Shocking news Monday morning -- the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, the first time a pontiff has stepped down in almost 600 years. The banner headline over the front of Tuesday's New York Times read "Pope Resigns, With Church At Crossroads – Scandals and a Shift Away From Europe Pose Challenges." The story from Vatican City by Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo was also front-loaded with negatives and the problems the church faces, seen through the prism of what liberal Manhattanites (i.e. Times reporters) consider vital issues: Condoms and the ordination of women.
Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, penned a 5,000-plus excavation of the history of the GOP for the liberal magazine The New Republic (and its all-white staff): "Why Republicans Are the Party of White People -- An historical investigation," including racism accusations absent of evidence, like this: "It is not a coincidence that the resurgence of nullification is happening while our first African American president is in office."
Tanenhaus also predicted "The Death of Conservatism" in a 2009 book that was outdated as soon as it arrived, coming out during the Tea Party revival, the year before Republicans recaptured the House. Strangely, Tanenhaus is still considered by some left-wingers (like Paul Krugman, yesterday) to be a conservative, an opinion yet to be borne out by an iota of Tanenhaus's actual writing.
Courtesy of James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal" page Friday: Under the subheadline "Great Moments in Socialized Medicine," Taranto pointed to an abject failure of Britain's National Health Service in a Times account of "shockingly bad care" at a British hospital:
"Shockingly bad care and inhumane treatment at a hospital in the Midlands led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths and stripped countless patients of their dignity and self-respect, according to a scathing report published on Wednesday," reports the New York Times's Sarah Lyall from London:
Larry Rohter, who was perhaps the New York Times' most biased reporter during the 2008 campaign (beating some stiff competition) now works the foreign arts beat. In a Sunday Arts & Leisure profile of Pablo Larrain, director of the movie "No," about the 1988 vote that ended the long dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Rohter actually compared Pinochet indirectly to the Tea Party and the libertarian industrialists, the Koch brothers.
The New York Times managed to find mitigating circumstances for ex-cop and accused killer Christopher Dorner, subject of a manhunt in California, in its weekend coverage. On Saturday, L.A.-based Adam Nagourney reported "For Some, Shooting Suspect's Charges of Police Racism Resonate – They Say Accusations Raise Memories Of Past Abuses, Despite Much Progress."
The Times, which had nothing to say in its previous reports about Dorner's praise for liberal media personalities contained in his chatty Facebook "manifesto," certainly showed respect to his (perhaps falsified) beefs about racism in the LAPD. Can one imagine the conspiratorial rants of elderly American Nazi James von Brunn, who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in D.C., given similar respect in the Times?
A day after the New York Times ignored the connection between Floyd Corkins, who attempted a mass murder at a conservative think tank, and the left-wing "hate group" monitor Southern Poverty Law Center, which had labeled FRC "anti-gay," there broke another case of bias by omission regarding news that might embarrass prominent liberals. Chris Dorner, an ex-cop on a vengeful rampage against police officers in Los Angeles, praised liberal media personalities in his oddly chatty "manifesto" posted on Facebook. Those details were absent from Friday's account by Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett, "Manhunt On for Ex-Officer Accused of Police Vendetta."
Yet the Times has previously made up entirely fantastical accusations about conservatives like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly, accusing them with no links or evidence whatsoever of fanning flames of hatred that incited murder.
Floyd Corkins Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wounding a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group fighting against gay marriage, on August 15 last year. Corkins was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the time – the restaurant chain noteworthy for its public, Christian-based opposition to gay marriage – and intended to rub the sandwiches in his victims' faces.
The New York Times made do with a brief from Reuters that did not mention a vital angle: That FRC was brought to the attention of Corkins via the website of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled FRC a "hate group."
News that the New York Times and Washington Post kept secret until recently the secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia is once again raising questions on the paper's politicized double standards on keeping state secrets related to the war on terror.
Contrast the deference paid to the Obama administration's request for secrecy, going along with the national security arguments advanced by Obama (until Wednesday's expose of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama's choice to head the CIA) with how the paper routinely leaked secrets during the Bush administration that may have hurt anti-terrorist programs. Here are just some of the national security low-lights and double standards Times Watch has documented at the Times over the years.
President Obama's media acolytes must really be disappointed – they're comparing his administration's unilateral behavior in the war on terror to that of George W. Bush. The new interest was kicked off by a Justice Department document leaked on Monday that offered a legal analysis of when the president can order the targeted killing of an American citizen suspected of terrorism, without due process. Wednesday's lead New York Times article from Yemen was a rundown of the fatal drone strikes authorized by President Obama and his "kill list" coordinator John Brennan, now Obama's nominee to head the C.I.A.
The Times relegated the actual news about the leaked document to page 11, in the International section, in a "news analysis" by reporters Scott Shane and Charlie Savage that dug into the politics of the controversy under an odd, vague headline: "Report on Targeted Killing Whets Appetite for Less Secrecy."
