Reporter Shaila Dewan saw a “head of steam,” enough “to cheer President Obama as he enters an election year,” in Labor Department figures released Friday morning showing the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 8.7% to 8.5%: “Economy Gains Steam as 200,000 New Jobs Added.” Does this mean Dewan will no longer ask, as she did in a 2009 story, "Weren't we working too much, anyway?"
Friday’s New York Times front-page “Political Memo” by Helene Cooper gave good marks to the president’s new aggressive campaign to demonize Congressional Republicans in the 2012 election year: “Obama Tactic: Jab Congress To Hurt Rivals – An Aggressive Effort to Steal Into Limelight.”
New York Times reporter Nicholas Kulish filed a light story from Berlin Friday on tributes to Knut, the cute, internationally famous polar bear who died last year: “In Death as in Life, Knut the Polar Bear Demands Attention.” But Kulish also included some of Al Gore’s guff about global warming driving polar bears into extinction that made good picturesbut were evetually shown to be without factual basis.
Talk about the 1% Percent! Even as the New York Times is freezing pensions for foreign citizen employees in overseas bureaus, it granted a $15 million golden parachute to former chief executive Janet Robinson after she abruptly departed the New York Times Co. t the end of 2011.
An online open letter to Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. from the local Newspaper Guild dated December 23 has so far been signed by 579 Times employees, including reporters and editors. Excerpts:
Thursday’s lead story on the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, “Romney Showing Financial Muscle For Next Round,” found New York Times reporters Jim Rutenberg (pictured) and Jeff Zeleny a little label-happy in Manchester, New Hampshire, using twelve variations on the “conservative” label in a 1,236-word story.
By contrast, back in 2008, the Times’s Michael Powell actually called the liberal Gov. Michael Dukakis a “pragmatist” and ultra-liberal politicians Sen. Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson “populists,” while calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a “liberal pragmatist” a grand total of once. In the same story, Sen. John Edwards was described as having wrapped himself in a “populist cloak.”
New York Times poverty beat-writer Jason Deparle, who once described Clinton’s welfare reform proposal as “a bill that begrudges poor infants their Pampers” and predicted it might cause women to “camp out on the streets and beg,” made Thursday’s front page with the claim that America is becoming “less equal...less mobile” with the poor stuck in place, in “Harder for Americans to Rise From Economy’s Lower Rungs.”
A photo caption read: “Occupy protesters, like these in Flint, Mich., have pushed discussions about economic mobility toward center stage.”
New York Times reporter Jan Hoffman celebrated explicit online sex education programs, including one run by abortion provider Planned Parenthood, in Saturday’s edition: “Sex Education Gets Directly to Youths, Via Text.” Hoffman found a video made by teens showing a girl being pelted with condoms to be "funny and blunt," and profiled a "vital" Chicago school program called Sex-Ed Loop that focused on "where to find low-cost lubricants."
Is House Speaker John Boehner an anti-Obama racist? Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal all but accuses him in his Tuesday blog from Des Moines, “Nobody Likes to Talk About It, but It’s There.” (The web headline is blunter: “Republican Attacks Have Racist Undertones.”)
Actually, Rosenthal is all too happy to talk about racist Republicans if it helps Democrats politically, as he did on November 1, in one of his first blog posts: “...it was the Republicans who perfected the art of injecting racial fears into modern-day politics (remember Willie Horton in 1988?) and have conducted an unrelenting personal attack on President Obama that sometimes has not-so-subtle racial overtones.”
Some document leaks are more equal than others in New York Times-land, as demonstrated by reporter Leslie Kaufman’s snooty story Monday on the latest installment of Climate-gate, “Police Inquiry Prompts New Speculation on Who Leaked Climate-Change E-Mails.”
Unlike the paper’s standard eagerness to splash sensitive diplomatic secrets on the front page during the Wikileaks saga, the Times took the side of government when it came to the still-unknown whistleblowers behind Climate-gate, which revealed the underhanded tactics used by “climate change” forces to squelch dissenting scientific views on global warming. Kaufman accused the Climate-gate leakers of trying to “undercut climate scientists.”
The text box put a favorable spin on the Climate-gate scandal: “A push to find out who tried to undercut scientists, who were later vindicated.”
New York Times reporter Mark Landler, with President Obama in Honolulu, filed “Obama Still Lets Surrogates Take the Lead as Gay Rights Momentum Builds” for Sunday’s paper.
Like his colleague Ashley Parker did in her own Sunday Times story, Landler celebrated Obama’s oratory, but right at the beginning of his story, on the president keeping his support for gay marriage at an official arms length. Landler also assumed opposition to gay marriage will be a political loser for whoever the Republican candidate may be.
