Survivalists: Paranoid right-wingers or a shrewd, far-thinking, and diverse urbanites? The New York Times can't decide. Editorial board member Lawrence Downes' Thursday morning post, "Jesus, Freedom and Guns," used a YouTube video from a left-winger to mock gun-rights supporters as Christian paranoids fearing government tyranny:
Here is a video shot at a gun-rights rally on Jan. 19 at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix. It’s a good window into the life of Arizona, a state where the Tea Party, birtherism and anti-immigrant radicalism regularly combine to raise the political temperature from overheated to boiling.
The economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating that growth remains a problem. The woes made the New York Times front page on Thursday, "Growth Halted In 4th Quarter Despite the Fed," though the story by Nelson Schwartz and Binyamin Appelbaum was not prominently featured (and Obama wasn't mentioned until paragraph 12, in a quote from Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee). The Washington Post made it the lead story under the headline "GDP shrank at end of 2012."
Wednesday's front-page report by New York Times reporter Monica Davey, "Strict Chicago Gun Laws Can’t Stem Fatal Shots," at first seemed to demonstrate the uselessness of the strict gun control measures in place in high-crime cities like Chicago. Yet Davey missed that obvious conclusion, instead quoting anti-gun activists who claim that gun control will only work if the entire nation becomes a gun-free zone, both high-crime and low-crime areas alike.
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, who has courted controversy from pro-Israel conservatives during her brief tenure, appeared in the Sunday Arts section to express concern over the muted reception in Israel to the new documentary "The Gatekeepers," an unflattering look back at Israel's Shin Bet, the country's security service: "'Most Israelis Are Not Listening.' – Little impact at home for an Oscar-nominated film." The film is also a loaded call for Israeli Jews to withdraw from the West Bank.
For most of President Obama’s first term, Republicans used legislative trickery to try to prevent the functioning of two federal agencies they hate, the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First they would filibuster the president’s nominees to the agencies, knowing that neither agency could operate without board members or a director. Then they would create fake legislative sessions for the Senate during its recess, intended solely to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments as an end run.
Between the multiple editorials calling for stricter gun laws and the denunciations of the NRA by its reporters, it's safe to say the urban liberals at the New York Times lack a cultural affinity for guns. Using the Sandy Hook massacre as an excuse, the paper treats as vital and disturbing Sunday front-page news something that's been going on for decades: The gun industry encouraging youth to engage in recreational shooting, hunting, and firearms training.
Every January tens of thousands of people participate in the March for Life in Washington at the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. And for five years in a row the New York Times failed to run a single story on the march in its print edition (it marked the 2011 march with a couple of photos on page 12).
This year, the 40th anniversary of the March, the Times broke its streak with a so-so 815-word story by Ashley Parker that made the bottom of the front of the paper's National section, on page 9.
Your media bias laugh of the day: New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan claimed "you wouldn't know who" most Times reporters voted for, on Friday's edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe. Mediaite's Noah Rothman reported the exchange between host Joe Scarborough and Sullivan.
Scarborough: "Because I see guys like Jeff Zeleny, Mark Leibovich. These guys, I couldn't tell you how they vote in elections. It seems the further we move away from the '60s and the '70s and what came out of that, the more we find guys like Zeleny and Leibovich that don’t seem to have an agenda."
Sullivan agreed: "I think most of the people who write for the Times, you wouldn’t know who they voted for."
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared in Senate and House hearings Wednesday on intelligence failures in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered last year, on the 11th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Yet the New York Times buried the story on page A11, in the International section, content with running a photo of Clinton on the front page.
Kansas conservatism, red in tooth and claw.? New York Times reporter John Eligon reported from Topeka on the latest disturbing sign of heartland conservatism: "Kansas' Governor and G.O.P. Seek to Eliminate Income Tax." Text box: "Skeptics see a path to economic devastation in a conservative bid."
Eligon actually led off with an accurate description of President Obama's "expansive liberal agenda," but then went overwrought, taking the "starkest view of the crimson ideology" of Republicans.
Raise taxes on everyone. Eduardo Porter, business columnist for the New York Times, previously covered economics as a reporter but now uses his perch to display his mistrust of free markets in favor of government, most recently in his call for socializing health care, pensions, and education. His latest entry is a call for higher taxes on everyone, not just the affluent, in the name of funding still more government programs: "A Tax Bite Tailored To Help All."
