Julie Hirschfeld Davis's recent New York Times stories, featuring President Obama letting himself off the White House leash, have given the president free rein to mock in rambling fashion his Republican opponents in the runup to the congressional elections.
The Supreme Court on Monday delivered its verdict in the closely watched Hobby Lobby case, ruling 5-4 that the Christian-run craft store doesn't have to obey the Obamacare mandate that requires health care plans to pay for birth-control drugs that may induce abortion. Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion stated that requiring such closely-held corporations to provide such coverage violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yet New York Times legal reporter Adam Liptak's lead story Tuesday, under the banner headline "Court Limits Birth Control Rule," managed to quote liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in the second sentence.
Even if the Republicans win the Senate this year, it's still bad news, according to New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse. Hulse, whose reporting reliably supports Democratic wishful thinking, found a potential dark cloud for Republicans if they take over the Senate in 2014 in Tuesday's "Congressional Memo, "Mavericks Could Fracture a G.O.P. Senate Majority."
The "Memo from Birmingham" in Monday's New York Times, "Reading, Writing and Allegations," by reporter Katrin Bennhold, partially whitewashed the problem of Islamic separatism and possible tolerance for extremism at a high school in Birmingham, England.
Bennhold, playing lightly over allegations against Park View School, strove to make a recent UK government investigation sound ludicrous and prejudiced.
Timothy Egan, the liberal New York Times reporter turned ultra-liberal columnist, flashed hostility to Wal-Mart (and capitalism in general), as well as a broad ignorance of economics in his latest Sunday Review column, "Corporate Daddy."
For some time now, Republicans in Congress have given up the pretense of doing anything to improve the lot of most Americans. Raising the minimum wage? They won’t even allow a vote to happen. Cleaner air for all? They may partially shut down the government in a coming fight on behalf of major polluters. Add to that the continuing obstruction of student loan relief efforts, and numerous attempts to defund health care, and you have a party actively working to make life miserable for millions.
As Iraq descends once more into chaos in the wake of Obama's withdrawal of U.S. troops, New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer took a lazy, snarky tone in a Thursday news profile of "neoconservative" John Bolton, he of the "sea-otter mustache" (and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) who has been outspoken against Obama's foreign policy: "Former Envoy Pipes Up in Conservative Chorus of ‘Told You So’ on Iraq."
On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Coral Davenport nudged Obama from the left ("Governments Await Obama’s Move on Carbon to Gauge U.S. Climate Efforts") to show "how serious [he] is" in getting with the international program to stop global warming. The effort apparently involves the president shackling the coal industry of his own country.
The article's upshot: Global warming will overwhelm island nations and cause mass destruction, and it's mainly America's fault. Yet even reporter Davenport eventually admits that it's China, not the United States, that is currently the world's most harmful polluter, though China gets a pass.
New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro issued a gushing profile Sunday of Jeb Bush, former Republican governor of Florida, possible presidential contender, and, apparently, the smart Bush: "Jeb Bush Gives Party Something To Think About." By contrast, President George W. Bush, who "left Yale with gentleman’s C’s after four years" (shouldn't that at least be "graduated Yale"?) is a potential millstone around Jeb's neck.
There is much praise of Jeb Bush's voracious book reading and formidable intelligence, but a Barbaro tweet reveals a side agenda – denigrating GWB: "My deep dive into the intellectual life of Jeb Bush, who's definitely not his brother." (Barbaro has previously gone to silly extremes to denigrate Republican politicians.)
On Thursday, New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse, long a reliable mouthpiece for Democrats, spelled out some handy tips for the Democrats as they struggle to retain seats in the Republican-held House of Representatives, under the headline "Democrats Seek Issues to Lure Midterm Votes After Races Buoy G.O.P.," a headline considerably more balanced than Hulse's actual story, which simply regurgitated the Democrats's simplistic, unflattering, poll-tested descriptions of the Republican Party.
Hooray for havoc? The New York Times's new Upshot project got unusual prime print placement for its Tuesday story predicting – hoping? -- that disasters accompanying the upcoming weather event El Nino could boost prospects for climate change legislation. It will "probably increase global temperatures, perhaps to the highest levels ever...offering vindication to maligned climate models and re-energizing climate activists." Evidently floods and landslides are a small price to pay for that.
