The New York Times was offended on Sen. Kamala Harris’s behalf in its hysterical Wednesday morning coverage, after Republicans failed to properly bow to Joe Biden’s pick for his vice-presidential running mate, a woman the paper clearly adores: “2020 Election Live Updates: After Harris Pick, Sexist and Racist Attacks From Trump and Fox News Hosts," by Annie Karni and Thomas Kaplan (that heading was later changed).
From the first hours after Joseph R. Biden Jr. chose Kamala Harris as his running mate, President Trump, his Republican allies and conservative hosts on Fox News unfurled a string of sexist attacks on Ms. Harris.
Mr. Trump followed up on Wednesday morning with a racist tweet claiming that Mr. Biden would put another Black leader, Senator Cory Booker, in charge of low-income housing in the suburbs. That tweet did not mention Ms. Harris, but it continued Mr. Trump’s tactic of playing into white racist fears about integration efforts as he declared, “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me.”
“They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!”
The president did not explain why he referred to Mr. Booker, whose first name he misspelled. But the race-laced salvo came after a chorus of Fox News hosts on Tuesday night assailed Ms. Harris, attacking everything from the pronunciation of her name to Mr. Biden’s selection process for focusing on women of color.
(USA Today also howled racism, but at least had sufficient journalistic chops to explain Trump’s Booker reference: “As a presidential candidate last year, Booker released a plan to make housing more affordable and get rid of housing discrimination.”)
The Times really reached working its imagined sexism/racism angle, angered at Fox News' failure to genuflect to Harris.
Over and over on Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, mispronounced her first name, even growing angry when corrected. “So what?” he said, when a guest told him it was pronounced “Comma-la.”
Mr. Carlson said that there were “time-share salesmen you could trust more” than Ms. Harris and “payday lenders who are more sincere,” alluding to an institution long accused of exploiting poor communities of color.
Martha MacCallum, the Fox anchor, said that focusing the search for a running mate on women of color “takes away” from the selection process overall.
Meanwhile, the paper’s gushing over Harris made a stark contrast to its 2008 coverage of Sarah Palin. Harris predictably dominated Wednesday’s front page, under the banner headline: “Harris Joins Biden Ticket, Achieving A First.”
The lead story slot contained “Woman of Color in No. 2 Slot of Major Party,” which referred to the liberal, fiercely pro-abortion Harris as “a pragmatic moderate.” That story was accompanied on the front by “Political Warrior Shaped by Life Inside System” and “Fresh Approach To a Tradition,” which hailed Biden’s “groundbreaking decision.”
Contrast that with how the paper covered Sen. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The headlines from the Times front page of August 30, 2008 greeted the pick with doubt.
The main news story was presented under the drab headline, “McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate.” Also on the front: “Choice of Palin Is a Bold Move by McCain, With Risks” and “Drawing Women’s Attention, Maybe Not Allegiance.” There was one positive headline, “Sarah Heath Palin, an Outsider Who Charms.”
That marked perhaps the last positive treatment Palin received from the paper; the anti-Palin smears started three days later and have yet to let up.