Bill Clinton the centrist, Rush Limbaugh among the "far right"? That's the gist of New York Times magazine political writer Matt Bai's thesis Wednesday on how the former president may actually have hurt President Obama's chances for reelection. Bai also made his usual case about "extreme forces" in the Republican Party.
Bai argued that Clinton made a strategic misstep when he advised Obama to hammer Romney as a "severe conservative."
Buried at the bottom of page A5 in the New York Times International section Thursday: "E-Mails Offer Glimpse at What U.S. Knew in First Hours After Attack in Libya." Intelligence reporter Eric Schmitt's text was as mild as his story's headline on the matter of the leaked emails, which proved the White House had intelligence suggesting the attacks in Libya were planned terrorism, not a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muhammad clip on YouTube, as the president maintained a full two weeks after the attacks.
Schmitt provided some cover for the president by suggesting a "lag between turning often contradictory and incomplete field reporting into a finished assessment" and showed the administration and intelligence officials "trying to put into context the e-mails sent by the State Department operations center...."
Bronner, former Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times, wrung his hands over all the issues missed during the third and last presidential debate Monday night, which focused (mostly) on foreign policy. While he didn't suggest criticizing Muslim countries, or critcizing Palestinian terrorism against Israelis, he used the term against Israel, wondering where the "criticism" was of "its settlements or its occupation of the West Bank."
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan challenged her paper on its incoming chief executive Mark Thompson, who was director general of the BBC when it "killed an investigative segment on its Newsnight program about a celebrity TV personality, Jimmy Savile, accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young girls."
Tarnished Silver? The New York Times's young star pollster Nate Silver got some guff last week for dismissing Mitt Romney's large leads in the Gallup tracking poll.
In an October 18 post on his FiveThirtyEight blog at nytimes.com, "Gallup vs. the World" (it also appeared, heavily edited, in print) Silver claimed the Gallup poll was overrated and "its results turn out badly" when it's an outlier, noting that in 2008 it "had a four-point miss," predicting an 11-point win by Obama that turned out to be a seven-point margin.
Guess what other big-time poll had Obama pegged as an 11-point winner in 2008? The New York Times-CBS News poll. Though to be fair, in 2008 Silver was not with the Times but writing for his own blog after cutting his political teeth at the left-wing blog Daily Kos (Silver calls himself a "rational progressive.")
Alessandra Stanley, "The TV Watch" columnist for the New York Times, has reviewed all four debates this election season – three presidential debates and the one vice-presidential debate -- and clearly favored the Democrats in each review.
While even the liberal media conceded Romney won the first debate and that Joe Biden may have blown the vice-presidential debate with inappropriate laughter, Stanley's coverage suggested she thought the Romney rout was a boring draw and that Biden beat Ryan. Stanley also more explicitly awarded the final two presidential debates to Obama.
"Paul Ryan Can't Lose," a 5,000-word cover story by Mark Leibovich, the New York Times magazine's chief national correspondent, conformed to the writer's history of cynical, unsympathetic profiles of Republican candidates.
According to Leibovich, Newt Gingrich is "among the more divisive political figures of recent decade," always threatening to become "Nasty Newt," yet former vice president Al Gore is a "compelling" "pop culture icon." Offered the fat target of Vice President Joe Biden, Leibovich instead buttered him up. Yet former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney didn't escape: "Critics deride him as a Prince of Darkness whose occasional odd episodes - swearing at a United States senator, shooting a friend in a hunting accident and then barely acknowledging it publicly - suggest a striking indifference to how he is perceived."
Leibovich even used his Ryan profile to take an arbitrary and snotty swipe at the "let’s say, knowledge-averse bent" of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
Tony Gervino's long, embarrassingly effusive New York Times profile of gay-marriage activist and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was sufficiently over the top to embarrass Kluwe himself, if he's as self-aware as Gervino painted him on the front of the Saturday Sports section. According to "The Punter Makes His Point," Kluwe, "the most interesting man in the N.F.L.," with a "perfect verbal score on the SAT," has done tangible good for "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the Twin Cities and elsewhere" with his "ability to turn a memorable phrase."
By contrast, Times columnist Harvey Araton wasn't nearly so nice to Tim Tebow, an active Christian athlete, in a January 2012 column begrudging the time Tebow spent with a brain-damaged locker-room visitor after a playoff loss.
Is the New York Times engaging in some front-page pre-debate inoculation Monday on behalf of Obama regarding his administration's contradictory reaction to the Benghazi massacre? Reporter Eric Schmitt gave the administration the benefit of the doubt in its contradictory responses to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which it first blamed on a YouTube clip: "How the Gap Arose Between Talk and New Intelligence."
