Last week, it was Sarah Maslin Nir’s report on a public school paraprofessional leaving her job and moving in with her parents over a vaccination mandate—a report that omitted the woman’s history as a Trump-supporting anti-vaccine activist who took part in an attack on a COVID-19 testing site.
This time around, here’s what Jeremy Peters and Matthew Cullen report:
“I’m a Hillary-Biden voter,” said Glenn Miller, a lawyer from McLean, as he walked into a Youngkin rally in southern Fairfax County on Saturday night that drew more than 1,000 people. He explained his tipping point: Working from home and hearing his teenage daughter’s teacher make a comment during a virtual lesson about white men as modern-day slaveholders.
“There are a lot of people like me who are annoyed,” he said, adding that he was able to vote for Mr. Youngkin because he did not associate him as a Trump Republican. “My problem with Trump was I thought he was embarrassing. I just don’t think Youngkin is going to embarrass me or the state.”
Once again, it was up to Twitter to offer helpful information on the background of this “Hillary-Biden voter.” Details like his political contribution history, which leans very Republican. Details like the piece he published before the 2020 election railing against race-based admissions and critical race theory—before critical race theory became a Republican rallying cry!—at Quillette, a publication that attempts to launder alt-right thinking into intellectual respectability and has repeatedly promoted racist pseudoscience.
If Miller’s tipping point was something he overheard during the pandemic, he went from 0 to 60 remarkably fast. He had to have heard that alleged comment over the spring and by August he was appearing on Republican Party panels about “a secretive Virginia government task force … plotting to reduce the number of Asian American students attending the [Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology] by taking away the importance of meritocracy in TJ admissions.” And then, he says, he voted for Biden on November 3. On November 7, he made large contributions to Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
Jeremy Peters, one of the reporters who offered us Miller’s claims without caveats, jumped on Twitter to defend Miller and his own reporting.
As Alex Pareene replied, “I don’t think you were gullible or were duped, Jeremy.”
This isn’t Peters’ first rodeo: In 2018, he offered Times readers “[Gina] Anders, 46, a Republican from suburban Loudoun County, Va., with a law degree, a business career, and not a stitch of ‘Make America Great Again’ gear in her wardrobe” who was “moved to defend” Donald Trump despite “not necessarily agree[ing]” with his outrageous statements. What Peters didn’t mention was that Anders was the co-founder of a PAC fighting to preserve Confederate monuments. And then, too, he aggressively defended his omission in Twitter arguments.
Last week’s case of the COVID-19-testing-site-destroying public school employee who quit her job rather than be vaccinated might have been a mistake. It was an embarrassing mistake, and the kind that should not happen at any publication that wishes to be seen as the newspaper of record. But maybe that was a mistake. This is something else. Jeremy Peters has a record of presenting his Republican activist subjects as something kinda different than they really are, and then defending that choice ferociously.
The Times is a great paper with reliably terrible political coverage desperately in need of an overhaul. Taking a hard look at what exactly Jeremy Peters thinks he’s doing, along with whatever editors enable him, would be one way to start.
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