A former New York Times reporter says journalists from the newspaper launched a crusade against then-President Donald Trump because he didn't give them the respect to which they were accustomed.
Robert M. Smith, a former Washington correspondent for the Times, said reporters engaged in "spasms of adolescent pouting" with their "biased" coverage of the Trump administration because they couldn't handle being challenged by the then-president.
Smith examines the Times and how he believes it "lost its impartiality" when reporting on Trump in his new memoir, "Suppressed: Confessions of a Former New York Times Washington Correspondent," published May 14.
"The suppression of news is alive and well even at the New York Times," Smith wrote, according to the Daily Mail.
When Trump displayed contempt for the media, reporters reacted with the "impotent anger of the little boy or girl whose weekly hot fudge sundae is denied, or whose cherished doll has been taken away," Smith said.
He also said Times reporters were out of touch with working class Americans and blind to how Trump could appeal to voters.
In fact, Smith said, one of the reasons Trump won in 2016 was that his supporters loved him bashing the media. Thus, the Times was being used without realizing it.
Smith, now a commercial mediator, left the New York Times in 1972 after the newspaper failed to follow up on his tip about the Watergate scandal. The Washington Post broke the story two months later.
Smith said the Times fell victim to its arrogant attitude and cozy relationship with the Washington establishment in passing on Watergate.
Those traits also were evident in the Times' "biased" coverage of Trump — which Smith said played "no helpful role in the crucial effort to bridge the divide."
"This is a persistent, obdurate part of Trump and Times … it makes both of the fighters right," he wrote.
"They are both profiting from pugilism — Trump politically, the Times economically," he said. "The liberal bias of the Times reached an all-time high in its coverage of Donald Trump."
Smith also highlighted that Trump won the election, and that victory "may have resulted in part from his conflict with the press."
"The press, perhaps particularly the Times, seemed not to know it was being used … Trump was elected in part because of his statements about the media," Smith said. "The nerve of the public! It believed Donald Trump instead of the Washington Bureau — or any bureau — of the New York Times.
"This gave rise to a wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press gang of group therapy sessions never before seen."
And, as Smith wrote, the press retaliated.
"When you have some power and are treated as if you do — the way Washington correspondents of the Times are for example — a sudden, enforced diminution in your power does more than sting," he said. "It instigates a cry for revenge."
The Times' "rage" against Trump became "more than obvious" as the 2016 election campaign progressed, said Smith, who added reporters were not unfamiliar with lies, but they exhibited "pretend horror" at catching those told by Trump.
Smith cited a report from February 2017, when the Times called Trump's Presidency "unconstrained."
At the time, Trump's ban on Muslim visitors had been struck down by a federal court, Obamacare had not been repealed, and the funding to build the southern border wall was not assigned.
"Does this seem'‘unconstrained?'" Smith wrote.
Smith said he is "ashamed" to read the Times these days because it is supposed to be a "mature, adult institution." The newspaper has gone backward to the 1970s when it was a mixture of news and opinion, a broadsheet Smith fled for that very reason.
The Times has a "duty to rise above criticism and not engage in spasms of adolescent pouting and lashing out," he wrote.
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