The NYTimes is just Fox News in a slightly less shiny suit

Here’s how the NY Times reports on yesterday’s White House briefing:

“dangerously, in the view of some experts”…what the hell? This is not a situation that requires some cautious ambiguity. In the view of all experts and your mother, injecting bleach or lysol or other surface disinfectant is a bloody stupid idea that will do great harm. UV is dangerous — it’s what’s going to give you all painful sunburns as summer arrives — you should not lightly irradiate your delicate internal tissues with it.

“muses”? Fucking “muses”? We do not need the pig-ignorant musings of a rambling fool. I would point out to you that Ecuador is suffering massive pandemic deaths. Ecuador is on the equator. Ecuador is soaking in sunlight. Light is not a sufficient remedy.

Just for comparison, here’s an actual Fox News headline.

I can’t tell the two apart. Some are saying that the NY Times soft-selling of a crisis is dangerous. Some are saying that the tepid reporting of the NY Times is once again going to lead us to disaster. Some are saying the NY Times is the propaganda organ for the status quo. Some are saying you should cancel your subscription. Some might even say that Dean Baquet and the entire editorial staff of the newspaper ought to be tried for their responsibility in misleading the public, and thrown in jail with Judith Miller.

Oh, wait. Judith Miller is not in jail. She was promoted to a position at Fox News.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    In the view of all experts and your mother, injecting bleach or lysol or other surface disinfectant is a bloody stupid idea that will do great harm.

    My mother would never use the word “bloody”.

  2. JoeBuddha says

    An actual, you know, physician who treated people who have done this tweeted that it causes fist sized holes in your body, surrounded by rotting flesh. Remember, this stuff KILLS CELLS!

  3. brightmoon says

    I keep saying that Trump is the Antichrist, now I’m starting to actually believe it.

  4. says

    Just when you thought Trump’s stupidity reached it’s apex, he just keeps going. I know we already impeached him once, but shit like this makes me think there needs to be a second impeachment. Hear me out. Yesterday Dr. Rick Bright blew the whistle on hydroxychloroquine. He claims Trump was pushing for massive distribution of that drug. He and his family are invested in the producer of that drug. Gilead. Same day Trump starts in on this nonsense. This is a faint, a distraction from the real story about corruption (again). The worse things get, the more obvious the incompetency, the crazier Old Man Trump’s stories get.

  5. kome says

    And to think, 30 Rock called it. There is no liberal media, it’s all owned by right-wing friendly corporations. Even the outlets popularly accused of being liberal bend over backwards to be as kind as possible to the very worst of the right-wing, but have no shame in attacking progressives and the left with all the vim and vigor they can muster.

  6. robro says

    HuffPost said that he “pushed unproven treatments.” I commented that these are not “unproven treatments.” They are proven dangerous practices that will kill and maim people. I wish I could say I’m surprised at the ineptness of the media.

    At this point he’s just hogging the cameras, perhaps to keep people who know what they’re talking about from saying anything that will embarrass him. Plus, the briefings are his substitute for campaign rallies. From the little bits I’ve seen, his performance there are full of the same sort of rambling ad lib bullshit, spouting off whatever pops into his brain. His fans eat it up having thrived on Fox, Rush, Alex Jones, Sara Palin, preachers, and their ilk for years. That’s “telling it like it is.”

  7. canadiansteve says

    At some point in time, I have no idea when, the media decided opinions and facts were basically the same thing so they report on them equally. And all opinions deserve a “fair” treatment so that the originators of these opinions don’t get butthurt and take their money and run.


  8. bcwebb says

    @5 Gilead makes remdesivir which Trump hasn’t pushed, probably because he can’t pronounce it. The most recent news reports about remdesivir have been controversial as the study fell apart with too few patients but news stories described it as ineffective. There are other studies going on which may have clearer results. A first study but without controls was striking in that almost all patients survived the ICU.

  9. chris61 says

    OTOH if Trump supporters choose to follow his advice, it will mean fewer Trump supporters.

  10. says

    Oh, wait. Judith Miller is not in jail. She was promoted to a position at Fox News.

