At the beginning of August, a news story on affirmative action in college admissions published by a major news organization raised many eyebrows. The first paragraph of the story goes:
“The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”
The purveyor of the story is none other than The New York Times.
For a moment, I almost believed it. The New York Times, albeit leaning hard left, is a relatively reputable organization. The newspaper is known for spinning facts to the left’s advantage, but often there is a kernel of truth in its reporting. Sure, there was Jayson Blair. But fabrication (and plagiarism) does not happen only at the Times. No major news outlets are immune to the plague.
The Times said it had obtained a document from the Department of Justice (DOJ). If the document exists and is authentic, I have no reason to believe the Times would intentionally quote it incorrectly.
Additionally, race is a sensitive issue in America. I imagine every major news organization has procedures in place to ensure the truthfulness and accuracy of race-related reports. If the DOJ’s investigation focused solely on “white applicants,” it could have severe consequences. It could trigger violent protests and riots. Property could be damaged, and people could die.
The outcome could be so grave, I thought, that no sane person would want to fabricate stuff like this, especially a serious news organization like The New York Times.
Finally, there have been a couple of highprofile lawsuits on racial preferences in higher education in the past two decades: Fisher v. University of Texas, and Grutter v. Bollinger. In those two cases, the plaintiffs were white students. If the DOJ were to reopen the investigations, The New York Times would not be entirely wrong to refer to the plaintiffs as “white applicants.”
But I still had my doubts. It is true that President Trump is a highly unconventional politician. On domestic policy, however, his priorities are clear: Roll back Barack Obama’s regulations, undo the administrative state, and bring jobs and prosperity back to America. I did not see how antagonizing minorities would help with that agenda.
Additionally, President Trump has always been accused of being a divisive figure by the mainstream media. The DOJ’s investigation of discrimination against white applicants, if true, would only provide more ammunition for his detractors.
Finally, a U.S. president should be for all Americans. He cannot show partiality, especially toward white Americans. I just didn’t see Trump, a former businessman known for his pragmatism, doing something that could only result in loss, with nothing to gain.
My suspicions turned out to be well-founded. The story from The New York Times crumbled in less than 24 hours. It was a complete lie.
The DOJ document the Times claimed to have was an internal staff posting, according to The Daily Caller. It sought volunteer lawyers to work on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” It did not mention any specific race or group.
The next day, the DOJ spokeswoman explained that the staff posting was to recruit lawyers to investigate a complaint filed during the Obama administration by Asian-American students alleging they had suffered discrimination. The New York Times reporter initially defended his story, but then later in the day filed a story about how the DOJ was investigating discrimination against Asian-Americans.
It appears The New York Times reporter made up “white applicants” out of thin air. Apparently, editorial scrutiny was nonexistent or dysfunctional, or worse yet, someone intentionally let garbage like this go through.
What is The New York Times trying to accomplish by publishing such a demonstrably false piece? Does the newspaper know its reputation is at stake? If the Times takes a huge risk, it must be seeking at least an equally big reward. What can be worth more than the Times’ brand?
I can only think of one thing: The New York Times is trying to hurt Trump and inflict maximum damage on his administration. The left always attempts to paint Trump as a white supremacist. Any sane person who saw the DOJ’s internal job posting would not have the slightest idea which group(s) the DOJ is talking about.
But for a reporter at The New York Times, it has to be “white applicants” for two reasons. The reporter and The New York Times firmly believe Trump is a racist (they probably believe Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a racist as well). Therefore, the race or group that Trump’s DOJ is defending must be white Americans.
Second, if the Times reports that the DOJ is trying to help Asian-Americans, the left will shrug; if the group is “white applicants,” the left will be indignant and motivated. They will intensify their “resistance” against Trump, which has the potential of paralyzing the Trump administration and making him a president who gets nothing done.
Unpopularity could make Trump a one-term president, or even end his first-term presidency prematurely. This is perhaps the reward The New York Times is looking for and is willing to take a risk for.
This is not the first time the American mainstream media have spread lies to smear Trump. Nor will it be the last. Americans are not stupid. If The New York Times (or any media outlet) believes lying is a winning strategy, they will pay a price for their fabrications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.