Schmitt forwarded fog-of-war-style excuses for the administration, but failed to mention Obama's United Nations speech on Sept. 25, a full two weeks after the attacks, in which the president still blamed the uprising on an anti-Mohammed YouTube clip.
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan on Sunday defended the paper against conservative criticism that it has favored Obama in its sparse Libya coverage "Connecting the Dots in Libya," and elicited this from Managing Editor Susan Chira (pictured): "We're aware that people see us as tilting liberal." But Chira also said she and her colleagues "can't be guided by that." Sullivan wrote:
The New York Times' s acclaimed poll-meister Nate Silver has a reputation for statistical expertise, but he's getting some guff for dismissing Mitt Romney's recent large leads in the Gallup tracking poll.
Silver's Thursday evening post on his FiveThirtyEight blog at nytimes.com, "Gallup vs. the World" claimed that Gallup's "results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case."
Timothy Egan, a liberal reporter for the New York Times who is now a left-wing columnist for nytimes.com, wrote a post Thursday on the second presidential debate. It followed the paper's desperate-sounding editorial that same day that tried to paint Mitt Romney as sexist for a reasonable observation about flexibility for women in the workplace. While Thursday's editorial accused Romney of a "1952 sensibility," Egan generously pegged it at 1956. Great minds think alike...?
The time capsule quality of Romney the C.E.O., circa 1956, was evident in several answers. On pay equality, it was not just “binders full of women” that made Romney seem like someone who popped to life with a hula hoop in hand. “I recognize that, if you’re going to have women in the work force, that sometimes you need to be flexible.” But only so the little honeys can get home in time to cook dinner for the gang.
With Wednesday's "Costs Seen In Income Inequality," New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey got on the paper's liberal hobby horse of income inequality, which has the imprimatur of Executive Editor Jill Abramson, who promised to make such issues a priority.
Lowrey's article was a classic of the genre, with loose talk of "the haves and the have-nots" more at home in a left-wing op-ed than a news article, though the phrasing occures regularly in the Times's alleged news sections.
New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane's mock Q&A in Thursday's edition, "What Happened in Libya? Clearing Up a Fierce Dispute," served to shield President Obama from criticism on how his administration described the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, misleadingly emphasizing that Obama "referred to the attack as an 'act of terror' twice" in two days. Shane omitted that Obama and his administration proceeded to blame the attacks on spontaneous protests over a YouTube video, with Obama himself doing so several times in a September 26 speech to the United Nations.
Shane is worried that "what happened in the attack, and disputes over who said what about it, have left many people confused." (Is "confused" code for "criticizing the Obama administration"?) He's the latest Times reporter to insist that Obama "applied the 'terror' label to the attack" in his Rose Garden address on September 12, while admitting "the reference was indirect." The Times' s own managing editors would quibble with that assessment.
The New York Times must be really worried about bolstering Obama's support among women, with a Gallup poll shows Romney pulling even with Obama among women (though reporter Michael Shear strenously downplayed the fact in a Wednesday post by saying that "other surveys -- and Mr. Obama’s top strategists -- disputed that finding.")
Wednesday's banner New York Times headline on the second presidential debate was studiously neutral: "Obama and Romney Mount Biting Attacks in Debate Rematch." Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny's underlying report played it straight, as did Peter Baker in his front-page "news analysis," under the punchy headline "Punch, Punch, Punch."
But while the Obama cheerleading was muted in print, Times journalists let their slant show during live fact-check of the debate, and especially on the TimesCast. Baker wrote for Wednesday's edition:
The second 2012 presidential debate hosted by Candy Crowley got the full court press from the New York Times, with live fact-checking online and a 40-minute TimesCast wrap-up, that found Times reporters wrongly defending Obama and bashing Mitt Romney on a fiery exchange on Libya. Times journalists were highly supportive of Barack Obama's performance and critical of the "peevish" Mitt Romney, who "was arguably showing disrespect for the president," as Jackie Calmes insisted.
Times journalists also falsely insisted that President Obama had called the Benghazi attacks "an act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after, and that Mitt Romney had made a "serious gaffe" when he suggested Obama had not. Yet in fact, as two other Times journalists softly pointed out later in the videocast, Obama was only speaking generally when he said in his Rose Garden speech that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation." Of the Benghazi assault, Managing Editor Richard Berke admitted that Obama "didn't say 'it was a terrorist attack.' It was more of a vague quote."
Atlanta-based New York Times reporter Kim Severson wrote Monday about Christian conservative backlash against a school program started by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center in which kids "are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to," "intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying." ("Seeing a Homosexual Agenda, a Christian Group Protests an Anti-Bullying Program.")
But while the American Family Association was tabled as "a conservative evangelical group" and "a Bible-based cultural watchdog organization," the lefties at SPLC, who go around labeling other nonprofits they disapprove of as "hate groups," get kinder labeling from Severson, who has promoted the group's propaganda before.
