Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

Double-dipping at The New York Times?

May 5, 2021 --

Elizabeth Williamson wrote a typically smarmy "news" article in The New York Times, April 25 insinuating that ethics reforms were needed because of "one Trump-inspired affront to democracy to another," but efforts at voting reforms were pushing aside action on ethics measures.   But there is nothing particularly worth noting in a Times attack on the former president months after he (peacefully) left office.

It would be surprising -- man bites dog-like -- if the Times failed to attack Mr. Trump even now.

April 24, the day before the Williamson propaganda piece was published, the Times ran an Op-Ed column by Richard L. Hasen, called, "The G.O.P. Isn't Done Messing With Elections."   Clearly the title is of the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" conclusion-taken-for-granted sort.  Mr. Hasen would have the reader believe that the "G.O.P." is the political party that would have its thumb on the ballot-counting scales (while, at places like the Times, it is verboten to even think that, election-wise, the Democrats were up to no good. )  

Mr. Hasen was identified, below his Op-Ed (a term withdrawn from service just two days later, April 27)  as professor of law and political science at the Irvine campus of the University of California, and as author of Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks and the Threat to American Democracy.

Ms. Williamson, in the text of her invidious piece on ethics and voting reform, April 25, also found occasion to identify Professor Hasen as a member of the law and political faculty at University of California, Irvine and  as "an expert on election and campaign finance law."  You see, the day after his anti-Republican diatribe appeared on the (now withdrawn) Times Op-Ed page, Professor Hasen was twice quoted by Ms. Williamson, first to suggest that scandal is useful to promoting "'ethics reform,'" and, again, in the concluding paragraph of the April 25 article, to wit:

"'Trump flooded the zone with so much norm-breaking and in some cases illegality -- the question is where to prioritize,' Mr. Hasen said. 'You've kind of got to decide where your battles are going to be.'"

Alas, Ms. Williamson did not include in her reliance on Professor Hasen, for comment, any elucidation of the norm-breaking and illegality of which he accused Mr. Trump.  In his April 24 Op-Ed, his intemperate language was directed at attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom he called "charlatans."  He did get to insinuate that Republicans "represent a huge threat to American democracy itself."   But this has long been the party line at the Times.  See, please, the November 11, 2020 editorial: "The G.O.P. is Attacking Democracy,"

What might be significant, here, is that two days in a row, Prof. Hasen was cited in The New York Times for purpose of assaulting Republicans and former President Trump.   Is this to become standard practice at the Times -- first an anti-Republican Op-Ed. - now called "Guest Essay."   (One Times letter-writer would have preferred "Guest Opinion."). Next, "actuality" quotes in a piece of anti-Trump fluff?   Is this to be called propaganda, double-dipping style?   

Does this practice augur well for the double-dipper, as on a fast track to be a regular Times Guest Essayist?   One thing is sure: double dippers like Prof. Hasen are hardly evidence that The New York Times will present diversity of opinion in its ideological section.  And what does this suggest is the future of the so-called "conservative" columnists at the Times:  David Brooks, Ross Douthat and Bret Stephens. Never Trumpers all (though Douthat is softer in his anti-Trump vitriol)?  With a Hasen in the wings, they shall have to be even more rabidly Trump-hating.   As The New York Times becomes increasingly less credible as a respectable newspaper.   Pity the Times, on its way to going the way of the Oscars: far less attractive to the discerning public.