Media Matters / Andrea Austria / Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

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A New York Times reporter anonymously linked the paper's publisher to its coverage of Biden's age. The volume of coverage is eye-opening.

Politico quoted an anonymous journalist claiming that the Times’ coverage of Biden is in part motivated by lack of access

Politico released a report about the “petty feud” between The New York Times and the White House that includes one staffer’s claim that Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger “quietly encourages … tough reporting” on President Joe Biden’s age because Biden hasn’t sat for an interview with the paper. 

Media Matters data shows that the Times mentioned Biden’s age more than any other of the top five U.S. newspapers by circulation over a five-month period last year. The Times was also less likely than three of those other papers to mention former President Donald Trump’s age when mentioning Biden’s. 

  • A New York Times staffer told Politico that publisher Sulzberger encourages harsh Biden coverage because of lacking access

    • One Times staffer claimed that the paper’s publisher A.G. Sulzberger is to blame for hash coverage. From Politico: “‘All these Biden people think that the problem is Peter Baker or whatever reporter they’re mad at that day,’ one Times journalist said. ‘It’s A.G. He’s the one who is pissed [that] Biden hasn’t done any interviews and quietly encourages all the tough reporting on his age.’” [Politico, 4/25/24
  • Media Matters data shows The New York Times has emphasized Biden’s age more than similar papers

    • A Media Matters study showed The New York Times mentioned Biden’s age the most out of any of the top five U.S. newspapers by circulation, in 98 of its articles over a five-month span. [Media Matters, 10/20/23]
    • The Times was also one of the worst of the top five papers in terms of giving Trump and Biden's age equal coverage. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times were least likely to also mention Trump’s age in pieces that mention Biden’s, with 28% and 29%, respectively. [Media Matters, 10/20/23]
  • Media Matters also found that the Times ran 30 reports on Biden’s mental fitness after special counsel Robert Hur said he showed a “poor memory”

    • Following the initial Hur report, The New York Times ran 30 reports on Biden’s mental fitness in four days. After the initial frenzy of reporting, the Times noted that the transcript of Hur’s interview of Biden “shows that on several occasions the president fumbled with dates and the sequence of events, while otherwise appearing clearheaded.” [Media Matters, 3/12/24]