NYT 2016: “But Her Emails” NYT 2024: “But His Debate”

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Remember back in 2016 when Hillary Clinton’s emails were all The New York Times could write about? Flooding its front page instilled FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt, a well-known and frequently used tactic to undermine opposition.

(source: Vox, Study: Hillary Clinton’s emails got as much front-page coverage in 6 days as policy did in 69)

That. We’re watching a reprise of a FUD flood right now, this time with NYT’s uppermost management in on the effort.

In 2016 it was so bad it became a joke memorialized as a meme.

That was then, this is now. Welcome to NYT’s 2024 election FUD operation: “But His Debate.”

~ ~ ~

LOLGOP pointed out how bad the NYT’s front page was in a Mastodon post:

It’s far worse than LOLGOP shared, because the editorials also hammer on Biden’s debate performance:

Recall how the media bleated on for months about Clinton’s emails and how later after investigation her emails were a nothing burger. All that NYT energy trying to make fetch happen; but fetch wasn’t Clinton being prosecuted but losing her race to Trump

You can expect the same thing from here on forward, the entire NYT once again focused on making fetch happen.

Meanwhile, the one man crime spree goes on. Former Assistant AG for New York State and MSNBC commentator Tristan Snell nailed it:

This is what the NYT’s front page looked like the day after a Manhattan jury found Trump guilty on felony charges:

Two stories. That’s it. Nothing the day before about the trial.

NYT’s Editorial Board published an op-ed – Donald Trump, Felon – in which the NYT made no call for Trump to step down as the GOP candidate.

This is the last graf from that op-ed which summarizes the trial and the editorial board’s opinion:

In the end, the jury heard the evidence, deliberated for more than nine hours and came to a decision, which is how the system is designed to work. In the same way, elections allow voters to consider the choices before them with full information, then freely cast their ballots. Mr. Trump tried to sabotage elections and the criminal justice system — both of which are fundamental to American democracy — when he thought they might not produce the outcome he wanted. So far, they have proved resilient enough to withstand his attacks. The jurors have delivered their verdict, as the voters will in November. If the Republic is to survive, all of us — including Mr. Trump — should abide by both, regardless of the outcome.

That’s it. It’s on us, the voters. Don’t expect the NYT to sully itself with informing voters about candidate’s policy positions, they’ll be too busy trying to tank Biden’s candidacy for re-election.

~ ~ ~

It’s nearly impossible at this point to come to any conclusion except that the NYT has been and remains in the tank for Trump based on its history of coverage of Trump and his opponents Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2024.

This POS from October 2016 is still incredibly offensive:

We already lost a far better POTUS in 2016 with NYT’s help, resulting in the loss of many American lives thanks to Trump’s corruption and incompetence.

Now we may lose a candidate for re-election who’s managed to fix many of the fuck-ups Trump generated, who’s ensured the U.S. economy has thrived in spite of pandemic pressures.

It’d be laughable if the stakes weren’t so high.

Trump’s engaged in criminal behavior which included not only trying to overthrow an election but the willful unlawful retention of classified materials including national defense information?

NYT: *yawn*

Trump says he wants to be a dictator on Day One, ordering a concentration camp for undocumented immigrants?

NYT: *bigger yawn*

Biden, suffering from a cold, has a poor showing at the first debate?

NYT: Oh we can’t have that! Biden must step aside!

I really thought it was the Washington Post which was racing to the basement with its hiring of Will Lewis and abortive hiring of Robert Winnett.

Nope. WaPo has nothing on the NYT.

99 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Side note: Really, Maureen Dowd? Biden, the man who quietly reaches out to homeless people is selfish?

    Take a look in the mirror, sister, because at 72 years old your schtick after 41 years at the same job has become more than stale. Give up the real estate you’ve occupied in NYT’s Opinions with your rancid management ass kissing.

      • Rayne says:

        As much as I dislike David Brooks, he’s 61 and has been with NYT for 21 years. Dowd should go first based on the amount of time with NYT.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          I think Charlie Pierce is the one who has a lot to say about MoDo and Bobo (the Moral Hazard columns are particuarly hilarious) but he’s behind the Esquire counter/paywall now. They are worth checking out, because these two have been mailing it in for a long long time now.

        • Nessnessess says:

          Totally, totally, totally. MoDo is useless, and not remotely as clever as she thinks she is. (And she can take her brother with her.)

          Thank you, Rayne, for this post and your passion.

    • bevbuddy says:

      About her emails, they were the result of espionage by foreign & domestic traitors.
      Here, maybe the NYT can be shamed into reporting that supports a democracy. The following article includes a timeline quickly put together during interview.


