The New York Times gives Yellow Journalism a bad name.
From what little I have seen about Virginia Thomas she is a very class act.
There once was a rule of journalistic ethics that a “straight news” reporter refrained from gratuitous labels and judgments pertaining to the subjects of their stories. The New York Times clearly has forgotten those journalistic ethics.
Witness Saturday’s opinion column masquerading as a news report about a meeting Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, and other conservative activists had with President Trump. The sneering contempt of the reporters for Mrs. Thomas — and their obvious desire to convince the readers that Mrs. Thomas is bad, bad, bad, bad I tell you, BAD! — is like something out of the left-wing the Nation magazine, rather than a major daily newspaper.
Note the words I’ve Italicized in this summary: The lead sentence of the story calls Mrs. Thomas’ group “a delegation of hard-right activists.” The fourth paragraph says that “Ms. Thomas has long been close to what had been the Republican Party’s fringes.” Later, reporters Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni accuse Mrs. Thomas of “promoting conspiracy theories,” and repeatedly report that she has been “criticized” for “inappropriate” potential “conflicts of interest,” “provoking controversy,” and hiring people thought to be racists.
At least the reporters had the courtesy to say what the supposed conspiracy theories were. Both are hardly crazy theories. One was that billionaire “ philanthropist” George Soros was working against Trump. Memo to the Times: He was and is. The other was the “Democrats had committed voter fraud during last year’s midterm elections.” Some of them certainly appeared to do so.
Anyway, throughout the whole story, there is nary a kind word said about Mrs. Thomas, while paragraph after paragraph details her supposed flaws — and those of some of the other conservatives who met with Trump last week.
As a matter of fact, it’s not even clear how hard the Times worked to try to verify its reporting with those not obviously hostile to the conservative activists in the meeting.
The Times reports that Mrs. Thomas herself “did not respond to an email seeking comment,” but did not say whether it tried to get comments from any others brought to the meeting by Mrs. Thomas.
The Times article identifies Mrs. Thomas with regard to her husband’s position and to her own chairmanship of an umbrella group of conservative activists — but does nothing else to describe her as a person of substance in her own right, one who was once a top aide to then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey in the 1990s.
For the liberal media, women are never to be belittled by identifying them primarily as their husband’s wives, unless of course the woman is conservative.
But this is the same Maggie Haberman who blew the original reporting on the Covington Catholic boys at the March for Life, who came close to equating WikiLeaks with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, who treated Republican concern with obvious shenanigans in Florida vote-counting as “ cold political calculation,” and who in general can be counted on to provide a liberal spin to almost any news story.
Maybe it’s time to describe some of the Times’ news articles as being on the “fringe” of journalism.