Oh, Please, Tell Me Again About How The New York Times Isn’t Manipulating The News To Save The Democrats…

Today’s right column, above the fold headline in the New York Times: Economy in 2021 Surged by 5.7%, Best In Decades. All that was missing was the exclamation point. “The economic lift was largely provided by vaccination efforts, cheap credit conditions put in place by the Federal Reserve and a fresh round of federal aid to households and businesses,” the story deceitfully “explained.” Note that these are all positive factors that the Biden Administration can take credit for, or at least try.

Is the American public that stupid? The economy “surged’ in percentage terms because it was starting from a point of unprecedented ruin, substantially put in motion by Democrat-led shutdowns of the schools and much of the economy. Emphasizing the percentage increase is a deliberate tactic to mislead the mathematically challenged. One could trumpet a drug that “increases cognitive ability by 300%” if one doesn’t mention that its test subjects were suffering from closed head injuries. Many, many paragraphs into the story, we are told that the “economy has recovered almost 19 million of the 22 million jobs lost near the peak of virus-induced suspensions in activity in 2020.” Oh. So the “surge” still hasn’t brought the economy back to what it was after almost four years of the Trump administration policies—which the Times never praised, only slammed.

This is partisan gaslighting in its purest form. Not to stop with just one desceitful story, the paper gives us a second: “Growth Is Surging in Biden’s Economy. Why Don’t Voters Feel Better?” Translation: “We Keep Telling You Everything Is Good Now that Democrats are In Charge, So Why Don’t You Believe Us?”

Gee, what could explain this “disconnect”? It’s a mystery! It can’t be that gas prices are higher than at any time in the Trump years, or that schools remain closed in many communities, or that masks are being mandated even though they are nearly worthless, or that grocery shelves are often empty of items that you need, or the prices are inflated, or that the Times and other news sources are still trying to keep the public terrified of the virus so that mail-in ballots will be used again, giving Democrats an invitation to harvest votes. It can’t be that flying, which was already Hell on Wings, has become even worse. It can’t be that various essential institutions have exploited Wuhan phobia to excuse imposing lazy restrictions that only make life more difficult, could it? Our bank branch is open only three days a week. At the hospital last night, I was informed that visiting hours ended at 5PM instead of 9. Nobody had told me. “Why the change?” I asked. “Because of Covid!” came the reply. “How does cutting four hours of visiting have anything to do with the virus?” I asked.

No answer. None. The virus is a justification for making all aspects of life crap.

My business has been all but killed by the pandemic. My sister still won’t set foot in our home, and apparently wears a mask in the shower. I have major dental problems because it was so hard to see my dentist. The current administration’s idea of improving things is to announce that the next Supreme Court justice will be the right color and have ovaries, but only because the pool of transgender judges is still awfully thin.

Might any of those kinds of factors be keeping voters “down”?

“The contrast between how the economy is doing on paper and how it feels on the ground has made it difficult for Mr. Biden to capitalize politically on what has been, by most measures, a historically strong economic recovery even after accounting for rising prices,” the piece states.

The Times wants us to believe that it’s just a “feeling.”

“It isn’t what it is.”

25 thoughts on “Oh, Please, Tell Me Again About How The New York Times Isn’t Manipulating The News To Save The Democrats…

  1. “‘The contrast between how the economy is doing on paper and how it feels on the ground has made it difficult for Mr. Biden to capitalize politically on what has been, by most measures, a historically strong economic recovery even after accounting for rising prices,’ the piece states.”

    …Wow. This is why the Foward Party is pushing for us to measure actual reported happiness instead of just GDP.

    In my head I read that as, “Oh, the numbers are great, all thanks to Biden, but unfortunately people’s experiences aren’t improving, and that may make it hard for him to get them to like him.”

    Gee, if only people cared more about the numbers reported and less about how the economy affects their actual experiences, then Biden would get the respect he deserves.

    It reminds me of a scene in The Big Store where a family with twelve kids walks into the furniture department, and six of the kids wander off, and Wolf J. Flywheel (Groucho Marx) tries to convince the father that based on his income and the average cost of raising a child, it’s economically impossible for him to have twelve kids and that therefore none are missing. It convinces him for a few seconds, too, until his wife smacks him.

