The New York Times is engaging in defense of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, accused of influence peddling in his suspicious relationship with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private plane. Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf in two Medicare disputes.
Last Sunday the paper very strangely chided a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, for its part in exposing the Menendez scandal (even though the Times itself collaborated with the group, using its data to write its February 1 front-page story on the Menendez accusations). As if to make up for helping put the story (somewhat) into the mainstream press, the front of Thursday's edition featured a sympathetic profile of Menendez by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Sam Dolnick, "Amid Questions About Ethics, Battle-Tested Senator Digs In." The Times gave more space to supporters who suggest the whole thing is a smear job.
Basking in the campaign-like trappings of Obama's White House press conference, reporter Jackie Calmes repeated in Wednesday's New York Times, the president's horror stories on the purportedly deep impact of mandatory budget cuts, known as the "sequester," that are scheduled to hit March 1: "Obama Tries to Turn Up Pressure on Republicans as Cutbacks Near." The cuts amount to an estimated $85 billion this year out of a $3,600 billion dollar budget, but Calmes pushed the pain of Obama having to deal with recalcitrant Republicans:
"Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery," she wrote. "But so far, Republicans were declining to engage."
On the front of Saturday's Business section, New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey flatteringly quoted unlabeled left-wing French economist Emmanuel Saez, who may be the Times' favorite economist, in yet another hang-wringer on the evils of income inequality and the dreaded 1%: "Incomes Flat In Recovery, But Not For the 1%."
In an October 2012 article Lowrey termed Saez, who favors huge tax hikes on the rich in the name of fighting inequality, a "respected economist." On Saturday she further beefed up Saez's resume to assuage any doubt among her readers, calling him "a winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, an economic laurel considered second only to the Nobel."
New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel promoted movie star and aspiring liberal politician Ashley Judd on Saturday: "Kentuckians Don’t Rule Out a Star as a Senator." Gabriel wrote: "How serious could such a candidacy be? Plenty, it turns out."
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "fabricating" hypocrite. Her Sunday column about the lack of veracity in the current crop of award-nominated movies, "The Oscar for Best Fabrication," has some interesting revelations on the true history behind the stories of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Lincoln."
But Dowd is the last person to credibly comment on the subject, given her own history (item #3) of fabricating quotes, in the form of leaving out vital words from her May 14, 2003 column on President Bush's pursuit of the Taliban – a tale broken on Times Watch. Dowd wrote on Sunday:
Republicans, beware "help" from the New York Times. Robert Draper, a contributing writer to the magazine, threw four "far right" and two "extreme" labels into his 6,500-word profile of several young conservatives looking to revamp the Republican Party for the 21 century: "The Late Adopters." The cover introduced the story: "G.O.P. Smartphone – Can young, tech-savvy Republicans overthrow their party's disconnected old guard?"
The article is actually worth reading for its informative nuggets on how far the GOP trailed the Obama campaign in social media outreach. But Draper readily nods along to the assumptions that the GOP is both technologically and ideologically out of touch and will have to give up its opposition to gay marriage and soft-pedal abortion.
Newly minted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party politician, is "raising bipartisan hackles" and otherwise being a "bad boy" in the previously collegial U.S. Senate, opined political reporter Jonathan Weisman on the front page of Saturday's New York Times: "Texas Senator Goes on Attack And Raises Bipartisan Hackles."
Clearly disturbed about Cruz's treatment of Obama's nominee for defense secretary Chuck Hagel, reporter Weisman even put a mike in front of not one but two liberal Democratic senators who likened Cruz to notorious Sen. Joe McCarthy. Well, at least Cruz is liked by what Weisman called "ardent conservatives."
While reluctantly admitting the seriousness of the charges involving Menendez's relationship with Florida donor Dr. Salamon Melgen, Lipton suggested the partisan, shadowy origin of the charges weighed against them. The caption to a photo of a lonesome Menendez set the tone: "Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey said a partisan conspiracy focused the news media on him before his re-election." Would a conservative politician enveloped in scandal be covered from such a sympathy-inducing angle?
Mark Thompson, the New York Times Co. chief executive, was director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation when a BBC news program into a massive child-sex abuse scandal involving veteran network entertainer Jimmy Savile was abruptly squashed. Uncertainty lingers as to just what (and when) Thompson knew about accusations against Savile and the cancellation of the program, questions that occasionally made it into the paper, until a report commissioned by the BBC gave Thompson a pass.
Journalist Maureen Orth has a useful new summary of what we know (and what we still don't know) on the web site of Vanity Fair.
