The front of Thursday’s Metro section features Anemona Hartocollis’ soggy profile of a group of left-wing elderly protesters arrested last October for blocking a military recruiting center in Times Square.
The headline is sweet: "With ‘Grannies’ in the Dock, A Sitting Judge Will Squirm."
The text box is sickeningly sweet: "Who wants to rule against grandmotherhood, or apple pie, or Santa?"
Alongside the piece is a photo of the "Granny Peace Brigade" on the way back to court, complete with red vests, protest buttons, and walking sticks. It’s enough to send a diabetic into sugar shock.
Ironically, the avowedly left-wing Village Voice provides a more substantive and probing article on the group, led by activist Joan Wile, which is officially named "Grandmothers Against the War."
MediaBistro runs an email from NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller sent to liberal journalist Murray Waas, in which Keller claims the Bush adminstration is "declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
"I'm not sure journalists fully appreciate the threat confronting us -- The Times in the eavesdropping case, the Post for its CIA prison stories, and everyone else who has tried to look behind the war on terror. Maybe we're suffering a bit of subpoena fatigue. Maybe some people are a little intimidated by the way the White House plays the soft-on-terror card.
"Whatever the reason, I worry that we're not as worried as we should be. No president likes reporters sniffing after his secrets, but most come to realize that accountability is the price of power in our democracy. Some officials in this administration, and their more vociferous cheerleaders, seem to have a special animus towards reporters doing their jobs. There's sometimes a vindictive tone in way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries and in the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors. I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.
"Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional."
Sunday's off-lead story by David Cloud is on Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst fired for leaking classified information about suspected terrorists allegedly being held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. It comes under the comforting headline "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules."
"On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine her as a leaker of classified information."
Liberal movie critic Manohla Dargis continues to mix popcorn and politics in her Friday review of "American Dreamz."
"But what gives the film its gleam of topicality, its suggestion of relevance, is that it directly sends up both the Bush presidency and 'American Idol,' those twin pillars of contemporary homespun populism. The problem being that, as Jon Stewart, among many others, habitually reminds us, both surrendered to self-parody some time ago."
See Times Watch for more New York Times bias, including Times Watch's just-released study on the paper's fawning coverage of Sen. Hillary Clinton as she prepared for a presidential run in 2008.
When Sen. John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in the presidential election of 2004, the press turned its attention to 2008 and Sen. Hillary Clinton as a potential Democratic savior.
As Mrs. Clinton’s home state broadsheet, the Times has a front-row seat for the run-up to Election 2008. Yet a Times Watch study has discovered that ever since the Hillary-for-president talk heated up in earnest, the newspaper has used its seat more as a cheering section for Clinton than as a dispassionate perch for objective observation.
A reader wishing for a full, balanced picture of Sen. Hillary Clinton won’t get it from the New York Times, which has followed a pattern of mainstreaming Clinton’s liberal policies while throwing roadblocks in front of her potential Republican Senate opponents and playing down Clinton’s controversial remarks.
Sunday's off-lead story is by Japanese-based reporter Norimitsu Onishi ("Revival in Japan Brings Widening Of Economic Gap -- Reckoning for Premier -- Egalitarianism Is at Stake as Rich-Poor Division Threatens Mobility").
Of course, Japan's striated class system and government-controlled economy was for decades the main threat to mobility. But Onishi has another culprit in mind: Reaganism.
"Japan's economy, after more than a decade of fitful starts, is once again growing smartly. Instead of rejoicing, however, Japan is engaged in a nationwide bout of hand-wringing over increasing signs that the new economy is destroying one of the nation's most cherished accomplishments: egalitarianism."
Thursday’s New York Times carries a largely hagiographic obituary by Marc Charney of the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, worshipped in left-wing circles for his anti-war protests of the 60s from his position of influence as chaplain of Yale University.
“The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., a civil rights and antiwar campaigner who sought to inspire and encourage an idealistic and rebellious generation of college students in the 1960's from his position as chaplain of Yale University, then reveled in the role of lightning rod thrust upon him by officials and conservatives who thought him and his style of dissent dangerous, died yesterday at his home in Strafford, Vt.”
Yesterday, Times Watch wondered when the New York Times would correct its front-page story from last Friday suggesting the White House and Lewis Libby had willfully misled reporters on an intelligence finding on Saddam Hussein’s quest for uranium, a story based on bad information released by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s office had to correct its court filing on Tuesday.
On Thursday morning, the Times files an Editors’ Note on the matter, and runs an article that refutes the thrust of its front-page story -- but on Page A17.