Former Times nightlife reporter Sarah Maslin Nir covered a modest anti-gun protest march over the Brooklyn Bridge for Tuesday's New York Times Metro section: "Marchers Urging Stricter Gun-Control Laws Take to the Brooklyn Bridge." The text box: "The fatal shootings of loved ones and others compel people to join a demonstration." A generous photo meant the story covered the entire top half of the page. Nir enthusiastically promoted the march on her Twitter feed as she covered it, proclaiming: "Million Mom March against guns built up steam. Now more than 200 marching across Brooklyn Bridge."
(Nir previously caused consternation with a November 2012 story faulting "white gentrifiers" committing the horrible crime of helping poor victims of Hurricane Sandy.) But she had no criticism of what was apparently a far more noble cause -- getting rid of guns.
New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal again accused Republicans of opposing Barack Obama because of his race, in a Monday post after Obama's second inauguration. That came after he confessed to feeling "the same thrill" as he had the first time around.
The consensus on TV this morning was that Barack Obama’s second inauguration wasn’t as amazing as his first. The crowd was much smaller. People were just not as excited as they were four years ago.
But, call me sappy, when the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” I felt pretty much the same thrill as on Jan. 20, 2009.
When Bhaskar Sunkara was growing up in Westchester County, he likes to say, he dreamed of being a professional basketball player.
But the height gods, among others, didn’t smile in his favor. So in 2009, during a medical leave from his sophomore year at George Washington University, Mr. Sunkara turned to Plan B: creating a magazine dedicated to bringing jargon-free neo-Marxist thinking to the masses.
As if the only problem with Marxist thinking is jargon. Schuessler certainly sounded more comfortable with the "socialist brand" than what she termed "Tea Party invective."
New York Times fashion reporter Eric Wilson rapturously reviewed the First Lady's inaugural clothes in Tuesday's news section (not the fashion pages) of the paper. His article was warmly introduced with a front-page tease, "A First Lady Unafraid to Look Like a Million Bucks."
Fashion is no longer the forbidden subject it once was in American politics.
Embracing expensive designer clothes -- and a lot of them -- has not been a problem for Michelle Obama in the way that similar pursuits haunted Nancy Reagan, or even Jacqueline Kennedy.
The cat's out of the bag: Obama's a liberal. A banner headline across Tuesday's New York Times front page confirmed what conservatives have been saying about the president for years: "Obama Offers Liberal Vision: 'We Must Act.'" Peter Baker's lead story "Inaugural Stresses Theme of Civil and Gay Rights -- Safety Net Praised," also stressed Obama's liberal message. So why has the paper spent the last four years defending Obama from conservative criticism by insisting Obama was actually a centrist?
New York Times Phoenix bureau chief Fernanda Santos reported Sunday on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's controversial action to expand Medicaid in Arizona, in a story full of labeling bias and a denigrating description of the supposedly uncompassionate governor: "Medicaid Expansion Is Delicate Maneuver for Arizona's Republican Governor." (Previously, Santos has advocated for Arizona's illegal immigrants cowering in "the shadows.")
A tale of three presidential inaugurations during wartime and strife. The New York Times found it bad form for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush's second inauguration in January 2005, during a time of war. A January 11, 2005 editorial on Bush's second inauguration, "Victor's Spoils," sniffed:
At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala. The $40 million record for inaugural partying set four years ago for Mr. Bush is expected to be shattered this month....Ordinary citizens might have hoped that the overriding issue in Washington- the perilous Iraq war, with its drain on the nation's blood and treasure- would dictate restraint. But plans for the four-day extravaganza roll forward with nine celebratory balls being underwritten by the usual corporate and fat-cat supplicants in the political power mill. There's nothing new in Washington's triumphalist celebrations, festooned with price tags for access, but war usually mutes the singing and dancing. Not this year.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."
But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.
The New York Times's Michael Cooper reported from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, capturing the effusive reaction to President Obama's gun-control proposals. In his report, "Recalling Pain Of Guns' Toll, Mayors Urge Bills' Passage – Heartened After Years Of Pushing for Laws," Cooper came off less a hard-bitten reporter than an emotionally over-involved storyteller, pushing for someone to do something about gun violence. (No matter that none of the mayoral anecdotes he relayed included mass shootings like the one in Newtown).
The Mayors Conference is perhaps best known for its grossly exaggerated hunger in America reports, cynically timed for the holiday season when people are tucking into turkey. Times Watch examined the reports from 1987 to 2002 several years ago, and found the Mayors' group was claiming an implausible 1240% increase of hunger in America during that period, which sounds more like North Korea than the most prosperous and democratic nation on earth.
New York Times movie critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis team up for next Sunday's edition (posted early online) to once again pour their peculiar brand of pretentiousness over the latest crop of innocent films: "Movies in the Age of Obama."
