On Monday's front page, New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Trip Gabriel used the upcoming vice presidential debate to criticize Obama's performance in his debate with Mitt Romney last week: "Biden Up Next, Obama's Aides Plot Comeback."
The Times didn't flinch from calling out Obama's "disaster" of a debate performance, but did find some excuses for the president, including distractions like the terrorist massacre in Libya (though that didn't stop Obama from attending a fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day). The Times also dropped in this revelation: "Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain."
But he was unusually passionate while flashing his disdain for the Romney campaign and those Americans who (horrors) think PBS is a drain on the federal government. The Times' knee-jerk reaction to such a puny cut in federal spending was revealing.
So much for sophisticated liberalism. Nicholas Kristof's Thursday New York Times column is titled "Why Let the Rich Hoard All the Toys?" Despite (or because of) an opening that's almost a parody of simple-minded liberalism, it was the 1# most e-mailed Times story as of Friday morning.
Imagine a kindergarten with 100 students, lavishly supplied with books, crayons and toys.
Yet you gasp: one avaricious little boy is jealously guarding a mountain of toys for himself. A handful of other children are quietly playing with a few toys each, while 90 of the children are looking on forlornly -- empty-handed.
In a bit of a surprise, New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Jim Rutenberg filed a longish article on a recently unearthed Obama video from 2007 showing the president in a fiery, racially charged mode and praising his anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, a video downplayed or ignored by most of the mainstream media: "Race at Issue for Obama As Right Revives '07 Talk."
Less surprising was the snotty text box: "New fodder for a favorite topic in conservative circles." And the reporters took care to trace the tape's provenance down the conservative media food chain.
The first Obama-Romney presidential debate of 2012 ran under this less-than-informative banner headline in Thursday's New York Times: "Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy." The actual headline to the story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg also failed to capture the sense, overwhelming even among the liberal press, that Romney had helped himself with a sharp, energetic performance at the University of Denver: "Feel of Seminar as Accusations Fly From Rivals."
The Washington Post's banner headline was more direct and captured the consensus of the night: "Romney takes fight to Obama," while the story claimed the president "found himself on the defensive repeatedly." Other headlines from around the country captured the same effect.
By contrast, you had to parse the Times to sense that Romney won the night. (One significant Timesman, former Executive Editor Bill Keller, reluctantly awarded Romney the debate on his Twitter feed, calling Romney's performance "shameless but masterful.")
Vice President Joe Biden's latest gaffe came when he asked a North Carolina crowd how Romney and Ryan can "justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years?" perhaps forgetting his boss has been in charge during that exact time frame (and that the Romney campaign denies it will raise taxes on the middle class). It predictably failed to make the print edition of the New York Times.
The New York Times's Sunday Styles section offered some hard-hitting journalism about the toned-up and good-looking First Couple, complete with fabulous photos. Joyce Purnick mock-criticized Michelle Obama for looking so "toned and elegant" in "(Psst: We Feel Bad About Our Arms.)" Text box: "It's time to face the truth: we don't all look like the first lady."
I had expected to keep mum about my problem with Michelle Obama until after the election, but my frustration has gotten the better of me. I can contain it no longer.
I refer not to her politics, but to her arms-- her bare, toned, elegant arms. Enough!
The latest cover story in the New York Times Book Review is a long, pseudo-erudite bashing by Mark Lilla of a conservative book, marinaded in Lilla's selective view of the history of Progressivism in the United States. Lilla, humanities professor at Columbia University, lambastes Charles Kesler's "I Am The Change – Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism." The text box portrayed conservatives as motivated solely by blind rage: "More than a few American citizens are loathing themselves blind over Barack Obama. Why?"
Lilla opened with a standard "clever" bait-and-switch that he probably thinks will shock people, but which most conservatives will figure out long before the end:
The New York Times Sunday Review, run by the ultra-liberal Andrew Rosenthal, again pressed for the Democratic side by running an op-ed that was the #2 most e-mailed Times story as of Monday afternoon, the provocatively titled "The Conservative Case for Obamacare," by J.D. Kleinke, a resident fellow at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
If Mitt Romney’s pivots on President’s Obama’s health care reform act have accelerated to a blur -- from repealing on Day 1, to preserving this or that piece, to punting the decision to the states -- it is for an odd reason buried beneath two and a half years of Republican political condemnations: the architecture of the Affordable Care Act is based on conservative, not liberal, ideas about individual responsibility and the power of market forces.
As shown on Times Watch this morning, New York Times media reporter David Carr may pooh-pooh the idea of liberal bias. But he's a stronger supporter of the First Amendment than some of his Times colleagues, like movie critic A.O. Scott, who ludicrously defended a left-wing journalist's vandalism of the subway poster as "free expression" and even "democracy."
In "The Sweet Spot," a weekly videocast featuring Carr and movie critic A.O. Scott discussed controversial advertisements put up in the New York City subway system by anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
On Thursday the New York Times's Romney-beat campaign reporter Ashley Parker returned to Romney's tired "47 percent" controversy in "Romney Ad Reaches Out to Working Class." Not content with recycling old anti-Romney issues, Parker also recycled her criticism of Romney – so far she has described Romney as "defensive" in at least 12 news stories, including this one, according to a Nexis search.
New York Times White House correspondent Jackie Calmes off lead in Wednesday's edition on Obama's struggle with the federal deficit, "Test for Obama As Deficit Stays Over $1 Trillion." Credit Calmes for the premise and the Times for the prominent placement, but as usual, Calmes waved the blame away from Obama and again clung to the dubious idea that ObamaCare would actually reduce the deficit.
"Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery," she wrote:
New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott didn't much like "Won't Back Down," about two mothers fighting uncaring teachers and immovable bureaucracy (including the teachers' union) in an inner city school. Scott, a liberal, ironically warned that pious expressions of concern for 'the children' are usually evidence of a political agenda in overdrive" (as if liberals never bleat about "the children"!) The Times much preferred a left-wing propaganda piece on Occupy Wall Street.
Scott, who in 2004 praised left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore as "a credit to the republic" in his review of "Fahrenheit 9-11," wrote on Friday:
Occasional (biased) New York Times reporter Ginia Bellafante lamented at the lack of traction gained by recent cultural portrayals of the greed of the "moneyed class," in her Sunday "Big City" column "Rich as the Devil, But No Gordon Gekko." The text box: "Recent pop culture efforts to render the moneyed class in all its moral vacuity have gained little traction." Yes, that same morally vacuous moneyed class that the Times avidly caters to. Bellafante wrote of the new TV show 666 Park Avenue:
Independent political groups have long been the guerrilla warriors of presidential elections, tossing explosive advertisements into the middle of a campaign like hand grenades, with little regard for the strategy of the candidate they support.
The New York Times is certainly not treating Barack Obama's statement on 60 Minutes that the death of four Americans in Libya, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, as one of a few "bumps in the road," as a callous and politically damaging gaffe. Reporter Ashley Parker reluctantly covered Romney delivering "talking points" to the media on the matter, in "Republican Team Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy," but her story opened by highlighting Romney's "tough" time, including yet another mention of Romney's "47 percent" comment at a private fundraiser.
In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama was asked by CBS's Steve Kroft whether "the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"
Obama responded in part: "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."
New York Times technology correspondent Somini Sengupta wrote a depressing article for the Sunday Review suggesting free speech could be limited by corporations (at the behest of government) in the interest of not offending the sensibilities of violent radical Muslims -- "Free Speech in the Age of YouTube."
Sengupta also seemed to sign on to the false notion that the anti-American violence in Egypt and Libya was tied to the shoddy old anti-Muhammad clip posted on YouTube, when in fact the violence on the anniversary of 9-11 had been long planned and the clip a pretext at best. (Meanwhile, Times editorial board member Lincoln Caplan was also disturbingly ambivalent on "absolutist" free speech on the domestic front.)
Again the Times focused on the political damage fostered by Mitt Romney's (accurate) statement at a fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans do not pay income taxes. Meanwhile, the Times buried two controversial Obama comments. One is an old audio tape of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution," a remark reporter Richard Oppel Jr. actually defended in Thursday's edition.
New York Times reporter turned editorial writer David Firestone showed extreme sensitivity to the tender feelings of Democrats in his Wednesday afternoon post, "The ‘Redistribution’ of Wealth." In an editorial Sunday he dubiously claimed "Don't Tell Anyone, But the Stimulus Worked."
Guided by pollsters like Frank Luntz, the Republican party upgraded all rich people into “job creators,” and tarnished the estate tax by calling it the “death tax.” Its candidates prefer “energy exploration” to oil drilling, and insist on the “religious freedom” of church groups to deny freedom of reproductive choice to their employees. Carefully choosing words to disguise or express contempt is so vital to the party’s strategy that Republicans won’t even properly use the name of the Democratic Party, cutting off the final “ic.”
The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.
New York Times reporters Annie Lowrey (pictured) and Michael Cooper issued a hostile account on Wednesday poking at Romney's surreptitiously taped comments at a fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, "Much of Romney's View on Taxes Conflicts With Longtime G.O.P. Stand." Was Romney truly "join[ing] the battle on social programs," as the opening line stated? And can Erick Erickson of Red State possibly just be a conservative activist, as opposed to a "conservative firebrand."
Tuesday's TimesCast on nytimes.com opened with a discussion of the "devastating" and "horrible moment" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign that was the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida in May noting “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." According to host Megan Liberman, Romney's words "seems to feed perfectly into the Obama campaign's narrative about Romney, that he's just a guy who doesn't care about regular people."
Liberman: "The Romney campaign is playing defense today after the release of this hidden camera video. National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg joins me now to talk about it. So Jim, is this just another gaffe, or is this video really as devastating as a lot of people on both the right and the left are saying that it is?"
One would hope that "free speech" would emerge the clear winner with a Times journalist covering the story. But Kirkpatrick played the "context" card, sidestepping the clear attacks on free expression demanded by Islamic extremists to the point of sounding apologetic for free expression.
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
The New York Times celebrated the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in a fashion that vindicates former Public Editor Arthur Brisbane's concern that the paper celebrates left-wing movements like Occupy "more like causes than news subjects."
First was Sunday's "Dear Bankers: Thanks for Wrecking Our Lives..." by Mark Greif, the founding editor of n+1 magazine and editor of “The Trouble Is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street." His article in the Times featured illustrations by Mike McQuade of letters written to the big bad banks. Greif introduced the letters:
The New York Times is milking its latest poll, showing some good news for Obama, to maximum effect. Sunday's front-page featured a poll story from one of the paper's top Obama boosters, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes (pictured): "Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground." Text box: "Polls Show Favor for Obama on Issue of Party Trust." Calmes writes from Orlando:
A label-crazy New York Timesreport from John Eligon in Kansas City, Mo., on a kerfuffle over Obama's birth certificate featured loaded language about "far-right Republicans" pushing "stringent social policies."
"Citing a wave of angry backlash, a Kansas man on Friday withdrew a petition in which he argued that President Obama should be removed from the state’s election ballot because he did not meet citizenship requirements," he wrote.