The New York Times and its assorted media sycophants spent most of Sunday slapping themselves on the back over a sloppy and questionable package of attack articles alleging that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took an entirely legal and justifiable loss on his 1995 tax returns partially due to a downturn in the Atlantic City gaming industry.

The Times, admitting that it possesses only three out of potentially scores of documents that would have been involved in such a complicated corporate/personal tax return, even ran a sidebar crowing about how it returned to 'old fashioned journalism' in producing the articles – an incredible overreach when you see how little actual legwork went into the effort. Old- fashioned journalism in this case apparently means a return to the days of Yellow Journalism, when rumor and innuendo were used with abandon to savage political enemies and anyone else the writer didn't like.

The biggest problem with the article is that although the Times and its associated propaganda partners claim that it reveals something, it actually relies heavily on supposition to arrive at meaningless conclusions, and the most active verbiage includes words such as "could have." The primary foundation for the claims fomented by the Times lies in the paper's confession that it all came from three cover pages purporting to be from a tax return apparently filed more than two decades ago, including altered entrees, and backed by conjecture.

The Times claims the three pages were anonymously mailed to its newsroom from Trump Towers, while many analysts say they believe the package came from Trump's long-ago ex-wife Marla Maples who is the only person other than Trump who could have legally released the documents without his approval.

By claiming the documents arrived anonymously the courageous reporters and editors at the Times – including an editor who has so voraciously salivated over Trump's tax returns that he says he will go to jail to get  his hands on them – obviously are hoping to immunize themselves from potential legal consequences should Trump's attorneys file an action against the paper.

The story behind the hit piece centers on the decline in revenues from Trump's Atlantic City casinos in the mid-1990s which the Times, itself on the brink of financial collapse, says was due to Trump's mismanagement. If the Times is going to make that claim against Trump it has to expand it to include gaming giants such as Caesars, Bally's and financial colossus Morgan Stanley which incurred a loss of equal proportions to Trump's, more than a decade after Trump pulled the plug on his Atlantic City businesses to stem to losses.

In reality, the rise of the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos in Eastern Connecticut was the beginning of the end of expansion and high times for Atlantic City casinos. The Connecticut casinos siphoned off billions of dollars of gaming revenues from throughout the northeast and elsewhere, not just from Trump's businesses but from many others as well.

In the early 1990s Atlantic City had a dozen major casinos as well as several smaller ones, and was being eyed by major league investors for even more expansion. But the rise of the Connecticut casinos abetted by legalization of gambling in Philadelphia, Delaware, Maryland and New York State and online gambling in New Jersey steadily drove a stake into Atlantic City's expansion and hastened its decline.

Analysts say that when things finally even out Atlantic City will be able to support only four casinos at best.

This backdrop was ignored by the Times when it used the three cover pages – one for New York, one for New Jersey and one for Connecticut, purporting to be from Donald Trump and Maples' tax returns in 1995 but only one of which – the New Jersey cover sheet – bore their signatures. The New York document shows – using altered entries – that Trump took a $916 million loss two decades ago.

Maybe that's true, maybe it's not because the line entries that document the loss are done in two different fonts that don't even line up with each other. So the intrepid reporters at the Times called the accounting firm that prepared the document, (their name is printed on the bottom so its hard to miss) and found out that the accountant who prepared the return 21 years ago is now 80 years old and living in retirement in Florida.

Not to be denied, the Times sent a reporter to the Sunshine State where it interviewed the reluctant accountant in a bagel shop. Shades of Deep Throat or what?

He told the Times that his computer software back in 1995 couldn't print out a 9-digit number so he put the original into his typewriter – the article didn't disclose whether it was a manual Royal or an IBM Selectric and it probably doesn't matter, other than being able to verify the fonts, since either way we are talking ancient technology here – and typed in the extra numbers.

Unfortunately he didn't initial the changes, nor did Trump which is a commonly accepted accountability principle when altering official documents. But even if everything the Times says about the documents is true, so what?

Basically, two paragraphs of 1990s gaming commission documents that accompany the article say that Trump could take advantage of what amounts to averaging over a total of 18 years, starting in 1992 and going forward to 2010. Big deal. That is the price of doing business; sometimes the best laid plans go completely awry and you have to scramble to keep from going under, which apparently, Trump did.

So he is a survivor and did nothing illegal. Moreover, there is not one word about the millions of dollars Trump and his businesses pay in state taxes, local taxes, payroll taxes, fees, permits, sales taxes and the millions of dollars in income taxes paid by his employees who have jobs thanks to his businesses.

Yet the Times runs a package that is rife with innuendo and misinformation, one example of which is the claim in the sidebar regarding the three pages from his 1995 return; "They were signed by Mr. Trump’s wife at the time, Marla Maples, and by Mr. Trump, whose recognizable handwriting renders his signature in jagged, oversize letters."

Actually, only one page was signed, so using "they" to imply multiple signatures is flat out inaccurate. "A page was signed …" would have been accurate, but also would have deflated the impact of the information.

Considering that the Times has used the same income averaging in its recent tax returns to improve its financial standing, it is at the very least hypocritical to be bashing Trump for making use of the tax laws, which he legally is required to do or face lawsuits from his investors.

The vast majority of the Times main article smacks of jealousy, seemingly because Trump did survive and didn't go under. Since his wasn't the only business that took a major hit in Atlantic City in the 1990s, it was duplicitous of the Times to focus only on his losses and not the ongoing losses of Atlantic City and those who invested in it four decades ago.

The Old Gray Lady as the Times is known, obviously has declined from her position as paper of record to that of a miserable old crone who can't keep her facts straight or do her job correctly or well.  

Perhaps the Times masthead should be changed to say "All the News That's Fit to Print - and a Lot That Ain't."

 Frankly, she seems to have decomposed to the status of checkout counter tabloid rather than a respected journal, much like an aging call girl trying to claim that somehow she is better than and socially above her street-walking cousins, when in fact the only differences are their outer appearances and the price - which can't be written off ones income taxes.