    Why would Judith Miller be in jail? Both parties have agreed that Iraq was, at most, a minor peccadillo which is to be ignored. Or had you forgotten that the Democrats have now nominated a candidate who was saying how great the Iraq war was as late as 2012, after previously nominating a candidate who admitted it was wrong but didn’t bother doing enough research at the time to vote against it? (“Research” in this context meaning “reading the briefing sent out by the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee to all Senators, telling them outright that the Bush administration was lying about Iraq. That was, apparently, more work than either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden could be bothered to put in before voting.) Lying about Iraq is now acceptable, and criticizing people who have done so is being disloyal to the Democratic Party.

  11. robro says

    bcwebb — Difficult to imagine he would have any more trouble with “remdesivir” than “hydroxychloroquine” or “azithromycin”. Although I only see snippets of his briefings, I’m not sure I’ve actually heard him mention either of those by name. He’s references tend to be vague allusions to “things” they are working on while he waves his hands. But you know, he has a “very good you know what” so that’s not too surprising.

  12. says

    @6 And they get away with it because they throw our own buzzwords back in our faces. “Diversity!” “Inclusion!” “Don’t be judgemental!” “Everyone is an opinion!” “There is no right or wrong answer!” Blah, blah fucking blah. And we either straight-up fall for it or tie ourselves in knots trying to explain complex concepts to simple people.

  13. daverytier says

    @13 yep. The widespread embracement of epistemic/factual relativism makes this all possible, in fact inevitable.

  14. chrislawson says


    The reporting hasn’t been great on those remdesivir studies, I agree. But I don’t trust Gilead one bit. First of all, that first study you mention ( is next to useless. Not only was there no control group, but a lot of data went missing without good explanation. Of the 61 cases they enrolled, “8 of these patients were excluded because of missing postbaseline information (7 patients) and an erroneous remdesivir start date (1 patient).” How do they not have clinical data on 7 people being treated in hospital? And why couldn’t they at least use a matched control group? And why no intention-to-treat analysis?

    And why this amazing sentence? “Given the nature of this compassionate-use program, data on a limited number of laboratory measures were collected.” Why did Gilead go to all the trouble of providing the drug with the view to publishing these results but only collect “limited” data…especially neglecting viral load, the single most important test variable? And why oneEarth does compassionate use preclude appropriate data collection?

    And now with the new leaked trial, Gilead is making dodgy press releases. They complain about how the data was misrepresented as showing ineffectiveness when the statistical power was too low to say. This part is true. But then they add a layer of bulldust, presumably to keep their share price up: “…trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease.” They can’t have it both ways. They can’t claim that the study was way underpowered for its key outcomes, but still claim there are promising “trends” (i.e. nonsignificant outcomes) in subgroups. And how does one fail to recruit 400 patients in the middle of an epidemic that is still generating 70-80,000 new cases per day?

  15. says

    @14 I think the problem lies more in the fact that the modern liberal movement in the US (starting at around 1965) never had any clear goals to start with. The hippie counterculture/New Left (much like their intellectual heirs in the Alt-Right) was about shock, disruption and hedonsim rather than making any meaningful changes. Which is why, when it came to LGBT rights, for example, they much preferred Andy Warhol and John Waters over the much more buttoned-down Mattachine society. The Mattachines had a much more intellectual and effective basis, but they didn’t scare Mr and Mrs Plastic Fantastic as much Divine eating dog shit did.

  16. says

    @#17, Susan Montgomery:

    Yeah, those hippies who wanted to end our needless and wasteful wars — not a real goal. Wanting to stop capitalism — can you believe that? Who could possibly agree with that… aside from the UN in their climate change assessment, of course. No, what they really needed to do was to button down, take corporate money, and become indistinguishable from Republicans, like the Centrists did. That’s what’s really effective. It’s not like the only successful Presidential campaign the Democrats have run for the last 20 years promised “hope and change” while all the failures promised to continue the status quo and champion respectability and provide nothing but lip service to minorities. Oh, wait, that’s exactly what happened.