Here’s the correction in full, including the paper’s lame explanation for why it took the Times until today to correct, when the Washington Post, for instance, had the correction story on Wednesday.
Here we go again. Anne Kornblut’s Wednesday story on Sen. Hillary Clinton’s speech in Chicago (“A Speech on the Economy, for 2006 or 2008?”) helps the senator and potential presidential candidate by ludicrously awarding her “conservative credentials.”
Kornblut, like Times’ reporters before her, sets Clinton on a mainstream path that bears little resemblance to the liberal senator’s actual voting record (she sports a lifetime record of 9 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union rankings of senators' voting records).
“Mrs. Clinton did not, in her 57-minute speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, assail President Bush by name. Indeed, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly emphasized her conservative credentials and alliances, and she blamed the sharp partisan fighting in Washington for dissuading business leaders from working with government.”
New York Times National reporter Jodi Rudoren (formerly Jodi Wilgoren, and therein lies a self-absorbed tale) has a Saturday front-page story on yet another investigation of a congressman, Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.
“As lawmakers have increasingly slipped pet projects into federal spending bills over the past decade, one lawmaker has used his powerful perch on the House Appropriations Committee to funnel $250 million into five nonprofit organizations that he set up. Those actions have prompted a complaint to federal prosecutors that questions whether any of that taxpayer money helped fuel a parallel growth in his personal fortune.
In anticipation of mass rallies in support of illegal immigrants, pro-immigrant reporter Nina Bernstein made Sunday’s front page with “Making It Ashore, but Still Chasing U.S. Dream,” following up on the stories of the 286 Chinese immigrants on Golden Venture freighter that ran aground off Queens in 1993.
Inside Sunday’s paper is Abby Goodnough and Jennifer Steinhauer’s “Senate’s Failure to Agree on Immigration Plan Angers Workers and Employers Alike,” which looks at the impasse solely from those who would benefit from an amnesty program, and gives new respect to business owners in favor of illegal immigration, not previously a favored interest group in the Times.
Today the New York Times finally corrects a left-wing myth perpetrated in its pages as fact.
“An article on Feb. 9 about the military's recruitment of Hispanics referred incompletely to the belief of some critics that Hispanics in the Iraq war and blacks in the Vietnam War accounted for a disproportionate number of casualties. Statistics do not support the belief. Hispanics, who are about 14 percent of the population, accounted for about 11 percent of the military deaths in Iraq through Dec. 3, 2005. About 12.5 percent of the military dead in Vietnam were African-Americans, who made up about 13.5 percent of the general population during the war years.”
But that milquetoast correction doesn’t hint at the charged nature of what reporter Lizette Alvarez wrote in the Feb. 9 edition, which simply restated left-wing paranoia as fact:
As Katie Couric announces she is jumping from NBC’s “Today” show, which she’s co-hosted for 15 years, to the anchor slot of the “CBS Evening News,” Edward Wyatt gamely argues in Thursday’s Business Day how Couric actually has roots as a hard news reporter (“Coming Back to Hard News”) and carried those over to her Today show segments, which Wyatt repackages as “tough assignments.”
“But she has showed that she can handle tough assignments with aplomb and has been unafraid to take certain risks.”
Those admirable “risks,” in Wyatt’s view, are composed of Couric putting a condom on a model of a penis, bringing a camera to her own colonoscopy, and criticizing a former Klansman.
Ken Shepherd of the Free Market Project points out that business reporter Michael Barbaro’s initial filing for the paper’s “continuous news desk” used some pretty loaded language in a story on Wal-Mart:
“Wal-Mart Stores, whose voracious, all-in-one retailing model has crippled thousands of competitors over the last 40 years, is turning to an unusual business plan: helping its rivals.”
The print version of Barbaro’s lead leaves out that melodrama: “Wal-Mart Stores, whose all-in-one retailing model has forced scores of competitors to close their doors over the last 40 years, is turning to an unusual business plan: helping its rivals.”
On the front of Monday’s Arts page stands Felicia Lee’s “Gay Moms And Dads Can Bring The Family,” based on Rosie O’Donnell’s new HBO special on “the first-ever cruise for gay families.”
The piece reads more as pro-gay mainstreaming than a news item, leading off with unusual criticism by a reporter of a question from another reporter.
“Rosie O'Donnell, the former talk show host, actress, lesbian mom and a candid blogger, can certainly duck, weave and bob her way through a conversation. But she was caught off-guard by a reporter at a press event for ‘All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise,’ a new documentary about the first-ever cruise for gay families. Did she intend to raise her children to be gay?, the reporter asked.
