The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.
New York Times reporters Annie Lowrey (pictured) and Michael Cooper issued a hostile account on Wednesday poking at Romney's surreptitiously taped comments at a fundraiser about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, "Much of Romney's View on Taxes Conflicts With Longtime G.O.P. Stand." Was Romney truly "join[ing] the battle on social programs," as the opening line stated? And can Erick Erickson of Red State possibly just be a conservative activist, as opposed to a "conservative firebrand."
Tuesday's TimesCast on nytimes.com opened with a discussion of the "devastating" and "horrible moment" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign that was the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida in May noting “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." According to host Megan Liberman, Romney's words "seems to feed perfectly into the Obama campaign's narrative about Romney, that he's just a guy who doesn't care about regular people."
Liberman: "The Romney campaign is playing defense today after the release of this hidden camera video. National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg joins me now to talk about it. So Jim, is this just another gaffe, or is this video really as devastating as a lot of people on both the right and the left are saying that it is?"
One would hope that "free speech" would emerge the clear winner with a Times journalist covering the story. But Kirkpatrick played the "context" card, sidestepping the clear attacks on free expression demanded by Islamic extremists to the point of sounding apologetic for free expression.
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
The New York Times celebrated the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in a fashion that vindicates former Public Editor Arthur Brisbane's concern that the paper celebrates left-wing movements like Occupy "more like causes than news subjects."
First was Sunday's "Dear Bankers: Thanks for Wrecking Our Lives..." by Mark Greif, the founding editor of n+1 magazine and editor of “The Trouble Is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street." His article in the Times featured illustrations by Mike McQuade of letters written to the big bad banks. Greif introduced the letters:
The New York Times is milking its latest poll, showing some good news for Obama, to maximum effect. Sunday's front-page featured a poll story from one of the paper's top Obama boosters, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes (pictured): "Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground." Text box: "Polls Show Favor for Obama on Issue of Party Trust." Calmes writes from Orlando:
A label-crazy New York Timesreport from John Eligon in Kansas City, Mo., on a kerfuffle over Obama's birth certificate featured loaded language about "far-right Republicans" pushing "stringent social policies."
"Citing a wave of angry backlash, a Kansas man on Friday withdrew a petition in which he argued that President Obama should be removed from the state’s election ballot because he did not meet citizenship requirements," he wrote.
Has Maureen Dowd's documented hatred of Paul Ryan pushed her over the edge? The New York Times columnist is accused by several pundits of employing anti-Semitic tropes in her latest Sunday Review column, the charmingly titled "Neocons Slither Back," currently the #1 e-mailed Times story as of noon Monday. Meanwhile, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof harshly criticized Mitt Romney and accused Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "interfering in American elections."
Paul Ryan has not sautéed in foreign policy in his years on Capitol Hill. The 42-year-old congressman is no Middle East savant; till now, his idea of a border dispute has more likely involved Wisconsin and Illinois.
Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor. The hawkish Romney adviser has been secunded to manage the running mate and graft a Manichaean worldview onto the foreign affairs neophyte.
The New York Times is developing a bad habit of sending its columns to the Obama administration for approval. Daniel Harper at the Weekly Standard reported yesterday on a no-no committed by then-contributing Times columnist Peter Orszag, former director of Obama's Office of Management and Budget and an Obama-care booster in an October 20, 2010 column, "Malpractice Methodology." Halper wrote in part:
New York Times movie critic Jeanette Catsoulis demonstrated her simplistic liberal politics once again in her brief Friday review of the gay marriage documentary "The Right to Love," picking on mild concern from the subject's parents and grandparents as proving themselves "enemies of progress."
She found the movie itself "squishy" and the soundtrack "regrettably saccharine," but described left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow as an "arrow of lucidity."
The New York Times has again used a misleading headline to falsely imply failure on the part of conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Thursday's story by Isabel Kershner, "Israelis Fear Fallout From Netanyahu’s Blunt Comments." But the underlying story fails to come close to making that case, quoting only a single opponent of Netanyahu -- the opposition leader in the Israeli Parliament.
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."
