The Corner

Politics & Policy

The New York Times Defends the FBI

The New York Times is upset that President Trump has attacked the FBI for alleged partisanship. Its lead story yesterday began: “As the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation draws closer to him, President Trump on Sunday unleashed an extraordinary assault on the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, calling it a biased institution whose reputation for fairness was ‘in tatters.’”

According to the Times, Trump is betraying his office. Presidents usually “enter the Oval Office with an instinct to defend and promote the integrity and capabilities of the nation’s law enforcement agencies,” the Times observes.

The Times quotes other Democratic worthies who are shocked by Trump’s Twitter attacks, including former Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder “responded to the president’s tweets with one of his own defending the bureau. ‘You’ll find integrity and honesty at FBI headquarters and not at 1600 Penn Ave right now,’” the Times reports Holder as broadcasting.

Trump’s attacks on the agency are in fact unseemly, arising from personal animus, rather than a systematic analysis. There is no reason to believe that the FBI is corrupted by political partisanship. The credibility of the nation’s justice apparatus should be carefully guarded, absent sound reasons to undermine it. But it is hilarious to hear this shocked rectitude coming from the New York Times, which has spent the last ten years accusing the nation’s law-enforcement agencies of lethal racial bias, without a shred of evidence backing up that charge. When President Obama packed all federal law-enforcement officers off to costly and unnecessary implicit-bias training, on the theory that bias was infecting federal law enforcement, the Times raised no objection. When President Obama accused the nation’s law-enforcement officers of widespread racism, the Times seconded the indictment. When Eric Holder’s Justice Department slapped gratuitous consent decrees on police departments based on a specious methodology for identifying racial bias, the Times applauded and called for more such investigations. Trump will have to do a lot more tweeting to match the Times’ record in defaming honorable law-enforcement agents.

Heather Mac Donald — Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of the New York Times bestseller The War on Cops

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