Neela Banerjee’s Monday political memo, "The Abortion-Rights Side Invokes God, Too," certainly helps the pro-abortion lobby Planned Parenthood portray itself as just as religious as any pro-life organization.
"In any given week, if you walked into one of Washington's big corporate hotels early in the morning, you would find a community of the faithful, quite often conservative Christians, rallying the troops, offering solace and denouncing the opposition at a prayer breakfast.
"So you might be forgiven for thinking that such a group was in attendance on Friday in a ballroom of the Washington Hilton. People wearing clerical collars and small crucifixes were wedged at tables laden with muffins, bowing their heads in prayer. Seminarians were welcomed. Scripture was cited. But the name of the sponsor cast everything in a new light: the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To its critics, Planned Parenthood is the godless super-merchant of abortion. To its supporters, it is the dependably secular defender of abortion rights. But at this breakfast, God was everywhere, easily invoked by believers of various stripes."
Rachel Swarns is a bit harshly reductive in her take on anti-illegal immigrant House Republicans in her Wednesday reflection billed as a “news analysis,” “Split Over Immigration Reflects Nation’s Struggle.”
“It is almost as if they are looking at two different Americas.
“The Senate Republicans who voted on Monday to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants look at the waves of immigration reshaping this country and see a powerful work force, millions of potential voters and future Americans.
“The House Republicans who backed tough border security legislation in December look at the same group of people and see a flood of invaders and lawbreakers who threaten national security and American jobs and culture.”
There’s some odd wording in Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker’s short piece Tuesday on an unusual ceremony in a Pennsylvania meadow.
“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gazed across a rolling meadow on Monday, its grass yellow in late winter's grip, and toward the stand of hemlock trees marking the area where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. He then bent and wordlessly placed a medallion at the base of a temporary memorial here.
“Known as the defense secretary's ‘coin,’ the medallion is an elaborately pressed memento that Mr. Rumsfeld hands out to troops he meets in combat zones overseas.
“His visit was his first to the site where passengers of Flight 93 overpowered their hijackers and sent an airliner crashing into the countryside instead of its intended target, the Capitol in Washington. His gesture was intended to link that event, through the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to the wars started by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
It’s a tale of two presidential campaigns on page A26 of Sunday’s New York Times.
At the top of the page, Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s “Testing Presidential Waters As Race at Home Heats Up” follows Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen around the state in preparation to running for a second term -- and possibly for president in 2008.
The text box emphasizes Allen’s conservatism:
“A Republican faces the delicate task of tacking right without alienating his base.” Stolberg also references Allen’s “conservative voting record” and the fact that “Fiscal conservatives seem to like him, but social conservatives are uneasy.”
She also notes that 2006 “is looking up for Democrats” and that Allen’s “re-election bid just got tougher than he expected” when James Webb, a Navy secretary under Reagan, got into the Democratic primary.
On March 11, the Times fronted an interviewed with what it claimed was the infamous "hooded inmate" from Abu Ghraib prison. But Ali Shalal Qaissi, the man they interviewed and pictured on the front page, was not the man in the now-iconic photo, as the Times explained in the March 18 edition.
Donna Fenton, whose alleged struggles with the FEMA bureaucracy were the subject of a sympathetic (and in retrospect, extremely gullible) March 8 profile by reporter Nicholas Confessore, was not the victim of Hurricane Katrina that she claimed to be. Yesterday she was arrested for fraud and grand larceny. The editors' note in the corrections box of the Times explains:
Hillary-hailing reporter Raymond Hernandez makes the front page of Thursday’s Metro section with a story that isn’t about Hillary but nonetheless helps Sen. Clinton reelection campaign -- an expose of her Republican opponent K.T. McFarland (“Questions Arise About Resume Of Challenger To Clinton”).
“When Kathleen Troia McFarland stepped forward as a Republican challenger to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, she was a relatively obscure figure with two intriguing claims to fame: She had worked on President Ronald Reagan's ‘Star Wars’ speech and had been the highest-ranking woman at the Reagan Pentagon.”
The Times leads Wednesday with Elisabeth Bumiller’s take on Bush’s lively White House press conference, which the Times headlines “Bush Concedes Iraq War Erodes Political Status.”
