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Donald Trump inspired a man to go to Barack Obama's house with guns and explosives. The New York Times ignored it.
It may not be a snub at a Hamptons party, but it certainly seems newsworthy
Do you remember the summer of 2018, when then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because of her work for Donald Trump?
Sure you do. It set off a frenzy of media coverage of supposedly intolerant and rude behavior directed at Huckabee Sanders, Alan Dershowitz, and other Trump supporters. Here’s just a sample of New York Times pieces published in a two week period in late June and early July 2018:
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders Was Asked to Leave Restaurant Over White House Work” (Online June 23, 2018; in print June 24)
“Trump Takes His Time Supporting Sanders After Restaurant Rejects Her” (Online June 25, 2018; in print June 26)
“We Have a Crisis of Democracy, Not Manners” (Michelle Goldberg column, online June 25, 2018; in print June 26)
“Democrats Confront Democrats Over How to Confront Trump” (Online June 25, 2018; in print June 26)
“The Red Hen and the Resistance” (Ross Douthat column, June 27, 2018.)
And so on. People being, arguably, a bit rude to some of the worst people on the planet was a massive scandal, according to the New York Times in the summer of 2018.
So anyway, do you know who Taylor Taranto is?
Late last month, Taranto was arrested in Washington, DC near the home of former President Barack Obama, with guns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and bomb-making material in his van. Before Taranto was arrested, he live-streamed his activities in Obama’s neighborhood, even declaring at one point “I’m outside Barack Obama’s house.” Taranto has previously been accused of involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol, and is being sued by the widow of a police officer who died by suicide in the days after the insurrection; Taranto allegedly handed a weapon to another insurrectionist who used it to beat the police officer.
The New York Times reported all of that on June 30. Curiously, it doesn’t seem to have made the print edition.3 And, perhaps more curiously, it doesn’t mention Donald Trump, who incited the January 6 insurrection Taranto apparently participated in.
I missed that Times article at the time; I was out of the country and paying as little attention to the news as possible. I first became aware of Taranto’s arrest via a July 5 Associated Press article with an explosive headline:
The AP reported:
Former President Donald Trump posted on his social media platform what he claimed was the home address of former President Barack Obama on the same day that a man with guns in his van was arrested near the property, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in revealing new details about the case.
On the day of his June 29 arrest, prosecutors said, Taranto reposted a Truth Social post from Trump containing what Trump claimed was Obama’s home address. In a post on Telegram, Taranto wrote: “We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.” That’s a reference to John Podesta, the former chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Democratic presidential campaign.
Taranto also told followers on his YouTube live stream that he was looking to get a “good angle on a shot,” prosecutors said.
Once again: Holy shit.
So Taranto 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 address; and 3) explicitly threatened to kill Obama.
These are extremely explosive new details!
CBS News followed up with reporting that, according to prosecutors, the day before his arrest Taranto “had threatened to blow up the vehicle at a government facility.” And:
In another alarming allegation, prosecutors said Taranto and his associates entered an elementary school in Takoma Park, Maryland, outside Washington on June 18. Taranto streamed their procession through the building: “[The video] depicted Taranto and his associates walking around the school, entering the gymnasium, and using a projector to display a film related to January 6.”
“[H]e stated that he specifically chose the elementary school due to its proximity to Congressman Raskin’s home and that he is targeting Raskin because ‘he’s one of the guys that hates January 6 people, or more like Trump supporters, and it’s kind of like sending a shockwave through him because I did nothing wrong,’” prosecutors quoted Taranto as saying.
None of this has appeared in the New York Times. In fact, the Times hasn’t mentioned Taranto at all since that initial June 30 report. Not once.
And so the New York Times has never told its readers, among other things, that Taranto was apparently inspired by Trump — remember, Trump’s name never appeared in the June 30 article. The Times has never told its readers that Taranto went to Obama’s home after he saw a social media post from Trump containing Obama’s address — an obvious attempt to incite just such an action.
This is just the latest in a long line of examples of the Times4 downplaying Donald Trump’s years-long efforts5 to encourage6 his supporters to commit acts of political violence against his opponents. There are few more important ongoing stories in America than the former president and current presidential candidate using violence and the threat of violence as a means of regaining power. Yet the New York Times — a newspaper that published multiple pieces about Alan Dershowitz not getting invited to parties — clearly does not take this seriously. Does not give it the relentless, ongoing coverage it deserves. And it continues to portray crime as an issue with political peril for Democrats and promise for Republicans, while omitting the obvious relevant detail that Trump and his fellow Republicans are both committing and encouraging crimes at every turn.
There are plenty of edge cases and tough calls in journalism. Whether or not it’s newsworthy that Donald Trump inspired a man to go to Barack Obama’s house with guns, explosives, and bad intentions isn’t one of them. The New York Times is telling you what it is. Believe them.
This entire nontroversy was about nothing more than the fact that people, quite understandably, got sick of Alan Dershowitz and, as is their prerogative, stopped hanging out with him, leading Dershowitz to write a column in The Hill about being newly unpopular. And then the New York Times interviewed Dershowitz about it and he complained: “There’s a whole cabal of people who have decided that they will try to get people to stop interacting with me … The campaign has utterly failed. It’s affected my life zero. I’m not looking for sympathy.”
This piece was an interview with Dershowitz — yes, a second New York Times interview with Alan Dershowitz about pressing national issue that nobody wants to hang out with Alan Dershowitz.
This article lacks the “A version of this article appears in print on [DATE, SECTION, PAGE] of the [EDITION] with the headline: [HEADLINE]” language that typically appears at the bottom of online articles that make the print editions of the Times.
Not just the New York Times, but most importantly the New York Times.
To say nothing of those of his fellow Republicans.
Tragically, successful efforts