NYT Can't Report Box-Office Receipts Without Blurting 'Mel Gibson, Anti-Semitic Drunk'

The New York Times certainly doesn't have stars in its eyes when it writes about movie star Mel Gibson. What could have been a standard weekend-box-office-receipts piece by Brooks Barnes on Monday sounded like an attack piece:

And the blue money just keeps rolling in.

The much-hyped return to the multiplex of Mel Gibson, whose drunken and anti-Semitic outburst in 2006 turned him into a Hollywood pariah, proved no threat to James Cameron's "Avatar," which was No. 1 at the weekend box office for the seventh weekend in a row and passed the $2 billion mark globally.

Two sentences later, Barnes added:

Heading into the weekend, box office analysts were unsure what to expect from Mr. Gibson's crime thriller "Edge of Darkness." Had moviegoers forgotten his rant and the subsequent tabloid brush fire? Many people in the movie business still harbor raw feelings about it.

"Edge of Darkness" ended up in second place with about $17 million, a solid result given Mr. Gibson's tarnished reputation and eight-year absence from a leading movie role.

Obviously, "many people" at the New York Times still harbor angry feelings, too. The Times also connected this news to a "Cycle of Mel" pictorial with this introductory sentence from Neil Genzlinger:

Despite the occasional foray into biblical interpretation or drunken anti-Semitic outburst, Mel Gibson has always been about fighting injustice, and his latest film, "Edge of Darkness," which opens on Friday, is no exception.

That might score extra points with the secular progressives for connecting the Bible to the anti-Semitism.

Ethan Czahor at Twice Right found the Barnes piece first, joking "I'm disappointed. How can the Times expect to maintain its liberal bias crown while requiring readers to delve more than 1 sentence deep into a story?"

Liberals at the Times and elsewhere did not suggest that Gibson's star might fade to another story in his private life: his divorce and child with a mistress. In Hollywood circles, that's completely meaningless and doesn't "tarnish" a reputation.

- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.