Riding to the defense of the Obama administration, New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel questionably termed allegations by conservatives that Obama had weakened federal welfare policy "a stretch" in a Wednesday news story, "Romney Presses Obama On Work in Welfare Law."
But scholars from the Heritage Foundation disagree and rebut the main point in defense raised by the Times. "[Health and Human Services] now claims that states receiving a waiver must 'commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s prior performance.' But given the normal turnover rate in welfare programs, the easiest way to increase the number of people moving from 'welfare to work' is to increase the number entering welfare in the first place." Heritage also defended Romney against the White House's hypocrisy charge.
Has the Tea Party truly "siphoned energy and support from violent fringe groups"? On Wednesday James Dao and Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times reported on the murderous rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin: "Music Style Is Called Supremacist Recruiting Tool."
After working in the threat of "ultra-right-wing militias" (though all indiciations are that the killer acted alone), Dao and Kovaleski threw in a reference to the Tea Party as a "more mainstream alternative" to such violent domestic terrorist outfits, though there has never been violence or arrests at Tea Party rallies.
New York Times reporter Amy Chozick gave respectful attention Wednesday to President Obama's moonlighting as media critic: "Obama Is an Avid Reader, and Critic, of the News." Chozick pushed the pro-Democratic idea of the media pursuing "false balance," while pumping up Obama as "a voracious consumer of news." Almost totally ignored: Media favoritism toward Barack Obama.
Chozick started with Obama, who has been a frequent critic of conservative outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio show, complaining about a three-year-old story from a rival newspaper.
The New York Times handed over more real estate to controversial left-wing comedian Bill Maher, this time in the Sunday Book Review section, where Maher praised a book in support of legalizing marijuana in a review and in the front section of the Book Review, where Maher lamented: "The drug war, just like the war on terror, created jobs and budgets, and the beneficiaries don’t want to give them up, even though they know they’re fighting an immoral and unwinnable war."
New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane on July 29 introduced The Agenda, a special online campaign section that promises to put the "big issues" on the table and "outline potential solutions." Brisbane hoped the special online section would "elevate debate" on substantive issues, but so far it's functioning as an excuse for reporters to call for liberal solutions to imagined problems like income inequality and climate change.
Environmental reporter John Broder is covering climate change in the "Planet" section, under the opinionized subhead "The lagging U.S. response to climate change." His August 3 entry, "Who Are Your Sources?," featured a silly photo of Glenn Beck from his former Fox News show as a supposed example of where climate change skeptics get their information.
In his Monday online column, "The Leak Police," former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller worked in a cheap shot against Mitt Romney while arguing that the Obama administration "without really setting out to do so, already surpassed all previous administrations in its prosecution of leakers, has begun new investigations into disclosures by The Times, Newsweek, The Associated Press and others." Keller wrote:
New York Times sports reporter Jere Longman doesn't approve of a certain Olympic female track and field athlete. His piece on the front of Sunday's sports section, "For Lolo Jones, Everything Is Image," rubbed in the fact that Jones hasn't won an Olympic medal, casts doubt on whether she will do so on Wednesday, and sneeringly claimed that Jones "will be whatever anyone wants her to be -- vixen, virgin, victim -- to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses." Even worse: She's a Christian and fan of Tim Tebow.
A photo caption read: "Lolo Jones has received more attention than any other American track and field athlete based on what some have called a cynical marketing strategy that is long on hyperbole and short on achievement."
Eligon's story could be the paper's all-time winner as far as labeling density, with a staggering 33 uses of the word "conservative" in non-quoted material within the 1,367-word article, plus two labels in photo captions, plus the one in the headline. By contrast, the common conjunction "and" appeared a mere 27 times under the same parameters. (Yet the Times find it very hard to locate liberals.)
New York Times political reporter Peter Baker's Thursday "campaign memo," "Philosophic Clash Over Government's Role Highlights Parties' Divide," marks the first appearance in the Times of President Obama's already notorious slam on business, which, according to Baker's helpful spin, "make clear that he celebrates individual achievement and free enterprise while believing that they are bolstered by collective investment."
It took only a few days for it to become a favorite Republican talking point. President Obama told an audience that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.”
And it only took six days for the remarks to appear in the Times, on Thursday (Obama made the remarks last Friday night in Roanoke, Virginia). The rest of the media were also behind, as documented by the MRC's Geoff Dickens. Meanwhile, Romney surrogate John Sununu's crack that Obama should "learn how to be an American" made instant news at the paper.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman helped the Democrats's tax-hike agenda in his front-page story Wednesday, "At Fiscal Cliff, Anti-Tax Vow Gets New Look," suggesting Obama's proposed tax hikes were slight and "considerably smaller" by percentage of the U.S. economy than those installed by President Clinton in 1993, as if such an arcane statistic was the only worthwhile one for judging the wisdom of a tax hike.
