NYT Frantically Fact-Checks for HRC; Press Conference of Bill's Victims an 'Ugly' Trump Tactic

October 10th, 2016 1:08 PM

The second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday night was widely seen as a decent performance by Donald Trump, but the New York Times frantically spun away from Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton for enabling her husband’s treatment of women. The NYT's Haberman dismissed a press conference of women accusing Bill Clinton of sexual assaults: “If anyone was wondering how ugly tonight is going to get, Trump just answered it." The Times' fact-checking also found Trump's debate claims false by a staggering 13:1 ratio.

The spin began on the front page, with campaign reporters Michael Barbaro and Amy Chozick finding women who distrusted Trump: “For Some Women, Words on Bus Echo Louder Than Talk Onstage.”

It was Donald J. Trump’s chance to sound contrite and mature, to explain away the sexually predatory boasts he was caught making on tape and to persuade Americans that -- for all his no-apologies braggadocio -- he was, in fact, capable of feeling shame.

Maura Cotter, 22, a senior at the University of Notre Dame, was shocked at what Mr. Trump did instead in Sunday’s debate: repeat, over and over, that what he had said on the 2005 recording, about forcing himself on women and grabbing their genitals, was simply “locker-room banter.”


A classmate, Abigail Wilson, who is a registered Republican, listened closely to Mr. Trump and was reminded, she said, of the time she was groped by a stranger. The Republican nominee, she said soberly, “may not have physically harmed anyone with his words, but he has the power to do so by example.”


Despite his best efforts, Mr. Trump could not quickly put the issue to rest. A moderator, Anderson Cooper, pressed him about the tape four times, wondering if Mr. Trump understood the gravity of what he had said, and whether he had ever carried out the lewd actions he had described. No, Mr. Trump said. Eventually, the debate moved on.

After saying he was sorry but doing little to demonstrate remorse, Mr. Trump instead sought to turn the ugliest phase of his campaign into an attack on Bill Clinton’s past sexual trespasses -- by turning Mrs. Clinton into a wife who had abided, aided and abetted her husband’s misdeeds.


Now, in the final weeks of the campaign, it is Mr. Trump whose campaign is imperiled by his careless approach to gender.

On Sunday, Ms. Sloas in Knoxville waited for Mr. Trump to redeem himself in her eyes, by displaying real regret for his treatment of women on the recording. “He’d have to show true remorse,” she said. “We, and I mean ‘we,’ as in America, would have to see remorse.”

All night, she said, he failed to demonstrate it.

Barbaro and Chozick skipped any mention of the press conference featuring women who accuse Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and assaults. It received only cursory coverage by the Times.

Trump of course got the worst of the Times’ live debate fact-checking brigade Sunday night. There was no labeling listed for the color coding of their judgment calls, but text in a red box meant false, green meant true, and yellow was evidently somewhere in between. Hillary Clinton won that media debate easily, with the NYT finding just one false statement from her, compared to 13 from Donald Trump.

Clinton’s statements were hardly fact-checked, and the 5 times the Times bothered to look she did quite well: She was credited with 3 True statements, 1 In-Between, and just 1 False. Trump got far more fact-check attention -- 23 occasions, in which he was credited with only 2 True statements, 8 In-Betweens, and a whopping 13 False findings.

Alan Rappeport introduced his sampling of post-debate reaction under the headline “Who Won the Debate? Donald Trump Avoids Annihilation.”

Donald J. Trump’s campaign appeared to be crumbling as he entered the second presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, with Republicans withdrawing support for his candidacy after the disclosure of a vulgar recording that showed him bragging about sexual assault. Facing a barrage of tough questions, the Republican nominee managed to scrape through, evading questions, fabricating answers and attacking his opponent in deeply personal terms.

During Sunday night’s live pre-debate coverage, Haberman was true to her Hillary-helping form, dismissive of the stories from Bill Clinton’s sexual accusers: “If anyone was wondering how ugly tonight is going to get, Trump just answered it.” Reporter Alan Rappeport agreed: “Certainly this is not the kind of thing that someone who is feeling contrite or humbled by what happened this weekend would do.”

During the debate, Nick Confessore chided Trump for calling out the liberal moderators for bias: “Easy to get a crowd at a Republican primary debate to dump on the moderators, regardless of which candidate they back....Here it just makes him look petulant.”