The New York Times continues to ignore Trump-inspired violence
They've found time to publish 51 articles in 5 days about a single poll, though.
When I saw Monday’s truly bizarre New York Times article taking Joe Biden to task for not mentioning his bad New York Times poll numbers1 while giving a speech announcing Amtrak funding, I immediately thought of Taylor Taranto.
Taranto is the January 6 rioter who was arrested in June near the Washington, DC home of former President Barack Obama, with guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and bomb-making material in his van. As I noted in this space back in July, the New York Times never bothered reporting that Taranto was inspired by former President Donald Trump to take a stockpile of weapons to Obama’s house — indeed, he went there after Trump posted Obama’s home address on social media.
You’re probably wondering what a ridiculous New York Times article suggesting the president should’ve talked about his bad poll numbers while announcing train funding has to do with a January 6 rioter inspired by Donald Trump to go to Barack Obama’s house with guns, ammo, and bomb-making materials. They may not have much to do with each other, but they both speak volumes about the Times’ priorities.
In less than a week, the New York Times has posted more than 50 articles, newsletters, podcasts, and whatever else it is the Times publishes these days mentioning a presidential horse-race poll conducted a year before Election Day. Fifty! Individually, none is more absurd than that train funding article — but the total number might be.
And Taylor Taranto? The New York Times still hasn’t told readers Donald Trump inspired his armed visit to Barack Obama’s house. Hasn’t mentioned Taranto a single time, in fact, since its initial report on Taranto’s arrest in June. Not once.
And there’s been plenty to report. In September, the Tri-City Herald — a small daily newspaper in Kennewick, Washington — reported that documents included in a motion to deny Taranto’s release from jail while awaiting trial indicate Taranto believed he had a “contract” to kill Vice President Kamala Harris, that he had threatened to blow up a federal building, and that he had plotted with others to kill politicians:
A Tri-Cities man believed he was on a “one way mission to hell,” and had a “contract” to kill Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a new court document.
The new information details the extent of Taylor Taranto’s beliefs that he was waging war against the government.
The excerpts from the messages also include Taranto telling the other user that militias had a duty to kill “traitors.” “I’m not in anyway encouraging you or anyone else but those in positions of power and authority to try and execute those who willfully betrayed the American people. But if they fail . . . it will be up to the free constitutional militias that the same traitors are trying to terrorize by undoing the constitution they have an affirmed constitutional duty to deploy and kill any traitors.”
In July 2023, the Tri-City Herald described Taranto as a “Tri-Cities Republican Party official” and reported:
Taranto is listed as the webmaster for the Franklin County Republican Party. He told the Tri-City Herald this week that he still volunteers with the organization. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and one time Pasco school board candidate.
The Franklin Republican Party’s website claims Donald Trump is still president, and has a section titled “2020 Sham Election/Audits,” which includes links to articles promoting conspiracy theories about the election and the attack on the Capitol.
In 2021, the Tri-City Herald reported that Taranto “has been elected within the Franklin County Republican Party to serve as the 16th Legislative District Committee member.”
To recap: Taylor Taranto is a Republican Party activist who 1) Participated in the January 6 insurrection Donald Trump inspired, and is being sued by the widow of a police officer who was allegedly assaulted at the insurrection with a weapon provided by Taranto; 2) Showed up at Barack Obama’s house with a van full of weapons and explosives after seeing a Trump social media post containing Obama’s address2; 3) explicitly threatened to kill Obama; 4) Talked about killing the current Vice President of the United States and blow up a federal building; 5) wrote that “free constitutional militias” “have an affirmed constitutional duty to deploy and kill any traitors.”
Yet the New York Times has all but ignored Taranto. And this isn’t an isolated case; the Times has long downplayed Trump’s attempts to incite violence against his political adversaries.
Former New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote this week:
Here’s what must be hammered home: Trump cannot be re-elected if you want the United States to be a place where elections decide outcomes, where voting rights matter, and where politicians don’t baselessly prosecute their adversaries.
Trump’s threats to democracy? That’s a harder story to tell. Harder than “Joe Biden is old”. Harder than: “Gosh, America is so polarized.”
It’s the media’s responsibility to grab American voters by the lapels, not just to nod to the topic politely from time to time.
I can already hear the objections from the Times and its defenders: It’s not our job to make people care about things. Nonsense. Of course the news media plays a central role in determining what people think about. The choices they make about what topics to cover and how much to cover them send a clear signal to the American people about what is important; what is worth thinking about.
This week the New York Times grabbed Americans by the lapels and said: Pay attention to our poll.
This is not a post about that poll. If you would like to read something about that poll, I recommend Michael Podhorzer’s latest.