The U.S. Coast Guard recently indicated on June 22, 2023, that the crew of the Titanic-bound OceanGate submarine had run out of breathable air. The submersible reportedly ran out of oxygen at 7:08 a.m. Eastern Time (ET).
Hours earlier, while oxygen was rapidly decreasing, the New Republic, a left-leaning publication, decided not to focus on the fate of the people aboard the submersible but rather published an article concerning the Republican affiliation of one of the crew members, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.
The article received fierce backlash online, with some critics suggesting it was a “disgusting” effort to make partisans happy. The criticism was so vast that the New Republic deleted its Twitter post concerning the article.
The article was entitled, “OceanGate CEO Missing in Titanic Sub Had History of Donating to GOP Candidates.”
In the article, Staff writer Daniel Strauss pointed out, “Public campaign finance records indicate that Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate currently stuck on the missing Titan submersible that was running a tourist expedition of the Titanic wreck, has been a consistent Republican donor over the years.”
According to Strauss, “Rush was not a Republican megadonor, but his donations over the years leaned heavily toward Republican candidates.”
The New Republic’s article highlighted how Rush had donated $1,500 to former Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), noting, “Culberson had a 100 percent scorecard rating from the conservative Family Research Council, a 92 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation voters.”
Strauss’s writing focused on a broader trend of “increasing scrutiny on OceanGate and its top executives.”
Investigative reporter Matt Taibbi responded to the article on Twitter, “Welp, I guess we should hope they all die slowly and gasping in terror, then. Congrats @newrepublic you found a new low on Twitter!”
Welp, I guess we should hope they all die slowly and gasping in terror, then.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) June 22, 2023
National Journalism Center program director T. Becket Adams wrote, “Not sure which is more interesting: that this was published by a team, and not one person thought to stay, ‘this is extremely gross,’ or the headline’s use of the past tense ‘had,’ as is the New Republic knows something the rest of us don’t.”
Not sure which is more interesting: that this was published by a team, and not one person thought to say, "this is extremely gross," or the headline's use of the past tense "had," as if the New Republic knows something the rest of us don't. https://t.co/DYQ7zIC6k4
— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) June 21, 2023
Upon removing the article from Twitter because of backlash, the New Republic then ran another piece lamenting the fate of the OceanGate Titan crew.
Staff writer Alex Shephard suggested that the media has ignored the “many” maritime deaths of illegal immigrants in the Mediterranean Sea, writing, “With luck, its passengers will be found alive. But it also showcases a press that will rapidly turn its attention to some issues while leaving other glaring omissions in its coverage.”
The New Republic was not alone in reporting about Republicans suffering under the sea.
Elie Mystal, an MSNBC contributor and correspondent for The Nation, entertained the idea of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito similarly sinking to the depths of the ocean, tweeting, “Next time some rich white person wants to take Sam Alito on an expensive trip, please take him to see the Titanic.”