Joe Biden Versus the New York Times

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: July 8, 2024 ~

A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times

A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times

When we heard that the scrappy, independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, was going to appear on “Face the Nation” yesterday, we figured he might have something to say about the New York Times’ unprecedented and relentless drumbeat to force President Joe Biden to step down as a Presidential candidate. We weren’t disappointed.

Sanders said this:

“I will tell you this, whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent: the American people are disillusioned, they are angry, they think that government is busy paying attention to the rich and wealthy campaign donors. And by the way, I find it personally insulting that the New York Times and all these media organizations go out front page ‘This is what the billionaire campaign donors feel.’ Well, to hell with the billionaire campaign donors. Let’s worry about the working class of this country and what their needs are.”

The New York Times’ Editorial Board called for President Biden to step down from the race less than 24 hours after his poor debate performance on Thursday, June 27. On the same day, three of its columnists mirrored those sentiments on its digital front page. Since then, there has been a nonstop drumbeat on this theme coming from The Times, which to many in the Democratic Party feels like The Times is attempting to put its thumb on the scales of this election.

The Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, has been among the harshest, with her comments frequently sounding like she’s the one unmoored from reality. On July 6 she wrote:

“Trump is the master con man, but Biden is giving him a run for his money.

“He, his wife, his vice president and his longtime aides worked hard to conjure a mirage where everything is fine in Bidenworld.

“That mirage vanished with the debate.”

Trump’s con man credentials include taking his businesses into bankruptcy six times; fomenting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol over a fake claim that the 2020 election had been stolen from him; being convicted by a jury of 12 men and women on 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records, and on and on.

To compare Joe Biden — who was elected seven times since 1972 to public service as a U.S. Senator, then a Vice President for two terms under President Obama; and the last 3-1/2 years as President of the United States – to having the con man instincts of Donald Trump suggests a nefarious agenda at the New York Times.

As for The Times’ obsession with pushing the idea that wealthy donors are in revolt against Biden, here’s a sampling of their recent articles on that topic: (Warning: Possible paywalls.)

June 29: “Major Democratic Donors Ask Themselves: What to Do About Biden?” This article begins what will be multiple mentions in future articles of “megadonor” Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who doesn’t want Biden to continue his campaign.

July 1: “Top Biden Officials Seek to Calm Donors: ‘Breathe Through the Nose ”: This article reports that the Biden camp held a Zoom call with wealthy donors and that “The New York Times was connected to the call by an authorized participant.” It’s not clear if the Biden camp knew that the New York Times was listening in on this call.

July 1: New York Times Dealbook: “What Will Biden Donors Do Now?” Suggests that Wall Street money for Biden “will dry up.”

July 3: “Big Donors Turn on Biden. Quietly.” Again mentions Ron Conway’s revolt toward Biden but also reports that the billionaire founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, is rallying Silicon Valley donors behind President Biden.

July 4: “Major Democratic Donors Devise Plans to Pressure Biden to Step Aside.” This is one of The Times’ most curious reports, indicating that a group of mostly unnamed wealthy donors in revolt against Biden are “working to raise as much as $100 million for a sort of escrow fund, called the Next Generation PAC, that would be used to support a replacement candidate. If Mr. Biden does not step aside, the money could be used to help down-ballot candidates, according to people close to the effort.”

One thing this group has not done is due diligence on name selection. There are already a litany of PACs with “Next Generation” in their titles. As of this morning, the Federal Election Commission shows no filing has been made for this new PAC.

According to The Times, the brains behind this new Next Generation PAC to, ostensibly, support Democrats, is crypto billionaire Mike Novogratz. However, given the tens of millions of dollars that crypto billionaires have already poured into supporting Republican candidates, one should be skeptical of the real agenda here. (See our report: Crypto Tries to Recreate the Koch Money Machine to Pack Congress with Shills.)

July 5: Some of Biden’s Upcoming Fund-Raising Events Face New Uncertainty”: Again, we hear about Ron Conway:

“The billionaire tech investor Ron Conway has been working the phones from his vacation in Europe to encourage his network to push for a change at the top of the ticket, according to two people with knowledge of his activities. In recent days, a memo has been circulating among major Democratic donors and operatives making what its authors, who remain anonymous, call ‘The Case for Kamala.’ ”

And on and on it goes.

A deeper dive into the relationship between the Biden camp and The Times suggests that this hostility has been brewing for a much longer period than his debate performance on July 27.

Eli Stokols reported the following at Politico on April 25:

“According to interviews with two dozen people on both sides who were granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, the relationship between the Democratic president and the country’s newspaper of record — for years the epitome of a liberal press in the eyes of conservatives — remains remarkably tense, beset by misunderstandings, grudges and a general lack of trust. Complaints that were long kept private are even spilling into public view, with campaign aides in Wilmington going further than their colleagues in the White House and routinely blasting the paper’s coverage in emails, posts on social media and memos.

“Although the president’s communications teams bristle at coverage from dozens of outlets, the frustration, and obsession, with the Times is unique, reflecting the resentment of a president with a working-class sense of himself and his team toward a news organization catering to an elite audience — and a deep desire for its affirmation of their work. On the other side, the newspaper carries its own singular obsession with the president, aggrieved over his refusal to give the paper a sit-down interview that Publisher AG Sulzberger and other top editors believe to be its birthright.”

Relentless drumbeats at the New York Times have not ended well for the American people in the past. Consider the Judith Miller drumbeat, filled with false information, that ushered the U.S. into the war with Iraq. There was also the Editorial Board of the New York Times beating the drums for years for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was accomplished in 1999. This allowed federally-insured megabanks to combine with Wall Street’s casino trading houses – a situation which the Glass-Steagall Act had prevented for 66 years. Just nine years after the repeal, Wall Street’s casinos crashed Wall Street and the U.S. economy in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. See our report on how the New York Times inserted itself into the Glass-Steagall repeal debate here.

The real question that should be galvanizing the press is how a man with Donald Trump’s criminal conviction history, and civil convictions for sexual assault and business fraud, as well as what tens of millions of Americans witnessed with their own eyes in live television coverage of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – could still be a contender for a second term as President of the United States.

The longer the New York Times continues to bash President Joe Biden, the more likely a second Trump term becomes.

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