    Ridiculous entitled whining like this is what gives intellectuals a bad name. When “facts” oppose reality, reality must win. Facts are just predictions, after all.

  2. People on the ground know the numbers are being cooked.

    I saw an article earlier that also began claiming that the minimum wage increases didn’t do anything to help out because of inflation.

    Almost like the grown ups had been saying for years now.

  3. If I had the time I’d explore the increasingly likely possibility that literally everything pushed by the Democrats in various offices and Democrats in media and Democrats in all other positions of power only had ONE (maybe 2) thing(s) in mind in their reaction to Covid (and if 2 both would be linked anyway)

    1) The unseating of a president who they hated because Americans had the audacity to elect a speed bump on the road they believed guaranteed their full transformation of society.

    2) the destruction of the aspects of American life that form a central bulwark against their efforts to transform our society.

  4. So I think what they are saying is that the ‘lived experience’ of Americans should be ignored when it comes to how they feel about Biden and the Democrats.


  5. “Right-hand column, above the fold.” I’m not sure that anyone under the age of 45 would even recognize the significance of that.

    I saw this post yesterday at midday, and it surprised me because I had called up the New York Times on my tablet that morning and this story didn’t even come up. I think that the print front page is largely set the previous afternoon. Instead I saw a completely different economic article about the effects of inflation, and very prominently, a column by the ultra-liberal Michelle Goldberg basically throwing in the towel on masking schoolchildren, touching off a fantastic debate among readers in the comments (currently up to 1,353 comments). Goldberg’s is only the latest of a series of recent articles I’ve read from writers, teachers and parents, generally self-identified Democrats and/or liberals, questioning pandemic mitigation dogma, especially as regards kids. Meanwhile, the “lead” story in the online version of the Times yesterday morning was about Ukraine. If you want to be technical about it, the lead story online is always a banner headline, standing alone at the top, but scrolling down from there is natural. What “column” it’s in is immaterial.

    Yes, I did then find the story you’re referencing by searching on the typical “hamburger” on the upper left of the screen for the sections – it was either under “U.S.” or “Politics.” Stipulated, it’s a terrible story that gets lost in numbers and lacks obvious context, or just swats it away from 30,000 feet up. But then again, I’ve long had a problem with typical journalistic stories about macroeconomic statistics, whether the president is Obama, Trump, Biden or anyone. The statistics we use today are extremely outdated, most notably, the completely useless “unemployment rate,” which is now artificially low under any president or governing party because so many relatively younger people have misleadingly left the workforce. (Most recently because of the overshoot of pandemic relief, but also in general over the last 15 years because of you lawyers pitching ways to gain a supposed annuity under government-based disability claims or private-sector workmen’s compensation or disease-of-the-week lawsuits.) But I hardly think this problem of pointless statistics is limited to the New York Times, or even the “mainstream media” in general.

    Anyway, here’s the Michelle Goldberg column. I think it’s far more significant than some basically unreadable macroeconomic story, and as I’ve noted before, the NYT does have a way of handling comments that fascinatingly shows the current, growing tension within blue-state America over various matters. I would think Ethics Alarms should be racing to point this out:

    • For whatever it’s worth, I regard Goldberg’s story as one more example of her unethical character. I think she’d back Democrat mask-mania to the hilt if she thought her favorite party could get away with it. Now she’s worried, like the rest of the Times, that her ideological compatriots have blown it, and the Left’s agenda will be set back and delayed for years if not decades by an epic wipe-out in 2022. So she’s warning Democrats, and she’s a prominent enough knee-jerk hack that she might get their attention.

      I noticed that Althouse had a similar reaction, writing, “I suspect that the real reason to justify backing off on the restrictions is that elections are coming up and it seems that the masking of children is going to hurt Democrats, but there isn’t a whiff of political analysis in the linked column.”

      No, there’s no admission of a political motive in the column. Just like the story I wrote about.

