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A New York Times essay by columnist Kevin Roose frets that the U.S. is suffering from a “reality crisis” and proposes this solution: President Biden should set up a “truth commission” to combat the “scourge” of “hoaxes, lies and collective delusions” that lead to “violent unrest and civic dysfunction.”

Yet, the Times’ idea of “truth” often consists of falsehoods that cause violent unrest and civic dysfunction. This includes but is not limited to hoaxes, lies and collective delusions that:

  • spur violence against police.
  • incite class warfare.
  • stagnate the economy.
  • slander the United States.
  • sow racial animosity.
  • empower criminals by disarming their victims.
  • cover up corruption and fraud.
  • harm the nation’s education system.
  • demonize elected officials.
  • conceal the deadly effects of illegal immigration.
  • distort science.
  • rationalize and cloak the killing of pre-birth humans.
  • drive the U.S. deeper into debt.

Below is a sampling of such statements published by the Times, along with the primary sources that disprove them. These quotes come from both news articles and commentaries, which the Times claims to be factually accurate. In the words of Times’ editorial page editor Trish Hall, “the facts in a piece must be supported and validated. You can have any opinion you would like, but you can’t say that a certain battle began on a certain day if it did not.”

Spurring Violence Against Police

According to the New York Times:

  • “Black people suffer disproportionately from police brutality.” Disproven by facts from the academic journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the left-leaning Center for Policing Equity.
  • “Many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.” Disproven by facts from ProPublica (the Times’ own source) and the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • “Black Americans” are “brutalized or killed by law enforcement officers, who rarely if ever face consequences for their actions.” Disproven by facts the academic journal Criminal Justice Policy Review and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Inciting Class Warfare

According to the New York Times:

  • The “job market is not working to distribute wealth” and “has lost much of its power to deliver income gains to working families.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • “Our tax code isn’t progressive. It’s not even flat. For people like me—and I assume there are millions of us—it’s regressive. For many people, the more you make, the lower the rate you pay.” Disproven by facts from the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the left-leaning Tax Policy Center.
  • “For the vast majority of workers, pay increases have lagged behind productivity in recent decades.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Labor and Ph.D. economist Martin Feldstein, professor of economics at Harvard University and President Emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Stagnating the Economy

According to the New York Times:

  • “There is little historical evidence tying regulation levels to” economic growth. Disproven by facts from the Journal of Economic Growth, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University.
  • High unemployment during the Obama administration was due to “drastic spending cuts” by state and local governments. Disproven by facts from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • As a result of Obamacare, “wages will go up, not down.” Disproven by facts from the Congressional Budget Office (the Times’ own source).
  • By using solar power, the U.S. can “achieve large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at little cost to the economy.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Slandering the United States

According to the New York Times:

  • The United States is the “the poorest” developed country in the world with “a whopping 18% poverty rate—closer to Mexico than Western Europe.” Disproven by facts from the World Bank, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • “One in six Americans living below the poverty line suffers from … hunger.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • “Everything that has truly made America exceptional” grew out of “slavery and the anti-black racism it required.” Disproven by facts from academic encyclopedias, the Declaration of Independence, records of the U.S. Constitutional Convention, and letters written by the nation’s founders.

Sowing Racial Animosity

According to the New York Times:

  • African Americans face “increasing terror” from white people on “a daily basis.” Disproven by facts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • “All Black people pretty much, we need guns to protect ourselves” from white people and police officers. Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • “Fights over school segregation, rather than decreasing, are becoming more common. … The percentage of intensely segregated schools, defined as those where less than 10 percent of the student body is white, tripled between 1988 and 2016, from 6 to 18 percent.” Disproven by facts from the UCLA Civil Rights Project (the Times’ own source).
  • “On average” across the United States, “nonwhite districts received about $2,200 less per student than districts that were predominantly white.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Education (1996), Ph.D. economist Derek Neal (2006), the left-leaning Urban Institute (2008), the conservative Heritage Foundation (2011), and the academic journal Education Next.
  • “Black and Hispanic home buyers entering the fast-growing market for subprime mortgages tend to pay higher interest rates than whites with similar credit ratings, a statistical study by an advocacy group says.” Disproven by facts from Federal Reserve Board economists.

Covering Up Corruption and Fraud

According to the New York Times:

  • President Trump’s “allegations related to Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, and his business activities in Ukraine” were “baseless.” Disproven by facts from court records, Biden’s bank statements, White House phone logs, the verified contents of Biden’s laptop, and many more primary sources.
  • “Virtually no evidence” of illegal voting by non-citizens “has been discovered.” Disproven by facts from the academic journal Electoral Studies, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the academic journal Demographic Research, and many other scholarly sources.
  • “The B.I. has said there is no evidence that supporters of the antifa movement had participated in the Capitol siege.” Disproven by facts from an FBI affidavit, videos of the riot, and the publications of an antifa leader arrested for his role in the riot.

Empowering Criminals by Disarming Their Victims

According to the New York Times:

  • “It is true that guns are occasionally used to stop violence. But contrary to what the National Rifle Association suggests, this is rare.” Disproven by facts from the National Academies of Sciences, the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
  • “Many deranged mass murderers expect to die themselves during their killing sprees,” and thus, “It’s almost laughable to believe” that Trump’s plan to arm teachers “would deter them.” Disproven by facts from the academic book The Psychology of Criminal and Antisocial Behavior: Victim and Offender Perspectives, the textbook Forensic Science: Advanced Investigations, and an internationally renowned authority on the mindsets of killers.
  • The perpetrator of the Orlando nightclub massacre “was able to kill 49 people largely because the assault rifle he was using could fire 30-round clips as fast as he could pull the trigger.” Disproven by facts from firearm specifications.

