Ed Driscoll

The Gray Lady Versus Lolo Jones


While the Howell Raines-era New York Times was utterly obsessed with forcing the Augusta National Golf Club to go co-ed, there are some individual women athletes the Gray Lady is positively catty towards. At City Journal, Tim Groseclose explores the brutal hit piece that the Times recently published on American Olympic athlete Lolo Jones:

Two days before her competition began, the New York Times published a story about Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones that may have set a new standard for bias in the newspaper. It’s not news to conservatives that the Times can be biased; it’s also not news that its journalists are adept at subtly inserting opinion into their work. But Jeré Longman’s article covered new ground: he took biased-journalism tactics commonly used in the world of political reporting and transferred them to the world of sports reporting. Fans of Jones—who seems, in some ways at least, to be a political conservative—now have firsthand experience of what consumers of political news have dealt with for years.

“Judging from this year’s performances,” wrote Longman, “Lolo Jones seems to have only a slim chance of winning an Olympic medal in the 100-meter hurdles and almost no possibility of winning gold. Still, Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be—vixen, virgin, victim—to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.” Longman explained that Jones had “barely made the 2012 Olympic team with a third-place finish at the United States trials. Nineteen hurdlers internationally have posted faster times this year than Jones’s best, 12.74 seconds, including the other two Americans in the field.”

As Groseclose goes on to note, the Times’ legendary anti-religious bigotry was the likely source of the paper’s animus with Jones:

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’s 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.”

If you read the SB Nation (the “SB” is short for “Sports Blogs”) link that Groseclose proffers, they’re actually not all that badly disposed towards the Times. Which isn’t all that surprising, given that according to Wikipedia, the site was co-founded by Howard Dean supporter and MyDD founder Jerome Armstrong, and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos. These days, the New York Times seems to increasingly take its cue from such leftwing blogs, which treats politics as a bloodsport and religion as an antiquated belief system ripe for mockery. Why would anyone not expect the personal to be as political on the Times’ sports page as it is everywhere else at the Gray Lady?

Found via Groseclose’s post at Ricochet. As I wrote in the comments there, to get a sense of how the Times went off the rails, don’t miss their interview with William McGowan, the author of Gray Lady Down.

Related: The problems of male-only golf courses and religious Olympic athletes solved, the Times readies itself for its next big crusade: air conditioning. Let me know when you’ve convinced Pinch to part with his central air, and then we’ll talk.