      Heidi Siegmund Cuda
      Jun 28, 2024

      “It’s the artillery of cognitive warfare. What started out as internet espionage — as hacks, leaks, rumor mongering, and conspiracy theory distribution — has turned into a full-scale cognitive war, where American minds are being lost to our enemies, both foreign and domestic.” — High Fidelity on Bette Dangerous

      2004 — Peter Thiel becomes first outside investor in Facebook

      2005 — Steve Bannon secures Goldman Sachs loans of 60 million to take over IGE

      2008 — 4chan/420chan, Anonymous runs Chanology (trolls on the streets)

      2009 — Yuri Milner invests 200m in Russian $$ in Facebook

      2010 — Assange, Chelsea Manning, Adrian Llamo (died in 2018)
      Operation Payback- Anonymous against Paypal, Mastercards, Visa
      Assange Rape Charges, Ecuadorian Embassy 2012-2019

      2011 — HBGary/Stratfor hacks: Palantir targeted Assange
      Lulzsec arrests, Occupy Wall Street- infiltrated by Lisa Clapier, later involved in Qanon

      2012 — Andrew Aurenhemier arrested – Daily Stormer, Charlottesville
      Michael Hastings interviews Assange over rape allegations and NatSec leaks

      2013 — Aurenhemier Sentenced, then overturned
      Snowden Leaks through Assange, NSA contractor leaks DIA documents,
      Mike Flynn visited GRU HQ
      Hastings Dies
      Facebook Data Hack begins,

      2014 — Gamergate, Fred Brennan, wizard chan, 8chan, Aurenhemier released, tweets about meeting Geisea “Thiel’s Right Hand Man”, Cernovich enters the Gamergate fray as a 1st Amendment lawyer

      2015 — Alt Right Meme machine forms, Peter Thiel MAGA3X Cernovich Yiannopolis,

      2016 — Aurenheimer hacks 50,000 printers to send antisemitic flyers.
      Thiel speaks at RNC, Russia hacks DNC, Podesta emails released on Wikileaks lead directly to Pizzagate, DNC-emails hack fuels, Redpill on Reddit, Qanon beginnings – Roger Stone, Guccifer, Jerome Corsi (who promoted Q), Brian McCauley, paid by Flynn, leads to opening by Comey of Hillary’s Emails case, Douglass Mackey voter fraud, w/ Andrew Aurenheimer running botnets and Trump personalities, along w/ Russia

      2017 — Qanon, Unite the Right Rally organized on Daily Stormer (andrew aurenhemier again)
      Chuck Johnson and Dana Rohrabacher meet with Assange

      2018 — Tucson Cement Plant Incident, Hoover Dam Qanon related

      2019 — Murder of James Wolf, Christchurch, Poway synagogue, El Paso shooters post on 8chan
      Roger Stone indicted and Arrested

      2020 — Trump has fully integrated the Qanon messaging machine

      Jan 6 2021 — Qanon adherents, along with other victims of internet espionage and cognitive warfare storm the Capitol

      The radicalization and manipulation of the cults of personalities continues to this day.


      American Tragedy
      Tonight is a catastrophic failure and a reason to get loud.
      Jim Stewartson

      Tonight will be an American tragedy enabled by our government & press who have failed on every level to defend us from a disgraceful traitor who will use every trick from his bedside book of Hitler’s speeches to re-indoctrinate & radicalize our citizens into a death cult.

      We deserve better than this.
      To make all of this vastly worse, the corporate press still insists that this is just a political race, and has moved the Overton Window all the way to Nazis.
      I can’t tell anyone what to do. All I can say is that we have four months to go before a date that’s being set up to deal a death blow to our nation, regardless of the vote. All I know is we can all do more. Voting is crucial, but it is not enough.

      Get up. Speak up. Do not submit in advance.

      We are still the United States.

      [Moderator’s note: your comment at 610 words is extremely long and formatted poorly as it doesn’t clearly delineate what content has been cut and pasted from other sites. Next time please use smaller excerpts and pay attention to formatting for readers on mobile devices with smaller screens. I have reformatted some of the text above to reduce readers’ scrolling. /~Rayne]

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

        Mind you, every single one of those “classified” emails was classified AFTER THE FACT. Moreover, every single person that received those emails shared the same security clearance as SoS Clinton.

  2. Badger Robert says:

    Televised debates are obsolete. Its not 1960. There is nothing new. There was no substance. Trump performed perfectly for his cult. And Biden was the same Joe Biden he has always been.
    What’s real? Your job, your P&L statement, your spouse’s health, your parents’ retirement, your kids, your education, whether you got through COVID without a stake of co-pays and deductibles.
    Lying is easy. The truth is more complicated. But people have now lived through the Presidencies of each of the two candidates. Swing voters are 50 years or more are not likely to forget the last 8 years.

  3. Badger Robert says:

    What were the substantive differences?
    1. Biden intends to restore Roe v Wade.
    2. Biden intends to let the Trump tax cuts expire and to make the wealthy pay their fare share.
    3. Biden intends to keep supporting Ukraine and has never attempted to blackmail Zelensky.
    Biden is looking like a normal President. Trump continues to look like a lying egomaniac.

    • wa_rickf says:

      The notion that the 2017 Trump tax cuts, sunset for the wealthy 1% is incorrect. The cut never sunsets. The tax cut DOES sunset for every one else.

  4. Badger Robert says:

    People who want politicians to be entertaining performers will vote for Trump. People who want to get back to normal will vote for Biden.

    • Krisy Gosney says:

      Exactly. I doubt the format of any debate reflects what actually happen in the job of President of the US.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      I was about to post this; it is spot on.