  17. howardhershey says

    Fox News will correctly and honestly report that if you follow Trump’s advice and inject yourself with bleach, you almost certainly will not die from COVID-19.

  18. says

    @18 Without the sarcasm – yes. Okay, you tell me what disengagement achieved. What was accomplished by tripping balls on LSD and daydreaming about Utopia? And, apart from a healthcare plan partly cribbed from a conservative think tank, what did “Hope and Change” accomplish?

    Let’s get back to your first point. “The System” is, always was and always will be. But the system is not a separate entity with an agenda of it’s own, it is merely the sum total of those composing it. Disengagement is what those who benefit and control the system want. If you want to say “I don’t want to be a part of your system, man”, they won’t fight to keep you because that’s what they want. They don’t want you having a say in the system and having you opposed to the system makes it easier for them to oppose you. And it’s ultimately futile anyway because you’re a part of the system no matter what, but that’s getting rather more philosophical that I’d like to now.

    But the wiser course was, yes, to engage and co-opt the system from within.

  19. stroppy says

    An oldie but goodie, article adapted from Kurt Andersen’s book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire—A 500-Year History.

    How America Lost Its Mind
    Our shocking Trump moment is just the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional for its entire history.

    Plenty to examine without a myopic (and ahistoric) focus on hippies, who are apparently fun to punch because, well it’s just so easy–and anyway it’s an established precedent; wingnuts and the Archie Bunkers of the world have been doing it for decades. What could be questionable about that?

    Next up: flapper bashing, followed by zoot suit burning.

  20. says

    @22 Well, how did embracing negative stereotypes as a badge of honor work out? The Mattachines were a better hope in the long run than was making being queer fundamentally in opposition to everyone else turned out to be. I mean, yeah, you didn’t get the same rush of smug self-satisfaction at temporarily scaring the straights supporting them but we might have had more – and more solid – gains than the slim, tenuous victories we have now.

  21. says

    Oh, and lest anyone think I’m getting off-topic, ask yourself this: Who would be senior executives and editors for the NYT and other influential media outlets if the journalism majors of the ’60s and ’70s hadn’t said “Screw The Man and his corporate world! I’m gonna write my own underground newspaper, fight the power and bring the system down man!”?

  22. says

    Stirring the shit and actually fighting back is what always got results, dumbass, from stonewall to act up to all the rest.

    And as to your idiotic gedankenexperiment – largely the same, in behavior, as institutions capture people, and the grey lady wasn’t gonna hire anyone with any real left pretention or willingness to challenge power.

  23. Allison says

    Speaking specifically of the gay rights movement, it was not the “respectable” (Mattachine Society) gay men who got it going. They did not want to rock the boat. It was the marginalized members of what we would now call the “LGBT community” who fought back against the beatings, the arrests, and generally being treated like vermin, by rioting (Stonewall was only the most famous one) and then by organizing. Later on, the respectable men took it over and forced out the people who started it. And BTW appropriated the term “gay” (which used to cover the whole LGBT spectrum) to refer exclusively to homosexual men.

  24. daverytier says

    Re. 17.

    My reply to this is threefold.

    While I agree that the hippies are a political and intellectual dead end, the liberals ( aren’t they called “progressives” nowadays ) are not the descendants of the hippies.
    The Mattachine Society is not as much a solution as in fact an example of the problem. Quoting Wikipedia.

    Most of the Mattachine founders were communists.[citation needed] As the Red Scare progressed, the association with communism concerned some members as well as supporters and Hay, a dedicated member of the CPUSA for 15 years, stepped down as the Society’s leader. Others were similarly ousted, and the leadership structure became influenced less by communism

    and a few paragraphs down.

    With the founders gone, Call, Burns and other like-minded individuals stepped into the leadership void,[26] and Mattachine officially adopted non-confrontation as an organizational policy. Some historians argue that these changes reduced the effectiveness of this newly organized Mattachine and led to a precipitous drop in membership and participation.

    the late 1960s and the 1970s brought a new generation of activists, many of whom felt that the gay rights movement needed to endorse a larger and more radical agenda to address other forms of oppression

    See the pattern ?

