The Palpable Bias of the NY Times Editorial Page by Cary Ichter
Reading the title of this writing, one might say, of course there is bias in any opinion piece. It is colored by opinion, right? Right, but opinion pieces should advance ideas derived from fact. Opinion unanchored in fact is of little merit, and such opinions should not find there was onto the editorial page of the New York Times.
I am a small government conservative who reads the New York Times (and the Wall Street Journal). In particular, I read the news sections and editorial page of the New York times on the weekends. I find the news stories and columns in the Times to be generally well-written and often intellectually dishonest.
This is not a defense of President Trump. It is defense of honesty in opinion writing. As for President Trump, I could tolerate him much better were he not so obnoxious. That said, I agree with many of his policies—lowering taxes, shrinking the government, making our trade deals fairer, and enforcing immigration laws. If he could just do those things without opening his mouth, it would be great.
This weekend I read a column entitled “Mueller Versus Fox News,” by Quinta Jurecic. Ms. Jurecic (I did a gender check before writing this. Quinta is a female—although some NYT types might be offended by the classification) suggests that the evidence against President Trump is “damning,” but she never connects any dots that explain that conclusion.
Supposedly, the Special Counsel Office (SCO) is investigating “Russian collusion,” although, as far as I can tell, none of the prosecutions pursued or convictions obtained by the SCO have much of anything to do with the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. In the most recent burst of SCO activity, Paul Manafort has been accused of lying to SCO investigators in violation of his plea deal. I am not sure what that has to do with Trump or Russian collusion, given that nothing Manafort was charged with had anything to do with the election.
Ms. Jurecic next reports that conservative author James Corsi is facing “possible” indictment. As best I can tell, given the current state of play in Washington DC, having a government position means you face possible indictment. If you are a high-level City of Atlanta official, it is almost guaranteed, but it is also a well-deserved possibility. In any event, Mr. Corsi made the news for releasing a draft plea deal that, according to Ms. Jurecic, has some “incendiary allegations of attempted coordination between Mr. Corsi and the Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone with WikiLeaks.” I have no idea what “attempted coordination” is.
Ms. Jurecic does not mention until paragraphs later that Mr. Corsi disclosed the draft plea deal when he rejected it, claiming the SCO sought to have him lie in connection with the deal. Ms. Jurecic only bothers to mention Mr. Corsi’s announced reason for rejecting the plea deal for the purpose of dismissively suggesting Corsi’s explanations must be untrue because (i) they were covered on FOX News (and were unlikely mentioned on any mainstream media outlet) and (ii) they just don’t fit her core narrative that Mr. Trump is on the ropes and in trouble. So, Mr. Corsi’s statements and activities are dismissed as “antics.” She has already declared Mr. Corsi “guilty.”
What is the evidence of collusion Ms. Jurecic cites? Apparently, Mr. Corsi produced document that suggest that he and Roger Stone of the Trump campaign “knew in advance of planned release by WikiLeaks of hacked documents.” Of course, Stone and WikiLeaks deny any coordination. And, by the way, since when did having knowledge that someone else was going to do something constitute complicity in the act? If Roger Stone and then-private-citizen Donald Trump learned WikiLeaks was going to release documents showing nefarious activities of Hillary Clinton and the DNC, what were they supposed to do? Undertake to stop them? Save the day for Hillary and the DNC?
The other evidence of collusion? The Trump organization did not abandon plans to build a hotel in Moscow until June 2016—before Trump was nominated and before the November general election—five months later. I thought the investigation had to do with Russian interference in the general election and Trump campaign collusion with that interference. Where is that evidence? What does the timing of the Trump Hotel in Moscow have to do with that?
What are Mr. Trump’s other related offenses? He said he would not take pardoning Paul Manafort off the table. But Ms. Jurecic fails to explain why he should. And he appointed Matthew Whitaker, a critic of the SCO investigation, to be acting Attorney General. Why is that bad? Well, according to Ms. Jurecic, that step is “seemingly calculated to limit the fallout from the investigation or even, in a worst case, enable the president to shut it down.” NEWS FLASH to Ms.Jurecic: The President has had the power to shut down the investigation since taking office—before the investigation even began.
The one thing it appears that Ms. Jurecic and I are anxious for is a final report of the SCO, but for different reasons. Ms. Jurecic, with the certainty of any true-believer, knows that the SCO’s report will spell the end of President Trump’s days in office. Given what we have seen from the SCO so far, I sincerely doubt that. But whatever Mr. Mueller and his team do, it would be better that it be done quickly. The press just reported that these issues were a distraction at the recent G-20 Summit in Argentina, and while the week’s stories were undoubtedly a bigger distraction for the press than world leaders—or any other serious people—the continued lack of resolution as to these issues is a costly distraction for the government and the people. So, Mr. Mueller, get it done already.