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.
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, who has courted controversy from pro-Israel conservatives during her brief tenure, appeared in the Sunday Arts section to express concern over the muted reception in Israel to the new documentary "The Gatekeepers," an unflattering look back at Israel's Shin Bet, the country's security service: "'Most Israelis Are Not Listening.' – Little impact at home for an Oscar-nominated film." The film is also a loaded call for Israeli Jews to withdraw from the West Bank.
What gall. A Saturday New York Times editorial actually managed to blamed the Republican Party for forcing Obama to violate the constitution: "A Court Upholds Republican Chicanery."
For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees to the agencies, knowing that neither agency could operate without board members or a director. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Between the multiple editorials calling for stricter gun laws and the denunciations of the NRA by its reporters, it's safe to say the urban liberals at the New York Times lack a cultural affinity for guns. Using the Sandy Hook massacre as an excuse, the paper treats as vital and disturbing Sunday front-page news something that's been going on for decades: The gun industry encouraging youth to engage in recreational shooting, hunting, and firearms training.
The 2,600-word investigation, "Selling a New Generation on Guns – Industry Recruits Children, Using Contests, Games and Semiautomatics,"is by Mike McIntire, previously known for trying to get the feds to probe Republican fundraising during the last presidential campaign.
Every January tens of thousands of people participate in the March for Life in Washington at the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. And for five years in a row the New York Times failed to run a single story on the march in its print edition (it marked the 2011 march with a couple of photos on page 12).
This year, the 40th anniversary of the March, the Times broke its streak with a so-so 815-word story by Ashley Parker that made the bottom of the front of the paper's National section, on page 9.
Your media bias laugh of the day: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan claimed "you wouldn't know who" most Times reporters voted for, on Friday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe. Mediaite's Noah Rothman reported the exchange between host Joe Scarborough and Sullivan.
Scarborough: "Because I see guys like Jeff Zeleny, Mark Leibovich. These guys, I couldn't tell you how they vote in elections. It seems the further we move away from the '60s and the '70s and what came out of that, the more we find guys like Zeleny and Leibovich that don’t seem to have an agenda."
Sullivan agreed: "I think most of the people who write for the Times, you wouldn’t know who they voted for."
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in Senate and House hearings Wednesday on intelligence failures in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered last year, on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Yet the New York Times buried the story on page A11, in the International section, content with running a photo of Clinton on the front page.
The Washington Post put the hearings on the front page, though Anne Gearan's story, "Clinton delivers forceful defense on Benghazi," was "a masterful work of puffery," according to MRC's Ken Shepherd. Times reporter Michael Gordon at least showed some polite skepticism in "Facing Congress, Clinton Defends Her Actions Before and After Libya Attack."
Kansas conservatism, red in tooth and claw.? New York Times reporter John Eligon reported from Topeka on the latest disturbing sign of heartland conservatism: "Kansas' Governor and G.O.P. Seek to Eliminate Income Tax." Text box: "Skeptics see a path to economic devastation in a conservative bid."
Eligon actually led off with an accurate description of President Obama's "expansive liberal agenda," but then went overwrought, taking the "starkest view of the crimson ideology" of Republicans.
Raise taxes on everyone. Eduardo Porter, business columnist for the New York Times, previously covered economics as a reporter but now uses his perch to display his mistrust of free markets in favor of government, most recently in his call for socializing health care, pensions, and education. His latest entry is a call for higher taxes on everyone, not just the affluent, in the name of funding still more government programs: "A Tax Bite Tailored To Help All."
Former Times nightlife reporter Sarah Maslin Nir covered a modest anti-gun protest march over the Brooklyn Bridge for Tuesday's New York Times Metro section: "Marchers Urging Stricter Gun-Control Laws Take to the Brooklyn Bridge." The text box: "The fatal shootings of loved ones and others compel people to join a demonstration." A generous photo meant the story covered the entire top half of the page. Nir enthusiastically promoted the march on her Twitter feed as she covered it, proclaiming: "Million Mom March against guns built up steam. Now more than 200 marching across Brooklyn Bridge."
(Nir previously caused consternation with a November 2012 story faulting "white gentrifiers" committing the horrible crime of helping poor victims of Hurricane Sandy.) But she had no criticism of what was apparently a far more noble cause -- getting rid of guns.
New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal again accused Republicans of opposing Barack Obama because of his race, in a Monday post after Obama's second inauguration. That came after he confessed to feeling "the same thrill" as he had the first time around.