      Even some folks I normally respect are on the bandwagon, Dean Baker being the worst right now. And it’s reinforced on Xitter by an army of namebunchofnumbers bots repeating/supporting that conclusory demand. I am so f!ng pissed.

    • phred says:

      Me, too, harpie! That was the editorial the country needed.

      Just to add a little mathematical context, only 15% of the US population (341.8 million) watched the debate (51.3 million). If you figure roughly half were Biden supporters and the same for Trump supporters, with a small percentage of swing voters, then less than a third of the people who voted for Biden in 2020 (81.3 million) watched the debate.

      Those of us who were around for the Hillary camp / Obama camp pie fights in 2008 remember the PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass). Even in 2020 there were hard feelings across the Bernie vs Clinton wings of the party. Biden was the one candidate who managed to pull together a coalition across the factional divides. He was not the candidate I wanted, but I supported the process and the chosen candidate.

      Are people serious about lobbing a hand grenade into the nomination process after the primaries??? Who do they imagine will be the magical unifying figure for whom no one voted in the primary? This is nuts and it will blow up.

      • Super Nintendo Chalmers says:

        Lawrence O’Donnell was one of the few people who pointed out that ONLY Kamala Harris, as part of Biden – Harris ’24, would be legally entitled to any money raised for the campaign. It’s NOT a coincidence that all the supposed candidates to replace POTUS are all WHITE. The entire thing is an RNC/Faux Newz contrived scam.

      • FLwolverine says:

        “ Who do they imagine will be the magical unifying figure for whom no one voted in the primary?”

        Precisely. That’s what I keep asking people who are lamenting over the debate.

  5. Eichhörnchen says:

    There was also an orchestrated effort to paint Hillary Clinton as infirm, with one foot in the grave. I never understood why that gained the traction that it did. But that was before watching Trump project his own liabilities onto his opponents for 4 years.

    • GlennDexter says:

      David Pecker told us the plan. Plant the seed, a front page staring you in the face at every grocery store in America. “The only thing that’s important is the cover”. Not much different than the NYT.

      • Sussex Trafalgar says:

        Spot-on correct!

        Yes, David Pecker told us the plan he and Trump created and executed.

        This practice, however, has gone on since printing presses were invented.

  6. Cheez Whiz says:

    The media are loving this Biden-So-Old controversy, beased on various newspapers and blogs. The biggest reason to not take this seriously is that if the Times (and everyone else) were sincere and serious, they would have no choice but to demand that Biden resign immediately. If his behavior at the “debate” (I will never not put that word in quotes) is so disqualifying, what reason is there for him to remain in office? That silence speaks volumes.

    • P J Evans says:

      Then they’d have to deal with questions about why they didn’t demand that of the former guy, when he was clearly out of sync with reality.

    • Dark Phoenix says:

      And the ENTIRE Biden-So-Old narrative was picked up by the NYT and laundered into the mainstream media because A.G. Sulzberger is REALLY, REALLY angry that Joe Biden won’t give him an exclusive interview when and where he demands.

      • Fraud Guy says:

        I believe the FTFNYT would still have been in the tank for Trump, but the “disrespect” just reinforced their desire and have made them make it obvious.

  7. blackbird says:

    This felt easier to explain in 2016: I genuinely think they personally wanted to harm Hillary’s chances eight years ago for sport. It sucks and I’m still not confident why, except it happened. Biden is still “easy fodder” right now due to one party being at all receptive to public shaming. NYT believes they can browbeat Democrats into forcing Biden to resign, forcing a news cycle, but is somehow “resigned” to Trump being the Republican nominee? They know they couldn’t set the Republican agenda if they tried and chose accordingly. Despicable.

    The simple calculus is that if Biden is the nominee I will vote for the Democrat; if he’s not… I’m still voting for the Democrat. I felt catastrophic on Thursday night but actually feel much more moral clarity, after reading media pieces and Emptywheel comments this weekend. “Optics” are not a hill I care about democracy dying on. It’s really not. We know what the right choice is, the media isn’t in alignment, and that isn’t going to change. Fine.

    I’m relatively young and it’s been the same story for over *half* of my voting life that traditional media is fascism-curious. May they never find out what that means for them. Because we know what it means for us: Project 2025 and an imperial Supreme Court with R-appointed justices. The majority of America hates this outcome; can we be the messenger?

    (Apologies to Rayne that this is probably the wrong username/email combo; I’ll be consistent going forward.)

    [Moderator’s note: please do stick with this combination because I can’t find your past username/email combination. /~Rayne]

  8. Michael Carr says:

    I have been saying for years that Trump is a decades-long criminal and Russian asset that never should have been allowed anywhere near the White House, let alone the presidency. And would have already been in prison, but for the failure of our national security agencies to properly vet him, and hold him accountable.

    And the New York Times has enabled him with their false equivalency, both-sides narratives for years as well. Utterly reprehensible.

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  9. Rollo T 38 says:

    If there’s no horse race, the NYT and MSM lose revenue. They have a vested interest in ginning up controversy. Their opinions should be disregarded. Alan Lichtman’s 13 Keys is a more sober and data driven analysis.