New York Times reporter and Obama biographer Jodi Kantor caught up with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's book tour in Chicago for Monday's edition in "Sotomayor, a Star on the Book-Tour Circuit, Sees a New Niche for a Justice." Kantor promoted the liberal justice as a kind of folk hero "dispensing homespun wisdom."
At her Wednesday night book talk here, Justice Sonia Sotomayor glided through her audience of 700, dispensing homespun wisdom through a cordless microphone, interrupted by impromptu applause.
Last week New York Times economics columnist and liberal hero Paul Krugman actually said "death panels," the critique of Obama-care popularized by Sarah Palin and universally mocked by liberals, while discussing the necessity of cutting health care costs.
On January 30, Krugman spoke at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C. (Krugman is out hawking the paperback edition of "End This Depression Now!," his paean to more government spending on infrastructure and other forms of stimulus.) During the Q&A, Breitbart's Joel Griffith noted, Krugman was asked about the rising national debt. A truncated version of his remarks follows:
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
The headline and lead story in Sunday's New York Times warned of "far right" Republicans. Jeff Zeleny (pictured) is more balanced than most Times political reporters, but has a bad habit of "far right" labeling. The headline: "Top G.O.P. Donors Seek Greater Say In Senate Races – Bid To Cull Challenges -- Taking Aim at hopefuls Viewed as Too Far Right to Win."
Zeleny included the unflattering designation in his lead paragraph.
Joseph Berger's long tribute to the late, legendary former New York City mayor Ed Koch made the front of the New York Times Sunday Metro section -- "So, How'd He Do?"
But Berger stained Koch's memory by citing the irresponsible, inflammatory voices of Rev. Calvin Butts and Al Sharpton and bizarrely suggesting Koch's rhetoric played a part in racist assaults against blacks: "Despite his condemnation of the mob beatings, it was hard to tamp down a sense among blacks that his public rhetoric -- in the 1988 presidential campaign, for example, he said Jews would be 'crazy' to vote for Jesse Jackson because of his 'Hymietown' slur about New York and his support for a Palestinian homeland -- may have helped foster an atmosphere in which some young whites felt emboldened to commit such assaults."
New York Times reporter turned left-wing online columnist Timothy Egan riled the right again in his Thursday evening entry, "Right Flight." Egan, who showed clear liberal slant when he covered the Pacific Northwest for the Times, has previously smeared Rush Limbaugh as like "salt on a slug," a "clown," and "a swollen, sweaty man." On Thursday, Egan claimed Limbaugh "has lost significant advertisers and whatever respect he still had among a handful of decent Republicans" for his remarks about Sandra Fluke (Egan left out Limbaugh's apology).
After bashing the Drudge Report (shocking), Egan went through his list of "fringe," "broadcast bullies" on the right.
Erica Goode and Jack Healy made a dubious observation about gun rights in their New York Times article Friday, "Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say." ("Some" translates into "liberals at the Times"). The paper cyncially suggested that the mental health angle was due in part to congressional reluctance to take on the allegedly fearsome National Rifle Association.
In their fervor to take action against gun violence after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., a growing number of state and national politicians are promoting a focus on mental illness as a way to help prevent further killings.
Survivalists: Paranoid right-wingers or a shrewd, far-thinking, and diverse urbanites? The New York Times can't decide. Editorial board member Lawrence Downes' Thursday morning post, "Jesus, Freedom and Guns," used a YouTube video from a left-winger to mock gun-rights supporters as Christian paranoids fearing government tyranny:
Here is a video shot at a gun-rights rally on Jan. 19 at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix. It’s a good window into the life of Arizona, a state where the Tea Party, birtherism and anti-immigrant radicalism regularly combine to raise the political temperature from overheated to boiling.
The economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating that growth remains a problem. The woes made the New York Times front page on Thursday, "Growth Halted In 4th Quarter Despite the Fed," though the story by Nelson Schwartz and Binyamin Appelbaum was not prominently featured (and Obama wasn't mentioned until paragraph 12, in a quote from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee). The Washington Post made it the lead story under the headline "GDP shrank at end of 2012."
Wednesday's front-page report by New York Times reporter Monica Davey, "Strict Chicago Gun Laws Can’t Stem Fatal Shots," at first seemed to demonstrate the uselessness of the strict gun control measures in place in high-crime cities like Chicago. Yet Davey missed that obvious conclusion, instead quoting anti-gun activists who claim that gun control will only work if the entire nation becomes a gun-free zone, both high-crime and low-crime areas alike.
New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who specializes in profiles of prominent pols, again held back his trademark irreverence when it came to an easy Democratic target: Vice President Joe Biden, in Sunday's "How This Got to be a Biden Moment – In a few short months, the vice president has become a star."
Leibovich is known for being nice to Democrats and nasty to Republicans in his political profiles, and his account of how Biden has become a cheesy pop culture symbol is one of the "nice" ones, though it's definitely on the irreverent side.