This is very inside baseball, and as I said yesterday, of little or no interest to 99 percent of voters because, honestly, no one cares about the Bernie vs. Hillary wars anymore. And yet, there’s this weird feud playing out in the media between the two camps and the NYTimes, which stuck their foot in it while reporting on a story that is only of interest to people inside the beltway. The story itself is not that interesting to most people. But the story that’s come out of the story is … well, just bizarre.
So, here’s what happened: In an apparent effort to re-stoke the Bernie and Hillary wars, The NYTimes ran a front-page article covering the apparent feud between Neera Tanden, a Hillary loyalist who now runs the Center for American Progress (CAP), and Faiz Shakir, who runs Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Now, CAP — founded in the ’90s by Bill and Hillary — has a lot of problems, not least of which was a (formerly?) cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia. It’s also funded, in part, by a lot of bogeymen to lefty Dems (Bain Capital, WalMart, Wall Street, big banks, etc.) It also runs ThinkProgress, a liberal website that is “editorially independent.” ThinkProgress recently released a video criticizing Bernie Sanders for basically being too rich to honestly run on his platform.
I’m not going to get into the Bernie vs. Hillary, left vs. center debate here. This post is not about that (although, I have no doubt that many of our commenters will choose to make this post about that!). The scuttlebutt that came out of this story, however, is that the Times interviewed Neera Tanden’s 78-year-old immigrant mother, Maya Tanden, for the story, and they pulled some good local color from her, like:
“[Neera] can be very aggressive … She’s not going to let anyone rule over her, and she has loyalty to Hillary because Hillary is the one who made her … Those Bernie brothers are attacking her all the time, but she lets them have it, too … She says Sanders got a pass [in 2016] but he’s not getting a pass this time … That’s what she does — she shows up at rich people’s places because she needs funds from them … That place runs on Neera Tanden.”
Personally, I don’t see anything in those quotes that reflect poorly on Neera, but that’s beside the point. The point is, the NYTimes decided for some reason to interview Neera Tanden’s mother for a story about the Bernie vs. Hillary debate. Neera (and her mother) were displeased, in part because Maya didn’t understand that her quotes would be used in a story that depicts Neera in an unflattering way:
I love my mom. She's not involved in politics. And this is all very upsetting to her. https://t.co/KQE8Q8OSxy— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) April 16, 2019
One of the “unflattering” moments from the piece involves Neera Tanden at one time either “punching” or “shoving” Faiz Shakir in the chest, depending upon whose story you believe.
Political twitter — or at least, all those people whose political twitter most of you don’t follow — lost its mind, breaking down in three camps, basically. One camp was angry at the Times for interviewing the mother of Neera Tanden.
On the day Elizabeth Warren announced her plan to protect national parks AND Kamala Harris outlined her plan for broad increase in teacher pay, the New York Times published a gossip piece about Neera Tanden’s 80 year-old mother— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) April 16, 2019
Never tell me there isn’t sexism in American media.
Elizabeth Warren dropped two excellent policy ideas today, and the New York Times is publishing articles about what Neera Tanden said to her mom about Bernie Sanders. Super excited to relive all the bullshit of 2016!— Amy Hartman (@ameseh) April 16, 2019
The NYT story on Neera Tanden should never have brought her mom into it. And whether you agree with Neera's views or not, her aggressiveness is one of her biggest strengths and would be lionized if she were a man.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) April 16, 2019
No one who's watched either Ken Vogel or the NYT can possibly be shocked by the unethical and deeply misogynistic use of Neera Tanden's own mom against her. It's disgusting.— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) April 16, 2019
So I read this story and immediately googled to see if there was any justification for including a quote from *her mother* — I don't know Maya Tanden, maybe she also runs a think tank. But nope! It was just as inappropriate as it looked. https://t.co/CgwoNq1lpK— jess mcintosh (@jess_mc) April 16, 2019
The other camp was angry that Neera Tanden purportedly punched Faiz Shakir.
Neera Tanden PUNCHED Bernie Sanders' now-campaign manager in the chest.— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) April 16, 2019
Neera Tanden PUNCHED Faiz Shakir after he asked Hillary Clinton a question about the Iraq War back in 2008.
I'm "shook," as the kids say.https://t.co/PON1c2dFPi
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, admitted to the NYT that she assaulted an editor at her own organization for posing a mild question about the Iraq War to Hillary Clinton. https://t.co/FngK70yBf9— Lee Fang (@lhfang) April 16, 2019
There is also another camp defending the Times decision to call Neera’s mom.
apparently there are people who think it was a violation of an ethical norm for a reporter to call neera tanden's mom but the lesson i took from that story is that every reporter should call everyone's mom as the first order of business— chris hooks (@cd_hooks) April 17, 2019
Rule for profile-writers: always call the mom. “She’s not going to let anyone rule over her,” said Neera Tanden's mother, “and she has loyalty to Hillary because Hillary is the one who made her.” Great piece by @NYTLizand @kenvogel https://t.co/dYUhFZPn82— Scott Shane (@ScottShaneNYT) April 16, 2019
neera tanden’s mom talked some shit about her? relatable tbh— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) April 16, 2019
I actually thought the quotes from Maya Tanden were cute & humanizing (I'm a fan of candid Indian parents) but if they were tricked out of her, the Times violated journalistic ethics. https://t.co/JZk1D3Bo3f— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) April 16, 2019
And then this happened (Peter Baker is a Times political writer):
She’s great, thanks. Doesn’t take foreign money. https://t.co/uCgHvNMkcK— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 16, 2019
Wow. I don’t say this very often because I don’t like it being said to me, but seriously, do better. Tricking Neera’s elderly mom is low. Mocking her is worse.— Karoli (@Karoli) April 16, 2019
NYT: FBI sees no link between Trump and Russia.— The only Simpsons fan on this site (@agraybee) April 16, 2019
Also NYT: Something fishy is going on with Neera Tanden's mom.
And then THIS happened (Williamson is also a Times reporter):
All of which is to say: NYTimes reporters are just like us! Petty, divisive, and condescending!
Meanwhile, The Washington Post is over here all 🍿🍿🍿🍿
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