Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The NY Times’ Hit Piece on Olympic Hurdler Lolo Jones

 

City Journal has posted my essay on media bias at the NY Times. What’s new in this case is how the Times transfers bias techniques from political reporting to the world of sports reporting.

The Times wrote an extremely critical essay about hurdler Lolo Jones, who was clearly devastated by it.

As I note in my essay: 

For many fans, the article came as a surprise. The editors at the sports website sbnation.com, for instance, described its harsh tone as “pretty ruthless.” But awareness of a few facts makes the tone less surprising. One is the Times’political bias. The other is that Jones, over the last several months, has been coming out of the closet with some conservative tendencies. First, she’s a devout Christian and a fan of Tim Tebow. Second, and perhaps most irritating for liberal elites, she’s a 30-year-old virgin. As she recently Tweeted: “Yes, I’m a virgin. #1 reason I’m single bc guys deuce out when I won’t put out. I do so to honor God & future husband.”

Jones was clearly surprised at the Times’s harsh coverage. As she said on the Today show: “I thought it was crazy . . . the fact that it was from a U.S. media, like, I mean, they should be supporting our Olympic U.S. athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds.” Someone should explain to Jones that what she calls “supporting our Olympic U.S. athletes,” the typical Times reporter would consider “jingoism.” Someone might also point out that you can’t be a Christian virgin and expect fair coverage from the Paper of Record.

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There are 23 comments.

  1. Crow's Nest Inactive

    God forbid a woman pronounce on the virtue of chastity in public in this sex-obsessed and distracted age!

    This is the kind of story that seems to me to go beyond the typical example of media bias and enters outright vicious smear campaign territory.

    Evidently the educated and sophisticated NYT is unaware that athletics and askesis have a long relationship in the Christian and pre-Christian West, and that it is perfectly sensible for an athlete to be chaste while pursuing excellence in their sport–nevermind the tolerance for the equally good religious reasons a person may decide to be chaste.

    • #1
    • August 14, 2012, at 1:31 AM PST
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  2. Southern Pessimist Member

    I tend to think of bias as an unconscious tendency. This seems more like truly hateful vitriol. If it were directed at someone like Jerry Sandusky that might be somewhat understandable but to hate a beautiful 30 year old woman for not being sexually irresponsible is beyond rational. A publication that had a modicum of decency would fire that reporter.

    • #2
    • August 14, 2012, at 4:19 AM PST
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  3. Lance K. Drumheller Inactive

    Someone should inform this Longman character that skewering an Olympic athlete in the back only a few days before her event does not make one an Olympic fencing virtuoso.

    • #3
    • August 14, 2012, at 4:36 AM PST
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  4. Ansonia Member

    We should all tweet Miss Jones and tell her we’re proud of her (and ashamed to know that particular paper is an American product. )

    • #4
    • August 14, 2012, at 4:38 AM PST
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  5. edwarddentzel.com Inactive

    Here is a question: why is Lolo Jones, a 30 year old experienced athlete, paying attention to what the newspapers and other outlets say about her in the first place? Moreover, if she is the person we think she is, why does she or any of her entourage come anywhere close to the NYT or any other hack media outlet that hates conservatives?

    And as much as I was cheering her, what is she doing going on NBC to do an interview and then cry during it? Does she not know NBC isn’t her friend either? And does she not know no one–conservative politicians, athletes, businessmen–has ever gotten anywhere complaining about the media?

    I think Lolo is talented, sexy, intelligent, etc. But, I also think she’s a drama queen. The truth is that she shouldn’t make herself available to any of these media types. She shouldn’t be reading her critics, whether they are over-the-top wrong or not. But, I think she likes the attention a little too much. And, in that way, she is NOTHING like Tim Tebow. 

    • #5
    • August 14, 2012, at 4:45 AM PST
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  6. ChrisC Member

    I sent the link to the NYT Jones story to my college student daughter without comment. She told me she canceled her online NYT subscription.

    • #6
    • August 14, 2012, at 4:57 AM PST
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  7. Ansonia Member

    Re comment # 4 That’s a good, smart kid you raised.

    • #7
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:01 AM PST
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  8. Paul Dougherty Member

    It would be nice if the basic societal institutions supported individuals in their quest to eek out a purposful existance. If a person identifies ideals and put them forth as a way to walk a satisfying, albeit difficult path, I’d like to see a little more acclaim for this struggle.

    • #8
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:04 AM PST
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  9. Ansonia Member

    I just sent her the first tweet I’ve ever sent anyone to tell her she makes me proud. It didn’t take but a minute to do it.

    • #9
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:16 AM PST
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  10. tabula rasa Member

    It’s one thing to go after politicians (even unfairly)–they know how the game is played. To go after Lolo Jones, a young woman of accomplishment and virtue, is merely one more demonstration of the moral degradation of the NYT.

    They have no shame.

    • #10
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:19 AM PST
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  11. C. U. Douglas Thatcher

    For those who embrace moral nihilism on the personal and the social level, individuals such as Lolo Jones are regarded as enemies, a threat to self-indulgent dissapation that is embraced and foisted upon our public. It’s not enough to disagree with Miss Jones, they must discredit and destroy her as well.

    To quote the apostle: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

    • #11
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:19 AM PST
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  12. Southern Pessimist Member

    She probably eats at Chick-filet as well.

