New York Times Called Out for Long Column All About Joe Biden’s Rolex Watch: ‘For the Times They Are A-Trollin’

New York Times

Photo credit: Don Emmert, AFP/Getty Images

There is a good journalistic case to be made that studying the fashion choices and conscious displays of ostentation reveal deeper current about our country’s leaders. And one need look no further than the recently exited occupant of the White House, whose preference for gilt on everything, including his, uh, throne, laid bare a Queens kid forever trying to prove he didn’t belong to the bridge-and-tunnel crowd.

But then there’s today’s New York Times column on President Joe Biden’s Rolex and Omega watches.

It comes right out of the gate with snide suggestions of Biden’s hypocrisy rather smart sartorial criticism, with a not-so-subtle troll-ish subtitle: “Recent presidents not named Trump have tended to wear Everyman timepieces such as Timex and Shinola.”

The column’s lede clumsily pounds the same point home, if you hand’t picked up on it yet: “President Biden may cast his arrival in the White House as a return to business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but there’s at least one way he’s breaking from prevailing presidential tradition: he wears a Rolex.”

Cartoon panel: "Yet your participate in society. Curious!'

Credit: Matt Bors

This lazy framing is intellectually bankrupt and chock full of bad faith, amounting to what might best be called the ‘Yet you participate in society” editorial style that cartoonist Matt Bors accurately skewered years ago. In short, one dare not argue in favor of a policy or political ideology without every aspect of one’s personal life supposedly aligning with that goal. Congressman who argues against Big Tech monopoly also uses an iPhone — What ho?! Hypocrisy! Newly-elected president who likes to tout his blue-collar roots also wears a $7,000 watch — Checkmate! Sounds like he’s a big phony.

What’s even worse, the “paper of record’s” choice of highlighting Biden’s timepiece came just two days after it was likewise mocked for a similar, arched-eyebrow, tsk-tsking column on the new president’s Peloton bike, which it, again, ham-handedly tried to claim “clashes with Working Class Joe.” Both of which evoked the infamously cataclysmic day in Washington more than six years ago when then-President Barack Obama ignited a thousand media hot takes by daring to wear a tan suit.

Not surprisingly, online critics who can think back to 2014 — or just two days ago — roasted the Times for its desperate nit-picking.

And at least one displeased reader had what was a very good follow-up assignment for the Times: have media editor Ben Smith dig into how this atrocious example of journalism got published in the first place.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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