    This is a global phenomenon, so the cause has to be deeper than the hippies or any mistakes of the American Left.

  25. says

    @27 Again, I have to ask: What did it all accomplish? Really? Right now, in the UK, the gains the trans community have made over the last 20 years are about to be erased. The few gains that we’ve made in the US are all but gone as well. LGB’s and feminists and everyone else are sure to begin losing ground as well pretty soon. So, it looks like those gains were placed on a pretty slim foundation, yes? What, besides shit-stirring, might have been done that could have averted the present?

  26. captainjack says

    Susan Montgomery @ #26
    Your ideas about what happened in America from 1960 to 1980 are ignorant and simplistic, like some bad TV movie. How many people do you know personally who got journalism degrees in those 20 years, the motives they had, the choices they made?

  27. jrkrideau says

    @ 24 katahdin
    I have been predicting that Trump will lose supporters because they will die. This study says it’s happening.

    It’s an interesting study. Experts are laughing their heads of at it and a similar one. nformation-or-misinformation-during-a-pandemic-

    I am inclined to think Fox could be killing off MAGA idiots but the methodology in that study looks wacky. I got 15 pages into the study and looked at some of the pretty pictures (i.e. the graphs) and even with my lack of expertise it looked mighty dubious.

  28. daverytier says

    @30. If the current slide into fascism continues, everything will be erased. Included the civilization itself. Does it mean that any effort is futile and our ancestors were wrong when they did anything more than giving up right away ?

  29. says

    @ 31 & 29 Hmm. It looks like I need to re-think some premises. All part of learning, I guess. While I cogitate, may I ask one question in return? What does it mean to be a liberal?

  30. says

    @33 If we fail to accept that we’ve made mistakes and to learn from those failures, yes. We are not where we want to be, not where we could have been and, in order to turn that around, we need to know why we are here. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but I’m still well ahead of anyone still blaming everything on Russian YouTube trolls. If we’re not going to take an unsparing look at what we’ve done (and what we haven’t done) up till now, then yes, maybe we should give up.

  31. captainjack says

    Susan Montgomery @ #34
    I don’t know what a liberal or Liberal or Progressive is. I personally support the greatest good for the greatest number of people. You could call it a flavor of Utilitarianism. I also ascribe to the moral and physical autonomy of the individual and the least certainty necessary to adequately function as a human being. I also think each of us should be responsible for our own actions. I don’t know what label to put on that group of ideas.

  32. daverytier says

    @33. Well, if the current backslide is the proof that radicalism is wrong, then it is also a proof that “don’t rock the boat” incrementalism is also wrong. As both have been attempted, yet the current backslide still happened. So, what is the past mistake we should learn from ?

  33. daverytier says

    … that should be #35, Susan Montgomery, not 33. There should be an “edit” button.

  34. blf says

    @37, A bit more on the Captain’s efforts, Captain Tom Moore becomes oldest artist to claim UK No 1 single:

    The veteran’s cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone, recorded alongside Michael Ball and the NHS Voices of Care choir, knocked the Weeknd off the top spot


    The charity single, released to raise money for the NHS, racked up combined chart sales of 82,000 units — the fastest-selling single of 2020 — pipping the Weeknd’s Blinding Lights to No 2 with 69,000.

    Moore, who has already raised more than £28m in recent weeks for NHS staff, welcomed the “wonderful news”, saying: “My grandchildren can’t believe I am a chart-topper!” He thanked Ball, the choir, those behind the scenes who facilitated the release, and the general public. “We’re in this together, and I am for ever grateful for your support. And this just proves: you’ll never walk alone.’”


  35. publicola says

    To me, being a liberal means to share the benefits of society; to give a hand up to those who need it, until they’re able to stand on their own; to be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. It means govt. providing the means for people to take care of themselves and their families, not just by handing them money, but by providing the infrastructure necessary to achieve it; e.g., subsidized daycare; affordable healthcare; job training, etc. Maybe that’s naïve, or Utopian, but hell, why not shoot for the moon?

  36. says

    @41 Not Utopian at all. Now, how are you going to convince people, especially the people who are going to have to make sacrifices – and that doesn’t mean only the rich, mind – to go along with it?

