Now that Joe Biden Stepped Down for the Good of the Country, Joe Kahn Must Join Him

In their latest installment of an editorial making demands of Joe Biden, other Democrats, and voters, but never Donald Trump, the NYT on Monday joined the horde of outlets begging for an open primary.

They were, of course, too slow to keep up with the Old Geezer they’ve spent the last month calling slow, to say nothing of his Vice President who, in just 36-hours, sealed up the nomination and raised $100 million. It was over.

Try to keep up, NYT?

Even with that embarrassment, NYT decided to keep running the endless stream of print, with Ezra Klein whining like he has done and Patrick Healy leading a panel discussion, as well as his own unsubstantiated claims about competition — especially around convention time — helping a candidacy. Bret Stephens had the audacity to claim that by winning the support of democratically elected delegates, Kamala had been coronated.

Try to keep up, NYT.

So back to the editorial NYT posted after it was over, demanding — begging — that it not be over.

Along with its tribute to Biden and a pitch to use this “fresh chance to address voters’ concerns with better policies” (followed by misrepresentations of the current state of both Biden’s immigration and housing policies — try to keep up, NYT!), the editorial nodded to the import of “describ[ing] all the harm Mr. Trump would do to this country.”

Mr. Trump is a felon who flouts the law and the Constitution, an inveterate liar beholden to no higher cause than his self-interest and a reckless policymaker indifferent to the well-being of the American people. His term in office did lasting damage to the people and the project of America and to its reputation around the world. In a second term he would operate with fewer restraints and more willing enablers, and he and his emboldened advisers have made clear they intend to exercise power ruthlessly.

Yet it’s not enough to describe all the harm Mr. Trump would do to this country: The Democratic Party needs to offer the American people a road map to a better future.

This is the second time that this bossy stream of editorials has emphasized the import of describing the danger of Trump: In the first, NYT faulted Biden for failing to “hold Mr. Trump accountable for his lies” during the debate.

But this second editorial expands its descriptive scope: Trump’s lies must be debunked and the harm Trump did to this country must be described.

By others. By Democrats.

Yet, even as NYT was obsessing with Biden’s age, it failed in those duties, debunking Trump’s lies and describing the damage he has done.

For example, NYT fell for a PR effort by the Trump campaign to pitch a platform that embraced fetal personhood as a moderation on choice. After spending months leading others on efforts to describe Trump’s amped up authoritarianism in a second term, NYT both-sidesed Trump’s efforts to disavow Project 2025. Even as NYT front-paged Peter Baker’s pursuit of conspiracy theories about the official medical records Biden did release, NYT never described asking for official medical records on Trump’s shooting injury, even while it joined Maria Bartiromo and Benny Johnson to platform Ronny Jackson’s claims instead. NYT finally got around to fact-checking Trump’s RNC speech; they posted it just after midnight overnight, today. CNN, by comparison, had their fact-check up while people were still talking about the speech.

Neither is NYT fulfilling the job of describing the harm Trump would and did do to this country. The other day, NYT let its pharmaceutical reporter falsely claim that Mueller found “no evidence that Mr. Trump or his aides had coordinated with [Russia’s 2016] interference effort,” something that not even the linked story from March 2019 supported, and something that has been further debunked by subsequent reports that Konstantin Kilimnik was a Russian agent and that he passed on the strategy Paul Manafort gave him to other Russian spies (which NYT has reported but presented as limited to polling data) or the footnote unveiled just before the 2020 election that showed the investigation into whether Roger Stone conspired in a hack-and-leak with GRU was ongoing when Mueller finished (something NYT has never reported).

In March, NYT had a good story on Manafort’s reappearance in Trump’s orbit. It did an op-ed on Manafort’s likely role in a second Trump term. While both noted that Trump pardoned Manafort, neither laid out that Amy Berman Jackson judged Manafort to have lied about sharing that campaign strategy with Kilimnik and the deal to carve up Ukraine discussed at the same time. NYT appears to have ignored Manafort’s appearance at the convention.

Nor has NYT shown the least curiosity regarding the role of Donald Trump or his Attorney General in framing his opponent back in 2020. While, in real time, NYT did an exceptionally good story about the Brady side channel Bill Barr set up to ingest dirt Rudy Giuliani had obtained, in part from a known Russian spy, when they attempted to write this after the Alexander Smirnov indictment, NYT covered up Rudy’s central role in related matters. How did the entire Biden – Trump rematch pass without a single story on Trump’s role in framing his opponent?

NYT has covered Trump’s recent coziness with Viktor Orbán, though it was late to the story of Orbán’s post NATO visit and didn’t mention Orbán efforts to end the Ukraine war with Trump. A far better follow-up described that Orbán had relayed Trump’s plans for “a swift push for a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.” That was buried, just like NYT’s report on Trump’s growing financial entanglement with the Saudi state, this time on page A8. In NYT’s simpering coverage of Trump’s RNC platform, it mentioned neither the reversals on Ukraine or Taiwan from 2016. And while NYT claims to value descriptions of the damage Trump did to “the project of America and to its reputation around the world,” it recently blamed NATO allies’ concerns about the election exclusively to Biden’s age, rather than the threat that Trump himself poses — and even that was buried in a story buried below other Biden stories.

Joe Kahn’s NYT insists that these topics should be covered.