In the summer of 2011, Dargis lamented "the symbolic phallus" present in the form of a rifle in a Western. Last July she managed to make a villain out of President Reagan, while Scott chimed in by complaining that movie superheroes were "avatars of reaction" and that the last X-Men movie was insufficiently attentive to the civil rights movement.
New York Times reporter Peter Baker explored the metaphorical challenges of the gun debate: "In Debate Over Curbing Gun Violence, Even Language Can Be Loaded." It was a politically balanced, if perhaps oversensitive, analysis, until an unfair reference tying Sarah Palin, the former GOP vice presidential candidate, to the shooting by schizophrenic Jared Loughner of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It's a false tie the Times has exploited before. An excerpt:
The New York Times continued to push its pet cause of immigration "reform," involving mass amnesty for illegals in the United States. In a twist, immigration reporter Julia Preston reported Tuesday on amnesty GOP-style, featuring the views of Fla. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio: "Rubio Pushes His Party On Immigration Changes."
Rubio's favorable coverage (his "star is rising rapidly in his party") certainly marks a change from the paper's usual cool approach to Republican policymakers and policy. Could it be because Rubio stand on immigration hews more closely to the paper's editorial line that most GOP senators?
Paul Krugman vs. Jon Stewart. The New York Times columnist and economist put his utter lack of humor on display in a Saturday afternoon blog post in which he attacked as lazy and unprofessional the host of the Daily Show. Stewart's sin? Daring to mock the trillion-dollar platinum coin as a solution to the debt ceiling crisis. Here's Krugman on "Lazy Jon Stewart":
Oh, dear. Jon Stewart took on the platinum coin, and made a hash of it -- he faceplanted, as Ryan Cooper says. What went wrong? Jon Chait says that he flunked econ, but that’s just part of it. He also flunked law, politics, and just plain professional....Above all, however, what went wrong here is a lack of professionalism on the part of Stewart and his staff....In this case, however, it’s obvious that nobody at TDS spent even a few minutes researching the topic. It was just yuk-yuk-yuk they’re talking about a trillion-dollar con hahaha. Hey, if we want this kind of intellectual laziness, we can just tune in to Fox."
The show had not attracted so many people before, City Center staff members said. And it had never attracted so many protests. As traffic snarled and parking spots filled outside the convention center, about two dozen members of the newly formed Saratogians for Gun Safety held up 26 painted wooden angels, copies of those a Connecticut artist planted in Newtown after the Dec. 14 shootings.
Sunday's New York Times lead story on immigration by Julia Preston,"Obama Will Seek Citizenship path In One Fast Push," seemed a strange choice -- unless you remembered how the Times has long been pushing for immigration "reform" that would include amnesty for illegal immigrants and a path to citizenship.
Notice this is not breaking news; it's something "senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week." By contrast, the Washington Post hasn't run an immigration story this past week, much less in the lead slot, which suggests the Times is trying to make news instead of breaking it.
New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse celebrates Occupy Wall Street ideas like the "Robin Hood tax" in his reporting, so it's no surprise his Sunday Review "news analysis," "Productivity Climbs, But Wages Stagnate," pushed unvarnished left-wing ideas from economists who want a much higher minimum wage, strengthening unions, and higher taxes (in Greenhouse's euphemism, "a more progressive tax system") in the name of spurring higher wages for workers.
Paul Krugman's Friday column for the New York Times, "Coins Against Crazies," announced his support of a bizarre-sounding budget solution taken up mostly on the left: A trillion-dollar platinum coin that would supposedly avoid the looming problem of the debt ceiling. But more offensive than Krugman's nodding along with this unlikely idea is his referring to Republicans as terrorists.
PIMCO chief executive Mohamed El-Erian explained the platinum coin idea: "Under legal authority it already has (which is meant for decorative coins), the U.S. Treasury would issue to itself a very large platinum coin -- say a single, trillion dollar denomination. The coin would be deposited in the Treasury's account at the Federal Reserve. Against this 'credit,' the Treasury would withdraw from the central bank more conventional forms of money and use them to meet payments obligations that have already been approved by law....The key here is that the Treasury would raise money without borrowing. Thus, the increasingly binding debt limit would not apply...."
The New York Times's starkly one-sided treatment of illegal immigration promises only to get worse in 2013. A preview: Thursday's edition of the paper's political podcast was solely devoted to immigration, or what the paper called "A Closer Look at Immigration Reform," in anticipation of amnesty proposals being pushed by illegal immigration activists.