Careful in the N.Y. Times’ Red Light District - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Careful in the N.Y. Times’ Red Light District

Consistent with the mainstream media’s policy of shining bright light on ephemera, the nation has lately been treated to a full-court examination of Senator Marco Rubio’s driving record in his home town of Miami. Also, so as not to be sexist, that of his wife. Apparently, the need for speed and impatience with the inconvenience of red lights are the Rubios’ Miami vices.

As another Miami-area resident, Dave Barry, might introduce a column on this subject: “I’m not making this up.”

You can sort of see how Rubio’s still being in an intersection when the amber changed to red, or La Rubio driving 8 mph over the speed limit, would capture page one on a slow news week. After all, there was nothing last week to engage news hounds beyond continued ISIS’ armed migrations in the Middle East, home-grown terrorists in the U.S., the Chinese telling the U.S. Navy to bugger off, continued revelations of the serial corruptions of the political firm of Clinton & Clinton, a still wallowing economy, and an elephantine debt. What’s a reporter to do with thin gruel like this?

This irrelevant story got its start with the increasingly irrelevant New York Times, whose intrepid (by their own description) investigative reporters “broke” the melancholy fact that over two decades Marco Rubio has received tickets for four moving violations in Miami. (Journalistically speaking, the Times itself is a moving violation.) Rubio’s wife, Jeanette, comely of face and frame but apparently heavy of foot, bagged 13 over the same period. Countless print and broadcast news outlets across the fruited plain, acting as the Times echo chambers, retailed the giddy news. Be careful when you step off the curb in Miami. 

The Times had a good deal of help in this “discovery” from a Democratic/Clinton attack group called American Bridge. But let it pass. Little help was needed as traffic tickets are a matter of public record and a high school journalism intern could have picked this “news” up on a leisurely trip to the court house. Even so, the Times breathless stories carried a double byline and named a research assistant.

A little context. In the nineties, when I was editor of a couple of commercial real estate publications, I had to go to Miami on business probably a half dozen times a year. I’ve driven in every major city of the east. I’ve engaged the wrong side of the street in London and strapped on the hills of San Francisco. But nowhere have I seem worse drivers than in Miami. I should own a body-shop there. It’s the tail-gating capital of the world. I might have objected to the guy driving three inches off my back bumper. But after watching numerous episodes of Miami Vice, I decided I would keep my counsel as the guy might be carrying automatic weapons. (Ok, Miami Chamber, you don’t have to email me. I know the picture of Miami in that TV show was an exaggeration. I’m sure the guy behind me didn’t have an automatic weapon. It was probably just a Glock.) 

The point being, that four moving violations in Miami over two decades may well be below average. And the Times is silent on how these infractions could possibly be relevant to Rubio’s fitness, or lack thereof, to be commander in chief, though defense stipulates Rubio should not speed or run red lights. Unlike President Obama’s 15 parking tickets when he was indulging the privilege of attending Harvard Law, or Al Sharpton’s substantial obligations to the U.S. Treasury via the Internal Revenue System, the Rubios owned up, paid their fines on time.

Those who’ve read the Times for years are familiar with this publication’s lengthy history of hit-jobs on conservative candidates, conservative officials, and conservative ideas. This monomania fits with the paper’s long-time motto — “All the news that fits the liberal narrative” — that has appeared on the newspaper’s masthead since 1897. (Even in 1932 when the Times’Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for white-washing Stalin and his workers’ paradise.) But this latest short-round fired at Rubio is pretty lame.

Revealing that Marco Rubio second-geared a stop-sign 15 years ago doesn’t meet anyone’s standard of hard-hitting investigative journalism. Even some folks on the left called the Times out on this one. Perhaps the Times can redeem itself with its upcoming, tell-all series on Ted Cruz’s overdue library books.

Finally, now that we’ve established that the Times believes it’s important to the republic to hold Marco Rubio responsible for his wife’s driving behavior, how many alert TAS readers plan to hold their breath until the Times decides to hold Hillary Clinton responsible for her husband’s sexual behavior? Just wondering.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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