The consensus on TV this morning was that Barack Obama’s second inauguration wasn’t as amazing as his first. The crowd was much smaller. People were just not as excited as they were four years ago.
But, call me sappy, when the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” I felt pretty much the same thrill as on Jan. 20, 2009.
The New York Times celebrated a new, proudly Marxist magazine on the front of Monday's Arts section. Reporter Jennifer Schuessler rejoiced as "A Young Publisher Takes Marx Into the Mainstream."
When Bhaskar Sunkara was growing up in Westchester County, he likes to say, he dreamed of being a professional basketball player.
But the height gods, among others, didn’t smile in his favor. So in 2009, during a medical leave from his sophomore year at George Washington University, Mr. Sunkara turned to Plan B: creating a magazine dedicated to bringing jargon-free neo-Marxist thinking to the masses.
As if the only problem with Marxist thinking is jargon. Schuessler certainly sounded more comfortable with the "socialist brand" than what she termed "Tea Party invective."
New York Times fashion reporter Eric Wilson rapturously reviewed the First Lady's inaugural clothes in Tuesday's news section (not the fashion pages) of the paper. His article was warmly introduced with a front-page tease, "A First Lady Unafraid to Look Like a Million Bucks."
Fashion is no longer the forbidden subject it once was in American politics.
Embracing expensive designer clothes -- and a lot of them -- has not been a problem for Michelle Obama in the way that similar pursuits haunted Nancy Reagan, or even Jacqueline Kennedy.
The cat's out of the bag: Obama's a liberal. A banner headline across Tuesday's New York Times front page confirmed what conservatives have been saying about the president for years: "Obama Offers Liberal Vision: 'We Must Act.'" Peter Baker's lead story "Inaugural Stresses Theme of Civil and Gay Rights -- Safety Net Praised," also stressed Obama's liberal message. So why has the paper spent the last four years defending Obama from conservative criticism by insisting Obama was actually a centrist?
New York Times Phoenix bureau chief Fernanda Santos reported Sunday on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's controversial action to expand Medicaid in Arizona, in a story full of labeling bias and a denigrating description of the supposedly uncompassionate governor: "Medicaid Expansion Is Delicate Maneuver for Arizona's Republican Governor." (Previously, Santos has advocated for Arizona's illegal immigrants cowering in "the shadows.")
A tale of three presidential inaugurations during wartime and strife. The New York Times found it bad form for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush's second inauguration in January 2005, during a time of war. A January 11, 2005 editorial on Bush's second inauguration, "Victor's Spoils," sniffed:
At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala. The $40 million record for inaugural partying set four years ago for Mr. Bush is expected to be shattered this month....Ordinary citizens might have hoped that the overriding issue in Washington- the perilous Iraq war, with its drain on the nation's blood and treasure- would dictate restraint. But plans for the four-day extravaganza roll forward with nine celebratory balls being underwritten by the usual corporate and fat-cat supplicants in the political power mill. There's nothing new in Washington's triumphalist celebrations, festooned with price tags for access, but war usually mutes the singing and dancing. Not this year.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."
But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.
The New York Times's Michael Cooper reported from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, capturing the effusive reaction to President Obama's gun-control proposals. In his report, "Recalling Pain Of Guns' Toll, Mayors Urge Bills' Passage – Heartened After Years Of Pushing for Laws," Cooper came off less a hard-bitten reporter than an emotionally over-involved storyteller, pushing for someone to do something about gun violence. (No matter that none of the mayoral anecdotes he relayed included mass shootings like the one in Newtown).
The Mayors Conference is perhaps best known for its grossly exaggerated hunger in America reports, cynically timed for the holiday season when people are tucking into turkey. Times Watch examined the reports from 1987 to 2002 several years ago, and found the Mayors' group was claiming an implausible 1240% increase of hunger in America during that period, which sounds more like North Korea than the most prosperous and democratic nation on earth.
New York Times movie critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis team up for next Sunday's edition (posted early online) to once again pour their peculiar brand of pretentiousness over the latest crop of innocent films: "Movies in the Age of Obama."
In the summer of 2011, Dargis lamented "the symbolic phallus" present in the form of a rifle in a Western. Last July she managed to make a villain out of President Reagan, while Scott chimed in by complaining that movie superheroes were "avatars of reaction" and that the last X-Men movie was insufficiently attentive to the civil rights movement.