“Journalistic Malpractice” by The New York  Times?

Annie at Annie Asks You Blog had this post up the last couple of days. Annie is looking at the threat of a third presidential candidate in 2024. The effort of which is to result in the watering down of votes for either candidate in Purple states in which the election results are close.

If there is any threat greater to the US, it is the “No Labels” potential intrusion into the 2024 election as the third candidate. This is or could be as bad as what happened in the 2016 election. Three states elected trump to the presidency by voting for others. It was not a landside. It was less than 500,000 votes in those three states which put trump in office. Here we are again with a new threat portending of similar results.

Journalistic Malpractice” by The New York Times? annieasksyou…

My status as a determined optimist—albeit a worrying optimist—is being sorely tested by that deceitful gang at No Labels who call themselves “centrist/moderates.” They are, in my opinion, as much a threat to democracy as Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, or both.

And, not for the first time, the media is not doing its job.

I wrote about this faux-democratic campaign recently: “No Labels Is Up to No Good.” A quick recap: this organization–which refuses to disclose its donors–is launching a well-funded effort to get on the ballot in all fifty states, and focusing on the states Biden won in 2020.

Regardless of your feelings about Biden, the most likely result of this campaign will be the election of Donald J. Trump.

When I first wrote about No Labels last month, they were flirting with the idea of running what will essentially be a spoiler campaign, as they have no chance—none at all—of winning the election. They claimed they hadn’t made up their minds and would decide at a convention in April, 2024.

Now they’ve upped the ante. While still stating that backing their own candidates will be a last resort “insurance policy” if the public is faced with two unpopular candidates, they’ve essentially declared they will be running a “unity” ticket of candidates for the offices of president and vice president.

And Joe Manchin, who’s worrying he may not be reelected as Senator from West Virginia, is happy to have his name floated at the top of the ticket.

Do you consider an anti-choice multimillionaire who made his fortune in the coal industry and has been trying to scuttle efforts to combat climate change a moderate? I do not.

One interesting aspect about the No Labels propaganda is that they shy away from pronouncements about some of the issues Americans care about most—such as reproductive rights and sensible gun safety laws—and democracy.

Where does The New York Times come in?

Last week, they ran an article entitled: “No Labels Eyes a Third-Party Run in 2024. Democrats Are Alarmed.” They repeatedly referred to No Labels as a “centrist” group that’s “bipartisan” and planning to run a “unity” ticket.

After reading that article, I had to do a lot of deep breathing.

When are The New York Times and other media going to realize that they have a responsibility to our democracy? It isn’t only Democrats who are alarmed. All the “Never Trumpers” and independents who have seen the havoc Trump has inflicted on this country–and has promised to exceed if elected–are alarmed too.

Or they should/would be alarmed—if they were informed about the true nature of No Labels and the apparent inevitability of their role as spoilers who will propel even a Trump awaiting trial for numerous criminal acts into the White House.

I am frustrated and angry that the Times is so dangerously adhering to reporting standards that ill befit these times—in which they’re being protected by a First Amendment that’s under assault by forces they clearly underestimate and don’t accurately portray.

When Robert Hubbell wrote in his Today’s Edition newsletter a few weeks ago about all the positives that are boosting the Democrats’ chances of doing well and returning Joe Biden to the White House, I contacted him and said how deeply concerned I am about the impact of No Labels on a potential solid Democratic win that will protect our democracy. (He had previously mentioned No Labels briefly.)

I asked Hubbell if he shared my concern about the group, hoping that this pragmatic optimist would persuade me I was overreacting. Alas, he said he does share my concerns, 100%, and he would write about No Labels again.

And, irate just as I was by the Times article with its nothing out of the ordinary happening here, folks approach, he did so. On May 22, one of the pieces in his newsletter bore the headline: “NY Times article on No Labels is misleading and irresponsible.”

He called the Times article so “wildly irresponsible” that he considers it “journalistic malpractice.”

From Hubbell:

“Commit this to memory and tell everyone you know:

          “The ‘No Labels’ organization is a GOP dark-money PAC designed to elect Donald Trump by running a doomed third-party candidate to draw votes away from Joe Biden in 2024.

“Do NOT believe any claims to the contrary. Do NOT fall for the claim that ‘No Labels’ is a ‘centrist’ political party. IT IS NOT. It is funded by the Koch brothers, Harlan Crow, and Peter Thiel (among others). See The Intercept, As Manchin Eyes Presidential Run, His Allies at No Labels Face Mounting Legal Challenges.

“The NYTimes article repeatedly referred to No Labels as ‘centrist,’ ‘bi-partisan,’ and as promoting a ‘unity’ ticket. Per the Times,

‘The centrist group is gaining steam — and raising money — in its effort to get a candidate on the 2024 ballot, with Joe Manchin at the top of their list.

