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The Times as well as many media outlets want a horserace campaign. They need it to be close to generate subscriptions and ratings. There is no way they can possibly portray Trump as being closer to Biden in his ability to tell the truth. So their only alternative is to paint Biden as being "inaccurate" like Trump. It's sad what the New York Times has become. There are many causes to the destruction of our democracy. It hasn't happened overnight. Trump is of course the icing on the cake but you can trace the beginning of the demise to when media outlets were tasked to make a profit over good journalism. The drama being attempted by saying Biden and the Democrats lie too is just adding to the false narrative that both sides do it. Sure, all politicians get loose with the facts but how can you compare the garden variety white lies of presidential candidates to the pathological liar currently in the White House? It's just downright irresponsible.

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author

also keep in mind, the NYT categorically refuses to call Trump a liar, even as every NYT fact check of Trump proves him to be a liar

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Forgive me for asking the obvious, but what precisely is the NYT explanation for not stating "this is a lie"? Is it in their style manual? Surely someone has asked Dean Baquet or A.J. Sulzberger? If anyone has a link to interviews, I'm sure it's next-level rationalization.

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founding

This faux balance fact-checking has been going on for decades. Republicans know they can easily distract the media from their own weaknesses by focusing on some trivial thing their opponent has misstated. For example the media went nuts over Gore saying that he had traveled with FEMA director Witt to view a disaster in Texas when he had actually travelled on that particular trip with an assistant. Here is the headline of an article in the Baltimore Sun:

“ Gore again must explain exaggeration”

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2000-10-08-0010080112-story.html

Gore was also slammed for saying that schools were so crowded that a student in Sarasota had to stand. That was true but the media crucified him because that student was eventually given a desk. Her classroom was designed for 24 students but had 36 which proved Gore’s point but why get distracted by important problems when you can a pick a person apart for trivial misstatements?

For decades Republicans have been playing this game to distract the media from focusing on the substance of issues where they are vulnerable. The media completely ignored the substance of the issues Gore was addressing — that he had a lot of experience dealing with disasters and that many of our schools were overcrowded so the discussion became about Gore’s truthfulness, not the serious problems he wanted to address.

The same thing is happening here. Biden makes an important criticism of the Trump administration, Republicans pounce on a small factual error, the media shifts its focus to Biden getting something “wrong”, not to the horrific, life-threatening federal government unwillingness to lead on this pandemic and Biden’s plan to fix that mess.

The best response to this game I have seen came after CNN criticized Kamala Harris for saying that as California AG she had sued Exxon. She had sued other oil companies but had only investigated Exxon. Her press secretary responded;

“When parsing word choice is given the same treatment as intentional lies. . . it blurs the very lines ‘fact checkers’ are supposed to help keep drawn.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/11/democrats-fact-checking-1489135

It still boggles my mind that the media is still so willing to allow Republicans to pull their strings and distract them from serious problems. It’s not just Fox News misleading the public.

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author

it is amazing the press still playing this game in 2020

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The establishment press has been at least implicitly supportive of the GOP since the late 1970s.

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founding

I am old enough to remember reading about Nixon’s PR effort to rehab his image as the “New Nixon” when I was just a teenager. I thought it was hilarious and knew that journalists wouldn’t fall for this blatant con job. Imagine my shock when a few short months later I saw an article describing how Nixon had changed. I recently reread Jack Germond’s 2004 book “Fat Man Fed Up” which is an excellent critique of the mainstream media. He believed the media fell for the New Nixon on their guilt for having been hard on him when he ran in 1960 and a desire to be open minded. Apparently in media world being open minded means ignoring all negative the things you know about a candidate and allowing him to erase the slate. At least back then this wasn’t as one sided because they also fell for JFK’s powerful PR operation.

These days the media is clearly working to rehab Dubya’s image. They are also falling at the feet of the ever Trumpers running The Lincoln Project, men who aided and abetted Bush. Too bad none of them have the courage to do what

And I have been complaining about it since then and even before. I was a teenager when the media reported on Nixon’s attempt to rehabilitate him image as the “new Nixon”. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard and knew that no way journalists would fall for that obviously fake makeover. Imaging my surprise a few month later when I saw the headline “The New Nixon”. The article was written with no skepticism about the claim that Nixon had really changed. That was my first inkling that the media could be manipulated. I recently reread Jack Germond’s book “Fat Man Fed Up” which is an excellent critique of the media’s And I have been complaining about it since then. Actually when I was a teenager I remember when the media reported on Nixon’s attempt to rehabilitate him image as the “new Nixon”. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard and knew that no way journalists would fall for that obviously fake makeover. Imaging my surprise a few month later when I saw the headline “The New Nixon”. The article was written with no skepticism about the claim that Nixon had changed. That was my first inkling that the media could be manipulated.

Recently I was rereading Jack Germond’s 2004 book “Fat Man Fed Up” which is an excellent analysis of the games the media plays that is still worth reading. His explanation for the media’s willingness to buy the “New Nixon” scam as the result of guilt for being so hard on him in 1960 — whether or not he deserved it — and from their need to appear open minded. At least back then the media wasn’t so unbalanced because they clearly fell for JFK’s powerful PR operation, too.