      You have convinced me, by the way, that it’s not worth the money to subscribe to the print version of the Times. I’m dropping the subscription today. Contrasting it with the online version has been valuable, not 80 bucks a month valuable, and less than 10% of Times subscribers get the hard copy

      • Those are defensible reads of what Goldberg is doing, although a “political” motive could be read into almost anything a public figure says these days. My larger point, which I think you get, is that Goldberg’s column exists and is telling, and in particular generates a debate that is meaningful in January 2022. Some of your readers proudly announce that they refuse to access the New York Times, and I think that’s a big mistake even if you disdain the so-called mainstream media. Walling yourself off like that leads to potential reverse bias-makes-you-stupid problems, and poking at the NYT as an institution, while sometimes understandable, only raises the risk.

        In particular, for some reason the three most prominent newspapers in the country are in totally different places right now with regard to reader discussion. The New York Times, in addition to having much more of a diverse news and opinion output than many political conservatives imagine, is doing a great job of somehow moderating and highlighting its reader comments in a way that gives you a real snapshot of where debates are heading – yes, mostly within the “left” side of our American culture right now. The Washington Post, by contrast, has typically terrible comments that are filled with empty left-right shouting and grandstanding, and I don’t know why they aren’t working to make things better. The Wall Street Journal has fairly good reader comments, but its readership is clearly dramatically over to the right even though, as the following commenter here accurately notes, its news output isn’t even remotely like that. Again, I hope this helps.

        • “ Walling yourself off like that leads to potential reverse bias-makes-you-stupid problems, and poking at the NYT as an institution, while sometimes understandable, only raises the risk.”

          People wall themselves off from left wing sources because left wing sources are written by rude, condescending, patronizing, holier-than-thou, lying assholes, not because they are left wing. If the left wing wants people of other political persuasions to listen to them, they should try removing the insults from their rhetoric.

          I don’t want to live in a bubble, so I take steps to avoid that. I read substack newsletters written by leftists who leave out the insults. I listen to left wing podcasters who don’t talk like assholes. When the ad hominem attacks start, I quit listening.

          This idea that people should just suck it up and read vitriolic screeds insulting everyone who disagrees in order to be well informed is nonsense. No one has a duty to listen to assholes. If the assholes want people to listen, they have a duty to edit the assholery out of their work.

          • Well, what are you saying, Null? That the entirety of the New York Times is “written by rude, condescending, patronizing, holier-than-thou, lying assholes”? I know the type of opinion piece that you’re talking about, and it’s a small minority of the Times output. There are daily occasions where the Times sends people out to the field, meaning the entirety of America, and come back with interesting reports. Virtually no other news outlet in America, “print” or broadcast, does that any more except to prove a pre-existing point. With regard to the Times, I suspect you just know of their woke columnists, and you give yourself leave to ignore the rest.

            I’d ask you, and Steve Witherspoon below, and certain other commenters here, whether you seek out news sources as comfort food. Frankly I know that a lot of far-left liberals do that, and it’s a bad habit. Feel free to complain about CNN and many others, because their range of acceptable stories is so narrow. (MSNBC isn’t even worth talking about, since they only ever mention January 6 and voting rights.) But the New York Times is simply not in the same category – not even remotely.

            • I seek out information, not opinions. At least I try to, but modern American “news” consists of a minimum of 75% opinion to 25% reporting. That ratio applies to every article, column and segment of every news outlet, newspaper and website, left and right, up and down, in the United States.

              To be perfectly clear, I do absolutely mean that every single news outlet, newspaper and website in the United States that purports to cover the news is an opinion blog, not a news source.

              Right wing sources are just as bad as left wing sources. NONE of them are news reporters. They are opinion bloggers.

              I have absolutely no trouble admitting that it is just as bad on the right as the left. No one wants anyone making up their own minds about anything anymore. Every “journalist” in the country wants to insert their opinion directly into everyone else’s brain. Trying to form your own opinion about anything is like walking through a gauntlet where the entirety of the news media get to whack you with their opinions.

              A large percentage of news outlets are rude and insulting to people they disagree with, and many (most?) on the right are just as bad as those on the left.

