The New York Times Goes Low and Personal Against Fox News
Not even a frightening epidemic can lessen the left’s obsession with Fox News. The Russia collusion narrative was a bust and the impeachment crusade had a brief half-life, so now they are using the current health crisis to try bringing down those they despise, meaning anyone who defends President Trump. As a case in point, the New York Times ran a hit piece Sunday that made the tortured point that something Sean Hannity and other Fox opinion hosts said or left unsaid about the coronavirus pandemic meant that Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch is essentially guilty of killing people. That’s right -- according to the New York Times, watching Fox News can be deadly.
The Times story flatly declared that “Fox failed its viewers and the broader public in ways both revealing and potentially lethal. In particular, Lachlan Murdoch failed.” In the view of the paper’s media reporter, Fox’s opinion hosts have been insufficiently in sync in both language and tone with the standards that the New York Times -- and the liberal media writ large -- demand from commentators about the coronavirus epidemic. In case anybody needed reminding, this perfectly illustrates the loathing and contempt the Times has for Fox viewers. But this latest attack on Fox has taken a new, more personal path, and its’ smear of Lachlan Murdoch (whom I have never met) and maligning of all of Fox News reveals new depths of hypocrisy and insecurity at the New York Times.
So, where does this new level of extrapolation take us? Does Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger have blood on his hands as a result of his newspaper’s opinion writers advocating for the reckless release of criminals from our prisons? Is he to blame for incitement of hatred against Israel? Might it just as well be his finger on the trigger used by the illegal alien who escaped capture because of the sanctuary city policies that his paper routinely advocates? By the Times’ own standards, the answer is yes – and that he’s accountable to future victims who are sure to come.
While we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, did you catch the Times’ politically correct jag on what this virus must be called? On Monday, the paper ran a woeful story along with a separate editorial about the supposed persecution of Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. “President Trump is using language that Asian Americans say is inciting racist attacks,” it reported dutifully. The editorial board added that “President Trump, some members of his cabinet and some conservative politicians have opted to fan the bigotry by deliberately using the term ‘Wuhan virus’ or ‘Chinese virus.’”
Earlier in the week, the Times sanctimoniously referred to a “backlash” provoked by Trump for “rejecting the World Health Organization’s guidance against using geographic locations when naming illnesses.”
But while castigating “Mr. Trump and his Republican allies,” the Times conveniently ignored its own role in advancing the supposed slur it now finds so appalling.
As early as Jan. 21, the Times reported on the coronavirus with the headline “First Patient With Wuhan Coronavirus Is Identified in the U.S.”
Of course, no one said the New York Times was racist, inflammatory, or bigoted for doing so. Those are labels reserved only for the president, his cabinet, and conservatives in general. To be honest, this isn’t much of a surprise. When it comes to journalistic principles, the Times and other once-elite outlets have exhibited, let’s just say, rather elastic – and one-sided -- standards of objectivity. Ben Smith, the author of the latest anti-Fox screed, came to the Times from BuzzFeed. Once known for cute cat pictures, under Smith’s tenure as editor it ventured into political journalism, a mission notable by two dubious editorial decisions. The first was to print, in its entirety, the notorious Steele “dossier.” Written by a foreign intelligence officer and funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the dossier was peddled around Washington by “Deep State” operatives openly dedicated to undermining Donald Trump’s presidency. It was used as a wedge by FBI officials, even though top bureau agents knew much of it was false. BuzzFeed published it all.
Earlier, in the summer of 2016, BuzzFeed announced it was pulling out of a $1.3 million advertising contract with the Republican National Committee because Trump was the GOP nominee.
“We certainly don’t like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company,” BuzzFeed’s owner wrote. “However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”
That’s not the kind of thing journalistic enterprises do; it’s what political activists do. Ben Smith, the top editor at the paper, merely shrugged at the time that it was the “prerogative of the publisher.” He’s the journalist hired earlier this year to cover the media for New York Times. His new publisher isn’t much different than his previous one.