From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Files: This Is Now What The New York Times Calls “Objective Reporting”

Capitol riot

Yesterday, the Times front page featured an article headlined “Former Security Chiefs Trade Blame For Lapses In Guarding The Capitol.” It was more evidence that the Times, supposedly the role model for American journalism, allows biased innuendo, veiled editorializing and deliberate misinformation to corrupt what it is supposed to be reporting.

Here are some examples:

  • “It also showed that the overlapping jurisdictions of the Capitol Police, the District of Columbia government and other agencies created utter confusion that hindered attempts to stop the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812.”

That’s a deliberately false and inflammatory comparison. The Capitol was burned in 1812, and it was a war. The attackers were also an invading foreign force. It is also bad history. On July 2, 1915, a former German professor at Harvard, Erich Muenter, planted a package containing three sticks of dynamite in the Capitol near the Senate Reception room. The explosive detonated around midnight and during a time when the Senate had been on recess. I’d say the explosion of a bomb qualifies as a “more violent” assault on the Capitol, but if you disagree, how about March 1, 1954, when four Puerto Rican-Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen?  Or is that not “an attack on the Capitol”?

The Times line was either quickly added to Wikipedia’s entry on the January 6 event, or the Times reporters cribbed the comparison from Wikipedia. This is how bad reporting becomes “fact.”

  • Here’s an example of how the Times lets others do their propaganda for them:

“None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” the former Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund told senators. He called the riot “the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that I have seen” and said he witnessed insurrectionists assaulting officers not only with their fists, but also with pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades and flagpoles. These criminals came prepared for war,” Mr. Sund said.

The Times should not have used that quote, but doing so was spreading disinformation the Times approves of. The position of the protesters would be that they were trying to protect our democracy from an unfair and corrupt election in which the New York Times played a key role. The statement that the criminals came “prepared for war”—with “pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades and flagpoles”—is self-refuting, but not to those persuaded by the Times and other sources that this was “an insurrection.” The term “insurrectionists” is used three times in the article.

  • “Former President Donald J. Trump was rarely mentioned during the nearly four-hour hearing, despite his perpetuation of the baseless claims of widespread election fraud and his encouragement of his supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6 to pressure lawmakers to stop the certification of the presidential election.”

How is what was not mentioned newsworthy? The idea here is to keep up the narrative that the riot was all the President’s fault. “Baseless claims of widespread election fraud” is deceitful: there is a basis for suspecting election fraud, and “widespread” is weasel word. If election fraud occurred in all 50 states, is that “widespread”? 20 states?

Then we have the implication that “pressuring lawmakers” to do anything, no matter how valid or invalid the justification for the protest, is sinister. That is called the rights of assembly and to petition the government, and is no different from the large gatherings on the Mall regarding many issues or in front of the Supreme Court.

  • “Though the F.B.I. bulletin has received widespread attention, it was but one piece of a broader mosaic of publicly available information indicating that the Trump supporters who planned to demonstrate in Washington on Jan. 6 — stoked by Mr. Trump and his allies — were primed to storm the Capitol and, in some cases, to commit violence.”

Stoked”! “Stoked” is defined in many sources as “incite.” The sly phrasing suggests that President Trump encouraged a mob to “storm” the Capitol. He did not. And who are Trump’s “allies’? I am not an “ally,” yet I believe that a protest against the suspicious manner in which election was handled in many states and the coverage of the campaign by the news media was (in fact, is still) appropriate. I didn’t require President Trump’s hyperbolic blather about a stolen “landslide” to conclude that public displeasure needed to be made known.

  • “Training for thousands of armed insurrectionists that were coordinated and well equipped?” Mr. Sund testified. “We have not had that training.”

There were not “thousands” of rioters. There were thousands of protesters, and a much smaller group broke into the Capitol. The article repeatedly says “hundreds” but never is more specific than that. Most estimates I have seen suggest around 200, but the news media seems determined to create the impression that the mob was larger. Surely by now a reliable estimate should have been possible.

  • “She fought the mob for four hours and spent the next day at the hospital with the family of Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who collapsed after being injured during the siege and later died.”

Even Politifact, the reliably left-biased fact-checking service, now admits that nobody knows why Sicknick died, and so far, there has been no definitive finding that he was “injured.” The Times was substantially responsible for the fake news that he had been “killed” by rioters or “died in the line of duty.” Sicknick collapsed and died after the riot; he also collapsed and died after having breakfast and putting on his shoes. The Times is employing the seductive fallacy of  post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is to advance a lie.