  10. eddiegraces says:

    I cancelled my subscription to NYT in October 2016 and never did it again.
    But Hillary did not lose due to the media coverage.
    Hillary (that, by the way would have been a great president) lost for overconfidence and complacency.
    She played safe as inevitable choice after Obama and it was a terrible choice (do you know how many democratic presidents have been after a two-term democratic president?) because it implied the underestimation of Trump (seen as a joke).
    She did not campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin until the final week!!!
    Biden had a clear task in 2020 (to beat Trump) and he was a too candidate for it (Covid rules helped him a bit).
    He run a focused campaign (winning in Michigan, Wisconsin and home State) and was prudent about the rest.
    And he has been a great president.
    But 4 years are a lot for elderly people (after 80 also a month can change something) and I don’t want even to imagine the kind of pressure he’s having.
    The debate was painful to watch. A mad unhinged fascist against a good old man completely confused.
    And it can get worse.
    If this has been a bad night, please think about the next debate when a double pressure will be upon him.
    I don’t want to run this risk (also because I am convinced that a good campaign would win in November).
    If you are comfortable with it, it is the democracy, but please do not focus with NYT and the MSM.
    Blaming the media means that we are again stuck with the idea that a Trump lose is inevitable in a fair world, while we are in a real world where nothing is inevitable, you have to earn it running the best campaign you can.
    And this is clearly not the best campaign the Democratic Party can run.

    • Rayne says:

      Welcome to emptywheel. For future reference optimum comment length is 100-300 words; longer comments should contain new information and not just opinion as yours does at an unwieldy and poorly formatted 310 words.

      Clinton’s campaign died by a thousand cuts, but large portion were delivered by the media. The analysis of coverage after the election bears out the bias.

  11. Mike Stone says:

    Media and especially social media stopped being sources of news a long time ago and are now part of the entertainment industry. It it well known now that these operations keep people engaged by getting them addicted to the dopamine rushes they get during the episodic events of rage created by shown and hearing something upsetting. We are now a nation of rage addicts. I do not see this ending well.

  12. Susan_30JUN2024_0708h says:

    The NYT made more money under Trump. They have lost subscribers under Biden. They abdicated journalistic integrity in 2016 and they are doing it now so that the nepo baby publisher makes more money.

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  13. x174 says:

    Rayne–thanks for the reminder. the “debate debacle” is starting to look like a boon in how it has exposed all those media elite who oppose Biden’s Presidency in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

    our media ecosystem looks very corrupt. almost as corrupt as SCOTUS, which looks almost as corrupt as the House. . .

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    • phred says:


      I listened to Marcy’s conversation with Nicole and her take is that the media is cowed by Trump. I disagree. I think the major corporate outlets are aligned with Republicans. That is obvious from the rubbish published by the NYT, but also consider the executive/editor changes at CNN and WaPo. Even NBC/MSNBC is flogging the Doddering Biden story, that was a depressing surprise.

      I suspect the powers that be hate how effective Biden has been. With the pending end of the Trump tax cuts, the owners of the corrupt corporate outlets will do what they can to take Biden down.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        It’s something I’ve been saying for a while, that the publishers through the editors decide what runs and that universe is full of old white rich guys yelling at the kids to get off their lawn.

    • 3balls2strikes says:

      I’ve noticed something similar- this has seemed to generate a collective ‘Fuck you!’ by Democratic voters that- after the initial dayafter blues- is beginning to have an energizing effect. It’s also possible that smarter ‘undecided’ voters- the one or two of them that exist among Americans who are ‘undecided’ at this point- will notice the distinction that the most elite of the media institutions are operating with two different standards when it comes to the election (nothing new, I know, but I’m referring to the dumb fucks who are ‘undecided’).

      • Rayne says:

        BIPOC voters are likely to circle the wagons around Biden because he’s earned their trust. The rally in NC will have solidified this and quite honestly, further damaged BIPOC voters’ trust in mainstream media because what they saw and heard didn’t match what CNN and NYT and other media outlets presented.

  14. Jdalessandro says:

    I would so much like to agree with all of this, but the NYT is not the problem right now. Unlike Hillary’s emails, millions of the voters saw what they saw during the ‘debate’ and it correlated closely with the propaganda that they might see on Fox News. All that doctored footage purportedly showing Biden’s frailty; why did Fox bother doctoring it? Now they have something that everyone saw, to play on a continuous loop until November. You got the Atlanta J-C joining in now, and I suppose we’ll see some damning polls soon.
    If this happens, I don’t know why an open convention is so horrible to contemplate- that was the ‘normal’ until the 70s. If you want the nomination, make your pitch and fight for it. Its worth remembering that the smoke-filled rooms got us FDR and Lincoln, and Truman as Veep; the “People” got us Andrew Jackson. Three cheers for the elites.
    And as one might assume, the media would give their left one for an open convention, because their priorities aren’t ours. They’re trying to make money and stick around, and blowing up Biden is the unpalatable way some have chosen to do it.
    So I’m not necessarily in disagreement with everything here, but I don’t think the loathsome Times is going to be all that important to that process. The politicos worrying about what Biden’s candidacy will do to their own prospects, and the contributors worried about their investment, will be the ones to get him out, or fail to . Everyone’s basically out for themselves [gasp].
    I hope I got my username right; sorry in advance if not.