              So when I say the New York Times is staffed almost exclusively by elitist, snobby assholes who hate everyone on the right and everyone who ever even thought about considering a right wing opinion, that isn’t bias. It’s just true. The NYT writers say elitist, snobby things all day, everyday. It oozes from every sentence. The contempt the writers feel for everyone who doesn’t see things their way is overpowering. If you are someone who doesn’t agree with their point of view, trying to read the NYT is just about as fun as hanging out with your high school bully.

              When I read the news, I choose to read the outlets that spend the least time insulting me. Yes, this does create a bubble. Which is why I also seek out substack newsletters and podcasts written or hosted by people who at least attempt to be non-insulting but have perspectives and points of view that differ or outright oppose my own. To be quite honest, I’m pretty sick of listening to the right wing opinions. I already know what they are, I don’t need to be reminded 47 times a day. Some of those right wing opinions are, in my opinion, WRONG. That doesn’t make the left wing opinions right. Sometimes ALL the journalists have stupid, idiotic, malformed and obnoxious opinions. I’d like for all of them to shut up about what they think and just tell me what, in fact, happened yesterday. I’ll decide for myself what to think about it, thank you very much. Don’t frame it for me. Don’t add “context” you think is important. Don’t insult everyone who might have a different viewpoint. Just tell me what happened. Who. What. When. Where. That’s it.

      • To give people an idea of what they’re missing if they make a point of shunning the New York Times, here’s a reader comment on Michelle Goldberg’s column yesterday that somebody at the NYT has highlighting as a “Times Pick” and is currently generating 1,088 “Recommended” or likes (!) and 46 reply comments. It’s from “JFJ” in Takoma Park, Maryland, a near suburb of Washington, D.C. Enjoy:


      • I guess my formatting meant it didn’t take. Here’s the teacher’s comment to Goldberg’s column in the New York Times, verbatim:

        As a teacher of 27 years, I’ve had enough of arguments from my fellow teachers that students must be masked. If they’ve had three jabs, and they wear a mask, they are doing what they need to do protect themselves. Stop demanding mask-wearing by students or- worse still- online learning. Living involves risks. We can’t keep asking children to sacrifice their mental well-being so we can pretend to be in a risk-free environment.

        All last year, I taught in-person, wearing a mask. My students wore masks, and maybe ten percent joined on Zoom. In February of 2021 I got my first two shots. My students are getting vaccinated. We’ve taken off our masks. I’m still risking my life every day by getting into my car and driving to school. I’m not going to demand that students come to my house so that I can avoid that risk, and I’m not going to demand that kids mask up so that I can live in a fantasy world without risks. It’s time for us to move on already.

  6. Along the same lines, I saw a story early this month in the Wall Street Journal (keep in mind, the news division there is very left of center unlike the editorial division).

    At any rate the story was in regards to the December jobs report, which was 199k jobs versus the expectation of half a million. The headline was something along the lines of ‘Record number of jobs added in 2021.’

    My reaction was that — we could have lost a million jobs in December and still had record jobs added in 2021. We had shed so many jobs in 2020, that anything short of martial law and forced closure of all industry would have resulted in the type of rebound we actually saw.

    Lost in the story was how many millions fewer jobs we have versus January 2020 even now. So many people just left the workforce.

    But my point stands — it was deliberate (I think) spin to make this administration look like it has done a great job in its first year.

    How many people buy that spin? How many people realize it is spin?

  7. After doing the exact opposite of Potemkin rhetoric to demonize President Trump the New York Times is engaging in Potemkin rhetoric to canonize President Biden; I’m shocked, shocked I say.

    Potemkin Rhetoric is any rhetoric that is solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is better than it really is.

    Derived from the following definitions:
    Potemkin: having a false or deceptive appearance, especially one presented for the purpose of propaganda.

    Rhetoric: language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

    The opposite of Potemkin Rhetoric; is any rhetoric that is solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is worse than it really is.