The New York Times is obsessed with the disturbing rightward shift in North Carolina, and used the uninspiring hook (the start of a state legislative session) to run yet another ominous story. It was reporter Trip Gabriel's turn on Sunday to document how not even North Carolina's governor is right-wing enough for the newly conservative state legislature: "North Carolina Governor Tested by Own G.O.P. as Legislators Return." (Though the North Carolina left still hates Gov. Pat McCory enough to get him disinvited from a local music festival.)
Times reporter Kim Severson has also provided sympathetic coverage of left-wing protests against "the newly conservative Republican leadership in North Carolina [which is] raising its voice against the loss of the state’s centrist government and what they see as diminished recognition of the poor and minorities."
The online subhead hinted at it: "Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Tom Cotton of Arkansas are running for the Senate as common-man conservatives but share high-flying pedigrees." Weisman's article is sprinkled with "gotcha" attempts that don't stick:
The New York Times is desperately trying to reduce Republican complaints of the IRS persecution of Tea Party groups and the White House cover-up of the massacre of Americans in Benghazi to cynical GOP campaign ploys trotted out in an election year.
The paper's strategy is exemplified in Thursday's story by Jeremy Peters, "House Vote on Former I.R.S. Official Signals Element of G.O.P. Election Strategy." The House voted 231-178 to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress, and requested a special prosecutor to investigate the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups. But you would have a tough time figuring that out from Peters's shallow, partisan, politically obsessed reporting, light on details but heavy on suggestions of unfair GOP politics. Peters couldn't even finish his lead sentence without referring to how Republicans hoped to employ the IRS issue, as well as Benghazi and Obama-care, to their advantage in the mid-term elections.
While his New York Times columnist colleague Maureen Dowd made liberals nervous with some pungent punches at the Clintons (their "opprobrium and well-known taste for vengeance") in her Sunday Review piece, Thomas Friedman's "It's Not Just About Obama" was surely soothing, as he rose in "partial defense" of Obama's passive foreign policy, saying that the enemy is us and our collective failure to raise taxes to save the environment. And of course, President Bush.
Even though the Supreme Court voted 6-2 to uphold Michigan's ban on affirmative action, New York Times's Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak in his lead story in Wednesday's paper first quoted Justice Sonia Sotomayor's dissent, the "most passionate and most significant dissent of her career."
Liptak also promoted liberal ex-Justice John Paul Stevens's tirade against money in politics in a Tuesday interview, with the reporter lamenting that the Citizens United case -- in which the Court made the pro-free-speech ruling that government can't ban election spending by corporations -- had become "a judicial landmark."
The actual article by reporter Jonathan Martin was equally shallow, a partisan-driven analysis that failed to mention the bizarre, confusing math problems that have gotten parents up in arms. Martin left out the inconvenient fact that even the liberal governor of New York State is a critic, as reported a few days previous in the Times, and that the state teacher's union had withdrawn its support until fixes are made.
The New York Times resolutely refused to see a pattern of jihad on the part of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in its sympathetic front-page Tuesday profile of his prison conditions. Yet on Wednesday the Times ran an op-ed that used an anti-Semitic killer in Kansas to represent the hidden domestic terror threat of military veterans.
The New York Times has made a front-page push for higher taxes and stringent regulation in the name of "climate change" two days in a row (the Washington Post had the self-control to leave its own related stories off the front page).
New York Times political reporter Ashley Parker dominated the paper this weekend, getting front page stories both Saturday and Sunday, one praising a liberal Democrat as a diligent workhorse (just like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton!), the other criticizing a conservative Republican as controversial and out of the mainstream.
On Saturday's front page she fawned over liberal, former comedian Sen. Al Franken: "Franken’s Campaign Against Comcast Is No Joke." On Sunday she turned around and called out the "strains" in the Republican Party in a U.S. Senate primary race in North Carolina, warning of "far-right Senate candidates" that had won primaries in 2012 only to lose in the general.
