I was wondering why The New York Times had joined the horde of media critics snapping at Hillary Clinton’s heels. After all, I expect Fox News, the New York Post and their ilk to add “scandal” after every mention of Hillary’s name, but the Times?
Nicknamed “The Gray Lady” because of its austere disregard for the sensationalist tricks of the trade, The New York Times is venerated as a national “newspaper of record.” I have always regarded the Times as an extremely reliable source.
But time and again, recently, the Gray Lady was caught with her foot in her mouth when it came to those Hillary “scandals” that the popular media tut-tut about.
There was the story about the Justice Department supposedly investigating Hillary, for example. That had to be retracted. Twice.
It was so riddled with inaccuracies and sheer fiction that even after a comprehensive retraction was published, an unprecedented second retraction had to be issued to correct the details.
I’m sure you’re aware of the relentless flood of negative press concerning Hillary’s use of her private server for official communications when she was secretary of state. Although she only did what others in her job had done, you would think she had committed some crime and was headed for Guantanamo. Of course, this is the same as all the other Hillary “scandals” – overblown right-wing propaganda.
As Rachel Maddow observed recently, everything Hillary does is a scandal as far as the National Press Corps is concerned. And Rachel did not exempt the Times.
The Times’ disregard for the Clintons was not restricted to stories about the email “scandal.” One reporter sniffed that Bill Clinton was looking “frail” and older than his 68 years, and the Times magazine published an unflattering (some people called it creepy) portrait of Hillary on its cover (above).
To media observers, it was beginning to look fishy. As New York University professor Jay Rosen wrote on Twitter:
I have resisted this conclusion over the years, but after today’s events it’s fair to say the Times has a problem covering Hillary Clinton.
And David Brock, founder of Media Matters, declares in a new book that the Times has earned “a special place in hell” with its biased treatment of the Clinton campaign.
But it might not be the Times that’s out to get Hillary after all. It could be just one staffer – the newspaper’s Washington bureau chief, a journalist named Carolyn Ryan.
I just learned from the Daily Kos that the Times has reassigned Ryan. And, according to that report, the move is in response to the numerous complaints about her bureau’s reporting.
The Times said the move is just organizational, and Ryan will continue to concentrate on covering the 2016 campaigns. But I wonder how that will play out. Brock quoted Ryan as saying “the Clintons just lie” to explain her arbitrary treatment of a statement from Hillary’s campaign. So it looks as if she had some kind of grudge against Hillary.
Even if it is Ryan who has been behind some of the Times’ assault on Hillary, moving her won’t stop the media crusade. It’s what so much of the media do these days. Tear down the good guys and build up fakers and rogues.
My personal hope is that the Gray Lady will back out of the lynch mob. American readers should have learned by now to “consider the source” when the mud flies. And it would be said indeed to see a trusted source contaminated.