Critics of journalism rip the New York Times. For what?

For reporting the facts, reporting the news. The what, where, when, who and why.

(Big sigh.) Just after I finished slapping at a New York Times reporter for anxiety-producing prose, I now have to slap at a few highly intelligent people for their peculiar animosity directed toward the Times.

I realize a lot of us have been driven crazy by what’s going on. The reason most of us are informed enough to be crazy is because newspapers like the Times inform us.

I’ll repeat this as many times as necessary: the purpose of a newspaper is to report factually what is going on. To report on events of concern to us, events of import and the people involved in those events.

As I typed the above, the huge headline on the top of the online Times was:

Privately, Administration Projects Daily Deaths to Nearly Double in May.

I’m pretty sure we all agree this is an important factual piece of news, as the article goes on to make clear — especially because it offers a reality slap at Trump’s “open your states!” surreal, contradictory, and possibly deadly, performances. The article includes a link to the CDC report in which that projection is found.

Concomitantly, news reports give us interviews with, quotes from, introductions to and portraits of people who are part of the news. If a newspaper avoids references to people who corroborate or deny a news story, that’d be not only a dull piece, it would not be factually complete.

Yet a number of people are criticizing the Times because the paper does not ignore or bleep out entirely people who have something to say but whom we’re pretty sure we won’t  like or trust.

Which is sort of foolish. How can we readers know whom we don’t like if the newspaper has never reported about them or what they say?

Why do these critics think the Times shouldn’t, for instance, refer to things Trump says on TV or elsewhere? Are they saying the Times should make a determination that, since the president of the United States is a destructive dimwit and a thoroughly awful creature, they are not going to report on his idiocies and monstrosities? Just pretend he doesn’t exist?

How would ignoring Trump and all who travel with him keep us fully informed about events and decisions that seriously affect our lives? Are these people suggesting the Times, and other major papers, should behave like Fox News, promoting fake news and lies, without ever permitting refutation?

Well, that programming decision has kept around 40 percent of the country entertained but utterly ignorant of science and facts. The Times critics seem to be tacitly suggesting that the rest of us, the other 60 percent, should not have to suffer under the burdens of reality — any more than Fox viewers do.

That policy, I believe, would be called Fair and Balanced.

The hypervigilent Times-Watchers went particularly nuts over a portrait of Trump’s new press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. 

Two named women (not pseudonyms) on Twitter called this piece “fawning.” One said it reinforced her decision to cancel her subscription to the Times in 2016. (Right. Makes tons of sense.)

So let’s look at that piece and see how it “fawns” over McEnany.

Just two weeks into her new job, Ms. McEnany’s energetic spinning of the administration’s struggle against the coronavirus has earned her undying enmity on social media but some grudging respect for her sheer doggedness…Ms. McEnany has not held a news briefing, but her defense of her boss — and her castigations of the press — appear to be unperturbed by his shifting narratives, breaks from logic and flights of fantasy.

She is supporting Trump’s nonsense and furthers his attacks on our free press, a key member of which is the New York Times. This is praise of her?

Ms. McEnany…has spent virtually all her working life inside Trumpworld. Her time at Harvard overlapped with her star turn on cable in 2016…she was using racist language similar to Mr. Trump’s long before the formal launch of his political career — or hers.

Scottie Nell Hughes, another Trump surrogate during the 2016 campaign who often teamed up with Ms. McEnany on CNN, seemed to see that streak as a plus. “The president wants to see a fighter,” said Ms. Hughes, who now works at Russia Today, a Russian state TV outlet also known as RT.

So the Times says McEnany is a racist. The woman praising McEnany’s racism (“that streak”) is a “Trump surrogate” who now works for the Russians.

Now here comes noted liberal, Mike Huckabee, for whom McEnany once worked:

“She’s a meticulous researcher,” Mr. Huckabee said in an interview. “She’s extraordinarily prepared.”

I’m just fawning away right now. How about you? Then:

In her 2018 book, “The New American Revolution,” Ms. McEnany attributed her pro-Trump epiphany to the “hostile advocacy of platitudes over polite dissent, dictatorial silencing over thoughtful engagement and censorship over free interchange” that she encountered in academia.

(She certainly did not learn that incomprehensible gobbledegook in academia.)

Part of that “polite dissent,” apparently, was a string of #ThingsThatOffendObama that she posted on Twitter when she was 24, including “logic,” “when people call him Osama,” “Work outside of the golf course” and “THE FACTS.” Or a tweet that same year referring to Mr. Obama derisively as “son.”

Yes, two African-American Democrats, Van Jones and Donna Brazile, comment on McEnany for this article. Both of them know her personally. Here’s what they say about her:

Van Jones (who mentored McEnany at CNN): “I’m not trying to defend the messaging, but what I hope people can acknowledge is there’s very few people in either party who can accomplish what Kayleigh has accomplished in such a short time…People keep taking her lightly, and they keep regretting it.”

Donna Brazile (who introduced McEnany to Donald Trump): “Rarely did Donald Trump come up with any policy, but Kayleigh somehow figured out how to step in that gap and make him appear to be a serious candidate.”

On April 16, [McEnany]tweeted the false claim that “Under President @realDonaldTrump’s leadership we have quickly developed the most expansive and accurate testing system in the world.” No coordinated national testing system exists.

The Times’ piece on McEnany makes it clear she’s a nakedly ambitious right-wing sociopath, a racist and an eager liar on behalf of Trump.

This is a puff piece? It most certainly did not cause me, for one, to admire Kayleigh McEnany.

You know what I think? The Times Watchers do not actually read the Times.

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