Pretending To Have A Scoop, The New York Times Is Again Failing Its Readers

Pretending To Have A Scoop, The New York Times Is Again Failing Its Readers

Maggie Haberman

The New York Times on Tuesday published what it professes is The Great Summing Up of the horrors likely to be visited upon us by a second term of Donald Trump in the White House. The Washington Post did this story before, in early November: “Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term.” Now the Times has come along with, ”How Trump Plans to Wield Power in 2025: What We Know.” Both stories discuss Trump’s plans to “go after” the Biden family and his other political opponents, but the Times story does it as if this is actually news on December 26, 2023.

In fact, the story covers Trump’s outrageous plans for a second term as if it’s breaking news, from his threat to round up thousands of immigrants and put them in detention camps built by the military using Defense Department funds, to his scheme to install Trump loyalists throughout the government, including in the civil service.

The Times does come up with one area not covered in the Post November story, the likelihood that Trump will pull the U.S. out of NATO, “retreat from Europe,” and instead use American military power against gangs in Mexico. That much in the Times story is more or less new, based, I suspect, on the reluctance by his slavish munchkins among House Republicans to pass aid for Ukraine before they departed Washington for the comfy confines of their respective districts back home.

It's all a bit ass-coverish, a Boxing Day story attempting to put all in one place a scary scenario that simply echoes the alarms first sounded by their rival 200 miles to the south in Washington D.C.

The most interesting and alarming thing about the Times story today is to be found in a little aside in a section explaining that it is based on what Trump has said during his campaign, on his website, and interviews with “campaign advisers, including some who spoke with The New York Times at the request of the campaign.” You could write this last little gem off to political reporters’ braggadocio, showing us how much access they have, except for the fact that the story’s authors include the likes of Maggie Haberman and Charlie Savage, both of whom seem to wear their monikers as so-called “Trump whisperers” with pride. It’s as if the two of them, with the able assistance of the third reporter on the by-line, Jonathan Swan, want us to know that their reporting isn’t based on second-hand tattle-tailing of disgruntled former campaign staff but on access they alone have that comes from inside Trump’s tropical Berchtesgaden Eagles Nest in Palm Beach.

I am usually thankful for any juicy nugget I can get about Donald Trump and his authoritarian stratagems, but this kind of inside-baseball nonsense in a story that sums up Trump’s plans to jettison democracy in favor of a Hitlerian dreamscape that pretends only the New York Times can accurately report is as unseemly as it is childish.

There is a nah-nah-nah quality about the Times coverage of Trump at this point that is downright obnoxious. The so-called newspaper of record is covering this wannabe autocrat as if his plans to dismantle democratic norms, throw away the rule of law, and ignore any sort of restraints on his power, including those that might be imposed by the courts, as if they are just more policy positions. They’re treating the masterplan conceived of by the Heritage Foundation as just another political white paper, rather than the dark cloud over our way of governance that it is.

The Times, with all its resources, should not be relying on the Trump-whisperer troika to sum things up for us every once in a while, but rather assign one team of reporters on Trump’s mini-Eichmann, Stephen Miller, another team on his obvious profit-making from wholesale violation of campaign spending laws, and yet another team on what his pal Vladimir Putin is doing this time to flood social media with Russian-bot accounts promoting the man he has already said he would like to see elected president.

As with all things Trump, nearly all the corruption in his campaign is right out in the open. At one rally after another, he’s reveling in “lock him up” chants promising that he will break one law after another beginning with the moment he takes the oath if he is elected.

In the 2016 campaign, the Times devoted thousands of inches to garbage like Hillary’s emails and Russian-generated lies promoted by people like Roger Stone, who served as a kind of backstage Roy Cohn to Trump after he was publicly ousted from the Trump campaign in a fake dispute established just so Trump could put distance between himself, his campaign, and Stone.

This time, the Times is pounding the bongo drum of inflation that doesn’t exist, an economy that Trump says is failing, which the Times loyally reports every time that lie comes out of his mouth, and polls that are beneficial to one person every time the Times headlines them.

As with its previous coverage of Trump, it’s all about emphasis, and the New York Times is failing again on that score nearly every day, the knowing murmurs of the whisper-troika notwithstanding.


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