There were some stark contrasts on the campaign trail in Wednesday's New York Times. After Vice President Joe Biden warned a racially mixed south Virginia audience of the Republican ticket: "They're going to put y'all back in chains." A five-paragraph brief on Biden's comments by Rebecca Berg made page A14 Wednesday, including a brief quote of Mitt Romney's counterattack on the Obama camp in Chillicothe, Ohio, under the soporific headline "A Metaphor Draws Notice."
Berg helpfully corrected Biden's grammar by removing the veep's condescending second-person plural Southernism ("y'all"), replacing it with the more standard "you all." By contrast, the exchange was highlighted in a front-page Washington Post article, which retained Biden's contraction.
Maureen Dowd brings her brand of sour sarcasm to bear on Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan in her Wednesday New York Times column "When Cruelty Is Cute": "Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?"
I’d been wondering how long it would take Republicans to realize that Paul Ryan is their guy.
He’s the cutest package that cruelty ever came in. He has a winning air of sad cheerfulness. He’s affable, clean cut and really cut, with the Irish altar-boy widow’s peak and droopy, winsome blue eyes and unashamed sentimentality.
Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans?
A Tuesday story from London-based New York Times reporter Alan Cowell on London's successful staging of the 2012 Olympics had this aside blaming last year's riots on societal "greed."
The Games took place almost exactly a year after riots and looting spread from London to other British cities, shocking the country with a vision of a society whose greed had produced an underclass fueled by violence, envy and alienation.
In September 2011, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman told CNN's Gloria Borger that Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare voucher plan "would kill people, no question." As you can imagine, he's not terribly happy about Romney picking Ryan as his running mate.
Krugman can't even bear fellow liberals offering grudging praise to Ryan. discussing on a Monday morning blog post "a lamentable but revealing column by William Saletan, which illustrates perfectly how the essentially ludicrous Paul Ryan has gotten so far – namely, by playing to the gullibility of self-proclaimed centrists, who want to show their 'balance' by finding a conservative to praise."
Is the Tea Party on the decline or not? Don't ask the New York Times. Political reporter Michael Shear wrote in Monday's paper that "Tea Party Hopes to Gain Larger Stage in Election With Romney's Pick." The text box: "A movement already energized by a string of electoral victories." But in May, a Times reporter wrote that the Tea Party "has lost momentum." Here's Shear:
For two years, Tea Party lawmakers in the House have been the stubborn barbarians at the gate, strong-arming their often reluctant Republican colleagues by refusing to compromise on spending, taxes, debt or social policy.
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller went after Republicans and the party's "disciplined conservative infrastructure" in his 1,200-word Monday column on Romney's vice presidential pick Paul Ryan – "The Romney Package." Pecking at a multitude of conservative targets, Keller also said Reagan conservative Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork was "attacked (with justification) as a radical," and accused the Swift Boat Veterans for truth of a "slander" against John Kerry in 2004.
Republican Mitt Romney's choice of conservative budget expert Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate brought confessions of his likability and intellect from the New York Times over the weekend, but also labeling slant and concern that Ryan's proposals to reform out-of-control entitlement programs are too radical for voters to stomach. By contrast, Obama's 2008 pick of Sen. Joe Biden resulted in virtually zero descriptions of Biden's liberal outlook.
On Sunday's front page, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes called Ryan "the author of the audacious House Republican budget plan," but gave off an air of concern around the vice presidential nominee's budget proposals, accusing him of "largely undoing the social safety net," though federal spending would actually increase under his plan.
New York Times campaign reporter Michael Shear's "Political Memo" on Friday, "The 2012 Cycle: Attack, Feign Outrage, Repeat," was pitched as an even-handed, "pox on both your houses" article on how both political campaigns use phony outrage as a political tool.
But Shear launched a dubious defense of Obama's notorious "You didn't build that" gaffe, and understated the offensiveness of a false and malicious pro-Democratic ad holding Mitt Romney responsible for the death of a worker's wife.
New York Times food writer and reporter Mark Bittman remains unrepentant even after his apology for calling a deceased public relations executive for Chick-fil-A a "pig" for that company's opposition to gay marriage. Bittman forwarded this Twitter message from a follower: "If Chick-Fill-A's VP SUPPORTED same-sex marriage & died, sound of right-wing claims it was God's judgment would've been deafening."
And it hasn't hurt his standing at the paper; in fact he's in the print edition on Friday with "Guns, Butter And Then Some," yet another sophomoric liberal op-ed, advocating gun control, calling Fox News host Bill O'Reilly a hatemonger, and putting the word "terrorists" in quotation marks to mark those 33 Americans killed in terror attacks since 9-11.
