By Dan Gainor
Published August 07, 2019
It’s rough being the second-most liberal newspaper in the U.S. Mistakenly cover a news story with an accurate "head" and the left is calling for yours.
The headline was simple — five controversial words that went global almost as soon as they hit Twitter. 538’s Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver deadpanned over a copy of the front page: “Tomorrow's NYT print edition. Not sure ‘TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM’ is how I would have framed the story.”
Liberals couldn’t make heads or tails of it, so they went insane. Democratic presidential candidates lined up to whine that The Times wasn’t as reliably left-wing as they demanded.
Several retweeted Silver’s post with comments of their own. 2020 presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke called it, “Unbelievable.” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand turned news reporter, claiming, “That’s not what happened.” And New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker chose institutional begging: “Lives literally depend on you doing better, NYT. Please do.”
Naturally, wherever liberals make demands, you can always find New York “Democratic Socialist” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She flat out accused the paper of assisting evil white people. “Let this front page serve as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided by - and often relies upon - the cowardice of mainstream institutions.”
Liberals couldn’t believe their eyes. New York’s Resistance HQ had gone over to the enemy — neutral journalism. That had to be stopped.
The Nation’s National Correspondent Joan Walsh said she actually, “canceled my subscription.” She refused to “keep rewarding such awful news judgment.”
Others echoed that bizarre sentiment on Twitter. Shareblue Senior Writer Oliver WIllis took the subtle approach, claiming, “the new york times wants us dead.”
Only it wasn’t just political liberals. The explosion of anger came right from the body of liberals employed at The Times. New York Magazine/HuffPost Contributor Yashar Ali tweeted that “I have never received more texts from furious NYT reporters/writers than I have tonight.” He said they “feel like their hard work is being sullied by a horrible headline.” They blamed the paper’s head — Executive Editor Dean Baquet.
He apologized, of course, because in the major media today, your reporters must be in the ranks of the Unsullied. You can’t even pretend neutrality. Baquet told The Daily Beast, “It was written on deadline and when it was passed along for approval we all saw it was a bad headline and changed it pretty quickly.”
Remember, Baquet offended the left recently by saying there were outlets too liberal for his preciously neutral journos. He said no to partisan shows like those run by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell and CNN’s Don Lemon. So Baquet didn’t dare challenge the left this time.
He fell on his sword.
Times staff even wrote a story about their failure, headlined, “A Times Headline About Trump Stoked Anger. A Top Editor Explains.” Can’t offend your far-left audience and your far-left staff.
The paper had tried to head off the controversy. Times Print Editor Tom Jolly posted a replacement, second-edition headline exactly 59 minutes after the original. “Assailing Hate But Not Guns.” The liberal mob was not mollified.
That was obvious in the pathetic journalism think pieces that followed. Politico wrote how angry Democrats are about media coverage. You read that right. Democrats who control nearly every aspect of traditional media narrative are complaining their team isn’t giving 110 percent. It’s like a baseball coach who is winning 100-1 launching into an insane tirade because it’s not a shutout.
Politico quoted whimpering “Pod Save America” Co-host Dan Pfeiffer, who served as an Obama adviser. “A vast swath of Democratic voters are pretty angry at the media,” he argued. Pfeiffer went on to ridiculously pretend media treat Trump like they are “too afraid to call him a racist or a liar.”
Jack Shafer, Politico’s senior media writer, added a tiny bit of normalcy to the debate. He revealed the unhinged leftist strategy, noting it had “more to do with the political validation that liberals and lefties have come to demand from the news media they consume.”
Members of the Resistance “want every column-inch of copy in the Times to reinforce and amplify their resistance values, right down to the headlines,” he wrote. Then he went off track, claiming “the paper completely rejects” the demands of the hardcore left.
Only it didn’t. It caved as soon as liberal readers and liberal staffers yowled together in anger. And that’s where journalism is in 2019. With 15 months left until a presidential election, one of the nation’s premier publications surrendered to the mob.
Over a headline.
I’ve been saying the entire Trump presidency that news coverage will keep getting worse. This episode is a reminder that normal rules are gone. Most journalists are part of the political movement trying to unseat the president.