  37. Badland says

    And yet again up pops The Vicar with their ever-floating ‘Democrats are just as bad as Republicans’ turd. Pat yourself on the back, good citizen, for you are a more pure and moral person than us proles who must live in reality

  38. daverytier says

    @42. Looking at the developed countries… There won’t be many such people. So, why would the vast majority need the approval of a purely hypothetical tiny minority ?

  39. says


    Your party, through procedural games, propped up a probably rapist, deffo racist student debt slaver who is as close as it gets to being a repub on this side of the divide. You don’t get to smug at folks any more.

    And I note you only have rote sneers, not actually any kind of rebuttal, just like every dem cultist these days.

  40. daverytier says

    @46 I did not claim it was easy. And neither I did say it was difficult. I merely refuted your claim that a large number of people will end up being worse off.

  41. says

    “Some might even say that Dean Baquet and the entire editorial staff of the newspaper ought to be tried for their responsibility in misleading the public, and thrown in jail with Judith Miller.”

    Jail? Aren’t we past thinking about jail as an appropriate consequence? What’s the death toll we have to reach before we’re past jail as the consequence?

    I’m not urging anything like a guillotine on the Mall. Revolutions can only be made by the people in power, by their abdication of responsibility, and I am far from the centers of power, so I say nothing in favor of guillotines, and can do nothing to bring that on. We’ll get to guillotines on the Mall when the people in power start the revolution by incontrovertibly abdicating the responsibility that has to accompany power to keep the universe in balance. It’s not really a death toll that, by itself, will get that guillotine up and running, it’s going to be that the people in power will have clearly and undeniably caused that death toll by refusing to use the power we have given them. It won’t be the death toll, by itself, it will be that other govts across the globe, govts that had less warning and less prior information, and less resources, than the US, set up the testing and tracing that needed to be done, in time, before the COVID had spread out of control. Unavoidable disasters make people rally around the people in power. This disaster was clearly avoidable. Much of tomorrow’s and the day after’s disaster is even more clearly avoidable if the people in power act now, because the right response has been shown to work over and over again in countries where the powerful haven’t abdicated their responsibilities, countries that don’t need guillotines. Yet still the people in power in the US refuse to do what has been proven to work. They don’t just fall behind the best examples of what other govts have shown is possible, they actually lead the world in the wrong responses, responses known to help the epidemic kill more people.

    And it’s not just Trump, it’s also the people in govt who have the power and duty to at least sideline him for at least the COVID response, much less remove or suspend him from office. His handlers had to ask for new law to appropriate new money, mostly to save Wall Street. Why would the people with the power over what that new law specified leave Trump in charge of how those trillions were spent?

    There’s going to be lots of work for that guillotine on the Mall.

  42. littlejohn says

    Being an expert in evolutionary biology does not make you an expert in journalism. The opposite is also true, as I, a retired journalist, am aware.
    Headlines are written by editors, not by the reporter who wrote the story. They have to fit a designated space, which is why words like “considers” often appear as the shorter “muses.” “Signs” becomes ‘inks,” and so forth.
    Objective news outlets such as the NYT go to great lengths to avoid accusations of taking sides (not to mention avoiding libel suits), even when it’s obvious which side is correct. Of COURSE the ink-stained wretches at the NYT know that injecting Lysol (or whatever) is stupid. They just don’t want to sound like teenagers throwing a tantrum (feel free to keep doing it yourself, though).
    There are also the issues of not losing access to sources who might take offense, or losing subscriptions to same. Here’s where you say something about the Times “just wanting to sell newspapers.” Well, yes. That’s a bit like saying General Motors just wants to sell cars. What do you think their business model is?
    When you have strong opinions and lack the emotional maturity to quietly tolerate those who disagree with you, you should stick to blogging. You’d last a week as a journalist.

  43. Saad says

    Captain Jeep-Eep, #45

    Your party, through procedural games, propped up a probably rapist, deffo racist student debt slaver who is as close as it gets to being a repub on this side of the divide. You don’t get to smug at folks any more.