The story voiced concern about a lack of enthusiasm for Romney and a reduction in enthusiasm for Obama, but also served as an excuse for nostalgia for the liberal excitement stirred by the 2008 Obama campaign, reminiscing about the "jaw-dropping crowds" that came to see Obama five years ago.
Severson found "radical evangelical groups" composed of "conservative Christians" as well as a "conservative country music concert," but the left-wing Occupy Movement failed to draw even a "liberal" label, much less a "radical" one.
On Thursday Jackie Calmes (pictured) and Trip Gabriel, two of the New York Times's more slanted campaign reporters, teamed up to cover Obama's campaign trip to Colorado and Romney's trip to Iowa: "Obama Assails Romney on Women’s Health Care." Covering Obama in Denver, the Times credited the president's popularity among women, while the Romney coverage from Iowa emphasized a controversy in that state, underlined by an accompanying photo caption: "Mitt Romney, visiting Iowa, kept quiet about his opposition to tax credits for wind power."
New York Times food writer and reporter Mark Bittman issued an apology on his nytimes.com blog on Tuesday for a venemous post on the recent death of Chick-fil-A's vice-president for public relations Donald Perry.
In a recent blog post, I used an inappropriate phrase to refer to the late VP of PR for Chick-fil-A. My choice of words did not rise to either my own standards or to The Times’s, and the phrase has been removed from the post. I regret this lapse.
Riding to the defense of the Obama administration, New York Times reporter Trip Gabriel questionably termed allegations by conservatives that Obama had weakened federal welfare policy "a stretch" in a Wednesday news story, "Romney Presses Obama On Work in Welfare Law."
But scholars from the Heritage Foundation disagree and rebut the main point in defense raised by the Times. "[Health and Human Services] now claims that states receiving a waiver must 'commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work compared to the state’s prior performance.' But given the normal turnover rate in welfare programs, the easiest way to increase the number of people moving from 'welfare to work' is to increase the number entering welfare in the first place." Heritage also defended Romney against the White House's hypocrisy charge.
Has the Tea Party truly "siphoned energy and support from violent fringe groups"? On Wednesday James Dao and Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times reported on the murderous rampage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin: "Music Style Is Called Supremacist Recruiting Tool."
After working in the threat of "ultra-right-wing militias" (though all indiciations are that the killer acted alone), Dao and Kovaleski threw in a reference to the Tea Party as a "more mainstream alternative" to such violent domestic terrorist outfits, though there has never been violence or arrests at Tea Party rallies.
New York Times reporter Amy Chozick gave respectful attention Wednesday to President Obama's moonlighting as media critic: "Obama Is an Avid Reader, and Critic, of the News." Chozick pushed the pro-Democratic idea of the media pursuing "false balance," while pumping up Obama as "a voracious consumer of news." Almost totally ignored: Media favoritism toward Barack Obama.
Chozick started with Obama, who has been a frequent critic of conservative outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio show, complaining about a three-year-old story from a rival newspaper.
The New York Times handed over more real estate to controversial left-wing comedian Bill Maher, this time in the Sunday Book Review section, where Maher praised a book in support of legalizing marijuana in a review and in the front section of the Book Review, where Maher lamented: "The drug war, just like the war on terror, created jobs and budgets, and the beneficiaries don’t want to give them up, even though they know they’re fighting an immoral and unwinnable war."
New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane on July 29 introduced The Agenda, a special online campaign section that promises to put the "big issues" on the table and "outline potential solutions." Brisbane hoped the special online section would "elevate debate" on substantive issues, but so far it's functioning as an excuse for reporters to call for liberal solutions to imagined problems like income inequality and climate change.
Environmental reporter John Broder is covering climate change in the "Planet" section, under the opinionized subhead "The lagging U.S. response to climate change." His August 3 entry, "Who Are Your Sources?," featured a silly photo of Glenn Beck from his former Fox News show as a supposed example of where climate change skeptics get their information.
In his Monday online column, "The Leak Police," former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller worked in a cheap shot against Mitt Romney while arguing that the Obama administration "without really setting out to do so, already surpassed all previous administrations in its prosecution of leakers, has begun new investigations into disclosures by The Times, Newsweek, The Associated Press and others." Keller wrote:
New York Times sports reporter Jere Longman doesn't approve of a certain Olympic female track and field athlete. His piece on the front of Sunday's sports section, "For Lolo Jones, Everything Is Image," rubbed in the fact that Jones hasn't won an Olympic medal, casts doubt on whether she will do so on Wednesday, and sneeringly claimed that Jones "will be whatever anyone wants her to be -- vixen, virgin, victim -- to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses." Even worse: She's a Christian and fan of Tim Tebow.
