The New York Times is vigorously defending editorial board member Mara Gay after she was widely ripped for saying she was “disturbed” at the sight of “dozens of American flags” flying in Long Island.
Gay had herself complained about the attacks that followed her appearance on MSNBC early Tuesday in which she said Trump supporters flew the flag to say that “this is my country … not your country.”
“I see I’m being trolled with the American flag this morning. Trolling a Black journalist with the American flag is not the own some people think it is,” the Times board member and MSNBC contributor tweeted.
After outrage grew throughout the day, the Times’ PR team tweeted a statement late Tuesday insisting that her clearly heard comments had been “irresponsibly taken out of context.”
“Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith,” the official New York Times Communications Twitter handle wrote.
That defensive soon became the new focus of attack, with many sharing the clip of Gay’s interview to back up what she said.
“Spin away — we heard her loud and clear,” former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly replied.
Another Twitter user asked simply, “You know we heard the interview, right?”
“I’m not taking a position on whether her remarks were right/wrong/great/racist, but the spin you’re offering has very little to do with what she actually said,” tweeted a handle called Typos of the New York Times — also saying that the PR team’s message should not have hyphenated “bad faith.”
Others compared the paper’s defense of Gay to the treatment of conservative voices there, most noticeably Bari Weiss, who resigned last year after alleging that she’d been bullied by her own colleagues there.
“I don’t remember your defense of @bariweiss when she was mercilously attacked (by some of your own) yet someone else at the Times is rightfully called out for being triggered by the American flag and suddenly everyone else is *irresponsible*, *uninformed* & acting in *bad faith*,” wrote Joel Petlin, superintendent of the upstate Kiryas Joel School District.
Others, however, defended Gay and the Times’ PR response, saying that the board member was clearly referring to how the flags were being used alongside anti-President Biden messaging, too.
“The American flag is not disturbing, it being used by people who also have Trump flags and want the US to be just for whites, is disturbing,” @SpringF_kx wrote.