    The New York Times has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that it is engaging in activist journalism and is a proven that it’s a partisan liar, a pure propaganda arm, a media outlet tool of the Democratic Party. The political left and its Pravda like media outlets have shown a pattern of false propaganda and lies in their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media push.

  8. And today there’s a major story in the New York Times slamming the Democrats for hypocrisy on “dark money” when they used it to enormous effect in 2020. The deeply reported story is by Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher, and if you haven’t heard of them, that’s kind of the point. I think that people, especially in a forum like this, often think of “The New York Times” as its best-known columnists and most prominent beat reporters, some of whom really are quite awful, not so much in their ideology but in their insistence that everything confirm their pre-existing narrative. (But credit to Michelle Goldberg above for changing her mind on something based on evidence.) In any case, here’s today’s story, and again look in the NYT comments for the now typical mix of thank-yous from objective readers, how-dare-yous from ideologically rigid confirmation-seekers (which you all don’t want to be in the other direction!), and sometimes some additional contributed facts on the subject matter.

    • And I have to say that as this Ethics Alarms comment thread lays out right now, immediately above my posting of the NYT story exposing the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party on campaign finance is this comment from Steve Witherspoon: “The New York Times has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that it is engaging in activist journalism and is a proven that it’s a partisan liar, a pure propaganda arm, a media outlet tool of the Democratic Party.” Fantastic!

      • Go read a paper written from a perspective you disagree with, and make a list of all the things you think they got wrong or twisted. The Epoch Times might be a good one to use. See what things they do that annoy you, then think about whether a person reading the New York Times who didn’t share the political opinions of the writers would see the same things there that you see in the Epoch Times.

        Did they leave out stories you think are important? Did they cover a bunch of stories that you think didn’t merit reporting? Were those stories seemingly only covered because they supported a narrative you don’t agree with? Did they leave out facts that you think are relevant? Cover only part of the statistics that supported their viewpoint? Did they state some opinions as if they were facts? Or maybe the explained things in a way that you think is wrong? Did they cover the opposing viewpoint in a belittling manner? Leave out some sentences from a quote that changed the whole meaning? Use charged language you don’t think is fair? Use glowing language to describe people you don’t like? Add explanations that you think are irrelevant, spurious, or untrue? Did they ask for comments from people they agree with and spend half the article talking about those, then tack on a single line quote you think was much more important at the very end like it was meaningless? Did the op-eds all elaborate on topics covered in the news in a leading manner that would push people to see things a particular way if they read the whole paper? Were you ticked off when you got done reading the paper because it felt like nothing but lies and bullshit? Was there an article or two in there that had merit? Would those one or two articles incentivize you to read the paper on a regular basis? Are you willing to shell out money for a paper that is pushing you to think in way that you think is mostly wrong in order to read those one or two articles?

    • Saw it! And yes, that story is extremely unusual. The fact that it is so unusual immediately prompts a “Wow!” is itself proof of how openly biased the Times usually is. When a story can’t be spun and the editors are pretty sure competitors in the MSM (Fox doesn’t count) will cover it, the Times will usually decide to engage in journalism. (As I wrote earlier, the Times is corrupt but not stupid.)They could have buried this one on page A-16, but it’s in the prime spot on the front page, which I will no longer see after tomorrow: $80 a month is something I can put to better use right now. Still, at least in the print version, they couldn’t resist noting in the headline that the GOP did the same thing, thus encouraging Rationalizations 1 and 2.

      • No, it is not extremely unusual, not for the New York Times. And that is really my point. I see that already today you’ve pointed out the Jamelle Bouie piece in the Sunday Review section. Well, that’s him, and that’s how that section rolls. Yes, I personally find the Sunday Review, among several other fiefdoms at the NYT, very tendentious. The flaw here is in misattributing that tendentiousness to the entire product, especially the least prestigious part of the “newspaper” – the ground-level reporting by many of their beat writers. And we’re talking about an era when “beats” are not just the traditional ones like police and city council, but innovative ones like “the intersection of money, politics and influence” where an enterprising, objective reporter like Kenneth P. Vogel gets the time and resources to come back with an against-the-grain article criticizing the Democrats Party.

