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Memo to the NYT: It’s not just right that’s blasting the Biden admin’s failed response to toxic train derailment in Ohio

The New York Times has got a full internal echo chamber going on the story of the toxic train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, which has covered the city in toxic fumes, with their latest party line targeting the right for sowing ‘distrust’ in government.

Here’s one from the Times’s Stuart A.Thompson (emphasis mine)

Since a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Ohio nearly two weeks ago, residents have feared for their safety. A controlled burn of the toxic materials has filled the air and covered surface waters and soil with chemicals. Dead fish have floated in nearby creeks, and an unnerving aroma has lingered in the air.

But for many commentators from across the political spectrum, the speculation has gone far beyond known facts. Right-wing commentators have been particularly critical, using the crisis to sow distrust about government agencies and suggest that the damage could be irreparable.

On social media like Twitter and Telegram, commentators have called the situation the “largest environmental disaster in history” or simply “Chernobyl 2.0,” invoking the 1986 nuclear disaster. They warned, without evidence, that vital water reservoirs serving states downriver could be badly contaminated. And they suggested that the authorities, railroad companies and mainstream news media were purposefully obscuring the full toll of the crisis.

Not to be outdone, here’s another from the Times’s Christine Hauser (emphasis mine):

Speculation about the damage and cause of the derailment have gone far beyond known facts. Right-wing commentators have been particularly critical, using the crisis to sow distrust in government agencies.


Residents of East Palestine are losing trust in state officials and in Norfolk Southern, saying that no one has clearly communicated the scale of the disaster and the public health threats it could pose months or years later.

Seems it’s not the toxics that are bad.

It’s that conservatives are, you know, pouncing, using the crisis to “sow distrust” in the government, which wants only the best for us. AT’s Olivia Murray has some well-hewn thoughts about the merits of that issue itself here.

The dread conservatives are also speculating “far beyond known facts,” which is a curiously consistent choice of words, sounding as if it came from a thin and severe Karenish editor in the Times newsroom, what with “conspiracy theories” wearing out their welcome from jackhammer overuse from the press.

Then there’s the old standby, “without evidence,” in use since the disputed 2020 election which is a handy do-all for not having to investigate any eyewitness’s claims. They’re keeping that one.

Echo, echo, echo, with much of the targeting not on the perpetrators of the disaster or those who are utterly botching the recovery effort, but against conservatives who pounce.

I got news for the Times: It ain’t just conservatives who are reporting on this disaster in a way that sows “distrust” in the always-good government.

Anybody checked out what’s being reported on the far left, the Bernie Sanders-types, who remain independent of corporate media realities?

Here’s far-left former KPFA star Amy Goodman who now has her own show, the very popular Democracy Now! presenting a take on Ohio with textbook good reporting that in this instance is indistinguishable from what’s reported on the right. A rightwinger could watch this and find nothing wrong with it. Goodman’s report contains witnesses, photos, credible reactions, sharp questions, and indisputable facts.

Left-leaning Axios wasn’t buying the Times’s trust-the-government line either:

Some Democrats are pointing fingers at the U.S. Department of Transportation after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.

Why it matters: Lawmakers argue that the crash could have prevented with better regulations.

What they’re saying: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Cal.) is holding the Transportation Department partly responsible for dropping the ball in forcing Norfolk Southern, a major transportation company, to prioritize safety over profit.

Axios cited a slew of Democrats who were critical of the Biden administration’s response (read: distrust the government) including Rep. Ilhan Omar and other crazed leftists on the far side.

There’s also Erin Brockovich, a legal assistant who became an environmental toxics activist in her long-ago, before hitting the bigtime when an Academy Award-nominated film was made with her name on it, starring Hollywood A-lister Julia Roberts. She’s famous on the left with 243,000 Twitter followers. What she tweets gets heard.

Here’s what Brockovich, now a lawyer on the environmental beat, has to say about this incident:


She doesn’t …. trust the government. And somehow, she’s not right-wing, not even a little bit.

She has a whole series of interesting tweets indicating her lack of trust in government, which in the mind of the Times, we should all be baffled at since only rightwingers do that.

In short, the Times is out of touch. There’s a sort of allusion to more than one part of the spectrum distrusting government from the Times’s Thompson, but all of his ire is directed at conservatives.

That’s nonsense. The far right and the far left are finding some curious commonalities in this story around whether the government should be trusted and all of those reasons are grounded in facts. The Times, which effectively insists we should all trust the government sounds like Mr. Magoo, utterly out of it.

They’re actually making fools of themselves. Too bad they don’t know it.