    • #12
    • August 14, 2012, at 5:39 AM PST
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  13. tabula rasa Member
    C. U. Douglas: For those who embrace moral nihilism on the personal and the social level, individuals such as Lolo Jones are regarded as enemies, a threat to self-indulgent dissapation that is embraced and foisted upon our public. It’s not enough to disagree with Miss Jones, they must discredit and destroy her as well.

    To quote the apostle: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” · 1 hour ago

    I wish I’d said that. Beautiful observation, and great scripture.

    • #13
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:08 AM PST
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  14. ConservativeWanderer Inactive

    If Wikipedia is to be believed (I know, I know), she’s sponsored by Asics and Oakley.

    Might not hurt to look at those brands next time you’re in the market for sports equipment or sunglasses. Encourage them to keep supporting this courageous young lady.

    • #14
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:08 AM PST
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  15. DanaWheels Inactive
    ConservativeWanderer: If Wikipedia is to be believed (I know, I know), she’s sponsored by Asics and Oakley.

    Might not hurt to look at those brands next time you’re in the market for sports equipment or sunglasses. Encourage them to keep supporting this courageous young lady. · 0 minutes ago

    I second that! Sheesh! What is the world coming to? When I was growing up, news media wasn’t this vicious.. but then again, we also didn’t have the instant access to information that we do now. If something needed to be validated, it took days, and our values have changed. When I was this young lady’s age, I waited for my husband as well. And 21 years later, we’re STILL married. It works. 

    • #15
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:19 AM PST
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  16. ConservativeWanderer Inactive

    By the way, if you want to tweet her, her Twitter is @lolojones (makes sense, doesn’t it)?

    • #16
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:24 AM PST
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  17. Ed Driscoll Contributor

    Ricochet’s December 2010 podcast interview with Bill McGowan, the author of Gray Lady Down, is worth revisiting to get a sense of how badly the Times has fallen from as recently as the beginning of the 1970s.

    In 1972, as McGowan wrote (and I believe mentioned during the podcast), the Times was deemed a surprisingly fair, accurate and straight-shooing paper by no less than National Review, in an article that concluded, “The Times news administration was so evenhanded that it must have been deeply dismaying to the liberal opposition.” As McGowan quotes in his book, the NR article also claimed, “Were the news standards of the Times more broadly emulated, the nation would be far better informed and more honorably served.”

    Outside of David Frum’s cocktail parties, I doubt anyone who considers himself anywhere to the right of Pinch Sulzberger would write something similar about today’s incarnation of the Gray Lady.

    • #17
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:43 AM PST
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  18. Eric Voegelin Inactive
    C. U. Douglas: For those who embrace moral nihilism on the personal and the social level, individuals such as Lolo Jones are regarded as enemies, a threat to self-indulgent dissapation that is embraced and foisted upon our public. It’s not enough to disagree with Miss Jones, they must discredit and destroy her as well.

    To quote the apostle: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” · 14 hours ago

    Amen to that.

    And yes, GOVICIDE , she does seem to be a drama queen and I know your comment is good natured. But I sort of like drama queens. Where would we be without them?

    • #18
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:54 AM PST
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  19. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    GOVICIDE: Here is a question: why is Lolo Jones, a 30 year old experienced athlete, paying attention to what the newspapers and other outlets say about her in the first place? Moreover, if she is the person we think she is, why does she or any of her entourage come anywhere close to the NYT or any other hack media outlet that hates conservatives?

    And as much as I was cheering her, what is she doing going on NBC to do an interview and then cry during it? Does she not know NBC isn’t her friend either? And does she not know no one–conservative politicians, athletes, businessmen–has ever gotten anywhere complaining about the media? 3 hours ago

    Maybe she went on NBC because her contract with her sponsors (you know, the people who pay her to run) requires that she take opportunities to get in front of the media?

    • #19
    • August 14, 2012, at 7:57 AM PST
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  20. Ansonia Member

    I think Miss Jones probably thought her way of being openly Christian wouldn’t draw this kind of vicious attack. It’s not unusual for a successful 30 year old to have that kind of confidence in herself and misplaced trust in people.

    • #20
    • August 14, 2012, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. donald todd Inactive

    Another reason not to pick up the New York Times, as though another reason is needed not to pick up the New York Times.

    Lolo, thanks for representing us in the Olympics.

    • #21
    • August 14, 2012, at 9:01 AM PST
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  22. Horace Svácz Inactive

    I think Miss Jones should be invited to be sports editor at Ricochet. She would join those around here who already write about popular sports contributing her expertise in track and field and her humor. As a long time fan of Miss Jones, I applaud her effort in London. Being 4th in the Olympic Games is probably not what she was hoping for, but one can hardly say that being 4th means she is a failed athlete, as the NYT piece seems to imply.

    • #22
    • August 14, 2012, at 10:16 AM PST
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  23. ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    Horace Svácz: I think Miss Jones should be invited to be sports editor at Ricochet. She would join those around here who already write about popular sports contributing her expertise in track and field and her humor. As a long time fan of Miss Jones, I applaud her effort in London. Being 4th in the Olympic Games is probably not what she was hoping for, but one can hardly say that being 4th means she is a failed athlete, as the NYT piece seems to imply. · 6 minutes ago

    I second the motion!

    • #23
    • August 14, 2012, at 10:23 AM PST
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