The New York Times ran a piece this weekend about former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who was recently given a subpoena to testify before Congress about her knowledge of alleged misdeeds by the Trump Administration.
The piece, by Maggie Haberman, as well as the way it was presented on the Times’ social media pages, has come in for some roasting by many critics.
“Hope Hicks, one of the best-known but least visible former members of President Trump’s White House staff, is facing an existential question: whether to comply with a congressional subpoena,” the Times tweet promoting the article says. Hicks was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee to produce documents, and to appear before the committee June 19.
As many have pointed out, congressional subpoenas are not optional, although multiple people associated with the Trump Administration, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn, have chosen not to comply with them. The status of such subpoenas are likely to be subject of a contentious court battle in the coming months.
The Times was also criticized for illustrating the piece with what looked like a glamour shot of Hicks.
“Should a federal employee obey a lawful order, or stay loyal to an individual?” election forecaster Sam Wang tweeted, mocking the Times. “Here at @nytpolitics, we can’t say. It’s just all a partisan game! We’re not going to make a value judgment! We have great portrait photographers though.”
“This is a good example of bias in the @nytimes: a picture of a person who is considering not complying with a subpoena is basically a glam shot, and it’s framed as a thoughtful, perfectly equal choice,” former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien tweeted.
“Hey @nytimes: why don’t you send a fashion photographer and a reporter to traffic court to take glamorous portraits of the accused & to ask them how they are dealing with the “existential” question of whether they plan to to pay the fines they incurred for speeding?” historian Lawrence Glickman tweeted.
Hope Hicks, one of the best-known but least visible former members of President Trump’s White House staff, is facing an existential question: whether to comply with a congressional subpoena https://t.co/8NXpfQvxQL pic.twitter.com/L7aWVMsIdq— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) May 24, 2019
Hicks, who got her start doing public relations for Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand, was hired as a communications staffer with the Trump campaign, and after Trump’s election became a White House staffer, and was later promoted to White House communications director. She left the administration last year and now works for the parent company of Fox News.
During her time in the Trump orbit, Hicks was often by the president’s side, but rarely spoke in public and never gave on-camera briefings or interviews.
Hicks, per The Times, is mentioned more than two dozen times in the Mueller Report. Hicks “declined to comment” to the newspaper; it’s not clear if the glamorous photo included in the piece was taken recently or at another time.