On Thursday, The New York Times tried – once again – to attack Trump White House senior advisor Jared Kushner with a scurrilous accusation of brutal callousness. Their report was wrong; they stealth-deleted the change, without correction. The New York Times originally reported that Kushner has been urging President Trump to simply ignore the mounting public relations crisis regarding Prince Muhammed Bin Salman and his regime’s alleged murder of opinion journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, has been urging the president to stand by Prince Mohammed, according to a person close to the White House and a former official with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Kushner has argued that the outrage over Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen by a Saudi airstrike.
Pretty vile stuff.
There was only one problem: the story wasn’t true. The Trump administration denied it, and The New York Times then pulled those sentences, instead replacing them with this rather anodyne description:
Mr. Kushner has argued that the crown prince can survive the outrage just as he has weathered past criticism.
The White House has denied this account as well. Despite the Times’ revision of its article, no correction has been issued. This despite the Times’ stated policy on corrections:
Our style guide puts it this way: “Because its voice is loud and far-reaching, The Times recognizes an ethical responsibility to correct all its factual errors, large and small (even misspellings of names), promptly and in a prominent reserved space in the paper.”
This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that The New York Times has attacked Kushner, whom they obviously see as a key player in the formation of White House policy. Five days ago, the Times reported that Kushner “paid no federal income tax for years.” There was only one problem with the story, buried in paragraph 5: there is no allegation whatsoever that Kushner actually broke the law. Here’s the Times in that very story:
Nothing in the documents suggests Mr. Kushner or his company broke the law. A spokesman for Mr. Kushner’s lawyer said that Mr. Kushner “paid all taxes due.”
In other words, Kushner should be run out of town on a rail for abiding by applicable tax laws. The Times also ran an op-ed on the topic by Frank Bruni accusing Kushner of being “one of the most gullible fan boys of Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and … an epic tax evader.”
Of course, the Times itself fangirled repeatedly over the Crown Prince (“In some ways, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as defense minister, is just what his country needs” – The New York Times editorial board, June 23, 2017) and there’s no evidence Kushner has evaded taxes. But what does that matter? Kushner is close to Trump; Trump is evil; thus, Kushner is evil.