New York Times campaign reporter Ashley Parker, following GOP candidate Mitt Romney around Iowa, nonetheless managed to celebrate Barack Obama’s "eloquent and inspiring rhetoric in the state four years ago" in Sunday’s “Romney Quotes His Favorite Patriotic Songs and Offers Voters an Interpretation.”
Times Watch’s end-of-year awards issue celebrates the best of the worst quotes that appeared in the paper or were uttered by Times reporters and columnists during 2011.
The New York Times spent much of the year in pro-Obama defense mode, excoriating the Tea Party and conservative opposition to Obama's agenda. Yet the paper found one movement it could embrace wholeheartedly – the leftist campouts known as Occupy Wall Street. And sometimes - as when China-loving columnist Tom Friedman spouted, "If this were China they would have walked to the game in the snow, and doing calculus along the way," Times journalism was just too ridiculous to take seriously. Paul Krugman made his usual sterling showing as well, using the tragedies of 9-11 and the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to attack conservatives.
This year there were three categories of bias:
The New York Times disguised a left-wing political appeal under its Christmas Day editorial, “The Miracle and the Means.”
"Some years it would be nice if there really were a Santa Claus," they wrote. "Imagine it. No lists, no shopping, no gift-wrapping, no bills, no shipping costs, an extremely low carbon footprint -- and on Christmas morning the miraculous appearance of presents that find just the right balance between desire and a sort of disciplinary justice."
The New York Times’s slanted political personality reporter Mark Leibovich returned to the Times pages Thursday after a long book-leave absence to file a campaign trail story from Iowa on GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, aka “Nasty Newt”: “On Trail, Gingrich Strains to Show Nice-Guy Side.”
New York Times political reporter Ashley Parker made Wednesday’s front page with yet another “Isn’t Romney stiff?”-themed story, “The Retooled, Loose Romney, Guessing Voters’ Age and Ethnicity,” cowritten with Michael Barbaro.
The Times has put Romney's mannerisms under the microscope on several occasions. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in 2004, was another rich Northern politician with a reputation for woodenness and lack of the common touch, but it certainly wasn’t a dominant theme of Times campaign coverage.
New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters was seeing things in Wednesday’s story on secret, “dog-whistle” religious appeals by GOP candidates past and present: “Appealing to Evangelicals, Hopefuls Pack Religion Into Ads.”
“Dog-whistle politics” is a derogatory term, often employed to describe what liberals consider to be coded, subliminal racist messages “pitched” too high for the general public to recognize. Peters, who seems suspicious of the idea of appealing to evangelical Christians, gets in a dig at Catholics to boot.
New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis took the left-wing idea of extreme weather equaling harmful global warming to heart in his front-page Christmas Day “news analysis” lamenting the Republican block of measures that would document “climate change” more closely, in “Harsh Political Reality Slows Climate Studies Despite Extreme Year.” But an environmental scientist eviscerated Gillis’s article as “perhaps the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change.”
An April 20, 2008 New York Times story by David Barstow, “MESSAGE MACHINE: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand,” won a Pulitzer Prize for the explosive claim that the Pentagon had cultivated “military analysts” in a “trojan horse” campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay.
On December 1 of this year, the Washington Times reported that an investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general, spurred by Barstow’s reporting, found no wrongdoing, and quoted a spokesman for former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld saying the New York Times should return its Pulitzer. But the New York Times itself did not report the Pentagon's vindication until Christmas Day, on page A20.
Reporting from the campaign trail in Iowa on Dec. 13 as the state caucuses approach, Susan Saulny overdid the Christian “conservative” labels: “Iowa Evangelicals Split Over Caucus Endorsement.”
"Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, a conservative advocacy group popular with evangelical Christians here, has been saying supportive things recently about Newt Gingrich," she wrote, "suggesting that social conservatives are open to looking past his extramarital affairs and two divorces as they make a choice in the Republican presidential race."
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose hosted New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt, and columnist Thomas Friedman on December 16 to discuss domestic politics and the year’s events around the world. Friedman in particular was agitated about Obama's failure to sell his wonderful proposals and complained of the president: “He has never leveraged us. He never -- us, I mean the American people.” Or did he mean "us," as in New York Times liberals like the ones around Rose's table?
The entire roundtable lamented President Obama’s inability to convince Americans of his liberal agenda. Abramson faulted only Obama’s “communications failures,” not the big-government policies themselves.