The New York Times Sunday Styles profile by Amy Chozick of Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, "A Messenger Who Does the Shooting," reads as a bit behind on current events (many Sunday profile-type pieces are written several days in advance).
It comes off like a snapshot from before Cutter shamelessly politicized the Libya attack last Thursday by suggesting the only reason anyone cared about Benghazi was the Romney-Ryan campaign. And Chozick must have written the profile during that extremely brief time when the Cutter-inspired emphasis on Big Bird seemed hip and clever, not desperate and out of touch.
Two New York Times's liberal columnists are agreed: Repealing Obama-care would have a massive body count. Paul Krugman (pictured) wished readers a happy Monday with his cheerfully titled column "Death by Ideology."
Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.
Specter served as a liberal Republican for most of his career before switching to the Democratic Party in 2009 in an unsuccessful attempt to preserve his seat. But while Specter battled conservative icon Judge Robert Bork and helped deny Bork a seat on the Supreme Court, it's a later Supreme Court dust-up the Times and liberals refuse to forgive him for: His tough questioning of Anita Hill after she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during Thomas's 1991 Supreme Court hearings.
New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan's Sunday column on drone strikes featured an interesting comment about (media?) bias against Republicans from David Rohde, a reporter kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008.
First, Sullivan criticized the Obama administration from the left:
The Biden-Ryan vice-presidential debate Thursday night brought out the media's "fact check" squads, including the New York Times, which had a squad of reporters evaluating the statements of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan online during the debate. Still, with perhaps 15 reporters on the job Thursday night, the paper still had to out-source a crucial Biden misstatement on Libya to the one-man fact-check machine at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, the next morning.
The Times boiled down a few of its findings for Friday's print edition under "Check Point" on topics including Medicare, the stimulus, and the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
James Taranto has written at Opinion Journal that this new-style media "fact checking" is "overwhelmingly biased toward the left" and "gives journalists much freer rein to express their opinions by allowing them to pretend to be rendering authoritative judgments about the facts." The Times's debate product doesn't refute Taranto's argument. Reporter Michael Cooper had the top "Check Point" item and per usual found the Republican at fault:
In a surprise, New York Times' Public Editor Margaret Sullivan criticized her paper in a Thursday afternoon blog post for downplaying the congressional hearings into the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. The Times made the interesting decision to put the second day of hearings on page 3 Thursday, in the International section, as opposed to the National section, which begins in the middle of the paper. In contrast, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal both put the hearings on the front page, while the Los Angeles Times carried original reporting from Libya (not the hearings) on the front page.
Sullivan asked the Times's editors why they chose to ignore the story in their main section and soon got a response: "there were six better stories."
Inside Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters over the past few days, the data pouring in was unmistakable. Aides scouring the results of focus groups and national polls found that undecided voters watching the presidential debate in Denver seemed startled when the Republican candidate portrayed all year by Democrats -- the ultraconservative, unfeeling capitalist -- did not materialize.
New York Times reporter Monica Davey was in Wisconsin on Thursday, playing up the Democratic candidate's Rep. Tammy Baldwin chances in her race for an open Senate seat against former Wisconsin governor, Republican Tommy Thompson. The headline was a puzzler: "A Republican Haven Is Finding Itself Split."
Though Gov. Scott Walker pushed through his public sector union reforms and survived a recall vote, Wisconsin hasn't been a "Republican Haven" for decades. The state has voted Democratic in the last six presidential elections, last voting for Republican Ronald Reagan in 1984 along with all but one other state. Between 1993 and 2011 Wisconsin was represented in the U.S. Senate by two Democrats, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold (Feingold lost to Republican Ron Johnson in the November 2010 election, and Kohl is retiring, leaving the open seat Baldwin and Thompson are fighting over).
When Republicans began questioning President Obama’s birth certificate four years ago, it seemed at first like a petulant reaction to a lost election, a flush of nativist and racist anger that would diminish over time. But the preposterous charges never went away. As this election cycle shows, many in the Republican Party continue to see the president as the center of a broad and malevolent liberal conspiracy to upend the truth.
As Congress holds hearings on the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the New York Times placed its partisan political story by Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt on page A10 under a neutral, purely political headline, "Before Hearings on Libya Attack, Charges of Playing Politics." The text box was mild: "An inquiry is expected to focus on potential intelligence failures."
The Washington Post at least put Benghazi on the front page, in a story by Anne Gearan under the critical but off-target headline "Deadly Benghazi Attack Could Mar Clinton Legacy" (as if Hillary Clinton's reputation is the key issue at stake, not the four Americans killed). NewsBuster Ken Shepherd critiqued Gearan's story.