    [Moderator’s note: your username is the correct one. Please make a note of it and the email you used for future comments. Unlike a login password, you won’t risk security here by putting your username on a note next to your computer. :-) /~Rayne]

    • David Brooks says:

      “it correlated closely with the propaganda that they might see on Fox News.”

      Let’s drill into that. Propaganda on Fox News is directly consumed by, well, you know who. It probably won’t even twitch the needle. It’s other media that keep reporting on “look what Fox News is saying now!” (run the clip). That has to stop.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    I’m glad Rugger_9 mentions Charlie Pierce. When it comes to print journalism, Charlie is the best.
    When it comes to TV journalism, my eyes turn to KO. His podcast on CCN’s debate fiasco is a gem.

  16. Bay State Librul says:

    In my opinion, Stevie Van Zandt has the pulse of the nation on his guitar and in his soul.
    We should be listening to Stevie rather than the NYT.
    He is very worried about what’s happening in the USA – and so am I.
    Something has got to give.

    • ExRacerX says:

      Really? And what has Steven Van Zandt been saying?

      Dropping shit like this without a link is just silly and makes the reader do the work.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        IRL, one of those sentences is unnecessary, at best.

        I suggest that readers here are capable of ‘doing the work’.

        • ExRacerX says:

          I’m fully capable, but if you haven’t noticed by now, links or other support are expected at EW.

  17. Magbeth4 says:

    Some part of me wants to believe that the NYT, et al, are just using reverse psychology by attacking Biden for his poor performance at a stand-up routine excuse for a “debate.”
    The whole thing was theater. The whole criticism is based on images and how the image of one man, in particular, Trump, was built through the medium of TV, which flattens reality and renders through lighting and makeup and scripting, a mediocre person into a “star.”

    I regularly appeared, as a guest representing an art museum, on local television years, ago on a daily morning show. The hosts were vapid, ordinary, uneducated, but fairly intelligent, enough so to respond to cues and banter nonsense. They looked, however fabulous when the lights went on and when the cue to begin, a red light on the camera, came on. Wow!
    I offered substance. They asked stupid questions.

    Television is a poor medium for conveying important thoughts, except in the hands of someone such as Edward R. Murrow. It’s great, though, for capturing such bright expressions as Biden’s when he laughs or grins. That image is sticking in my mind. The image of Trump’s clown grimace and pursed, angry lips, also linger. So, for the simplistic mind, which image would you prefer to look at for the next 4 years?

    Maybe, we should just let this chill for a few days until the media ratings race wears down and the pace of election rallies and fresher images appear. Knee jerk reactions are not
    smart in a dangerous world. Don’t let the NYT and Putin grab your brains.

    • Rayne says:

      We did that in 2016 with “But Her Emails” — we let the media do its thing, waiting until it became an obvious trend before objecting.

      Not this time, not when the one major newspaper which undermined Clinton with crappy reporting repeatedly has taken the same approach with Biden.

      Your argument also does not address the NYT’S Editorial Board calling for Biden to step aside after a debate while blowing off Trump’s felony and outstanding felony charges. That absolutely cannot be ignored.

      • Magbeth4 says:

        I am not ignoring what the NYT did and does. But the circumstances now are a bit different. People outside of NY city, where folks knew Trump, hated him and did not vote for him, did not know the real Trump. Now they do.

        I’d like to think that the general voting populace might not want to continue with another Trump Presidency after seeing what he did for 4 years, nor, after his convictions.

        As for the NYT. I’ve already told them to go to hell twice, cancelling my subscriptions after I gave them one more chance to stop trying to tell me how to think about something. Yes, we should fight back against their damned opinions. But, I have faith, too,that given the choice, people will make up their own minds, especially, if Biden and his surrogates speak loudly about his accomplishments.

        • Rayne says:

          If only the rest of the corporate-owned media didn’t take notes from NYT on coverage, amplifying their bullshit so that it continues to affect public opinion outside of New York City.

          If only NBC hadn’t run a highly-manufactured Trump-as-PR-product in The Apprentice for more than a decade, with the NYT continuing to bolster that image by refusing to ostracize his criminal behavior in a way that matters, while undermining the opposition which is successfully governing the country. Perhaps the rest of the country would have learned how big a con man Trump was and continues to be.

          If only “Biden and his surrogates speak loudly about his accomplishments” actually worked with this same media ecosphere — do you see NYT doing that, covering Biden’s accomplishments, thereby setting the tone for other corporate-owned media?

          No — it’s become another joke-meme depicted capably by Doug J. Balloon: [something happened]; why that’s bad for Biden.

  18. Krisy Gosney says:

    Thanks for putting this connection out there- But Her Emails = But His Debate. I’m hoping that since we went through But Her Emails and know where that led, we will cut But His Deabate off at the legs. Eff them!!

  19. ptayb888 says:

    I’ve been thinking about the Adlai Stevenson story where a women came up to him at party and told him the he had the vote of every thinking american. He replied: But madam, I need a majority. Image matters. Just because the NYT is in the tank for the republicans doesn’t mean I didn’t see what I saw. Unbelievably, there are some undecided voters still up for grabs. If these voters gave a rip about policy or substance they wouldn’t be undecided. Low information voters need to see a “presidential image” and that is not what they saw on the debate stage.

