The New York Times’ Obsession With Normalizing The Far Right Continues

rural town with ridge in background
My conservative rural town this past fall, which has so far avoided a visit from the New York Times.

The Trumper safaris are going to keep being published in the Paper of Record, apparently.

The Old Grey Lady, as the New York Times is sometimes referred to, is in love and has been in love since 2016. By this I refer to the steady stream of empathetic pieces about the American far right. The latest love letter to their sweetest came in the form of a fairly glowing profile of the January 6 insurrectionists published on the front page of yesterday’s Sunday edition.

Basically, the gist of the story is how inspiring January 6 was to the far right and by golly, it build a close community. The piece also had very little in the way of other opinions, such as pointing out that their ideas are delusional, nor was there much in the way of mentioning how extremely dangerous their violent ideas are to the stability of our nation.

This is, of course, insane. The lede of the story began with a guy, Crazed Lawyer Paul Davis, who lost his fiance and his job due to his participation in an armed insurrection on January 6. Really bad for him, right? Oh, no, claims the New York Times, it was a “galvanizing new beginning” for this guy. He’s now representing anti-vaccine workers and fighting election lawsuits (and losing) and is generally considered by reasonable people to be a total loon.

Davis isn’t the only one portrayed in ways that verve from oddly blank to seemingly framing them in heroic terms. This, for example, is madness, and the Times seems to present it as a person being a patriot:

Mr. Zink, a onetime church deacon, referenced the biblical Book of Proverbs as he outlined why he believed Covid-19 was a bioweapon meant to convert the United States to socialism, and lamented that the United States “was no longer a Christian nation.” And despite the fallout from their decision to join the Jan. 6 rally, Mr. Zink said he would “absolutely” do it again.

“Godly men and godly women need to stand up,” he said.

But, the good news is this is a group of people who found their community, isn’t that just so nice:

Still, those who have been charged have supporters whose movement is wrapped not only in feelings of anger, but also of belonging. It is a reason the spirit of that day carries on.

That sense of community resonates for people like Greg Stuchell, a city councilman from Hillsdale, Mich., who took an overnight bus to Washington last year with his teenage daughter to protest the election results. He said he did not enter the Capitol. For him, Jan. 6 is like the annual March for Life in Washington, he said, where people simply show up to protest laws and values they believe should fall. For every one person who attends, there are another hundred who wish they could have too, he said.

Here’s a guy who pretty much is declaring he is ready to carry out another armed attack, and if a BLM protester said something like this…well, you get the idea:

“Most everybody thinks we ought to have went with guns, and I kind of agree with that myself,” said Oren Orr, 32, a landscaper from Robbinsville, N.C., who had rented a car with his wife to get to the Capitol last year. “I think we ought to have went armed, and took it back. That is what I believe.”

Mr. Orr added that he was not planning to do anything, only pray. Last year, he said he brought a baton and Taser to Washington but did not get them out.

I guess I should have expected this. After all, the New York Times was key in spreading the “economic insecurity” myth about Trump’s support, because golly, racism is dead in America since we elected the Black guy with the African-sounding name. The racism that sprang up in response to Obama’s election never got the play in the DC punditry/press that it should have. Then we got feted with a constant stream of what became sarcastically referred to as “Trumper safaris,” stories about Trump voters that often took place in diners. Almost always featuring white people and taking place in rural areas, they took on this mythic sheen, with a deep insinuation that this was “the Real America.”

It was all deeply infuriating to the rest of America, including working-class people of color who took offense to this idea that the working class equaled white. But this latest piece of work by the New York Times yesterday felt more dangerous. What the January 6 rioters/insurrectionists did was wrong. It was carried out based on delusions, beliefs about the pandemic and a stolen election that are provably not true. They hold no regrets about what they did, in fact, they are doubling down and continuing to use violent rhetoric. And they are building a close community.

This is not fodder for a softball profile that reads like a story about a stamp collectors club. This is deeply disturbing, and the both-siderism-no-matter-what approach at the New York Times, which is profoundly wrong-headed, apparently allows them to write such fluff. This type of thing does not have a good history.

The last word goes to the Rolling Stones. I’m running out of last word songs about craziness, but this is a good one…

2 thoughts on “The New York Times’ Obsession With Normalizing The Far Right Continues

  1. It’s not just the NY Times. The Democratic Strategist has produced articles along the same lines since 2016 … “the white working class” … like there’s no other working class.

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