Accuracy in Media

Heading into Thursday’s Democratic ABC News presidential debate, The New York Times in its news section ran a fawning profile of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) hoping that she would win the debate and rise in the polls.

“She had a great June debate and lost steam over the summer,” wrote the Times’ Astead W. Herndon, a political reporter. “Her surrogates, donors and even some supporters hope that in Houston she can recapture the magic that initially won them over … In recent weeks, the California senator has tried to differentiate her policy message from Democratic rivals — offering her own plans on health care, climate change and criminal justice reform.”

At times the article reads almost like a consulting guidance document for Harris, weighing her strengths and challenges but with an overarching, cheerleader-esque tone.

“The good news for Senator Kamala Harris of California is that all the political ingredients are there,” the Times continued. “Her campaign launch in Oakland remains the largest rally of any Democratic candidate this year, her Senate committee videos go viral and she ignited the most talked-about debate moment to this point, when she confronted the front-runner, Joseph R. Biden Jr., regarding his Senate record on school integration.”

The Times also tried to spin Harris’ lackluster position by saying it was simply due to lack of national name recognition compared to other Democratic players.

“For some, Ms. Harris’s up-and-down summer is simply a byproduct of her own success, after an impressive debut and early fund-raising numbers created artificially high expectations she was never going to immediately meet,” the Times advised. “However, despite Ms. Harris being in the Senate since 2017, her advisers point out that she came into the race without a firm national presence and is the highest-polling Democrat from that position.”

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