    • ButteredToast says:

      This sums up very well where I am. The Democratic nominee needs to meet  undecided voters where they are, even if these same voters are stupid, ill-informed,  and/or irrational. After Thursday’s debate, it’s harder to claim that any nervousness over Biden’s age is just due to rightwing propaganda or the NYT. In 2020’s debates, Biden did well and quieted this line of attack. Last Thursday, he very much did the opposite. The media isn’t going to stop talking about it, even if they also start covering Trump like the lying criminal psychopath that he is. The priority for the Democrats should be defeating Trump–period. Whether the best means toward this end is for Biden to be the nominee or for him to decline the nomination and back VP Harris, I don’t know.

      • P J Evans says:

        The media very much didn’t cover Biden’s appearance at a rally in North Carolina the next day, where he was his usual sharp self.

        • ButteredToast says:

          This is true, and it’s unfair. I wasn’t trying to minimize the media’s faults but was merely saying that it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and have to work with.

    • Marinela says:

      Do you see a presidential image in Donald Trump?
      Between the two, Biden was weak, but still better than the liar, what ever the reason for Biden weakness.
      I remember after Trump got elected in 2016, many in the media were like don’t panic, US will survive, the institutions are strong, blah, blah.
      Now, the same ones think the US could not survive if Biden gets re-elected?

  20. Bay State Librul says:

    To ex racer on Stevie

    “The simple fact is we do not live in a democracy. Certainly not the kind our Founding Fathers intended. We live in a corporate dictatorship represented by, and beholden to, no single human being you can reason with or hold responsible for anything.” Steve Van
    Recently, he has gone after Trump and he is in the Pro Biden camp, alleluia

    His memoir is Unrequited Infatuation
    The documentary is called Disciple

  21. SVFranklinS says:

    I was appalled by the debate – Trump Gish galloping and Biden presenting as confused and muddled. My first impression (still holding) is Biden prepared for a “debate” and his preppers tried to stuff him too many facts and figures, and managing against a stutter is always a challenge. But Trump is a TV performer, and prepared a TV performance, hammering home a message about 18 million killer immigrants coming through the open border to rape and kill and take your social security, while weak democrats are trying to enshrine the right to post-birth abortion. Biden’s prep clearly didn’t have a focus on the performance aspects of this thing.

    But I was pleasantly surprised at how, at first, the report was the needle moved a bit towards Biden – the public at large saw nothing new. Biden is old, had a bad day. Trump is a rampaging liar. Nothing we didn’t know – so what’s new?

    The press reaction – a torrent of calls for Biden to drop out? Why? But part of it may be because they can – The press feels its mission should be to speak truth to power, every reporter wants to release their inner Woodward and Bernstein and bring down a president. But criticize Trump and the MAGA mob gets released against you, and you get death threats and endless problems, plus the ire of the rich who own the media. Criticize Biden and none of that will happen, since it’s not a cult and he’s a decent man.

    Unfortunately the “debate” makes Biden’s campaign more difficult, since he needs to work more to counter the impressions a bad night on stage left. But all this replacement braying is silly. There are 51 democratic senators and a dozen governors who look in the mirror every day and see the next possible president, and none of them thought they had a chance this time around or they would have gone for it.
    And at this point, it’s likely too late to start.

    So there is work to do.

  22. John Paul Jones says:

    Has anyone been tracking what Biden’s donors are saying/doing, in response to the kerfuffle around the debate? If they’re okay with it, then none of the other stuff (find another candidate, wail and gnash teeth) really matters.

  23. John H Wolfe says:

    We can all agree, that Biden gets bad coverage, and Trump’s lies, convictions, Project 2025, and all else that would shine light on Trump and the catastrophe he would be gets woeful little coverage. But, Trump’s base is solid and enthusiastic (feeling victimized is a strong motivator) while Biden’s base is lukewarm to simmering. The press isn’t fair, the world isn’t fair. Biden is a great president but a lousy campaigner. That is not going to change. We have an election to win. An Obama could come back, a Bill Clinton could come back. I do not think today’s Joe Biden can come back.

    I listen to quite a few focus groups, people who are likely to vote. They are ill-informed, they are not reading widely, and they are still (mostly) thinking the country was better off under Trump. Think of those who faithfully watched NBC’s “The Apprentice”. They are part of the cohort who will decide the election. Their votes could be won. But it will take a young, high-energy, strong campaigner.

    Chaos now and at the convention is better than losing an election. There is risk, but I am concerned that a weak top of the ticket will lose the WH and damage the down-ballot candidates. The judges that will be appointed during the next term will either start to turn around the court or let the FedSoc gain further control.

    The leaders in the Democratic elected officials and donor base need to speak out. It needs to happen soon.

    Now, if within the next week, President Biden can go on several of the more prominent neutral or right-leaning media outlets for an interview and consistently hit a solid double or triple, I will happily say “You go Joe!”

    Independent of what happens, I will vote for the Democratic nominee and work for the ticket.

