An Idiot’s Guide to Glowing Coverage in the New York Times

Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman / Reuters

Searching for sympathetic coverage from the New York Times? Here’s a hack: Earn an advanced degree, then commit a violent crime in the service of your radical politics. 

We have closely followed the cases of Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis, the New York City attorneys who tossed a Molotov cocktail into a police cruiser in May of 2020. Or, as the New York Times put it, their legal careers were sidetracked when "a Molotov cocktail ignited the center console of an empty police car during a Black Lives Matter protest." Rotten luck! 

Rahman went to Fordham. Mattis went to Princeton and NYU. They are precisely the sort of well-resourced and well-connected people that the New York Times is always telling us the criminal justice system favors—unjustifiably. 

The Trump administration reached a plea deal with the defendants that discarded six of the seven counts against them, but argued that the incident qualified for a so-called terrorism enhancement that would have made them eligible for steeper prison sentences. Then the Biden Justice Department rolled out the red carpet, allowing Rahman and Mattis to cop to a lesser charge and pressing the court for a light sentence. 

Enter the New York Times, on the eve of Mattis’s sentencing, for a window into how the mainstream media’s blinkered view of the world skews news coverage. The paper omitted the details of Team Biden’s lenient approach but swooped in to inform readers that Rahman and Mattis are "both first-time offenders" who "had been high achievers." Rahman was "the primary caretaker of her aging mother," Mattis of three foster children. 

Funny, we never got those sorts of loving details about the hundreds of January 6 defendants, like Thomas Webster, the former New York Police Department officer and retired Marine convicted of assault, or Dustin Thompson, the Ohio exterminator who stole a bottle of bourbon and a coat rack from the Capitol. Whether they were first-time offenders, high achievers, caretakers for aging parents, or guardians of foster children, we’ll never know. 

Painting a vivid and sympathetic portrait of one class of domestic terrorists and demonizing the others, well, that is precisely the point.