The New York Times needs to stop coddling the Trump mob

Fascist foot soldiers

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In the wake of the murderous mob that laid siege to the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the New York Times has produced a wave of coverage about Trump voters. In the hands of Times reporters, the loyalists are generally being portrayed as slightly confused and quirky people who are peddling "conspiracy theories" and "misinformation";  guilty of "warping reality." What they're not portrayed as is being part of a dangerous insurrectionist movement committed to overthrowing an election — foot soldiers at the forefront of the rise of American fascism.

The insurrectionists are overwhelmingly white and they're being treated with kid gloves.

The gentle embrace of the Trump mob comes after the Times flooded its news pages and website for four years with endless updates on Trump voters and how much his white, working class supporters inside Midwest diners love him and will never question him. (Times headlines: "Trump Backers Like His First Draft of a New America"; "Trump’s Fights Are Their Fights. They Have His Back Unapologetically.")

The more recent coverage comes across as an attempt by the Times to humanize a radical movement by suggesting that it’s driven by confused people who are simply down on their luck. One article interviewed a truck-driving Trump supporter in Colorado and suggested he was driven to extremism because of "multiple catastrophes of the past year," which turned out to be the truck driver having quit his job because he refused to wear a mask during a pandemic.

In truth, the Trump mob supports brutal, white supremacists groups that fueled the insurrection attack, and his loyalists demand unequivocally that Joe Biden's election should be overturned. They're devoted to shredding democracy in the name of the Trump cult. But that's not at all how they come across at the Times. For one recent piece, the daily photographed a Trump sycophant in pleasing pictures as she posed with her pet in Central Park. Message to readers: She's just like you!



The Times even published a fashion analysis of the insurrectionist mob: "They came dressed for chaos. They came in red, white and blue face paint and star-spangled superhero outfits, in flag capes (American, yes, but also Confederate and Trumpian) and flag jackets and Trump bobble hats."

Did I miss the paper's in-depth look at how members of Antifa dressed as they battled the police in Portland, Oregon last summer?

Fact: The siege on the Capitol was supported by a tiny number of Americans, including just 15 percent of Republicans, according to a recent ABC News poll. Yet that small sliver of insurrectionists keeps getting ink at the Times. And the 81 million Americans who voted for Biden? They've been flushed down the memory hole since Election Day. As the exasperated Rude Pundit tweeted, "Jesus fuck @nytimes, can we have one article on people who are happy Biden won?"

After the 2016 elections, Times editors decided that because the paper had missed the story of the Trump win, reporters had to fan out nationwide and shine a spotlight on Trump voters. In 2020, Trump lost by seven million votes, so the Times leadership decided reporters has to fan out and shine a spotlight on Trump supporters ?

Since the bloody insurrection on January 6, the Times has checked in with an endless stream of Trump voters, including a: 

• "commercial producer of maple syrup in northern Wisconsin"

• "retired apartment manager and a self-published author in Georgia"

• "retired landscaper" from western North Carolina

• "fuel truck driver in Colorado"

• "retired medical worker from Marshfield, Wis."

• "67-year-old retired salesman in Kenosha"

• "fuel truck driver in Grand Junction, Colo."

• "retired dental assistant in western Pennsylvania"

• "Trump supporter in northeast Pennsylvania"

• "an evangelical Christian from Texas"

• "pastor of First Baptist Dallas"

• "dry wall contractor from Robbinsville, N.C."

I'm sure the newsroom argument is that Trump voters are making news, therefore they're garnering more Times attention. True, but they're making news for a launching a murderous insurrection, and that central fact should be reflected in all the coverage.

Instead, supporters are often given a chance to parrot Trump lies in the pages of the Times:

• "The rioters were not us. Maybe they were antifa. Maybe they were B.L.M.."

• “I know that the violence was caused by bad actors from antifa and liberal progressives as well as Black Lives Matter.”

• "If we tolerate a fraudulent election, I believe we cease to have a republic. We turn into a totalitarian state.”

• "Are you OK with internment camps if you refuse to wear a mask or take a vaccination?"

• "The people didn’t show up with guns trying to overthrow the government, but the media likes to spin it that way."

• "We had dead people voting, illegal aliens voting."

•  “You know as well as I do they stuffed the ballots in the states of Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.”

• " [Rapheal] Warnock is a Marxist and [Jon] Ossoff is a communist."

 • "All of the things the country was founded on are under attack, they are trying to get the name of God out of everything, especially the name of Jesus."

The Times needs to start covering the Trump mob for what it is: a dangerous band of insurrectionists.

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That Trump violence that was on display outside the Capitol did not materialize overnight. It’s been a part of the far-right culture in this country for years.

From Lauren Rankin’s piece at Refinery29, “How Anti-Abortion Terrorism Fueled The MAGA Attack On The Capitol”:

As long as abortion has been legal in this country, it has been under siege. Since 1977, there have been 11,905 acts of violence against abortion providers, including 42 bombings, 189 arsons, and 11 assassinations. Clinics have experienced more than 700,000 incidents of disruption. These acts of violence and harassment grew steadily over decades, as anti-abortion extremists saw how little retribution they faced for escalated their tactics.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech 

"Go ahead! Go Ahead!" That's the off-camera voice of Rev. Ralph Abernathy urging on King as he nears the end of his address to striking sanitation workers in Memphis on April 3, 1968. It was the last speech King ever gave.

I realize I'm a day late with the MLK holiday, but I wanted to share this for folks who haven't seen it in a while.

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!