New New York Times reporter Rebecca Berg gave the Obama camp the benefit of the doubt in Wednesday's "Shift in Welfare Policy Draws G.O.P. Protests." Berg didn't question whether the administration was purposely weakening welfare reform's work requirements for political advantage, but merely assumed the Obama camp was making a purely procedural move to give states "more latitude" in administering the welfare-to-work programs.
A move by the Obama administration to give states more latitude in running federal welfare-to-work programs has set off a firestorm among Republicans, who say it undercuts the work requirements set forth in the 1996 overhaul of welfare policy.
Congressional Democrats failed to pass the DISCLOSE act Monday, legislation that would require non-profits to identify their donors. New York Times eporter Jonathan Weisman joined the push on Tuesday. Even the headline was regretful about the limits of liberal campaign finance "reform" to rein in a Republican group who defeated a Democratic congressman in 2010: "Tax-Exempt Group’s Election Activity Highlights Limits of Campaign Finance Rules."
Weisman used an example that sounded handpicked from a liberal activist group to make the case for DISCLOSE (not actually named that by the Times, which only used the ponderous full name for the legislation).
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller's Monday column defended Obama's embattled health-care law against Republican "slurs" and "lies," in "Five Obamacare Myths." And Keller calling the Democratic-slanted "truth squad" FactCheck.org "impartial" won't do much for his credibility among conservatives, even if he does call himself a "devout capitalist."
On the subject of the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur -- a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues -- “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” -- rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
It was all Occupy Wall Street all the time in Sunday's New York Times, with no less than four favorable references to the left-wing sit-in scattered throughout the paper. The Tea Party movement certainly hasn't permeated the pages of the Times in such friendly fashion.
Meanwhile, the paper continues to downplay or ignore violence committed by the Occupy movement. The Times did not cover the riot by Occupy LA the night of July 12, where four officers were injured and 17 protesters arrested after protesters tried to transform a monthly "Artwalk" event into a "Chalk Walk" protest and begin hurling rocks and bottles at police officers in riot gear.
Veteran New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm covered a lawsuit filed by "women's rights advocates" against new restrictions on abortion in Arizona: "Lawsuit Tries to Block New Arizona Abortion Law." Favorable treatment for the pro-abortion side was evident in Eckholm's labeling and source disparity.
A supporter of the law, Cathi Herrod, was identified as president of "a conservative Christian group" and given three paragraphs to make her case, while Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Dr. Paul Isaacson, a Phoenix abortionist were granted seven paragraphs to state their case, with the added benefit of not being slapped with an ideological label.
New York Times liberal reporter turned liberal columnist Timothy Egan's Thursday nytimes.com column, "Tribes of the Swing States," began with an intriguing rundown of what Obama and Romney have in common, before swerving into ridiculously self-righteous liberalism:
What’s little known, and certainly unmentioned on the campaign trail, is what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have in common. Both have family histories with polygamy. Both had fathers born in foreign countries. Both went to Harvard. Both are wealthy.
On Thursday's edition of the New York Times's daily TimesCast, liberal columnists Charles Blow and Bill Keller discussed Mitt Romney's appearance at the NAACP convention (which Keller, the paper's former executive editor, found condescending).
They took on the issue of voter ID laws in various states. Over a montage of still photos of blacks in line to vote, Keller called voter fraud "kind of a tiny problem comapred to voter participation." Blow one-upped Keller, saying "not just a tiny problem I mean, it's minuscule."
In her latest nytimes.com column, posted Wednesday night, "The Mystery of John Roberts," Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, retraced previous conservatives losses at the Supreme Court from the pre-Internet days of the early '90s and the relatively muted response of conservative activists.
That set the stage for Greenhouse to criticize the "torrent of right-wing leaks" and "invective" that poured over Roberts after his shock decision upholding Obama-Care. Greenhouse, whose strident liberal moralizing is obvious now that she is no longer a reporter, suggested Roberts may have "evolved" to his position partially due to "the breathtaking radicalism of the other four conservative justices," and quoted one of her favorite judges in suggesting Roberts may read the criticism and think to himself "What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?"