The New York Times ran a front-page story Friday on Maureen O'Connor, the disgraced former mayor of San Diego who lost at least $13 million in casinos over the years, wagering a staggering $1 billion: "Ex-Mayor of San Diego Confronts $1 Billion Gambling Problem." O'Connor, who served between 1986 and 1992, was a rare Democratic mayor in San Diego, but you won't find the word "Democrat" in Jennifer Medina's article.
Jeremy Peters reported on Friday's front page on the surprise failure to advance the nomination of Obama's nominee for secretary of defense, former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel: "G.O.P. Blocks Vote on Hagel In the Senate." Once again, the New York Times placed the battle in the context of President Obama being unfairly delayed assembling his national security team while straining "partisan tensions." The paper also downplayed or ignored conservative concerns over Hagel's poor performance in congressional hearings and his hostile comments regarding Israel and the "Jewish lobby."
From the day President Obama nominated him, the New York Times has oozed sympathy for the plight of Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense. Times reporters have warned darkly of the disappearance of congressional "comity" and "courtesy" (as if the clubbiness and glad-handing endemic to the U.S. Senate represents some shining exemplar of good government) among Republicans, who dare suggest Hagel came off grossly uninformed and confused on foreign policy issues in his congressional hearings.
President Obama's State of the Union speech was covered by the New York Times' Mark Landler: "Obama Vows Push To Lift Economy For Middle Class." Landler, a master spinner for the president, marked the Supreme Court upholding Obama-care in embarrassingly syrupy prose in a June 2012 story: "While Mr. Obama will be remembered for bailing out the auto industry, winding down two wars and dispatching Osama bin Laden, health care was his play for history."
On Wednesday, Landler oddly claimed that Obama had signaled "the era of single-minded deficit-cutting should end" (as if it ever began), while chiding the Republican Party's "hard line stance on immigration" and pushing a higher minimum wage as an unmitigated boon for workers, though it may serve to make it even harder for the unemployed to get a job in the first place.
Stevenson was dismissive of "the conservative mantra that nearly all problems can be traced back to excess government" and criticized Obama's "more extreme conservative critics" for misrepresenting the moderate Obama.
Shocking news Monday morning -- the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, the first time a pontiff has stepped down in almost 600 years. The banner headline over the front of Tuesday's New York Times read "Pope Resigns, With Church At Crossroads – Scandals and a Shift Away From Europe Pose Challenges." The story from Vatican City by Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo was also front-loaded with negatives and the problems the church faces, seen through the prism of what liberal Manhattanites (i.e. Times reporters) consider vital issues: Condoms and the ordination of women.
Tanenhaus also predicted "The Death of Conservatism" in a 2009 book that was outdated as soon as it arrived, coming out during the Tea Party revival, the year before Republicans recaptured the House. Strangely, Tanenhaus is still considered by some left-wingers (like Paul Krugman, yesterday) to be a conservative, an opinion yet to be borne out by an iota of Tanenhaus's actual writing.
Courtesy of James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal" page Friday: Under the subheadline "Great Moments in Socialized Medicine," Taranto pointed to an abject failure of Britain's National Health Service in a Times account of "shockingly bad care" at a British hospital:
"Shockingly bad care and inhumane treatment at a hospital in the Midlands led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths and stripped countless patients of their dignity and self-respect, according to a scathing report published on Wednesday," reports the New York Times's Sarah Lyall from London:
Larry Rohter, who was perhaps the New York Times' most biased reporter during the 2008 campaign (beating some stiff competition) now works the foreign arts beat. In a Sunday Arts & Leisure profile of Pablo Larrain, director of the movie "No," about the 1988 vote that ended the long dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Rohter actually compared Pinochet indirectly to the Tea Party and the libertarian industrialists, the Koch brothers.
The Times, which had nothing to say in its previous reports about Dorner's praise for liberal media personalities contained in his chatty Facebook "manifesto," certainly showed respect to his (perhaps falsified) beefs about racism in the LAPD. Can one imagine the conspiratorial rants of elderly American Nazi James von Brunn, who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in D.C., given similar respect in the Times?
A day after the New York Times ignored the connection between Floyd Corkins, who attempted a mass murder at a conservative think tank, and the left-wing "hate group" monitor Southern Poverty Law Center, which had labeled FRC "anti-gay," there broke another case of bias by omission regarding news that might embarrass prominent liberals. Chris Dorner, an ex-cop on a vengeful rampage against police officers in Los Angeles, praised liberal media personalities in his oddly chatty "manifesto" posted on Facebook. Those details were absent from Friday's account by Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett, "Manhunt On for Ex-Officer Accused of Police Vendetta."