‘The bipartisan political group No Labels is stepping up a well-funded effort to field a ‘unity ticket’ for the 2024 presidential race, prompting fierce resistance from even some of its closest allies who fear handing the White House back to Donald J. Trump.

‘The centrist group’s leadership was in New York this week raising part of the money — around $70 million — that it says it needs to help with nationwide ballot access efforts.’”

In supporting his charge of journalistic malpractice, Hubbell points out that it took the Times twenty paragraphs to finally tell its readers.

“that some ‘detractors’ of No Labels believe it is designed to elect Trump:“No Labels has long had its detractors, variously accused of ineffectuality, fronting for Republicans and existing mainly to raise large amounts of money from wealthy corporate donors, many of whom give primarily to Republicans.”

Wrote Hubbell:

          “Harlan Crow—Justice Clarence Thomas’s benefactor—and the Koch brothers are among the largest known contributors to No Labels. That should tell you all you need to know to conclude that No Labels is neither ‘centrist’ nor ‘bi-partisan’—no matter how many times the NYTimes repeats those misleading descriptions.”

It’s noteworthy that No Labels’ detractors include The Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress, which No Labels helped found and points to as its major organizational success. That same Times article said the Democratic members are in “open revolt.”

The Times piece also reported that one of No Labels’ founders, William Galston, had publicly resigned over this No Labels move.

In an interview, he said voters who dislike both Biden and Trump say they would overwhelmingly vote for Biden. This was the case in 2020. Galston expressed concern that the spoiler No Labels candidate could change that result.

When I read in the Times piece that No Labels’ leadership was in New York raising part of the money it says it needs, I was reminded of a key item I’d learned in researching my April post about them.

Judd Legum and Rebecca Crosby of Popular Information had reported that previous Wall Street backers of President Biden are disappointed by proposed Security and Exchange Commission rules. Lobbyists in the financial industry are “beyond frustrated” with Biden’s willingness to effect financial regulation to rein in their excesses.

Might that be why No Labels’ leadership had come to New York to raise money?

The Intercept article to which Hubbell linked discusses the legal questions about No Labels, which purports to be a non-profit 501(C)4 organization. That designation would mean it is not permitted to engage in political activity.

As I noted in my previous post, No Labels is being sued in Arizona for that reason in a lawsuit that notes its failure to disclose its donors. The Intercept also reports on a lawsuit in another state.

“In Maine, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows confronted No Labels on May 11 with allegations that it misled voters into registering for a third party without their knowledge.

“Over the past few months, municipal clerks have received reports from numerous Maine voters who did not realize they had been enrolled in the No Labels Party,” Bellows wrote in a letter to the group.

“These voters have provided similar accounts of how they came to be enrolled in the party: that they were approached by No Labels Party organizers in public places and asked to sign a ‘petition’ to support the new party.

“These voters have further stated that No Labels organizers did not disclose—and the voters did not understand—that No Labels was asking them to change their party enrollment.”

The Maine Secretary of State informed voters who felt they’d been tricked that unless they change their registration, they could vote only on the No Label Party line.

You have to read very far down in the Times article to find mention of the lawsuits.

I feel it’s worth repeating something from my previous post: my reaction to the so-called “insurance policy” No Labels has said it’s keeping in reserve in the hope of getting on all the state ballots with its “unity” ticket:

With this knowledge, the “No Labels Insurance Policy” sounds to me like “The Way That Corporate America, Sundry Anti-Regulators, and Various Quiet Right Wingers Can Beat Back Joe Biden Even If It Puts That Trump Felon Back in the White House.

You’ve probably read that Putin has now adopted Trump’s enemies list as his own, thereby making it even clearer that he’ll do everything he can to boost Trump back into the White House in the hopes of ending democracy in both Ukraine and the US.

Here’s the beginning of Heather Cox Richardson’s commentary on that.

“The list of 500 banned Americans that Russian president Vladimir Putin released on Friday makes it clear that Putin is openly aligning himself with Trump and today’s MAGA Republicans. The people on the list are not necessarily involved with U.S. policy toward Russia; they are Americans who are standing in the way of the Trump movement’s takeover of our country.”

I believe it’s fair, then, to say that the following is also true:

A Vote for No Labels Is a Vote for Donald Trump—and for Vladimir Putin.

Please help spread the word about how dangerous this faux “centrist, moderate” group is.

And what do you think? Do you consider the Times’ consistent description of No Labels as it wants to be depicted—rather than as it is—“journalistic malpractice”? Shouldn’t we expect more from a newspaper that says it carries “All the News That’s Fit to Print”?