When major newspapers do their job well, they can educate the public, and even lead the nation out of the abyss. They can be a shining example for all to see. Unfortunately, this weekend the New York Times ended up doing precisely the opposite.
The New York Times published an article on Saturday titled “What Went Wrong With the Pandemic in Florida.” This should have been an easy one. There has been widespread, incontrovertible, and painful documentation of how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has almost single handedly wrecked his state with bad COVID decision after bad COVID decision.
But alas, the New York Times subheader went on to say this: “Even a large state that emphasized vaccinations in combating the coronavirus can be crushed by the Delta variant when no other measures are put in place.” Wait a minute, what?
Ron DeSantis absolutely did not “emphasize vaccinations” – not early on, and not now. Back when the COVID vaccine was first rolling out, DeSantis cut an exclusive deal with the Publix grocery chain – one of his major corporate donors – even though Publix was in no way set up to handle the volume of vaccinations.
DeSantis did not “emphasize vaccinations” when he tried to block most of Florida’s public school teachers from being eligible, forcing President Biden to set up federal vaccination sites in the state just so teachers could get vaccinated and safely get back to work in their classrooms.
And DeSantis is certainly not “emphasizing vaccinations” at present, as he loudly emphasizes COVID treatments like Regeneron instead.
Yet nowhere in this lengthy, thousands-words-long New York Times article is any of the above even mentioned. Instead the newspaper article presents Florida’s atrocious COVID mess as some kind of mystery, and no one can figure out where it came from.
Let’s be 100% clear here: articles like this don’t come from nowhere. And they certainly don’t come from mere incompetence or editorial laziness; no one who makes the effort of writing thousands of words is lazy enough to simply fail to do basic research. Articles like this are always crafted in bad faith.
So what happened here? We know that the liberal-leaning New York Times isn’t trying to prop up the far-right Ron DeSantis because it likes him. This isn’t partisan. In fact these kinds of articles rarely are.
More often, these things are about ratings and page views, and the ad revenue that comes with them. With DeSantis’ chances of running for President in 2024 now dwindling, is the NYT worried about losing out on the profitable page views that a scandalous and disastrous DeSantis candidacy would bring?
Or is it about editorial favor trading? Did DeSantis and his people request that the New York Times write this article? Did they offer the Times access or leaks in return? We may never know. But we know for certain that this dishonest, almost fictional Times article didn’t get written by accident. The Times chose to fail the American public with this article. We must call out this kind of bad faith journalism when we see it, because we need major newspapers like the New York Times to do their jobs well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report