A photo caption read: "Lolo Jones has received more attention than any other American track and field athlete based on what some have called a cynical marketing strategy that is long on hyperbole and short on achievement."
Eligon's story could be the paper's all-time winner as far as labeling density, with a staggering 33 uses of the word "conservative" in non-quoted material within the 1,367-word article, plus two labels in photo captions, plus the one in the headline. By contrast, the common conjunction "and" appeared a mere 27 times under the same parameters. (Yet the Times find it very hard to locate liberals.)
New York Times political reporter Peter Baker's Thursday "campaign memo," "Philosophic Clash Over Government's Role Highlights Parties' Divide," marks the first appearance in the Times of President Obama's already notorious slam on business, which, according to Baker's helpful spin, "make clear that he celebrates individual achievement and free enterprise while believing that they are bolstered by collective investment."
It took only a few days for it to become a favorite Republican talking point. President Obama told an audience that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.”
And it only took six days for the remarks to appear in the Times, on Thursday (Obama made the remarks last Friday night in Roanoke, Virginia). The rest of the media were also behind, as documented by the MRC's Geoff Dickens. Meanwhile, Romney surrogate John Sununu's crack that Obama should "learn how to be an American" made instant news at the paper.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman helped the Democrats's tax-hike agenda in his front-page story Wednesday, "At Fiscal Cliff, Anti-Tax Vow Gets New Look," suggesting Obama's proposed tax hikes were slight and "considerably smaller" by percentage of the U.S. economy than those installed by President Clinton in 1993, as if such an arcane statistic was the only worthwhile one for judging the wisdom of a tax hike.
New New York Times reporter Rebecca Berg gave the Obama camp the benefit of the doubt in Wednesday's "Shift in Welfare Policy Draws G.O.P. Protests." Berg didn't question whether the administration was purposely weakening welfare reform's work requirements for political advantage, but merely assumed the Obama camp was making a purely procedural move to give states "more latitude" in administering the welfare-to-work programs.
A move by the Obama administration to give states more latitude in running federal welfare-to-work programs has set off a firestorm among Republicans, who say it undercuts the work requirements set forth in the 1996 overhaul of welfare policy.
Congressional Democrats failed to pass the DISCLOSE act Monday, legislation that would require non-profits to identify their donors. New York Times eporter Jonathan Weisman joined the push on Tuesday. Even the headline was regretful about the limits of liberal campaign finance "reform" to rein in a Republican group who defeated a Democratic congressman in 2010: "Tax-Exempt Group’s Election Activity Highlights Limits of Campaign Finance Rules."
Weisman used an example that sounded handpicked from a liberal activist group to make the case for DISCLOSE (not actually named that by the Times, which only used the ponderous full name for the legislation).
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller's Monday column defended Obama's embattled health-care law against Republican "slurs" and "lies," in "Five Obamacare Myths." And Keller calling the Democratic-slanted "truth squad" FactCheck.org "impartial" won't do much for his credibility among conservatives, even if he does call himself a "devout capitalist."
On the subject of the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur -- a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues -- “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” -- rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
It was all Occupy Wall Street all the time in Sunday's New York Times, with no less than four favorable references to the left-wing sit-in scattered throughout the paper. The Tea Party movement certainly hasn't permeated the pages of the Times in such friendly fashion.
Meanwhile, the paper continues to downplay or ignore violence committed by the Occupy movement. The Times did not cover the riot by Occupy LA the night of July 12, where four officers were injured and 17 protesters arrested after protesters tried to transform a monthly "Artwalk" event into a "Chalk Walk" protest and begin hurling rocks and bottles at police officers in riot gear.
Veteran New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm covered a lawsuit filed by "women's rights advocates" against new restrictions on abortion in Arizona: "Lawsuit Tries to Block New Arizona Abortion Law." Favorable treatment for the pro-abortion side was evident in Eckholm's labeling and source disparity.
A supporter of the law, Cathi Herrod, was identified as president of "a conservative Christian group" and given three paragraphs to make her case, while Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Dr. Paul Isaacson, a Phoenix abortionist were granted seven paragraphs to state their case, with the added benefit of not being slapped with an ideological label.
New York Times liberal reporter turned liberal columnist Timothy Egan's Thursday nytimes.com column, "Tribes of the Swing States," began with an intriguing rundown of what Obama and Romney have in common, before swerving into ridiculously self-righteous liberalism:
What’s little known, and certainly unmentioned on the campaign trail, is what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have in common. Both have family histories with polygamy. Both had fathers born in foreign countries. Both went to Harvard. Both are wealthy.