    • Rayne says:

      The same ill-informed voters are frequently fed “Dems in Disarray” content from corporate-owned media. Those people will NOT be convinced by a floor fight at the DNC convention that somehow “Dems aren’t in Disarray,” especially because the same media which regularly fucks up coverage of Trump’s crimes will also fall back on “Dems in Disarray” because it’s safe and easy to do and the oligarchs love it.

      • John H Wolfe says:

        You are correct, but, if somehow (I admit with difficulty and risk) the Democratic nominee can be someone who can campaign forcefully, who, for fuck sake can handle a Gish gallop, then those voters might be getable.

        The point is, I would rather take the risk in that scenario than the risk that the vision of Biden at the debate can be erased from their minds and from the social media memes.

        • Rayne says:

          *You* would take that risk. *You* are not the Democratic Party, which is a very big tent containing a broad spectrum of Americans.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s the press’s job, not just Biden’s, and the entire Democratic party’s job, to combat Trump’s relentless waterfall of lies. The press still gives him a pass, with a dismissive, Oh, that’s just Trump. It is. But he should be excoriated for it, not given a pass. The press should argue that he face accountability for it.

          Elections are won by parties, not just candidates, and by voters. Get out and work for a Democratic victory, especially down ballot. That work is well spent regardless of who you think the top candidate should be.

          The NYT and many others in the press are not reacting in a panic. They are following a consistent path that’s good for corporations and the wealthy, the ones who own them. The Sulzbergers are a reprehensible example.

  24. Libration Point says:

    First off, Rayne, thanks for the clear and level-headed commentary the last couple of days.

    As far as replacing Biden goes, even leaving aside all the practical details of campaign funds and ballot deadlines, if he were to announce today that he was withdrawing from the race (or even resigning from the presidency) in favor of Kamala Harris, the NYT and other pundits would immediately go full-bore on two things:

    1) How dare Biden not allow a contested convention by suggesting That Woman should be his successor instead of Unbeatable White Guy?
    2) When did Harris know that he was completely senile and why did she not invoke the 25th amendment, and also how dare she force Biden to make her his successor?

    Trying to appease them is pointless, especially at this late stage. The only viable path forward is to continue campaign events like the one yesterday, where Biden was back in form, and try to find better ways to connect to the public without going through the press.

  25. P J Evans says:

    I keep remembering the line attributed to Will Rogers: “I’m not a member of an organized party – I’m a Democrat”.
    (Cue the cat-herding video!)

  26. Error Prone says:

    As already noted I did not watch, real time. I watched Jon Stewart’s live after event commentary and CNN YouTube highlights;

    It was clear. Biden had major problems. To deny that is to not have feet grounded in reality.

    However, the pledged delegates are Biden’s and not the Party’s and the war chest is Biden’s and not the Party’s. Biden has things under his hand. Now, should he heed the fact he did a really piss-poor job in a way that has him reconsider, fine. If he continues, “stay the course,” as Clyburn has been quoted, fine. He has my vote if he stays, no cause to change, and then, wtf to?

    If he punts, what’s best. Name a successor and transfer cash and tell pledged delegates to follow suit; or throw a piece of raw meat on the floor for the dogs to fight over? (Phrased to fit my choice). Whoever would step in were Biden to vacate, will have a lock on the massive not-Trump! vote we have to expect. So, chill, see what’s Biden’s choice, and in November do right.

  27. hcgorman says:

    Look. They have been after Biden to step back for quite awhile…and now they are using the debate as the reason. The real reason is racist and sexist. “They” (take your pick) are afraid if Biden can’t finish a second term for any reason we will have a woman of color as president. Biden has been the best president in my lifetime (and I am old!). And it would be a disaster in more ways than one if he were to bow to these assholes and throw in the towel.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I don’t know how I missed this in the debate and afterwards, but it makes CNN’s moderation even less professional. It makes it a snow job, though CNN’s new management thought both Tapper and Bash did a stellar job. Stellar.

    For some odd reason, moderator Jake Tapper told Trump in the beginning that he didn’t need to answer the questions and that he could use the time however he wanted.

    Jake Tapper (and his producers) should have a long timeout for that big wet kiss to Donny. He should serve his year-long timeout in the Netherlands, learning how to be a reporter again.


  29. Savage Librarian says:


    Don’t you think it very odd
    that MAGAts think Trump’s a god
    Weird hair, orange skin, bad bod
    And a busted lightning rod

    To be tight with a tightwad
    Each clod yearning to get a nod
    Scorning America as he runs roughshod
    Catawampus in his cracked facade

    NYT promotes a loser squad
    more suited for another sod
    They’re more cut out for Novgorod
    To join Putin’s other peas in a pod

    • RipNoLonger says:

      Always good, but I got hooked on the

      And a busted lightning rod

      Apparently nobody cares that nobody is upstairs.

  30. paulka123 says:

    My gut tells me that this debate will be forgotten a month from now. Yes it was a horrible performance by Biden, but tomorrow we get a SC decision on immunity, next week Trump is sentenced. These will swamp the debate performance discussion.

    Yes, Biden has damage to repair-that is repaired by being out in public doing what he does.

