A scathing op-ed in The New York Times about what 2021 will hold reveals yet another misunderstanding of whiteness, American values, and what is known as the American Dream. In 2020, as COVID-19 ravaged communities and government-imposed lockdowns decimated the American economy, The New York Times took aim at American morale and fired.
Viet Thanh Nguyen wrote with glee that one good thing about COVID-19 is that it "is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth." In his latest, he has implored American writers, specifically the white ones, not to "retreat to their pre-Trump selves."
In Nguyen's view, "Mr. Trump destroyed the ability of white writers to dwell in the apolitical. Everyone had to make a choice, especially in the face of a pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, both of which brought the life-or-death costs of systemic racism and economic inequality into painful focus. But," he asks, "in 2021, will writers, especially white writers, take a deep breath of relief and retreat back to the politics of the apolitical, which is to say a retreat back to white privilege?"
In short, white writers who do not cater their words to a political message advocating for minority groups are racist. If they do not engage the political realm once the hated orange menace is out of office, they are not actually helping the cause, posits Nguyen, and helping the cause, apparently, is the only valid reason to do any writing.
Isabel Wilkerson wrote in The New York Times that America has a caste system, which it absolutely does not. We do not have a fixed caste system, instead people can move in and out of economic classes on the merit of their work, luck, and other factors, many of which are within an individual's own control. Yet Wilkerson wrote: "Thus, the caste lines in America may have at one time appeared even starker than those in India." It is as though, for Wilkerson and The New York Times, the Civil Rights Movement never happened.
The entire New York Times opinion section was upended over the publishing of an op-ed from Republican Sen. Tom Cotton. Cotton called for an end to the riots and looting that rocked so many major cities in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody in May of this year.
The story now has a lengthy disclaimer that reads, in part, that "the essay should not have been published." Cotton's concerns were that "[t]hese rioters, if not subdued, not only will destroy the livelihoods of law-abiding citizens but will also take more innocent lives. Many poor communities that still bear scars from past upheavals will be set back still further." He wasn't wrong.
Yet New York Times darling Nikole Hannah-Jones opined that, in fact, America wasn't burning, as America was quite literally burning.
The New York Times did not run a disclaimer on the op-ed they published by deputy leader of the Taliban Sirajuddin Haqqani, entitled "What We, the Taliban, Want." They ran this story despite the fact that "Haqqani kidnapped one of their own journalists, David Rhodes, in 2008," as Anna Slatz wrote in The Post Millennial, "holding him hostage for seven months before Rhodes managed to bravely escape."
In November, Cotton called out the paper of record for proclaiming that Thanksgiving is nothing more than a myth. Thanksgiving, one of America's founding stories, is believed by the Times to be just another example of white supremacy. This story about how Thanksgiving is "...a myth created to make white people feel comfortable" ran in the "Food" section.
Another American holiday, Independence Day, no less, was an occasion for The New York Times to compare America, the legitimate land of the free, to Nazi Germany. At one point, the paper appeared to intend to dox Fox News host Tucker Carlson because they didn't like his views. In talking about Kamala Harris' historic placement on the presidential ticket, they said she was the only woman on the ticket since Geraldine Ferraro, which angered Hillary Clinton since she was not only on the ticket in 2016, but led it.
The Times demanded that Twitter censors President Trump—and Twitter did as it was told. The paper thinks so little of Americans that they don't believe we can read what the president tweets and think for ourselves. Perhaps they know that they are accelerating the pace of misinformation to such an extent that they are making it hard for us to know what's reality and what is fiction.
They even wrote up an urban legend as though it were fact. That doesn't really help anything.
The New York Times' biggest story in recent memory was the "1619 Project," which was so anti-American that it claimed our Revolutionary War and separation from England were not the beginning of our nation, but that the date an enslaved person was first trafficked on our shores marked our founding.
After the section was issued, historians wrote to the Times about the errors the piece contained. "These errors, which concern major events, cannot be described as interpretation or 'framing.' They are matters of verifiable fact, which are the foundation of both honest scholarship and honest journalism. They suggest a displacement of historical understanding by ideology. Dismissal of objections on racial grounds — that they are the objections of only 'white historians' — has affirmed that displacement."
The "1619 Project" was defended against historians' assaults by the editor-in-chief, saying "we disagree with their claim that our project contains significant factual errors and is driven by ideology rather than historical understanding. While we welcome criticism, we don't believe that the request for corrections to The 1619 Project is warranted." Minor changes were then made. When another Times writer critiqued it almost a year after its publication, that writer was attacked by the Times Writers' Guild.
While the issues named above have to do primarily with the nation's relationship to itself, a far more egregious action was the op-ed The New York Times ran that said the US should bow to communist China as they annexed Hong Kong, erasing Hong Kong's autonomy. The article, by Regina Ip, spoke out against pro-democracy activists, saying that the "West tends to glorify these people as defenders of Hong Kong's freedoms, but they have done great harm to the city by going against its constitutional order and stirring up chaos and disaffection toward our motherland." In so doing, the Times asks the US to renege on its responsibility to back those who demand and fight for democracy in their own nations.
These are only a few of the America-hating stories and op-eds the Times has published, in fact it barely scratches the surface. Ekow N. Yankah's notorious op-ed about how his black kids might not be able to be friends with white kids is a slap in the face of our unparalleled Civil Rights Movement, for which so many Americans sacrificed so much.
The New York Times was the gold standard in journalism yet they continue to pulp their pages by printing propaganda and partisan political pandering disguised as discourse and journalism. In loving America, it is necessary to be a critic of her flaws; this is how we grow into a stronger nation, but what the Times is doing is presenting America as a wasteland of racism and oppression. It simply isn't true.
Our country has flaws compared to our ideal notions of what she could be, but as it stands, the US is the freest, most democratic, least racist nation on the face of the earth. We can always do better, and in fact we keep doing it; there is more social mobility, not less, more education, not less, more opportunity, not less. Our best path to success is through celebrating our accomplishments, boosting our victories, and taking pride in our achievements, not wallowing in the muck of our grievances.