Yet the Times has previously made up entirely fantastical accusations about conservatives like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly, accusing them with no links or evidence whatsoever of fanning flames of hatred that incited murder.
Floyd Corkins Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to wounding a security guard at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group fighting against gay marriage, on August 15 last year. Corkins was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches at the time – the restaurant chain noteworthy for its public, Christian-based opposition to gay marriage – and intended to rub the sandwiches in his victims' faces.
The New York Times made do with a brief from Reuters that did not mention a vital angle: That FRC was brought to the attention of Corkins via the website of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled FRC a "hate group."
News that the New York Times and Washington Post kept secret until recently the secret U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia is once again raising questions on the paper's politicized double standards on keeping state secrets related to the war on terror.
Contrast the deference paid to the Obama administration's request for secrecy, going along with the national security arguments advanced by Obama (until Wednesday's expose of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama's choice to head the CIA) with how the paper routinely leaked secrets during the Bush administration that may have hurt anti-terrorist programs. Here are just some of the national security low-lights and double standards Times Watch has documented at the Times over the years.
President Obama's media acolytes must really be disappointed – they're comparing his administration's unilateral behavior in the war on terror to that of George W. Bush. The new interest was kicked off by a Justice Department document leaked on Monday that offered a legal analysis of when the president can order the targeted killing of an American citizen suspected of terrorism, without due process. Wednesday's lead New York Times article from Yemen was a rundown of the fatal drone strikes authorized by President Obama and his "kill list" coordinator John Brennan, now Obama's nominee to head the C.I.A.
The Times relegated the actual news about the leaked document to page 11, in the International section, in a "news analysis" by reporters Scott Shane and Charlie Savage that dug into the politics of the controversy under an odd, vague headline: "Report on Targeted Killing Whets Appetite for Less Secrecy."
Last week New York Times economics columnist and liberal hero Paul Krugman actually said "death panels," the critique of Obama-care popularized by Sarah Palin and universally mocked by liberals, while discussing the necessity of cutting health care costs.
On January 30, Krugman spoke at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C. (Krugman is out hawking the paperback edition of "End This Depression Now!," his paean to more government spending on infrastructure and other forms of stimulus.) During the Q&A, Breitbart's Joel Griffith noted, Krugman was asked about the rising national debt. A truncated version of his remarks follows:
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
The headline and lead story in Sunday's New York Times warned of "far right" Republicans. Jeff Zeleny (pictured) is more balanced than most Times political reporters, but has a bad habit of "far right" labeling. The headline: "Top G.O.P. Donors Seek Greater Say In Senate Races – Bid To Cull Challenges -- Taking Aim at hopefuls Viewed as Too Far Right to Win."
Zeleny included the unflattering designation in his lead paragraph.
Joseph Berger's long tribute to the late, legendary former New York City mayor Ed Koch made the front of the New York Times Sunday Metro section -- "So, How'd He Do?"
But Berger stained Koch's memory by citing the irresponsible, inflammatory voices of Rev. Calvin Butts and Al Sharpton and bizarrely suggesting Koch's rhetoric played a part in racist assaults against blacks: "Despite his condemnation of the mob beatings, it was hard to tamp down a sense among blacks that his public rhetoric -- in the 1988 presidential campaign, for example, he said Jews would be 'crazy' to vote for Jesse Jackson because of his 'Hymietown' slur about New York and his support for a Palestinian homeland -- may have helped foster an atmosphere in which some young whites felt emboldened to commit such assaults."
New York Times reporter turned left-wing online columnist Timothy Egan riled the right again in his Thursday evening entry, "Right Flight." Egan, who showed clear liberal slant when he covered the Pacific Northwest for the Times, has previously smeared Rush Limbaugh as like "salt on a slug," a "clown," and "a swollen, sweaty man." On Thursday, Egan claimed Limbaugh "has lost significant advertisers and whatever respect he still had among a handful of decent Republicans" for his remarks about Sandra Fluke (Egan left out Limbaugh's apology).
After bashing the Drudge Report (shocking), Egan went through his list of "fringe," "broadcast bullies" on the right.
Erica Goode and Jack Healy made a dubious observation about gun rights in their New York Times article Friday, "Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say." ("Some" translates into "liberals at the Times"). The paper cyncially suggested that the mental health angle was due in part to congressional reluctance to take on the allegedly fearsome National Rifle Association.
In their fervor to take action against gun violence after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., a growing number of state and national politicians are promoting a focus on mental illness as a way to help prevent further killings.