Articles like this, and they appear in the Times every day, are the direct responsibility of Times editor Dean Baquet, one of the nation’s true ethics villains.

8 thoughts on “From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Files: This Is Now What The New York Times Calls “Objective Reporting”

  1. “I’d say the explosion of a bomb qualifies as a “more violent” assault on the Capitol, but if you disagree, how about March 1, 1954, when four Puerto Rican-Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen? Or is that not “as attack on the Capitol”?”

    Not by their definition. Besides, pointing this out would open you up to charges of Whataboutism. They don’t care what happened before…if they are even aware of it. The narrative is to make this the equivalent of the opening volley on Fort Sumter. The precursor to another national emergency that will require more unreasonable measures and restrictions of civil liberties while hunting down those millions, yet, somehow, elusive militant white supremacists that are threatening our democracy.

  2. “That’s a deliberately false and inflammatory comparison. The Capitol was burned in 1812, and it was a war. The attackers were also an invading foreign force. It is also bad history.”

    Complete non-sequitur to your point, which I generally agree with;

    To be fair, the only reason the Pre-Canadian British soldiers sacked Washington was because America invaded Canada. The American government, assuming that British people in the Canadian colony wouldn’t be excited to fight for British rule, and that annexing Canada would be, and I quote: “A matter of marching” After we routed the American invaders, captured Boston, and burned down the white house, we gave you back Boston (Bullet. Dodged.) and settled amicably. I’m not sure it’s really an “invasion” under that fact pattern.

    • This is precisely why I have been keen to show people the distinction between invasion and incursion. During that sideshow of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain mounted just one invasion of the U.S. proper*, of Maine, which stalled. However it carried out a great many incursions into the U.S. proper*, all more or less successful.

      * I have also given reasons why I account the area around New Orleans as strategically distinct, whatever its notional status under U.S. historiography. For one thing, U.S. operations there did not have the advantage of interior lines in the same way, under the circumstances of that time and place.

  3. You forgot the 1983 bombing of the Capitol, blowing up the Republican cloakroom. The person responsible for that is now a professor a CUNY and sits on the board of BLM.

  4. To say someone “came prepared for war” with sticks, pipes, and flagpoles is laughable. It’s the metal barricades, however that put the cherry on this absurdity sundae, as they were almost certainly placed at the scene by police and picked up by rioters as weapons of opportunity.

    • Yes, but the rioters did arrive with functioning arms and hands, therefore they were “prepared” to pick those things up. War!

      What bugs me most is that they’re pushing two incompatible versions of events, and think we’re dumb enough to not notice. Either this was a planned “attack”, OR it was a mob incited by Trump’s speech. It really can’t be both, can it? Pick a story and run with it, but don’t just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

  5. “There were thousands of protesters, and a much smaller group broke into the Capitol.”

    When that happens with the Left, it’s a “mostly peaceful protest”.

  6. Jack said:

    It was more evidence that the Times, supposedly the role model for American journalism, allows biased innuendo, veiled editorializing and deliberate misinformation to corrupt what it is supposed to be reporting.

    Is that perception real, though? These pieces are edited, and apparently there is not just comfort with this “corruption,” but it is actually considered desirable by the Times’ editorial staff. From their perspective, this is not a bug, but a feature.

    But to add on to you point, this is just more evidence, as if it were needed, that the news industry has morphed into something even worse than the propaganda machines of the old Soviet Union and its satellites. This “new” media actually believes that the narrative they have constructed is true, regardless of inconvenient facts to the contrary. They are determined to give lie to the old saying, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” The Times has come to believe that they are entitled to their own facts.

    In the view of the Times, inflammatory rhetoric is justified by the magnitude of the evil. They have spent the last two months building the events of January 6th as an “insurrection” and declaring Trump largely responsible — the only thing he hasn’t been accused of is being among the mob itself.

    When you discuss events in the same terms all day with co-workers, even over Slack, Teams, or Twitter, you begin to think in those terms — your mind begins to believe that your perception is the revealed truth, and that any counter-facts can be explained away or simply dismissed as irrelevant.

    This is how the religious view assaults on their religion, you know. When someone raises inconsistencies about the Bible to a devoutly religious person, they have no hope of convincing said devotee — the Bible is the revealed truth, just like the narrative of events of January 6th to the staff of the Times. Never mind the tautological reality that they have constructed this narrative themselves out of the facts they prefer to believe, or are comfortable fabricating out of thin air.

    Finally, the Times (among others), with the election of Biden and the Democrats, consider that they have “won” the war and are now setting about re-writing history in the manner of victors since time immemorial. They hope to summon the future by this, and they may well be successful.

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