Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS
The New York Times and Washington Post have frequently quoted Republican dirty trickster and top Trump ally Roger Stone without informing their readers of Stone’s racist and sexist comments that have gotten him banned from appearing on at least two cable news networks.
The Times and Post quote Stone, who previously served as a paid Trump campaign adviser and who has been an informal political adviser to him for decades. When they have done so, both outlets have routinely not explained to readers that Stone authored a series of tweets attacking others in a racist and sexist manner (including about Times reporters).
The Times and Post have quoted Stone in over 20 stories since June 2016 in which the papers did not reveal to their readers the racial animus motivating him. The Times reported on Stone’s racial slurs and the cable news fallout in May, while the Post noted them in an April story.
Among the descriptions the Times used with Stone were “Republican strategist and Trump confidant,” “veteran political operative,” “the longest-serving Trump adviser,” and “an informal adviser to Mr. Trump over many years.” The Post called him a “Nixon-era political trickster,” “sometime-Trump adviser,” “longtime Trump associate,” and “on-again, off-again Trump adviser.”
Stone called commentator Roland Martin a “stupid negro” and “fat negro.” He referred to commentator Herman Cain as “mandingo” and called former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) an “arrogant know-it-all negro.” He also called commentator Al Sharpton a “professional negro” who likes fried chicken and asked if former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was an “Uncle Tom.”
Stone referred to Martin and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro (who is Latina) as “quota hires.” He said of Navarro: “Black beans and rice didn’t miss her,” described her as a “diva bitch” and called Martin a “token.”
He also called New York Times columnist Gail Collins an "elitist c*nt" and tweeted "DIE BITCH" at former Times executive editor Jill Abramson. Stone formed the anti-Clinton group “C.U.N.T.” in 2008.
After Stone’s comments came to light, CNN said he “will no longer appear” on the network. MSNBC told The Washington Post, “Roger Stone will not be a guest on MSNBC because of his now very well-known offensive comments.” Stone has also not recently appeared on Fox News, and Stone said, “I’m banned at Fox because I kick their ass.”
Stone has been a frequent guest and is now a contributor to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio/internet show, and reportedly facilitated a line of communication between Jones and Trump. Stone has written several conspiracy theory books, and has made several false claims: the Clintons are “plausibly responsible” for the deaths of about 40 people, the Bush family “tried to kill” Ronald Reagan, and that Lyndon Johnson was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
But as recently as December 9, The New York Times, in an article by Maggie Haberman, quoted Stone and did not tell readers his toxic background (she simply referred to him as “a long-serving informal adviser to Mr. Trump”). On December 8, a Washington Post article by Jenna Johnson also quoted Stone, and hid his background from readers as well (only describing him as a “longtime friend” of Trump).
It is possible that the desire to quote Stone comes from a dearth of media contacts between the Trump team and the press, but it does a disservice to readers to obscure his problematic background in this manner.
Additionally, the following articles in both publications over the last six months quoted Stone, but did not tell readers about his racist comments or the repercussions from CNN or MSNBC:
New York Times
“Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” by Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers
Described Stone as “Republican strategist and Trump confidant.”
“In Donald Trump, Conspiracy Fans Find a Campaign to Believe In” by Campbell Robertson
Called Stone “veteran political operative and longtime confidant of Donald J. Trump.”
“Will Donald Trump Play Infidelity Card at Debate? Clinton Camp Girds” by Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick
Referred to Stone as “the longest-serving Trump adviser.”
“Donald Trump’s Campaign Hires Ex-Christie Aide to Bolster Political Operation” by Maggie Haberman and Kate Zernike
Called Stone “an informal adviser to Mr. Trump over many years.”
“Donald Trump's Journey: From Crashing a Party to Controlling Its Future” by Adam Nagourney and Alexander Burns
Said Stone was “a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump.”
“Donald Trump May Break the Mold, but He Fits a Pattern, Too” by Alexander Burns
Called him “a political strategist who has advised Mr. Trump since the 1980s.”
Described Stone as “Mr. Trump’s longtime political adviser.”
“What Donald Trump Learned From Joseph McCarthy’s Right-Hand Man” by Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer
Called Stone a “roguish former Nixon adviser and master of the political dark arts.”
“How Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, got Donald Trump’s ear” by Manuel Roig-Franzia
Called Stone a “Nixon-era political trickster.”
“Is Trump’s new chief strategist a racist? Critics say so.” by David Weigel
Referred to Stone as “sometime-Trump adviser.”
“Democrats sue Trump, Republicans in four states and allege ‘campaign of vigilante voter intimidation’” by Mark Berman and William Wan
Described him as “Trump supporter.”
Called him a “Trump supporter.”
“Election officials brace for fallout from Trump’s claims of a ‘rigged’ vote” by Sean Sullivan and Philip Rucker
Referred to Stone as “a longtime Trump associate.”
“Trump claims election is ‘rigged’ and seems to suggest Clinton was on drugs at debate” by Jose A. DeReal and Sean Sullivan
Noted Stone was a “longtime ally” of Trump.
Called him a “longtime Trump associate.”
Called Stone an “on-again, off-again Trump adviser.”
“Inside debate prep: Clinton’s careful case vs. Trump’s ‘WrestleMania’” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Anne Gearan
Called Stone “a controversial bon vivant and self-proclaimed political dirty-trickster.”
“Inside Donald Trump’s new strategy to counter the view of many that he is ‘racist’” by Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Jenna Johnson
Referred to Stone as “a longtime Trump confidant.”
“For Trump, a new ‘rigged’ system: The election itself” by David Weigel
Called Stone an “off-again, on-again adviser.”
“Donald Trump’s long history of clashes with Native Americans” by Shawn Boburg
Described Stone as Trump’s “longtime lobbyist and adviser.”
“Racial tensions and shootings sharpen contrasts between Clinton and Trump” by Jenna Johnson and Abby Phillip
Referred to Stone as “a former Nixon staffer and one of Trump’s longtime advisers who has no formal role with the campaign.”
“This is Trumpism: A personality-fueled run that resonates in an anxious era” by Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa
Referenced Stone as someone “who last year parted ways with Trump’s campaign but remains close to the candidate.”
It is unusual for a political figure to be barred from appearing on at least two cable news networks, particularly for racist and sexist commentary. If the Times and Post -- and others -- continue to quote Stone, they should inform their readers about the background of who they’re quoting, or decline to do so.