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.
On Thursday, New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise filed a report on death rates among the young in America and misleadingly equated it to a failure of America to achieve universal health care, in the badly titled "For Americans Under 50, Stark Findings on Health."
The Times tretched the definition of poor "health" in America past the credibility breaking point, to include death rates from guns, cars, and illegal drugs. Gun deaths and car accidents have nothing to do with health care, and drug addiction has a peripheral link.
The New York Times has taken the offensive on all fronts in support of Chuck Hagel, the "maverick" former Republican senator and President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, recounting his Vietnam War heroics in a way that previous Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Bob Dole could only envy, while accusing his GOP opponents of "bullying" him with accusations of anti-Semitism.
International edition columnist Roger Cohen generously took it upon himself Tuesday to decide who a "true friend" of Israel was, and both Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama made the cut (unlike people who, you know, actually support Israel all the time).
A day after the Washington Post devoted 21 paragraphs on page A7 to "Obama's bypassing of women for Defense, CIA posts," as recounted by Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters, it was the New York Times's turn. Not to be left behind in a rare opportunity to bash the Obama White House from the left, the Times placed its sexism story on Wednesday's front page: "Obama's Remade Inner Circle Has an All-Male Look, So Far" by reporter Annie Lowrey.
The Times's photo caption writer captured the ludicrous flyspecking of the quota-obsessed left: "President Obama on Dec. 29 with senior advisers in the Oval Office. The only woman facing the president was (look very closely) Valerie Jarrett, whose leg is just visible in front of the desk."
Can you imagine a columnist writing "Grocery Stores and Profits, a Poor Mix?" Eduardo Porter's "Economic Scene" column for Wednesday's New York Times Business Day was similarly titled: "Health Care And Profits, A Poor Mix."
Porter, who previously covered economics as a reporter for the paper, showed his mistrust of the market to provide vital services like adequate health care and pensions, advancing his left-wing argument via a narrow 30-year-old study.
The New York Times's Manny Fernandez greeted the opening of the biannual Texas legislative session in Austin in Wednesday's paper: "Texas Budget Surplus Proves as Contentious As a Previous Shortfall." After explaining how Texas has become flush with cash over the last two years, going from a budget deficit to surplus, Fernandez couldn't help working in a cut against the "far-right" Tea Party.
Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel was hailed as a brave Republican maverick and became a liberal media favorite during the George W. Bush years, for comparing the Iraq War to Vietnam and serving as a general thorn in the Republican president's side. Journalist Dave Weigel likened this 2006 Hagel profile in the New York Times Magazine by former Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld to "a hagiography master class." Now Obama is picking a fight with the GOP by nominating him Secretary of Defense, and New York Times reporters are still serving as reliable reinforcements.
Monday's off-lead introductory piece by Scott Shane and David Sanger was supportive of Hagel, as is the liberal media in general. The Times went so far as downplay anti-Jewish and anti-gay comments Hagel made during the Clinton administration about an ambassadorial candidate to Luxembourg, James Hormel.
Belluck also defended Planned Parenthood, leaving out recent controversies, including one uncovered by the pro-life group Live Action -- two videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers actively assisting a Live Action actor to procure a sex-selection abortion. (The Timesfiercely defended Planned Parenthood last year after the Komen Foundation cut off grants to the organization; Komen reinstated the funds under liberal media pressure.)
Last year, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal said air conditioning was hurting the planet. The latest Sunday Review features more left-wing activism from the paper's supposedly impartial science reporter, this time on gun control: "More Guns = More Killing," which takes on the NRA's assertion that "a good guy with a gun" is the best way to protect school children.
In the wake of the tragic shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month, the National Rifle Association proposed that the best way to protect schoolchildren was to place a guard -- a “good guy with a gun” -- in every school, part of a so-called National School Shield Emergency Response Program.
New York Times reporter Mark Landler extolled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the "role model," for her "indomitable stamina" and "herculean work habits," but is concerned that the possible presidential candidate is just too darn committed to her job in Saturday's "Scare Amplifies Fears That Clinton's Work Has Taken Heavy Toll." The Benghazi scandal, in which Clinton has yet to testify, is mentioned only in passing.
Timothy Egan, former liberally biased New York Times reporter who now pens left-wing column rants for the Times in print and online, posted his "wish list of better tomorrows" for 2013 on Thursday. They sounded a lot like the same old left-wing ranting Egan has been doing since he stopped reporting for the paper around 2006.
The view from one Washington, with its self-inflicted and phony political crises, offers no hope. Let’s start 2013 by stating the obvious and repeat until fixed: the Republican House of Representatives is beyond broken, stuffed with politicians who lack the ability to divide up juice boxes in a kindergarten. Three-fourths of Americans think they are harming the rest of us. “Dereliction of duty” was Gov. Chris Christie’s apt phrase, referring to the failure to vote on promised aid for hurricane relief.
95% of the House Republican caucus reelected John Boehner as Speaker of the House on Thursday, but the 12 dissenting Republicans attracted intense coverage in the New York Times, including a front-page story saying the vote foretold "turmoil and division" in the new Congress.
By contrast, there was only scattered coverage when 19 members of the Democratic caucus refused to support Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker in January 2011, after the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections. (The cases aren't quite parallel, as Pelosi was certain to lose her role as Speaker of the House in the newly elected Republican-majority House of 2011, while Boehner was expected to retain his position as head of the Republican-majority House in 2013.)
Monica Davey's Thursday front-page New York Times story on rising homicide numbers in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago ("A Soaring Homicide Rate, a Divide in Chicago") was suspiciously silent on the utter failure of the city's strict gun laws, but vocal about sorting the annual homicide numbers into patterns of race and class (as if equality among homicide victims would be preferred).
Davey focused on a recent killing that took place at a funeral on the South Side, where yet another homicide victim was just being laid to rest:
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman strangely painted the fiscal cliff deal (which displeased conservatives with its tax increases and lack of spending cuts) as a fiscal dream come true for Republicans in his "news analysis" for Wednesday's front page. Weisman also mocked the GOP's historical support for low taxes.
Just a few years ago, the tax deal pushed through Congress on Tuesday would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy, a sweeping bill that locks in virtually all of the Bush-era tax cuts, exempts almost all estates from taxation, and enshrines the former president’s credo that dividends and capital gains should be taxed equally and gently.
2012 was another banner year for bias at the New York Times, from slanted coverage of campaign 2012, to bizarre displays of unfairness to conservatives. The Times also intensified its push for liberal legislation on issues dear to the heart of its readership, like fighting "climate change" and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Here are some of the worst bits of bias from the year that was. (There's a more comprehensive version of this article on Times Watch.)
Taking Sides With Mitt Romney's Snobby Liberal Neighbors
Friday's New York Times teased on the front page two profiles of prominent figures in the gun control debate (conservative David Keene and liberal New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg). Can you guess which one got more respectful treatment?