No matter what campaign tactic Mitt Romney chooses, it's the wrong one. A July 12 New York Times headline reads: "Romney Faces Calls to Deliver Counterpunch." Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker began their front-page "campaign memo" relaying concerns from the GOP that he is not counterattacking Obama:
Mitt Romney and his team of advisers built a reputation during the Republican primaries as tough street fighters skilled in the tactics of political warfare. They quietly took pride in tearing apart Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of their rivals.
Parker emphasized the "cackles and boos" he received for his criticism of Obama-Care, and even used Romney's father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, to dismiss his record on "civil rights and diversity."
The media mythology of Kennedy's Camelot lives on in the news pages of Wednesday's New York Times, in a puzzling tribute by reporter Ralph Blumenthal to a French village museum devoted to Pierre Salinger, the Kennedy press secretary who later served for years as chief foreign correspondent for ABC News: "Medieval French Village Echoes With the Voice Of Kennedy’s Camelot."
If the French loved John F. Kennedy, there is a special spot in their hearts for Pierre Salinger, his rotund, cigar-smoking, francophone-ish press secretary whose maternal grandfather served in the Assemblée Nationale and fought to clear Capt. Alfred Dreyfus.
Saturday's story from the Obama trail by New York Times reporter Mark Landler, "Obama Urges Voters to Look Ahead on Economy," was not as blatantly pro-president as Landler's June 29 paean hailing the president as "bailing out the auto industry, winding down two wars and dispatching Osama bin Laden." But it was still quite sympathetic to the president's plight.
The text box highlighted Obama's hunt for economic silver linings ("Extracting a few bits of good news from an anemic monthly employment report") and the lead polished his halo as an "evangelist of hope and change."
Sunday's front-page "political memo" from New York Times reporter Richard Stevenson played into the Obama campaign's hands by obsessing over Romney's supposedly ostentatious displays of wealth, in contrast to Barack Obama's down-home populism: "On Tricky Terrain of Class, Contrasting Paths."
The print edition featured large dueling photos contrasting a down-home President Obama at the Kozy Corners restaurant in Ohio, with Romney and family on a boat at his New Hampshire estate. The online headline was blunter: "Obama and Romney Gamble on Wealth Divide."
On Monday, New York Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Sarah Wheaton made much of a left-wing protest of Mitt Romney fundraising in the well-heeled Hamptons, "Romney Mines the Hamptons for Campaign Cash." The text box: "Protesters gather outside events in sprawling homes."
President Obama hauled in $15 million in Hollywood at a fundraiser on George Clooney's Hollywood estate on May10. Yet searches of Nexis and nytimes.com indicate the Times didn't even cover the fundraiser in its print edition, limiting event coverage to a noncritical blog post.
New York Times reporters are eager to see the influence of the left-wing sit-in Occupy Wall Street around every corner. On Sunday's front page, Tanzina Vega even credited Occupy Wall Street for a new batch of class-warfare themed television ads from McDonald's and others, inspiring overworked employees to actually take their lunch breaks and vacation days: "In Ads, the Workers Rise Up...and Go to Lunch."
A photo caption from an ad for Las Vegas tourism began: "Experts say some companies are tapping the spirit of Occupy Wall Street in ads."
Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee talked to Andrew Goldman for the New York Times Magazine, who used a media myth to give Huckabee a platform to call the Republican Party "hyperorthodox" and excessively ideological: "Mike Huckabee Likes Romney. Really."
Goldman's opening question basically begged Huckabee to bash the GOP: "During the Republican primary debates, audience members booed a question from an active serviceman who was gay and shouted, “Let him die,” about a hypothetical gravely ill patient without insurance. Is this different from the party that you know and love?"
Landler, whose reporting on Obama is getting more gushy as the election nears, shone his journalistic flashlight on any slivers of good economic news he could find and suggested they would benefit Obama in the Midwest.
...Her book, 'As Texas Goes... ,' pays particular attention to the state’s staggering inequality, casual embrace of crony capitalism and creaky educational pipeline. These are problems for Texas, of course, but Ms. Collins’s concern is that Texas itself is everyone’s problem. “Personally, I prefer to think that all Americans are in the same boat,” she says. “And Texas has a lot to do with where we’re heading.”
Greider politely corrected some of Collins's factual errors: "....the problem with this book is one that has dogged other outsiders’ accounts: stereotypes about Texas are so strong that they may trump the record."
Not even in death will the New York Times accurately describe Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yassir Arafat as a terrorist.
In a January 6, 2005 story not long after Arafat's death, then-Jersualem bureau chief Steven Erlanger described Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as having "no heroic history like that of his predecessor as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasir Arafat...."