    And I note you only have rote sneers, not actually any kind of rebuttal

    Yes, unlike your brilliant proposals on how we can keep both Trump and Biden out of office in 2021…

    Talk about the fucking pot calling the kettle black.

  44. John Morales says


    Objective news outlets such as the NYT go to great lengths to avoid accusations of taking sides (not to mention avoiding libel suits), even when it’s obvious which side is correct.

    Pointing out one side is correct is not taking sides.

    (Also, I love how you’ve phrased that; it’s the accusation, not the reality, that they seek to avoid!)

  45. John Morales says

    Captain Jeep-Eep, if enough people adopt your advocated stance to not vote for Biden, that will be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Otherwise, no.

    (But sure, who needs a nose when one could spite one’s face?)

  46. A. Noyd says

    littlejohn (#49)

    They have to fit a designated space, which is why words like “considers” often appear as the shorter “muses.”

    Way to miss the point. Whatever words they use, news sources should not be downplaying or enabling the president’s irresponsible, dangerous behavior. (Also, “considers” is shorter than “muses about.”)

    Objective news outlets such as the NYT [sic] go to great lengths to avoid accusations of taking sides (not to mention avoiding libel suits), even when it’s obvious which side is correct.

    Being “objective” does not mean giving equal weight to truth and nonsense. That so many journalist seem to think so is a problem.

    There are also the issues of not losing access to sources who might take offense

    Transparency and access should be a matter of law, not a matter of how willingly reporters defang and censor themselves. If, instead of speaking truth to power, the fourth estate becomes nothing but a property leased to the powerful, then it’s useless to everyone else. It’s epistemic gentrification.

    Here’s where you say something about the Times “just wanting to sell newspapers.” Well, yes. That’s a bit like saying General Motors just wants to sell cars. What do you think their business model is?

    Their business model is terrible, that’s what. News is an essential public service and should be treated as such, not as something designed and packaged to appeal to whatever consumer tastes will make shareholders more money. If you’re selling news like cars, you’re doing it wrong.

  47. KG says


    I’m glad not all journlaists are such irresponsible and contemptible cowards as those you’re defending.

  48. Saad says

    Captain Jeep-Eep, #52

    Unless Biden drops out, this election is probably lost, and we lose, no matter who wins.

    Brilliant. Insightful and actionable stuff.

    Nearly everyone on this blog who is voting for Biden is voting knowing full well that this is the worst scenario we could have possibly ended up with for this election. You’re basically just posting strawmen at us at this point.

  49. KG says

    Unless Biden drops out, this election is probably lost, and we lose, no matter who wins. – Captain Jeep-Eep@52

    You need to decide whether your message is:
    “Trump is going to win, give up.”
    “Biden is just as bad as Trump, give up.”
    It’s clear your aim is to demoralise anyone opposed to Trump, but you need to fix on a clear and consistent demoralisation strategy.

  50. birgerjohansson says

    There is a Chinese study that shows temperature and humidity among other factors have an effect on how easily the virus spreads. It is not a binary yes/no situation.
    Obviously, poor people who are forced to live in crowded and unsanitary conditions will be at risk, as those conditions offset the positive effects of temperature and humidity.
    And people in Florida with access to air conditioning should definitely avoid sneezing into other people’s faces.

  51. birgerjohansson says

    Trump is a topological genius!
    If we design a Rhennius device and turn people inside out, it will be easy to irradiate the tissues with UV light.
    Turning them back into the original state might be a bit of a challenge…..

  52. birgerjohansson says

    In monster films, they rely on Godzilla to help Japan against new, worse monsters.
    The obvious way to stop COVID19 is to test if Ebola or Yersina Pestis will kill the virus particles! We have not tried this get because the elitisty liberals in charge of hospitals don’t watch B films.

  53. birgerjohansson says

    BTW, I come from a continent that has suffered from many and varied demagogues and tyrants.
    Joe Biden is human garbage , but he is unlikely to try to abolish the remnants of democracy.
    Dungman One has no such restraints. His ignorance of medicine is just a tiny part of the abyss inside him.