So much for changing the tone. In the midst of the federal budget battle, Barack Obama raced up to Manhattan Wednesday night to pay tribute to the inflammatory race-baiter Rev. Al Sharpton, a clear effort to shore up the black vote as the 2012 presidential campaign kicks off in earnest. Yet New York City's biggest local paper, the New York Times, virtually ignored Obama's campaign stop alongside the controversial Reverend.
The Times’s rival dailies, the New York Post and the New York Daily News, both plastered large photos of President Obama with Sharpton on their covers, and ran stories inside that covered Obama paying tributes to Sharpton and his leftist organization, the Harlem-based National Action Network. (Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News.)
By contrast, Sharpton not only didn’t make the Times’s front page, the Obama-Sharpton appearance didn’t merit a single Times headline or photo. Sharpton’s very name was buried in the middle of a nine-paragraph story by Helene Cooper on page 16 of Thursday’s edition, with Cooper initially describing Obama’s speaking to “a mostly black audience.” The headline was equally opaque: “Obama Aims At Disparity in Education.” (Not that the Times is ever in any danger of insulting Sharpton by reminding its readers of his racially incendiary past.)
While the Times didn’t quote any of Obama’s praise for Sharpton, the New York Post reported:
"The other thing that hasn't changed is the National Action Network's commitment to fight injustice and inequality here in New York City and across America," Obama gushed. "That's not only a testament to Reverend Sharpton. It's a testament to all of you who are here tonight. I want to commend you for the work that you've done over the last two decades."
The Times has shied away from coverage of previous high-end Obama fund-raisers in its home city. While ignoring two expensive fundraisers Obama held in Manhattan in July 2010, the paper did devote a full story to an Obama stop that presented him in a more favorable populist light – a stop at a submarine sandwich shop in Edison, New Jersey.