Editor’s Note: This is a non-member column (open to all).
The New York Times recently ran a political story that contained the following paragraph:
“For Republicans, the arrival in Washington of liberal women of color such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with some top Democratic presidential candidates running toward the left, has created irresistible political temptations. With new bogeywomen to caricature, and explosive liberal issues like reparations for the descendants of enslaved blacks, voting rights for prisoners and federal benefits for undocumented immigrants, G.O.P. officials have even more fodder for the sort of scorched-earth, and unabashedly racist, campaign that Mr. Trump ran in 2016.”
I took the liberty to highlight a few of the words in this news story that began on page one and continued inside the paper. Yes, this was a hard news story not an op-ed or a New York Times editorial. You’ll be forgiven if you didn’t know that from reading the paragraph. This isn’t even a thinly disguised opinion piece masquerading as straight news.
Let’s go right to the most outrageous and obvious deviation from the norms of honest journalism, the line about how “G.O.P. officials have even more fodder for the sort of scorched-earth, and unabashedly racist, campaign that Mr. Trump ran in 2016.”
Wouldn’t this have been the better way to go: “…and WHAT CRITICS CALL a scorched-earth and unabashedly racist campaign that Mr. Trump ran in 2016.”
It would have been so easy, and journalistically proper, to simply attribute the accusation to critics of the president. Instead, it’s the reporters at the Times who take it upon themselves to conclude that the campaign was “unabashedly racist.”
You know why they do something like that? Because in the Times newsroom, calling the president’s 2016 campaign “unabashedly racist” isn’t a controversial observation — it’s just a simple fact that all reasonable people know is true.
Then there’s the earlier reference to “liberal women of color“ that the paper’s reporters have concluded are “bogeywomen” who Republicans can “caricature.”
So any criticism of left-wing women, especially if they’re black or Latina women, is a caricature – a cartoon version — of their positions on issues? Is any criticism of their progressive positions legitimate as far as liberal journalists are concerned?
When I told a journalist friend about this – he no longer reads the New York Times because he says he’s afraid his head will explode – he sent me this email:
“It’s just awful, but part of a powerful, ongoing campaign to define ANY disagreement on issues of race or sex as bigoted by definition. And they’re succeeding! It’s why even the most innocuous and civil questioning of affirmative action, for example, is now getting censored as ‘hate speech.’ Truly Orwellian. But of course The NYT leads the way.”
In my book Bias, I make the point that too many liberal journalists don’t believe their views are liberal. Instead, they believe they’re reasonable, moderate, even middle-of-the road. That’s what we have here in this obvious case of liberal bias. Reporters and their just as clueless editors who clearly cross a very bright line and don’t even notice what they did.
This isn’t an example of “fake news.” It’s an example of bad journalism.
And the sanctimonious journalists who run the most important newspaper in the galaxy actually wonder why reasonable people think they have an anti-Republican, anti-Trump, blatant liberal bias?
Note: My weekly Q&A will be posted on Friday (if you’re a Premium Interactive member, please send me your questions before midnight tonight. Also, my next column will be posted on Monday, June 3. It’s about Michael Avenatti and the weaponization of cable news.