Like a missionary, Michael Bailey, a county health worker, spends his days driving his beat-up Nissan around this city’s poorest neighborhood, spreading the word in barber shops and convenience stores about the benefits of healthy diet and exercise. “Look at the kids,” he said. “Overweight, huffing and wheezing. Their lives will be miserable if this doesn’t change.”
Facing criticism for failing to mention American troops or the Afghan war effort in his convention speech, Mitt Romney spoke before National Guard members on Tuesday and called for robust support of the nation’s armed forces, saying that “the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.”
On the 11th anniversary of 9-11, there was not a single mention of the attacks on the front page of the New York Times. In fact, there were just two local news stories related to the attacks in the entire Tuesday edition, one on delays in opening the site museum, the other on how some towns in New Jersey were scaling back annual memorial ceremonies. (The paper did put another threat to New York City on the front page: "New York Is Lagging as Seas And Risks, Rise, Critics Warn.")
The only other 9-11 coverage, as Mark Finkelstein noted on Newsbusters this morning, was "The Deafness Before the Storm," an op-ed by Kurt Eichenwald, a former Times reporter with a book out on the aftermath of the attacks ("500 Days"), blaming former President George W. Bush for ignoring warnings that Osama bin Laden was readying an attack on the United States.
James Taranto, who puts together the Wall Street Journal feature Best of the Web, was in excellent form Monday on the shifting standards of a certain economist turned partisan hack columnist who writes for the New York Times. When it comes to Republican presidents, four years is plenty of time to deal with inherited economic problems, but when it comes to Obama, "you've got to be kidding" that he should have been expected to fix the economy in just four years. Also on Monday, Krugman called Paul Ryan "an obvious shyster."
Taranato wrote snarkily that "the former Enron adviser had little patience for excuses" before quoting this lengthy excerpt from a Krugman column of October 24, 2003:
Surprisingly, Obama loyalist Calmes discerned political problems in the president's anti-business rhetoric. More predictably, she defended Obama's anti-entrepreneurship remark "you didn't build that," accusing the GOP of taking it out of context, even though the context does not save Obama from the charge of showing hostility to enterprise and individual initiative.
Uh-oh. Has the New York Times hired a new Public Editor that will spend her term criticizing the paper from the left? Less than a week after starting, Margaret Sullivan has already hailed the political wisdom of late left-wing author Gore Vidal while praising a Times "fact-checking" piece that excoriated Republicans. She has also expressed concern on the paper's lack of coverage of liberal fair-pay icon Lilly Ledbetter, while praising a writer for the left-wing online mag Salon. Finally, she discussed a complaint about Times's over-coverage of the latest lousy jobs report, inspired by a former Obama administration economist.
Sullivan, formerly editor for the Buffalo News, last week became the paper's fifth public editor, following Daniel Okrent (who began in October 2003), Byron Calame (May 23, 2005) Clark Hoyt (May 14, 2007), and Arthur Brisbane (August 2010). The Times's public editor position – an in-house newspaper critic who evaluates reader complaints and internal ethical issues – has its roots in the catastrophe of Jayson Blair, who published fake and plagiarized stories in the Times between October 2002 and April 2003.
New York Times campaign reporter Trip Gabriel joined vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and his brother Tobin on a plane above the Rocky Mountains – and devoted a full story to probing Ryan's claims on climbing them, in Friday's "For Ryan, Perks Of Joining Ticket Can Be Weighty."
Gabriel rode with the paper's trendy passion for partisan-slanted "fact-checking," but at an even more petty level. After last week's controversy over Ryan's marathon time, Gabriel portrayed Ryan as on the defensive over another silly atheletic-related controversy, this time over how many mountain summits he had climbed, which Gabriel linked to Ryan's debunked claim to have run a super-fast marathon.
The photo caption: "Paul D. Ryan with his brother Tobin on Wednesday over the Rockies, where they sorted out the facts behind a mountainous claim."
Oops. While celebrating in Thursday's New York Times the spotlight shown on gay issues during this week's Democratic National Convention, reporter Adam Nagourney (who is openly gay) wrote that gay Rep. Barney Frank spoke to the convention on Wednesday night. Nope: Frank was actually bumped when the program ran long and will deliver his speech tonight instead.
Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address at the Republican convention didn't warrant a full story last week in the New York Times. Yet when San Antonio mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote to the Democratic convention, Jeff Zeleny offered a full story in Wednesday's edition, giving the Democrats space from which to blast Republicans: "New Democratic Voice Challenges Republican Vision." Castro was also spared the fact-checking the Times afflicted upon Republicans last week in Tampa.
(Manny Fernandez had previously polished the mayor's resume in a flattering preview of Castro's keynote: "The speculation lately about Mr. Castro’s future has reached fever pitch; there is talk of his running for governor, earning a place in Mr. Obama’s cabinet and even becoming the first Hispanic president. A Fox News Latino headline this summer read: 'Julián Castro: Son of Chicana Activist, Harvard Law Grad, Future U.S. President?'")
A Sunday front-page profile of Obama's top aide Valerie Jarrett by the New York Times's Jo Becker, "The Other Power in the West Wing," was not uniformly positive, but did provide useful cover for her boss by painting Jarrett as pushing the president toward "first principles," which just happen to include (left-wing) priorities like gay marriage and government-funded birth control. But don't call Barack Obama a liberal! (The paper has long insisted he's a moderate and pragmatist.)
Becker opened by reminding readers how "President Obama was in a bind" during last fall's controversy over requiring religious employers to cover birth control, then skillfully wrote around the word "liberal," which in a balanced new story would appear right below the word "counterweight" in the sentence below:
So much for budget and Medicare reform. On Saturday, New York Times congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman sounded pretty confident that Paul Ryan's budget plan would sink Republican prospects in Congress in November, forwarding confident-sounding Democrats set to bash Ryan's proposals, even naming individual races, in "Ryan's Budget Proposal Is Pitting G.O.P. Troops Against Top of the Ticket." The text box: "A big deal for Romney-Ryan is shunned by the rank and file."
New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, author of a biography of the Obamas, on Tuesday filed a flattering profile of "hugging" Michelle Obama, "First Lady Strives for Caring Image Above Partisan Fray." Kantor excused the first lady's verbal "missteps" ("For the first time in my adult lifetime...I am really proud of my country") but avoided describing them.
Sunday brought an overload of New York Times columnists, including former reporters, calling the previous week's Republican National Convention a celebration of lies and extremism on abortion and gay marriage.
Times columnist and former White House correspondent Maureen Dowd was given more room than usual to rant about Paul Ryan and the Republicans in her Sunday column, "Cruel Conservatives Throw a Masquerade Ball." After calling the Republican Convention "a colossal hoax," she said of Paul Ryan's speech, "the altar boy altered reality, conjuring up a world so compassionate, so full of love-thy-neighbor kindness and small-town goodness, that you had to pinch yourself to remember it was a shimmering mirage, a beckoning pool of big, juicy lies...." Dowd concluded that "....Ryan’s lies and Romney’s shape-shifting are so easy to refute that they must have decided a Hail Mary pass of artifice was better than their authentic ruthless worldview."
Bogus media "fact-checking" continues, and the New York Times's Michael Cooper is leading the pack. His Saturday "Political Memo," "Fact-Checkers Howl, but Campaigns Seem Attached to Dishonest Ads," marks Cooper's second foray into the burgeoning genre in two days, focusing on the alleged false statements emanating from Mitt Romney's ads and the Republican National Convention podium. Cooper heralds the "Pulitzer Prize-winning" fact-check website Politifact as the gold standard of objectivity, though conservatives point to analysis like this:
White House reporter Jackie Calmes talked to Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod for a strong hit of Republican Convention bashing in her Friday New York Times story "Obama Team Sharpens Attacks on Rivals' Character." Calmes cited liberal media analysis to bolster her contention that even "independent fact-checkers" think the Republicans are lying.
As the Obama campaign heads into its convention next week, Democrats see openings both to fill in unpopular details of Mitt Romney’s agenda left unsaid by Republicans in Tampa this week and to raise new questions about Mr. Romney’s character after widespread criticism of misstatements by him and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan.
The latest entry in the media's obsession with picayune and partisan "fact-checking" of the Republican National Convention: New York Times reporter Michael Cooper's Friday "Check Point," "Facts Take a Beating In Acceptance Speeches." The original web headline was ridiculously partisan for a news story: "Ryan's Speech Contained a Litany of Falsehoods."
Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating -- which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.