Snubbing the New York Times

Published by marco on

As it appears, the New York Times, The LA Times, CNN and other august news-gathering organizations like Politico and Buzzfeed have been barred from a press briefing. Clearly the republic teeters. When The Gray Lady is snubbed, can internment camps be far behind? As you would expect, this immediately became a first-amendment, nay, a constitutional issue for the faux-Left, with the NYT at the forefront, hoisting its own banner high.

I don’t think press briefings are in the Constitution, though, are they? They have no anchor in law. The White House can invite or disinvite whomever they like. There is no guarantee—there are just conventions. Heretofore, the NYT had been a good ‘ol boy, a member in good standing of the club. It stings when the mean girls don’t invite you to a party.

This is not to say that the move is without some import. The article The New York Times Is Not Invited by Scott H. Greenfield (Simple Justice) includes the following summary:

“By barring it from the room, the Trump administration has changed a norm, if not a law, that we took for granted. It tells us that he is either too petty or clueless to appreciate what he’s doing. On the other hand, the New York Times might want to brush up on the First Amendment as well. It’s not that special that it gets to wrap itself in “free press” while using its barrels of ink to spew advocacy masquerading as news.”

We should be concerned about an administration letting its words be filtered only through friendly news sources. In that case, it would be less news and more a press release. But it wasn’t a blanket ban of all non-friendly organizations; it was just a handful.

It is anyway the case that press releases are treated as news. The NYT is cheerily complicit in maintaining that status quo, as long as things go their way. In what way was the NYT ever more than just a propaganda hole for these press releases? When Obama gave them, they were predictably fawning, regurgitating his administration’s desired impression word for word.

Now that they’re in opposition, they spin everything the other way, deliberately interpreting every single move by the Trump administration in the worst possible light.[1] They are doing the same, predictably, with this incident, trying their damnedest to harness people’s unwitting outrage to support their own agenda.

Greenfield goes on in the article cited above,

“[…] the New York Times […] obsesses over the every move of the Trump administration, not because it’s necessarily newsworthy, but because it offers an opportunity to be critical. And its reporting and editorial content are nearly identical; it has been substantially biased. Sometimes, wildly disingenuous.

“Often, it omits, twists or distorts information to achieve a clear purpose of challenging Trump’s every move as ranging from horrifyingly evil to the worst thing ever. Some would argue that Trump deserves no less, but that’s not the point. Give the facts, explain them in a fair and balanced way and let readers draw their own conclusions. But that’s not how advocacy journalism works, and it’s the duty of a journalist today to tell readers who to love and hate. It doesn’t make the New York Times wrong in its conclusions, necessarily, but it does make their coverage facially biased.”

Imagine I showed up to a press conference with my self-printed earthli News badge and then wailed about the end of democracy and the loss of all first-amendment rights when they quite rightly didn’t let me in. The NYT has just been traditionally allowed in, but there is no law saying they have to let anyone in. There isn’t even a law saying that the administration has to hold press conferences.[2] And they do so quite rarely. This was a press briefing, which is much less formal. And the ban was for just this briefing, not for all future ones.

We’re supposed to expend our outrage on the side of the New York Times—a newspaper that has never seen a war it didn’t like—or the LA Times—a newspaper that fired its best cartoonist because he offended their bosom buddies in the LA police[3]—or for Buzzfeed—an organization that has spent most of its existence polluting social spaces with listicles and sideboob—or for Politico—100% in-the-bag for Hilllary and the Democrats, despite the neutral-sounding name.

Are you going to shed a tear for these organizations? I’m certainly not.

[1] I think that this is objectively true, independent of the actual awfulness of what Trump did. If he were to step on a spade to to break ground for a new building site, it would be reported that The Donald had personally attacked the environment.
[2] Now this was a press briefing, which I think is different from a press conference, because those are apparently quite rare indeed. See Obama to Appear in Rare Press Conference (FOX News)[4]
[3] I know, FOX news, right? But it’s a pretty information-rich article with no spin, so I linked them for, I think, the first time ever.
[4] Poor Ted Rall is still fighting the lawsuit to this day. The Times fired him after the police chief personally asked them to.