“President Bush said Tuesday that the war in Iraq was eroding his political capital, his starkest admission yet about the costs of the conflict to his presidency, and suggested that American forces would remain in the country until at least 2009. In a quick remark at a White House news conference about the reserves of political strength he earned in his 2004 re-election victory -- ‘I'd say I'm spending that capital on the war’ -- Mr. Bush in effect acknowledged that until he could convince increasingly skeptical Americans that the United States was winning the war, Iraq would overshadow everything he did.”
“Some diplomats suggest that if Hamas supports a moribund 2002 Saudi peace initiative, it will somehow ‘recognize’ Israel without having to say so; some suggest that a Hamas offer of another cease-fire may be enough to ‘forswear violence.’ But so far, Hamas is not playing along. It sees the agreements with Israel as a honey trap and recognition of Israel as impossible. In the meantime, Hamas is working on the heartstrings and sense of justice of the West, to keep aid flowing. Hamas's victory also signaled the death of the ‘peace process’ as it has been practiced.”
As Tim Graham noted this weekend, the Times "messed up in its attempt at yet another juicy Abu Ghraib story."
Reporter Hassan Fattah’s interview with Ali Shalal Qaissi, who claimed to be the subject of an infamous Abu Ghraib photo, made the front page of the March 11 Times, complete with a picture of Qaissi holding a photograph of “himself” -- that archetypal image of a hooded man standing on a box attached to wires.
The headline trumpeted: "Symbol of Abu Ghraib Seeks to Spare Others His Nightmare."
“Mr. Qaissi, 43, was prisoner 151716 of Cellblock 1A. The picture of him standing hooded atop a cardboard box, attached to electrical wires with his arms stretched wide in an eerily prophetic pose, became the indelible symbol of the torture at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.”
A new book by veteran New York Times economics reporter Louis Uchitelle calls for a doubling of the minimum wage. “The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences" goes on sale next week, but judging by the early reviews and official description, it will be faithful to Uchitelle’s liberal reporting on economics and business:
“The award-winning New York Times economics writer Louis Uchitelle explains how, in the mid-1970s, the first major layoffs, initiated as a limited response to the inroads of foreign competition, spread and multiplied, in time destroying the notion of job security and the dignity of work.”
....unless it involves feminists protesting Augusta National Golf Club, of course.
New York Times sportswriter Jack Curry is covering the World Baseball Classic in San Juan, and the highlight of the day didn’t happen on the field between Cuba and the Dominican Republic, he explains in Tuesday’s “Politics Intrude, Again, and Cubans Falter, Again.”
“As the Cuban baseball team prepared to bat in the fourth inning Monday, 10 fans in Section 2, Row P, stood in unison behind the plate and removed their shirts. Underneath, all 10 wore white T-shirts, and each one bore a red letter. The T-shirts spelled out A-B-A-J-O F-I-D-E-L, which translated means ‘Down With Fidel.’
The New York Times Sunday magazine examines Democratic aspirations to take back the House and Senate this year in liberal contributing writer James Traub’s “Party Like It’s 1994.” But 12 years after the fact, the Times and Traub still see the 1994 watershed through the conventional liberal wisdom of the time, as an anti-incumbent blast of anger that didn’t augur a nationwide shift to conservatism.
“Nineteen ninety-four was arguably the most consequential nonpresidential election of the 20th century. The Republicans shocked political professionals, including President Bill Clinton, by gaining 52 seats in the House, giving them a majority there for the first time in 40 years. (They picked up eight seats in the Senate to wrest control there as well.) What immense forces suddenly burst through the earth's crust that fall? Anger, for one. Pollsters found an electorate utterly disgusted with politics and politicians. In 1992, 80 percent of poll respondents said they believed that government favored the rich and powerful, while two-thirds agreed that ‘quite a few’ national politicians were corrupt. Neither party had anything like a Jack Abramoff scandal; but the sense of drift, of futility, was very deep.”
A new law in South Dakota outlawing most abortions is the apparent trigger for Friday’s laudatory New York Times “Public Lives” profile by Robin Finn of new Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards (“Anti-Abortion Advocates? Bring ‘Em On, Texan Says”).
Adhering to common practice for the liberally slanted “Public Lives,” Finn portrays Richards as a heroine battling ruthless and vindictive forces.
Is only positive news about American Muslims fit to highlight?
After issuing this week a massive three-part series with a glowing portrait of the imam of a Brooklyn mosque (while glossing over his sympathies for the terrorist group Hamas), Wednesday's Times buries on page 18 attempted murder by a radical Islamist looking for revenge against Americans.
Brenda Goodman’s “Defendant Offers Details Of Jeep Attack at University,” details what happened on the campus of the University of North Carolina but, like the headline, leaves off some pertinent data.