@NYTimes’ Substandard coverage of the Democratic side of #Election2016 | Blog#42

When it comes to quality, parity, and objectivity, The New York Times’ coverage of the left side of Election 2016 has been less than adequate; horrible for what is still considered the nation’s paper of record. The nine pieces the Times deemed fit to print on Sanders, in the month of May, are mostly unflattering. Not one is a comprehensive piece on the platform Sanders is running on. One, suggestively titled, Sanders’s Message Resonates With a Certain Age Group: His Own, is really about Sanders’ age. If you didn’t already know, Sanders is only six years older than Hillary Clinton.

Late on May 29th, the Times reporter lazily reblogged about a piece Bernie Sanders wrote when he was thirty years old, based on a picture of Sander’s article included in a Mother Jones profile on how Sanders got his start in politics. The Mother Jones piece mentions the article, but doesn’t analyze it. In retrospect, it’s too bad.

The Times writer’s analysis is based both on a willful misreading of Sanders’ original intent, and interview statements on his article. I have curated portions of the Times piece below, after supplying the readers with the photograph of Sanders’ article for a now defunct Vermont newspaper. The Times didn’t even bother including it for the readers’ convenience. I recommend reading Sanders’ piece first, before going on to the New York Times piece about it.

Sanders doesn’t really recant his 1970’s piece as the headline states. He merely says he wouldn’t write it the same way. There is a difference. On substance, there is plenty of documentation on what women fantasize about when it comes to sex. Sanders’ commentary on why that is, and how wrong it is were spot-on then as they are now. There is no controversy here other than mentioning sex and fantasies in a country that is still repressed and prudish when it comes to talking about sex, sexuality, and even gender equality.

Given the benefit of 40+ years of personal growth, and access to the latest psychological and gender studies research on gender and sex, he could probably write a much better piece today. Then again, it isn’t really what we are evaluating him for in his run for president. Is it?

There are over 30 candidates campaigning on the Republican side of Election 2016. Relatively speaking, they’ve all received more attention than Sanders, a senior senator, has garnered. The paper even gave Rick Santorum breaking news alerts when it didn’t do so for Sanders. Why does Santorum merit our urgent attention more than Bernie?

I expect a lot more from The New York Times. I expect a lot better. This sort of reporting is what I expect from the New York Post and The Washington Times, not The New York Times.



Bernie Sanders Recants 1972 Article on Women’s Fantasies of Rape – First Draft. Political News, Now. – NYTimes.com

By Trip Gabriel

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Senator Bernie Sanders said a 1972 article he wrote describing women’s fantasies of rape had been misinterpreted, and its resurfacing showed how campaigns had become “soap operas.’’

“That we worry what I wrote 40 or 50 years ago, to the degree they become significant in the campaign, that’s just sad,’’ Mr. Sanders said on Friday.

In the article, written for an alternative newspaper called The Vermont Freeman, Mr. Sanders imagined male and female sexual fantasies, apparently to illustrate how both sexes have internalized gender stereotypes, which he went on to write were self-defeating. The Vermont Freeman no longer exists.

“A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously,” Mr. Sanders wrote.

In another passage, he wrote: “Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like, “Girl, 12, raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?’’


“Women have the feeling they have to be dependent. It was very poorly written in a way I certainly would not write it now. But if you read it, what you find is that is a bad situation for both people: women shouldn’t be dependent. Men should not be oppressors. We want a society where people are equal. That was about it was about.’’


    One does not expect the Times to “dumb down” the way other media outlets do, but your description of their coverage makes it clear they have. Bernie Sanders himself made a brief and straightforward observation that says it all–Campaigns have become “soap operas.’’

    It’s not as if there isn’t plenty to talk about, especially the strength of Sanders’ message at this time, an unexpectedly robust signing on and funding early showing

    The Times has had a slide in whatever the decision-making policy is that is responsible for this kind of coverage as well as other decisions, since they aborted Jill Abramson as Editor.

  • Mike_Roddy

    Excellent piece, Rima, thanks. I believe the Times’ distorted campaign coverage is the product of their shift to becoming the Newspaper of Recordings from Corporations. This occurred during the Reagan Administration, and their trading on releasing the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago is getting stale. Another example is Andy Revkin coddling deniers and writing the NYT climate blog, in spite of hundreds of angry protests from climate scientists and authors. We need a real newspaper of record, similar to The Guardian. Gore dabbled in it, but was too timid and underfunded himself. Only a serious effort would succeed. Murdoch made one- USA Today lost money for years. Why can’t truth have a credible outlet?

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