What is really driving me nuts these days is the way the media is rehabilitating Dubya’s image and worshipping at the feet of all of his enablers who are now Never Trumpers running the Lincoln Project. Too bad none of them have the guts to do what the cartoonists who create Tooning out the News recently did to Rick Wilson:

https://youtu.be/tNvuYPpX0C0

It is a great reminder that these people bear a big responsibility not only for the debacles of the Bush administration but also for paving the way for Trump. I am also struck by the fact that none of the Lincoln Project ads that I have seen say that organization is made up of Republicans. Complicit and gutless.

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I forgot all about the "New Nixon". I also remember how the Watergate break in was a big ho hum for the media for a very long time. Crimes against Democrats have/are not considered serious or worth investigating.

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Why not ask my son about what he thinks of the New York Times?

OOPS! You can't because the New York Times gladly lied us into a war with Iraq--a war that killed him...

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founding

I can’t begin to imagine your pain and anger at those who helped create that disaster. What a terrible waste.

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I am truly sorry; both of my sons serve right now and so I understand and appreciate your righteous resentment. God bless his memory and service....

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If there's one thing if you can learn from Trump. If you don't engage in the discussion, people will stop to care. Don't overexplain all your wrong doings. Focus on what's wrong here now. If you start explaining you already lost in the media we live in.

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founding

And yet if you are a Democrat they will demand that you answer for things that go wrong, that you apologize over and over, etc. Republicans get a pass for bad behavior. After all boys will be boys.

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The press is desperate for a both sides narrative, but it doesn’t seem to be as effective this go around. Trump and the GOP are really just that bad.

On a happy note, the Alabama Republican primary run-off is today, and Jeff Sessions is expected to get shitkicked by Tuberville, which makes Doug Jones’ re-election a bit easier, because Trump endorsed Tuberville. And a Trump endorsement is poison with the general populace, even in Alabama.

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I've been calling out the NY Times for years on Social Media for their blatantly disingenuous phony liberalism, but only recently has their laughable fair-and-balanced charade started to attract the attention of people in powerful circles. The Times is the Trojan Horse of the liberal media, a click-bait ragamuffin all dressed up in fancy clothes. In my opinion, with all their faux concern and pseudo-progressive hand-wringing, they are more destructive to the American political process than Cambridge Analytica was in 2016

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Somehow we are going to need to find a way to make the point that truth has a liberal bias (or liberal views have a truth bias) without sounding absurd.

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I do prefer the second option.

It’s like when a number of ministers went to Lincoln to assure him God was on his side. Lincoln responded that he’d rather be sure he was on God’s side.

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While the policy decisions that have resulted in trend of thousands of avoidable deaths came from Trump, he was supported by, among others, the establishment press in the manner discussed in this post. Which is to say the press is complicit in the deaths caused by Trump.

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This beautifully captures what's wrong with The Times's feature, and The Washington Post's fact-checker. Mr. Boehlert correctly says the media need to hold Democrats to standards. But it would be nice if they tried holding republicans to standards, too. For many years, it has been clear to me that The Post's fact-checker has looked for ways to criticize Democrats as strongly as he does republicans, and the differences are obvious to any sentient human being.

I also know Mr. D'Antonio has done excellent work, and I am sure he brings the receipts in this new study. It's a reminder that one of the beauties of being The New York Times is never having to say you're sorry. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., commented once after an encounter with Max Frankel, then the editorial page editor, that there's something about working there that makes you think you are incapable of error.

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author

that's the drawback to the fact-check model. on paper both parties should be equally scrutinized. but when today's GOP couldn't care less abt facts/truth, fact checks shouldn't still be determined to portray both parties as equal

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The New York Times is hell bent on kneecapping Joe Biden because they want another 4 years of Trump. For the stockholders who dictate the editorial policy at that corporate propaganda rag it's all about maximizing shareholder return.

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Did you see their ghastly article about October 2016 and the Access Hollywood tape? I had to stop reading it, I was so infuriated. Why give him more “positive” press - they love pieces like that that show how he overcame such terrible odds.

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I wish you’d take a look at https://www.allsides.com/media-bias/media-bias-ratings. Some of the media they cite as right and far right routinely falsify video and facts, create intentional narratives out of omission and cherry-picked facts. Not happening in their far left categories for the most part. The false equivalency is infuriating—shouldn’t they at least leave their far left column blank?

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author

thanks i'll will take a look at it.

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Is the NYT that afraid of right wing criticism or is it simply their sniffy Upper West Side attitude towards someone who isn't in their social circle? For all his malevolence and incompetence, I think the NYT still remembers the Donald Trump who would hobnob with them at this party or that so remains one of them. I would love to be proven wrong, but it's no different than the WH press corp or the WaPo always having in the back of their mind that invitation to a Georgetown party that marks them as "important".

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author

i think it's the NYT's obsession with promoting Both Sides, even if that means pretending Trump and Biden are similar re: pandemic

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If not “afraid of right wing criticism” say trying desperately not to “fall” into the “liberal media” meme. The contortions NYT & other media holds through is absurd. Fact check one Republican, fact check one Democrat.

Mr. Boehlert has it when he states the system breaks down when the Republicans have only an accidental acquaintance with truth and accuracy.

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Totally irrelevant to the post; but do I correctly understand that the White House has taken control of coronavirus records and reporting?

Well, Trump will get his “zero new cases” soon.

Please, please, tell me it ain’t so.

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