The Monday following the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, President Trump gave a speech which The New York Times quickly reported under the headline “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.”
You might not see a problem there – the headline does reflect some of his prepared remarks – yet it lit up Twitter. The Times changed it to “Assailing Hate But Not Guns” within the hour, but the damage was done.
“Let this front page serve as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by – and often relies upon – the cowardice of mainstream institutions,” tweeted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the junior Congresswoman from New York, who is a socialist.
“I canceled my subscription,” tweeted Joan Walsh, a writer for the left-leaning Nation magazine and a political contributor to CNN. “I know a lot of folks will tell me I’m wrong. I will miss it. But I can’t keep rewarding such awful news judgment.”
Let us add our mite: She is wrong.
Canceling a subscription to The Times because you don’t like one sub-par headline is like putting out your eyes because you cannot stand to see suffering in the world.
That The Times, under pressure from the left, acknowledged the weakness of the first headline was too much for Trump, who tweeted “‘Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism’ was the correct description in the first headline by the Failing New York Times.”
And then, on Aug. 22, Breitbart, the right-wing news organization, revealed tweets it had discovered from Tom Wright-Piersanti, an editor on the Times Politics desk.
On Jan. 1, 2010, for example, Wright-Piersanti tweeted “I was going to say ‘Crappy Jew Year,’ but one of my resolutions is to be less anti-Semitic. So... HAPPY Jew Year. You Jews.” Unbelievably, there were more along these lines.
Wright-Piersanti promptly deleted those tweets and apologized. A Times spokesperson deemed them “a clear violation of our standards.”
But The Times came roaring back with a lengthy news story Sunday, “Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House,” in which it said the outing of Wright-Piersanti’s tweets was one facet of an operation “meant to expose what (the president’s supporters) see as the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets that have reported on the president’s inflammatory language regarding race.”
This operation “is targeting the news media by using one of the most effective weapons of political combat – deep and laborious research into the public records of opponents to find contradictions, controversial opinions or toxic affiliations,” The Times reported, adding, “The liberal group Media Matters for America helped pioneer close scrutiny of public statements by conservative media personalities.”
Media Matters was founded in 2004 by David Brock, who began his career by exposing sexual predation by President Clinton, then switched sides and became an attack dog for Democrats.
Responding to the Times news story, Amber Athey, the White House correspondent for The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, tweeted, “Media Matters tried to ruin my life over offensive jokes I made with my Jewish boyfriend in high school. I tried to apologize and move on but I’ve still been labeled an anti-Semite and blacklisted by some. The left made its bed ... now it can lie in it.”
Athey’s tweets, from 2012, include one which said, “How many Jews can fit in a clown car? 1,002. Two in the seats and 1,000 in the ash trays.”
Athey apologized for those tweets earlier this year. However, no one should lie in that bed. It is disgusting. It has bugs.
“Journalists don’t deserve a get-out-of-bigotry-jail free card just because they’re journalists,” said Jack Shafer, the media critic at Politico.
Shafer took The Times to task for the news story as an act of retaliation against a president whose allies retaliated against The Times, after The Times was perceived to be attacking him by changing that headline, which occurred after the president called journalists enemies of the people – and on and on.
The frightening thing about these cycles of retaliation is not just that they are pointless, but they seem to be endless – and we become numbed to the prejudices of our elites.