Accusations of bias against the New York Times usually come from President Trump and the right. This time the paper is being blasted for a fluffy portrayal of former White House aide Hope Hicks.
Hicks has been summoned to appear before the House Judiciary Committee in June, part of committee chairman Jerry Nadler’s (D-New York) ongoing efforts to find evidence of obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Hicks has not commented on whether she will show up, after former White House counsel Don McGahn declined to appear last week.
The Times described Hicks’ decision over whether to appear or not as an “existential question,” and headed the article with a flattering portrait of a well made-up and studious-looking Hicks.
The paper was slammed for portraying a woman considering committing a crime in a positive light, while, one commentator argued, even “murdered innocent black kids don’t get treated this nicely.”
Murdered innocent black kids don’t get treated this nicely by the media. They’re condemned.
Hope Hicks gets a glamour shot and NYT article describing her contemplating crime as a manic pixie dream girl problem. https://t.co/rfJYfaaPK1
— Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪 (@wagatwe) May 26, 2019
Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) weighed in. “What gets me is news breaks that this woman is weighing committing a crime before Congress & it’s getting framed by the NYT as some Lifetime drama called ‘Hope’s Choice,’” she tweeted.
What gets me is news breaks that this woman is weighing committing a crime before Congress &it’s getting framed by the NYT as some Lifetime drama called “Hope’s Choice.”
This is a fmr admin official considering participating in a coverup led by the President.
Treat her equally. https://t.co/XcNbSuU4QB
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 26, 2019
Please stop treating Hope Hicks like she’s a plot line in a fucking episode of “Girls”. She willingly engaged in this national nightmare knowing what might happen.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 27, 2019
Amid the clamor, some commenters pointed out the difference in the Times’ coverage of another woman refusing to provide testimony to the government: jailed whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
Manning, who has already spent seven years behind bars for handing over classified military and diplomatic files to WikiLeaks in 2010, was ordered back into jail earlier this month for refusing to testify in a grand jury probe of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Manning had already refused one demand to testify in March, and stuck by her refusal two weeks ago, saying she would “rather starve” than give testimony against Assange.
“Oddly, the NYT didn’t frame Chelsea Manning’s refusal to testify against Assange in the same way,” journalist Dan Gilmor said in response to the Hope Hicks story.
The New York Times’ coverage of Manning’s re-incarceration was straight and factual, and at no point went into Manning’s personal struggle with cooperating. Instead of a “glam shot,” the paper used a simple shot of Manning walking into the court in Virginia.
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