New York Times attempted an ambush over war in Ukraine

New York Times attempted an ambush over war in Ukraine

New York Times attempted an ambush over war in Ukraine

Some are calling it a “mic-drop moment” or “being owned” but, whatever you call it, The New York Times got fact-checked after it accused conservative activist-author Candace Owens of siding with Vladimir Putin and his stated-owned media.

On Monday, The New York Times emailed Owens to inform her it was working on a story about “Russian messaging that includes some of your comments.”

Say what? The next paragraph explained more: “We note that you advanced the idea that Ukraine was a corrupt country, which matched comments we’ve seen from Russian state media.”

The reporter, whose name was blacked out by Owens, then asked her to provide “context or further comments” and said the Times was “finalizing” the story that day, meaning a deadline was coming fast if she wanted to respond to the not-so-subtle accusation.

And so she did.

 “I learned about ‘the idea that Ukraine was a corrupt country’ from the New York Times,” Owens emailed back, helpfully linking to a Times editorial with the literal headline, “Ukraine’s Unyielding Corruption.”

That email exchange didn't stay a secret: Owens posted it to Twitter, where she has three million followers. 

“It was just perfect,” Dan Gainor, of the Media Research Center, says of Owens’ response.

“She used their reporting against them,” he tells AFN, “and then they're left with, like, oh, they either discredit their own reporting or they just have to move on and not get the gotcha. Which is exactly what they were trying to do.”

The well-deserved praise for Ukraine’s desperate fight against Russian invaders has been tempered by some, including by Owens, with the fact the besieged country is famous for a corrupt government and dirty business deals.

Gainor, Dan (MRC) Gainor

The tone of the Times email to Owens seems to echo the whose-side-are-you-on accusations from many in politics and the media, who are directing that accusation at a right-leaning “America First” crowd, but Owens turned the tables on the accusation.

“Is there something specific I said,” she wrote, “that was different from what you guys have written in the past?”

According to Gainor, the story planned by the Times may have been published but he has yet to see it. It appears, he says, the venerable newspaper killed it after Owens used social media to shame them.

“You know that they saw her mocking them,” he says. “They are not going to go out there and write their stupid article based on their stupid question, when she ridiculed all of them.”