    If 34 felony convictions, sexual assault adjudication, adjudicated an insurrectionist, 88 separate felony charges, stealing classified documents, etc. etc. etc. are not enough to move the needle, one bad debate performance is manageable.

    Oh and just an observation and my opinion. The NY Times is less impactful than people think. People who read or follow their coverage for the most part have their minds firmly made up. You need to reach the low information voters, and we are all ears on that.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump loyalists plan to name and shame ‘blacklist’ of federal workers. AAF to publish dossiers of employees they consider hostile to ex-president, with goal of ultimately replacing them.

    The academic understatement of this headline buries the lede. “Trump loyalists” is doing a lot of work. The scare quotes around “blacklist” don’t do enough to describe alleged disloyalty among garden variety rank and file government employees. Trump and his Heritage Foundation commissars will launch a full monty of alleged claims, degradation, and public disclosure of personal information, and allow their minions to do whatever, while disclaiming liability for it.

    Trump’s minions will not require proof of anything improper, not even disloyalty, which should be read as “demonstrably loyal enough.” No kibbutzing over coffee, at the water cooler, or online. No routine use of the grapevine, which gets an awful lot of government work done. Play ball or say goodbye to your health care, pay, pension, security clearance, and emloyability. They might take those things away from the most innocent and deserving, pour encourager les autres. Civil service protections? Meh.

    Trump and his patrons plan to spread McCarthyite fire and brimstone, to keep a million federal employees marching in lockstep with Trump’s most extreme wants. Trump and his think tank enforcers don’t want effective government employees, because they don’t want the government’s work to get done. They want an army of goblins and orcs they can launch against whomever crosses their path.


  32. CroFandango says:

    Rayne mentioned “I want to know about the sound engineering, for example.”

    It was so poor as to be negligent, and I wonder why.

    The sound engineer’s job (and DNA) is to optimize levels for intelligibility. Biden’s microphone gain was set too low. Had CNN turned him up to the same level as Trump, he would have sounded less weak and lost. The psycho-acoustic preference for louder signals is well established.

    This was the easiest of tasks. It was an empty studio so no problem turning up the voice without picking up background noise or room PA feedback. There were separate microphones that were acoustically isolated, so the volume could be individually set to maximize the intelligibility of each speaker.

    But the sound levels were not set to optimize each speaker. That was someone’s choice.

  33. Hoping4better_times says:

    Just 4 months ago, Biden knocked it out-of-the-park in his SOTU speech including quick responses after being heckled. NYT quote “In a televised speech to a joint session of Congress, Mr. Biden brought the energy his allies and aides had hoped he would display” (NYT published 3/7/24). The former guy accused Biden on being on drugs.

    Now 4 months later, the pundits say he has dementia? What changed? Biden was ill with a cold and had a raspy voice. No teleprompter. No notes. No audience. Over prepared with too many details in his responses. Stuttered often. His failings in that debate format were embarrassing and the focus on Biden’s deficiencies diverted the focus from the avalanche of trump’s lies. It took 3 minutes at a fast pace for Daniel Dale (CNN’s fact checker) to list those lies.

  34. MSanthrope says:

    This is the only article I have seen since the debate explaining Biden’s performance as not the evidence of dementia everyone is assuming:


    No other of the onslaught of articles about Biden’s debate performance mentions “Gish gallop”, a “rhetorical technique in which someone throws out a fast string of lies, non-sequiturs, and specious arguments, so many that it is impossible to fact-check or rebut them in the amount of time it took to say them. Trying to figure out how to respond makes the opponent look confused, because they don’t know where to start grappling with the flood that has just hit them.”

    I would add that the bullying manner and emotional content and surreal lies raised Trump’s Gish gallop to the level of verbal assault, if not elder abuse.

    Not only were Trump’s lies wildly absurd and troubling (Democrat states legalize infanticide, “He wants to raise everybody’s taxes by four times”),
    they were cruel and personal (“his son is a convicted felon at a very high level”, “Our veterans are on the street, they’re dying, because he doesn’t care about our veterans…”He doesn’t like the military at all.”)
    and slanderous
    (“Joe could be a convicted felon with all of the things he’s done”, “This man is a criminal”, “He’s a Manchurian candidate”, “You’re destroying our country”)
    and inverted –
    Trump falsely criticized Biden on things that were true of his administration (highest deficit, highest trade deficit) and took credit for (Trump stealing?) policies that Biden enacted (funding HBCU, lowering insulin costs).

    Who wouldn’t look dazed and confused trying to rationally debate MAGA propaganda for 90 unmoderated minutes?

    I am alarmed at the slew of articles sabotaging Biden and the crescendoing drumbeat for Biden to withdraw in nytimes articles and Trump/Putin troll comments.
    I sense a trap to get someone less well known to run and lose to Trump; to do what Trump tried by extorting Zelensky in 2019 and getting the House to open an impeachment inquiry on Biden.

    The dearth of articles analyzing Trump’s debate performance is also alarming.

    • Rayne says:

      The trap is getting someone else who didn’t win the Democratic primaries to run instead of Biden, thereby losing to Trump.

      And then Trump on Day One can become the dictator he’s told us he wants to be, and with the SCOTUS’ immunity decision he can escape liability for anything he does as dictator.

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