Demonizing Elected Officials

According to the New York Times:

  • President Trump deployed the “full might of federal law enforcement to crush protests” by “Black Lives Matter” activists. Disproven by the full context of Trump’s words and records of his actions.
  • President Trump referred to people who were “chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans” as “very fine people.” Disproven by the full context of Trump’s words.
  • “Americans didn’t fail the Covid-19 test; Republicans did.” Disproven by facts from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and numerous papers in medical journals like The Lancet, the Journal of Travel Medicine, and the journal Social Science & Medicine.
  • The “Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake” and “America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war.” Disproven by facts from Clinton administration officials and a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report signed by all Democrats on the committee.

Bloating and Harming Education

According to the New York Times:

  • “In the same towns, private schools are reopening” during the Covid-19 pandemic “while public schools are not” because public schools “tend to have less money” than private schools. Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • “The government’s official statistic” for rising college tuitions “exaggerates the cost of college.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • School choice programs have no “accountability” and don’t allow children to “compete on a fair footing in the work force.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Department of Education, the journal Education Next, and the Journal of School Choice: International Research and Reform.

Concealing the Deadly Effects of Illegal Immigration

According to the New York Times:

  • Illegal immigrants “are far less prone to crime than native-born Americans.” Disproven by facts from the Obama administration Department of Justice and Census Bureau.
  • Israel’s West Bank Barrier cannot account for the “sharp decline in the number and scope of terrorist attacks by West Bank Palestinians in Israel.” Disproven by facts from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two Hamas officials, and a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader.
  • “Democrats now argue that a wall is an expensive and ineffective means of curbing illegal immigration. The majority of undocumented immigrants are people who overstay visas, not people who sneak across the border.” Disproven by facts from the Congressional Research Service, the academic book Debates on U.S. Immigration, federal law, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Distorting Science

According to the New York Times:

  • Global warming has caused “an intensification of rainstorms.” Disproven by facts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Journal of Climatology, and the Journal of Hydrology.
  • “An ice-free patch of ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world, something that hasn’t happened in more than 50 million years.” (Delicately corrected 10 days later). Disproven by pictures and logs of submarines surfacing in the North Pole region during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • “A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of committing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.” Disproven by facts from the journal Science (the Times’ own source), the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the textbook Biodiversity and Environmental Philosophy, and the journal Diversity and Distributions.
  • EPA studies based on hidden data are trustworthy because the process of “peer review ensures that the analytic methodologies underlying studies funded by the agency are sound.” Disproven by facts from the scientific journal Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the journal PLOS ONE.
  • “Climate-change contrarians” are “politically influential” but have “little scientific credibility.” Disproven by the signatures of 3,805 scientists with degrees in atmospheric, earth, or environmental science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the journal Eos.

Rationalizing and Cloaking the Killing of Pre-Birth Humans

According to the New York Times:

  • Late-term abortions “mostly often involve severely troubled pregnancies that pose risks to a woman’s health or life.” Disproven by facts from the president of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, and three late-term abortionists.
  • Democrats don’t support “an unfettered right to terminate pregnancies up until the point of birth.” Disproven by facts from a federal bill cosponsored by nearly all Congressional Democrats, public statements by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, state laws passed by Democrats that allow elective abortions up until birth, and the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
  • “Medical evidence does not support” the idea that “an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization.” Disproven by facts from scientific journals, including (1) the New England Journal of Medicine, (2) Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, (3) Anesthesiology, (4) Behavioral and Brain Sciences, (5) PLoS ONE, and (6) Pain: Clinical Updates.

Driving the U.S. Deeper Into Debt

  • “We do not, repeat do not, face any kind of deficit crisis either now or for years to come.” Disproven by facts from the Congressional Budget Office and the Medicare Trustees Report.
  • The national debts of the United States and Europe “are not anywhere close” to being big enough to “lower economic growth.” Disproven by facts from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts (the Times’ own source) and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
  • “Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama. But that increase has been more than offset by a fall in spending by state and local governments, which have been squeezed by weak tax receipts.” Disproven by facts from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.


For more than a century, one extended family has owned a controlling share of the New York Times: the Ochs–Sulzberger family. From 2015 to 2018, the Times’ revenues were 20% greater than the total donations of all U.S. citizens and corporations to federal Republican campaigns and causes. This includes all presidential candidates, congressional candidates, and special interest groups combined.

To keep to the Ochs–Sulzberger family in control of the Times while raising money from other people, the Times has issued a separate class of stock that gives shareholders little or no voting rights to control the corporation. This arrangement has allowed foreign interests to pump money into the Times, as it regularly publishes falsehoods that harm and destabilize the United States.

In 2015, Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim became the largest single shareholder of the New York Times Company. He also loaned it $250 million during the Great Recession in 2009. According to the Times, Slim did this when the Times “looked to be in peril” as the “world economy” was “struggling and credit tight.” The same article described Slim as “one of the world’s richest people, worth about $72 billion.”

Thus, a foreigner who is one of the wealthiest people in the world played a key role in ensuring the survival of a U.S. media corporation that has more monetary resources than one of the two major political parties in the United States. Now, the Times is asking the U.S. government—which is now controlled by the other major party—to set up a “truth commission” to combat statements that it deems to be false.

Meanwhile, the Times regularly churns out damaging and deadly misinformation while using its wealthy platform to denounce people “with big bank accounts” and “big megaphones” who “drown out other voices” in politics.

Image via Wally Gobetz.

James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues.

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