The New York Times attacked Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's new budget proposal from several angles on Wednesday. Congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman adopted an accusatory pro-Democratic tone in his report, "Ryan’s Budget Would Cut $5 Trillion in Spending Over a Decade," warning that it proposed "steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, and the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act just as millions are reaping the benefits of the law," and promised it would give Democrats a big target in the 2014 elections.
Elsewhere, columnist Paul Krugman called Ryan a "con man," and an editorial accused Ryan of having "very dangerous ideas."
New York Times political correspondent turned left-wing editorial writer David Firestone unleashed a fiery attack on a GOP donor in an inflammatory nytimes.com post Monday afternoon: "The Line to Kiss Sheldon Adelson's Boots."
The very thought of Republican politicians speaking at a Las Vegas meeting of an Adelson-backed lobbying group made Firestone want to retch:
According to the front-page story, after a Supreme Court ruling last year loosened restrictions, "swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting," which "shake up fundamental components of state election systems." Reporters Steven Yaccino and Lizette Alvarez Pivotal fretted that "Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election."
The Supreme Court today hears oral arguments in a highly charged case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which will decide whether private corporations under Obama-care have the right to exercise religious objections to covering certain forms of emergency birth control, like morning-after pills, that the company believes are tantamount to abortion. The chain of arts-and-craft stores is challenging the provision under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which sets a high bar on government regulation involving religious belief.
Barack Obama, Catholic in spirit? That was the tone of "The Catholic Roots of Obama's Activism," Jason Horowitz's fawning front-page Sunday New York Times profile of Obama's brief mid-1980s spell as a Catholic-affiliated political activist in Chicago. According to Horowitz, the young Obama was "steeped in the social justice wing of the church" before becoming an allegedly "pragmatic" politician. The president meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican next week.
Obama's incendiary race-baiting preacher Jeremiah Wright, whose church he attended for decades, is mentioned only in passing, and Wright's controversies, including spouting that the 9-11 attacks were "America’s chickens are coming home to roost," and his "God damn America!" rant, were totally absent.
New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis declared yet another "global warming" emergency in his latest monthly "By Degrees" column, "Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate," on the front of Tuesday's Science Times section. The text box read: "A stark new report is intended to awaken the public to the urgency of the threat to the planet."
Gillis, who works as an apocalyptic climate activist from his journalist perch at the Times, profiled Dr. Mario Molina, who alerted the world to the hazards that chloroflurocarbons posed to the ozone layer, but now sees an even greater threat to the planet, as shown in a report given before official release to the sympathetic Gillis.
On the eve of his Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1991, Judge Clarence Thomas was confronted with old, unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment by former colleague Anita Hill. A fawning documentary of Hill has just been released, and New York Times's political reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg uses it as an excuse for a fawning interview with Hill on the front page of Sunday's Arts & Leisure section under the headline "Standing by Her Story."
Stolberg is only the latest Times reporter to sympathize strongly with Hill in the decades-long saga, slamming insensitive male senators who took years to "make amends" for their tough questioning of Hill and portraying her as a "legend" for "awe-struck," teary-eyed young women.
Tuesday's lead New York Times editorial attack on the paper's favorite conservative bogeyman, the Koch brothers ("The Democrats Stand Up to the Kochs") followed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's political playbook, denouncing Obama-care horror stories as "phony," while approving of Reid's Senate-floor smear of donors Charles and David Koch as "un-American."
And a recent Times report on Reid's push by Ashley Parker (pictured) skipped completely the slur by Reid, who stated in a February 26 speech on the Senate floor denouncing Koch-funded ads publicizing ObamaCare horror stories: "The Koch brothers are about as un-American as anyone I can imagine."
The New York Times covered the latest annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with its usual mix of suspicion, overloaded labeling bias, and anti-GOP doomsaying. The paper's skeptical coverage of the three-day conservative confab, held this year at National Harbor on the Potomac, opened with two stories in Friday's edition, one on the organizers's attempts to put "a less strident face on the convention and the party."
Reporter Jonathan Martin's rundown of the speech by Republican star Sen. Marco Rubio, still in the mix for the 2016 presidential race, contained nine "conservative" labels, which actually makes it a model of restraint for the Times compared to last year's label-heavy reporting. Yet the question remains: Just how many "conservative" labels do you need, when the conference has the actual word "conservative" in the title?