Like a lot of people, the first thing I do when I wake up each morning is check the latest news on the NYTimes. For an overview of the latest — especially in NYC, which is the center of the outbreak — it’s a great source of news, in spite of the Times’ horrendous op-ed writers (how are David Brooks and Maureen Dowd and Bret Stephens still allowed to write regularly for the country’s paper of record?).
The political desk, meanwhile, also remains as embarrassing as it was in 2016, in part because Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman often appear to prioritize access to the White House over good reporting. Even in a pandemic, the NYTimes’ political section is both-sides’ing this and turning a viral outbreak into a rat-race and dog-and-pony-show where politicians compete to win the day. I don’t really understand why. Trump trashes the paper on the regular, and the Times response seems to be to bend over backward to provide as much false equivalence as possible.
This morning an infectious disease expert, who works at Yale, rightfully took issue with this headline.
That is the very essence of he said/they said. The NYTimes is not reporting the facts. It’s reporting what Trump says are the facts, and Trump doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. Gregg Gonsalves felt compelled to say something.
This is journalistic malpractice. If we don't have scale-up of testing, we will be in lock-down for months & months. There is no debate on this, why frame it like there is one? Next: Trump says earth flat, scientists say otherwise. @jmartNYT & @maggieNYT https://t.co/T8OFxwITef— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
Jonathan Martin, a political reporter at the NYTimes, offered this reply.
you’re picking the wrong fight, move along— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) March 31, 2020
Bad move. Martin poked the bear. Martin should not have poked the bear.
From @peterbakernyt now infamous hot take of @realDonaldTrump as he "struggles to find the balance between public reassurance and Panglossian dismissiveness" your collective reporting on the political aspects of this have been off-the-mark. 2/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
So, get better. Tell us, why 4 months into this we STILL have insufficient number of tests—what happened politically that led us to this point, keeps us still incapable of rising to the task. 6/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
There are political stories abounding in this world-historical crisis and you surrender to the he-said-she-said variety of reporting, every time. 8/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
I buried dozens of my friends during the height of the AIDS epidemic and we're all preparing for burials now of friends and family in this new pandemic. Don't you dare tell me to move on. 10/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
Stop the transcription of press conferences, calls as the news in and of itself. Go deeper. Explain how current American politics led to this epidemiological and economic calamity, and how our leaders are or are not rising to the challenge. 12/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
You may lose your access to certain prized sources inside the White House, the invitations to the best parties in DC, but you'll gain the respect of your readers and rescue your reputations from the disdain of history. end/— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
This is not about selling papers. It’s not about a race. It’s not about who is winning. It’s about saving lives, and right now, aside from PPE, ventilators, and tests, there is nothing we prize more than reliable information. No one provides less reliable information than the President. The Times should say as much.