy -- and actual news value -- like the plague


New York Times media reporter Jim Rutenberg took his usual spot on the front of Business Day on Tuesday, with a new angle in his regular hammering of Trump, this time praising “Pod Save America” (get it!?) a popular podcast under the auspices of the ironically named Crooked Media, produced by former Obama White House aides: “Opposition and a Shave – Former Obama aides use a podcast to counter Trump on his terrain (And they have advertisers.)” Go team!


New York Times arts reporter Randy Kennedy covered the controversy over the audacity of a white artist exhibiting a painting at the Whitney Biennial, based on photographs of the body of Emmett Till, the teenager murdered in Mississippi in 1955: “Painting of Emmett Till Draws Protests -- A white artist’s work at the Whitney Biennial has some calling for its removal.” Strikingly, the article, from a purportedly pro-free-speech media organization, included not a single word of dissent about the idea of leftist protesters wanting to have a piece of art not only removed from an exhibit, which would be awful enough, but destroyed. No one came to the defense of free expression in the face of a frankly racist attempt to suppress and destroy art based on the skin color of the artist


The New York Times two-column lead story Tuesday was predictable: FBI director James Comey’s testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee, where he announced that the FBI is in fact “investigating whether members of President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” (The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch were relegated to page 20.) “Comey Confirms Inquiry On Russia And Trump Allies," breathlessly reported that Comey had “placed a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House.” As a snotty sidebar, Tuesday’s front page also featured reporter Michael Shear, “G.O.P. Reply Is to Change The Subject.” Shear also eagerly used the “criminal investigation” formula.


Veteran former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr pleaded with her fellow journalists: Stop doing journalism on Donald Trump when he and his spokespeople are only “spewing garbage” anyway! In her Friday post at the site run by left-wing public television omnipresence Bill Moyers, Sherr also actively discouraged practicing balanced journalism when it comes to the president, a la Jim Rutenberg’s front-page editorial for the New York Times during the campaign.


President Trump’s first proposed budget resulted in a patchwork of short, dire stories dominated two pages of the print edition Friday. The headlines provide the tone for the ideologically loaded stories: “Researchers Bristle at Extent of Cuts” at the National Institute of Health and Department of Energy. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development was “‘Hurt and Upset’ Over Potential Losses,” and “States Would Lose Help in Emergencies” because of cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Let’s focus on perceived Trump attacks on two liberal playpens in particular: public broadcasting, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities.


New York Times reporter Michael Shear lead off Friday’s paper with the usual liberal horror show on President Trump’s proposed budget. You didn’t hard to read far to get the loaded liberal language, where taxpayer- and deficit-funded spending on all but the military is sacrosanct: “Trump Gambles in Cutting Services That Aid His Base – Budget Billed as Necessary, but Opponents Label it ‘Draconian’ and ‘Shameful.’


New York Times reporter Katie Rogers celebrated anti-Trump protests as “the new brunch” in the big-government stronghold of D.C.: “A City Where Dissent Becomes a Lifestyle.” Rogers’ story occupied two-thirds of the page, with photos down the middle from various D.C. protests and a long and fawning explainer of a photo caption, full of liberal blandishment.


MSNBC host Rachel Maddow may be an object of mockery, even among her liberal media colleagues, for breathlessly hyping (and then endlessly milking) a “big scoop” about Donald Trump’s tax returns Tuesday night. The big leak turned out to be a two-page 1040 form from 2005, showing that Trump paid $38 million in income taxes that year. Even Slate headlined it a “Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle.”


The New York Times has found its line of attack against the seemingly unassailable Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Reporter Matt Flegenheimer went phony populist as he signed on to the approved Democratic angle against President Gorsuch, in Tuesday’s “Democrats Move to Cast Justice Nominee as Enemy of the Little Guy.” The day before, the Times had attacked from the left another Trump pick, Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta, Flegenheimer led off with the maximalist dose of Democratic attack rhetoric: "Corporate tool. Enemy of disabled people. Deferential to the privileged, including the man who chose him."


The front page of Monday’s New York Times documented how liberals are seeking mental comfort food through old-fashioned means -- by binging on left-wing talk and comedy shows in front of the television set -- in “Seeking Communal Solace, Liberals Turn Back to the TV," which began with this unpromising opening line: "There is a new safe space for liberals in the age of President Trump: the television set."


Following the trail of angry liberals on social media, Jack Healy in Sunday’s New York Times attacked a comment by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah suggesting people should invest in their own health care instead of buying the new IPhone. Healy defended the necessity of having a cell in “Having No Insurance Is Hard, Families Say. No Phone? Unthinkable.” Healy even found a racial angle, even though President Barack Obama has used the same cell phone talking point in the past. Needless to say, the president wasn’t accused of anti-black racism.


Nate Silver, editor-and-chief of fivethirtyeight.com, a polling analysis and prediction website, had a rough Election Night, as his final odds favoring a Hillary Clinton victory were wrecked by reality. Yet, Silver was relatively less wrong about the presidential election results than most other outlets (including his former colleagues at the New York Times and mocking liberal Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post), with numbers consistently south of the 95-plus percentage chances for a Hillary victory that other outlets were spouting. Silver also constantly hedged his more modest pro-Hillary statistical predictions with reminders that her victory was far from guaranteed. Indeed, Silver’s prediction, in the final hours before the election, that Trump had a 29% of winning was mocked by liberals as being far too generous to Trump. (How did that turn out, anyway?)


Violent leftist mobs driving conservative speakers off campus is a story often sidelined by a liberal media reluctant to make the enemies of their conservative enemies look bad. An exception was made on the Monday, March 6 episode of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, featuring New York TImes columnist Frank Bruni as a guest discussing the physical attacks committed during conservative scholar Charles Murray’s failed attempt to give a talk at Middlebury College in Vermont.