        This is why in our private correspondence, if you don’t mind my saying so, Jack, I’ve encouraged you to lower the temperature of your writing with all the boldface and italics and exclamation points and inside-baseball private acronyms, which telegraphs all of the upset you (often validly) feel about media coverage to the point where people go blind to the “more boring” news that is actually more objective, even-handed, and probing.

        Lest anyone here be confused about my own overall perspective, I’ll rhetorically ask: Is there such a thing as the mainstream media? Answer: Yes. Does it overall have a now strong liberal bias? Absolutely. Is one of the main problems story selection, to the point where people who only consume leftist media are actually poorly informed about issues like crime, the true state of the economy, and the flaws of our pandemic response? You better believe it, in fact it’s my principal issue with the media today, especially broadcast and cable news – limiting story selection to only those themes that flatter a given narrative.

        But a great exception to this is The New York Times. If you read it genuinely and stop having heart attacks over the regular columnists, it very often contains in-depth, objective, against-the-grain reportage. And I will repeat: its comment threads on many stories and columns are absolutely fascinating. The New York Times has somehow figured out how to encourage very vigorous debate without having the crazies of any ideological stripe take over the forum with shouting, personal insults, and obscenities. And you need to see these comments to see the now-ongoing fissures within the “red” but especially “blue” sections of our public square. Again, I hope this helps.

        • Directly criticizing the Democrats is extremely unusual, except in the “they better watch out, or the GOP will get in power again!” Obviously I agree that when it isn’t skipping stories that hurt its party, being hypercritical of Republicans for conduct that it would let pass (or praise) from Democrats, and outright lying (as with the whole Russiagate hoax), the Times is head and torso better than any other source for the reasons you mention. And that’s why its cheats are so unacceptable. People trust the Times because it can be excellent when it chooses to be, and that makes it’s abuses so much more damaging. When the National Enquirer lies, nobody believes it.

          As for Jamelle, that’s the Julie Principle, misapplied. There is no justification for the Times, or anyone other than “The Root,” giving him so huge and enhancing a platform. Two pages implies that there is something important about that op-ed/feature. The same goes for the “1619 Project.”

          Your argument is essentially The Ruddigore Fallacy: the Times’ excellent work mitigates the harm of its propaganda. It doesn’t.

          • Jack, the bottom line is that yesterday you made a big deal of an article that appeared at the top of the front page on the right-hand side that was artificially favorable to the Democratic Party, and today that very position is occupied by a story that blasts the Democratic Party for hypocrisy on campaign finance through deep and presumably accurate reporting. (I just saw the print version on a trip to the grocery store.) And we’re in a comment thread where one of your most active commenters makes a speech about how the NYT is “a partisan liar, a pure propaganda arm, a media outlet tool of the Democratic Party.” It certainly doesn’t look like that today!

            Furthermore, the problem with applying the Ruddigore Fallacy here is that it assumes a newspaper is something you consume as a whole, like an entire operetta or a bag of potato chips. Everybody only reads a fraction of the product, and it strikes me that this habit of poking at the Times for anything that goes the wrong way is exactly the sort of thing I associate with the far left, with its censorship instinct and endless concern over the intrusion of ANY contrary information that they don’t like into the discussion. You don’t want to imitate that sort of attitude, do you?

            Now yes, I will certainly concede the following: Maybe it’s EASIER right now for the New York Times to go more broadly in a new direction and challenge its readers ideologically because of, frankly, the deservedly bad polls for Joe Biden’s performance. Maybe 2019-2020 will prove to be the apex of some portion of its staff putting pressure on the newspaper to go very broadly overall to the left, with approval for the at least partially flawed 1619 Project and the unacceptable apology for printing a sitting US senator’s valid op-ed piece (agree or disagree). I certainly carry no brief for clearly biased news outlets like CNN and the ridiculous MSNBC, which basically won’t even cover the news affecting actual people any more. (Turn it on and wait 90 seconds, and the odds of the words “January 6” being uttered reach essentially 100%.) I’ve also made a distinction here with the Washington Post, which doesn’t strike me as trying nearly hard enough to get out into the field nationally to find out what’s going on with ordinary people unless it fits a pre-existing narrative, and whose comment threads on major stories are useless.

