NY Times or Angry Internet Troll? Hits ‘Facts Optional’ GOP Convention

August 27th, 2020 5:50 PM

On the first night of the Republican National Convention, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns, and Annie Karni immediately poisoned the well for the Republicans launch of the 2020 campaign, under the headline “Nominating Trump, Republicans Rewrite His Record.”

One review even included this headline: “R.N.C. Begins, Masks (and Sometimes Facts) Optional.” Meanwhile, the paper helped Biden rewrite his own legislative history regarding the 1994 crime bill, but managed to contract themselves while fact-checking.

President Trump and his political allies mounted a fierce and misleading defense of his political record on the first night of the Republican convention on Monday, while unleashing a barrage of attacks on Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the Democratic Party that were unrelenting in their bleakness.

Hours after Republican delegates formally nominated Mr. Trump for a second term, the president and his party made plain that they intended to engage in sweeping revisionism about Mr. Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic, his record on race relations and much else….

At times, the speakers and prerecorded videos appeared to be describing an alternate reality: one in which the nation was not nearing 180,000 deaths from the coronavirus; in which Mr. Trump had not consistently ignored serious warnings about the disease; in which the president had not spent much of his term appealing openly to xenophobia and racial animus….

In his review, “R.N.C. Begins, Masks (and Sometimes Facts) Optional,” television critic James Poniewozik wished the networks had lived up to “their responsibility not to amplify disinformation from a president they know, from experience, they can’t trust to tell the truth.” That failed, so Poniewozik shamelessly weaponized comments from NBC Democratic hack Chuck Todd to sic on both Trump and his bosses at MSNBC.

….Chuck Todd of MSNBC said afterward that the speech was “filled with so many made-up problems about mail-in voting that if we were to air just the truthful parts, we probably could only air maybe a sentence -- if that much.” But the network aired it anyway.

During the Times' “live briefing” Monday night, reporter Nick Corasaniti huffed: 

[Trump] repeatedly referred to the virus with a racist name, calling it the “China virus,” and alluding that he wanted to call it something else but that he wouldn’t so as not to upset people.

Convention speaker Charlie Kirk was bizarrely, unfairly chided for not providing pro-Democratic context in his convention speech -- speeches which are literally exercises in partisan campaign rhetoric. 

Mr. Kirk has leaned into the provocative, sometimes inflammatory nature of Mr. Trump’s brand of politics, with occasional falsehoods and misrepresentations.

“All of this is under attack by a group of bitter, deceitful, vengeful, arrogant activists who wish to tear down this gift we have been given,” Mr. Kirk said on Monday. He spoke of “monuments,” though he didn’t directly refer to the conservative push to preserve Confederate statues. He also spoke of “kicking doctors off of social media,” though he didn’t mention that this had happened because they had spread dangerous disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

In the paper’s official live “fact-check” of the Republican Convention on Monday night, things got really confused when Times reporters twice defended Joe Biden from Republican attacks on him for sponsoring the 1994 crime bill. Yet another reporter contradicted that defense, and said the GOP’s critique that it led to mass incarceration of minorities was, in fact, accurate.

The paper’s official fact-checker Linda Qiu warned readers not to blame Biden for the mass incarceration of minorities resulting from the crime bill that BIden sponsored as a U.S. senator:

It is also wrong to blame Mr. Biden, who sponsored the Senate version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, for mass incarceration.

In a separate fact-check co-authored with Rebecca Ruiz, Qiu wrote:

Similarly, the party in its platform and Mr. Biden have said they support ending the use of private prisons, but not prisons entirely. (Another speaker also falsely blamed Mr. Biden for mass incarceration.) 

Yet in that very same “fact check” thread, Stephanie Saul threw Biden under the bus. Noting black Republican Sen. Tim Scott's claim that “In 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of Black Americans behind bars,” Saul surprisingly admitted: “This is mostly true.” 

Which way is it, New York Times?