Yet Joe Kahn’s NYT isn’t doing that job, its day job. It is instead pawning that job off onto Democrats, all the while complaining about the way Democrats are fulfilling the duties of their day job.

And when you raise NYT’s own failures, NYT exhibits the same arrogance, defensiveness, and blindness for which it faulted Joe Biden.

For the good of the country, NYT imperiously demanded, Joe Biden had to step down.

Fine, he did that.

Now either meet the standards your own editorial page lays out or, for the good of the country, find a leader who will.

Update: Pointing to a dumb Nate Cohn report unrelated to NYT’s negligence on Trump coverage (and so not covered here, though I thought about including it), Dan Drezner calls on NYT to get its shit together.

Cohn’s analysis would ordinarily be the kind of piece that I would be defending on social media against those who say, “I cancelled my Times subscription months ago!” But then I got to the last paragraph, which included a particularly jaw-dropping sentence:

In fairness to Ms. Harris, it would be challenging for any Democrat today to advance a clear agenda for the future. Mr. Biden struggled to do so in his re-election campaign. The party has held power for almost 12 of the last 16 years, and it has exhausted much of its agenda; there aren’t many popular, liberal policies left in the cupboard. As long as voters remain dissatisfied with the status quo and the Democratic nominee, a campaign to defend the system might not be the slam dunk Democrats once thought it was (emphasis added).

I am not a Democrat. There are parts of their agenda in their cupboard that I do not want to see implemented. But I have to ask: how in the name of all that is holy did that tendentious sentence get put into Cohn’s piece?! Are you trying to troll the libs?

Just to quickly list what is wrong with this claim:

  1. Controlling the White House is not the same thing as holding unconstrained power. Obama and Biden commanded party majorities in Congress for exactly four of those twelve years. Unsurprisingly, a lot of what they wanted to do did not get through Congress.
  2. Polling shows that Democrats have some agenda items in the cupboard that are pretty popular: expanding access to women’s reproductive healthgun controlbolstering U.S. alliancesreforming the judicial branchproviding a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers; heck, even DEI polls well. In contrast, the Trump-affiliated Project 2025 agenda is ridiculously unpopular.
  3. As Cohn would hopefully acknowledge past Democratic policy initiatives, like the Affordable Care Act, used to be unpopular but have become quite popular over time. When Harris said at her Wisconsin rally that, “we are not going back,” the point is that she can justifiably claim to be defending popular Democratic policies.

My point is that it’s a horrible, unnecessary, inaccurate sentence does not even fit with the rest of Cohn’s essay. So what were you thinking when you dropped it in there? Was it the same person who thought publishing predictable op-eds about the current state of politics from Bill Maher or Aaron f**king Sorkin was a nifty idea?!1

I had a discussion with someone who writes for your paper after Cohn’s piece dropped who mentioned the “same five dinner parties problem” of your editorial staff. You keep talking amongst yourselves so much that the result is an insular conversation in which your perception about what the American people think and want is badly distorted. And then you react to the criticism with vindication — that if you’re getting heat from “both sides” then you must be doing something right.

With Biden’s departure you have an opportunity to do a reset of how you cover and interpret the 2024 election. Please, for the love of God, take it. Get better op-ed submissions. Be better at your jobs!

NYTimes Launders Its Own Agency

After having scolded the President that he “should leave the race” that Democratic primary voters elected him to run.

And having ordered the Democratic Party to “speak the [NYT’s] plain truth to Biden,

And having ignored Trump’s own actions in the meanwhile (for example, NYT has no report yet on Viktor Orbán’s latest shenanigans, and they’ve only just reported on Trump’s attempts to disavow Project 2025, which they put in a both-sides frame and don’t cite NYT’s long focus on his Project 2025 aligned plans; Update, 10:09AM ET: NYT has now posted a cursory 7¶¶ 3-byline piece on Orbán.), NYT has now weighed in against Trump.

At least in its headline, the NYT doesn’t scold Trump. It doesn’t order the GOP to do anything.

It observes.

Once you click through to their actual op-ed, however, NYT does something else.

It launders agency it has been exercising all over its front page.

“The Democrats are rightly engaged in their own debate,” the paper that has supplanted every other kind of news to frame that debate says.

“The debate is so intense,” NYT says, not because reporters have engaged in conspiracy theorizing, lied, and (as Nancy Pelosi said of NYT’s overreading of her attempt to be subtle, “ma[d]e stories up.”

After which, NYT has relabled as “analysis” and done significant massaging of their story — though not without labeling Biden “defiant” again.


The debate is so intense because, NYT says, “a compelling Democratic alternative is the only thing that will prevent [Trump’s] return to power.”

Which is to suggest that Joe Biden’s historic success  — the policy stuff that, at NYT, always takes the backseat to Biden’s age — is not compelling at all.

Meanwhile, rather than bossing the Republican Party around like NYT did Democrats, NYT wrings its journalistic hands: “It is a national tragedy that the Republicans have failed to have a similar debate,” like the one NYT has forced down Democrats’ throats.

Rather than scolding about what Trump “should” do or ordering what Republicans “must” do, NYT simply “urges” voters here.

This is the op-ed page. It’s where NYT is supposed to exercise the omniscient narrator they’ve sicced on a non-stop flood of Joe Biden stories.

But it would be really nice if elsewhere, off the op-ed page, NYT would focus on reporting, including on the guy they claim is unfit to lead.