            But there’s something clearly changing with the Times based on its bedrock journalistic culture, and I can’t believe you wouldn’t get many interesting posts out of going into its comments and finding out some of the actual tension and growing splits in blue-state America, which obviously does comprise the large majority of its paid readership. I really believe that you’re stereotyping what you expect to see in the Times and jumping too heavily on your confirmation bias and perhaps tendency to get upset too easily (basically what Null Pointer was talking about above in his own reactions) without seeing what else they’re doing. Take a breath, and read more of the product. I’d advise everyone to do that. Thanks.

            • I’d refer you to the dishonest clerk metaphor we’ve used here before. The issue is trust. It shouldn’t be that hard to just tell the facts straight. Yet when the Times cheats, lies, and distorts, it’s never to the advantage of the right. Ever; at least I can’t recall an example. The Times stated outright that was going to slant news to defeat Trump. Has it ever made a similar statement about a Democrat? Has it ever made an outright false statement, like the Sicknick myth, that benefitted the GOP? Is there a major Republican scandal like the Biden sexual harassment accusation or Hunter Biden’s laptop that the Times buried? Stating a factual matter that is critical of or reflects badly on Democrats doesn’t balance deliberately or repeatedly not stating others —that’s where the Ruddigore Fallacy comes in. The bottom line is that I, and nobody, can trust that the Times isn’t shading the facts for the benefit of one party, while it never shades facts for the benefit of the other. In four years, The Times gave a lot of ink over to speculation that Trump was mentally unfit: I haven’t seen the even-handed analysis of the same issue in Biden’s case, where it is far more of a legitimate concern. Did I miss it? Have you seen it? This was the most prominent Times take on the issue: it’s an opinion piece, but it also accurately reflects the Times culture and slant: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/17/opinion/trump-biden-age.html

              You don’t find the imbalance telling? I sure do, and again, the fact that the Times is “the gold standard” makes it worse, not better.

  9. The lead story in the New York Times online as of Monday morning: “Some U.S. Governors Say It’s Time for an Endemic Approach to Covid.” For that matter, the Washington Post, which I do largely disdain, happens to lead with this today: “Rents are up 40% in some cities, forcing millions to move.”

    Yeah it all sounds like propping-up-the-liberal-regime propaganda to me!

    The problem with the Ruddigore Fallacy is that a page 1 story digging into the Democratic administration’s policy failures or the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy on campaign finance isn’t more or less true because Jamelle Bouie gets two pages in the Sunday Review section. Getting all excited and upset over some of the woke content of a leading news outlet is leading to exactly the sort of blindness and sitting-in-a-silo when accessing the rest of the news that I much more associate with the Left.

    I do think that “the media” as a whole, as well as the social media giants, are eventually going to have to reckon with how much valid news they appear to have suppressed in 2020. It’s complicated. But let’s not cherry-pick in the opposite direction as the people and institutions you tend to disdain, Jack. It’s a short walk from there to the Echo Chamber problem that I presume you want to solve. I’ve had my say, and thanks for the discussion.

    • F (can O call you “F”?) :I was going to let you have the last word, but—to quote another G&S show, “I can’t let THIS pass” \(and I think you are misinterpreting The Ruddigore Fallacy, but never mind).

      Today’s Times right-hand column describes those who question the fairness and integrity of the 2020 Presidential election as “Election Deniers.” Nice…also inflammatory and false. This same week, the Pennsylvania Supremes declared that a change in the election laws that probably cost Trump Pennsylvania was unconstitutional. Holding that the election was, in many ways and in many states,neither fair nor legal is not denying the results of the election. Thus the Times, rather than citing facts, is engaging in Democratic Party talking points. As an analogy, I believe that the home umpire’s wrong call in Game 3 of the 1975 World Series probably cost the Boston Red Sox that World Championship. They wuz robbed, and the saying goes—but I have never denied that the Cincinnati Reds won that World Series.

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