Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Dumbest NY Times Story Ever?

That is the question being asked among veteran journalists about the absurd piece last week about the outrage of someone asking for and not receiving a special passport from the State Department.

"can't remember last time so many seasoned journalists stepped forward to call out @nytpolitics campaign failures."

Media Matters for America has the details:

"When you’re covering a presidential campaign, these are not the types of headlines you want to see posted by veteran journalists:

*“Is This The Dumbest New York Times Story Ever?” (

*"The New York Times’ Latest Clinton Foundation ‘Scandal’ May Be The Dumbest One Yet” (Vox)

*“The New York Times Screws Up Its Clinton Coverage, Part Infinity” (Esquire)

A"mazingly, all three of those headlines ran within just a three-day span last week. But it’s been that kind of summer for the newspaper, whose campaign coverage, and specifically its coverage of the Democratic Party nominee, has come under withering criticism by longtime pundits and commentators."

"Writers like Josh Marshall at TPM, Matthew Yglesias at Vox, Charles Pierce at Esquire, James Fallows andNorm Ornstein from The Atlantic, Will Bunch at, and Paul Glastris at Washington Monthly have been weighing in. So too has the Times’ own Paul Krugman, (although his critique of the Clinton coverage did not mention the newspaper by name)."

Of course, Krugman's not going to criticize his own paper by name, but he also knows perfectly well that's what he was doing. Note how apologetic he was:

True fact: I was reluctant to write today's col because I knew journos would hate it. But it felt like a moral duty."

It's not just the NY Times as the Washington Post did another absurdly long Clinton Foundation piece which showed zero wrongdoing.

"Oh, look -- another story that sounds like Clinton corruption, but 25 paragraphs in you learn there's nothing there …"

But the NY Times has a special status as the paper of record and so it's failures here are particularly notable.

"Some of the published critiques are specific to Times coverage, while others take a larger view of recent campaign journalism missteps and include examples of significant Times failures. There’s no indication that if the Times were uncovering concrete Clinton misdeeds these writers would attack the paper for solid, factual reporting."

"Instead, the running critique is that with its “Ahab” pursuit of hollow Clinton ‘scandal’ stories, the Times has lost its way. Unable to admit Republican promises of Clinton wrongdoing aren’t panning out, the newspaper insists on adhering to the same accusatory script. This, while the newspaper often holds Donald Trump to a lower standard and ignores or underplays embarrassing news developments for him."

"Note that it took the Times five days to catch up to The Washington Post regarding the illegal $25,000 check the Trump Foundation wrote to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a time when her office was contemplating an investigation of Trump University and allegations of fraud. (After the donation arrived, the Florida investigation into Trump University never materialized.)"

"When Krugman recently lamented that Trump scandals “like what appear to be clear payoffs to state attorneys general to back off investigating Trump University, get remarkably little attention,” it was seen as a swipe at theTimes newsroom, which hadn’t yet covered the juicy story about possible corruption."

Meanwhile many journalists are beginning to note that the media has been covering the wrong foundation.


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