A Thursday Politico story by Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen struck a nerve among liberal journalists by daring to suggest conservatives have a point when it comes to charges of media bias, singling out slanted coverage in the New York Times and the Washington Post:
On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.
Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” -- and the Times made it a brief on A15.
The New York Times is transparently invested in promoting J Street, the left-wing lobbying group of Palestinian-supporting Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the more hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as proven by its latest public relations article on behalf of the group: "Lobbying Group Is Being Heard as Moderate Voice on Israel."
According to the paper's blatantly promotional coverage of J Street, which the paper insists on calling "pro-Israel," just keeps moving from strength to strength (as it has for years at the Times, without ever coming close to challenging AIPAC in influence). Here's reporter Eric Lichtblau on Thursday:
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker was in Las Vegas and made controversy Wednesday over Mitt Romney's appearance at a fundraiser with media mogul and political controversialist Donald Trump. Parker used Trump's "birther" beliefs as an excuse to dredge up old Romney flubs: "Romney, on His Big Day, Finds Himself Upstaged."
It was supposed to be a day of triumph for Mitt Romney, when he would at last formally claim the Republican presidential nomination with a victory in the Texas primary. And Mr. Romney was to focus attention on an aggressive new attack on President Obama, highlighting the White House’s role in backing failed companies like Solyndra.
Instead, Tuesday was hijacked by Donald J. Trump. Inexplicably to many in his party, Mr. Romney had scheduled an appearance at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday night with Mr. Trump.
Peter Applebome, New York Times reporter and writer of the paper's"Our Towns" column, talked with residents of Chappaqua, New York pondering if they will be lucky enough to have Bill and Hillary Clinton as "‘Great Neighbors,’ but for How Long?" (Applebome also lives in Chappaqua, according to his New York Times bio.) It's an extremely homey, gushing story about two Democratic politicians, especially a power couple extremely infleuntial in national politics.
The Sunday New York Times devoted a 2,300-word front-page story by Trip Gabriel helpfully reminding everyone that the Romneys are really really rich. The ostensible subject of the pointless piece, "In Rarefied Sport, a View of the Romneys’ World," was Ann Romney's participation in "dressage," "in which horses costing up to seven figures execute pirouettes and other dancelike moves for riders wearing tails and top hats."
Yet he left out a lot, including the nasty tactics against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who was compared to Hitler by the left-wing union protesters who took to the state capitol, after Walker moved to take away the collective bargaining rights of public-sector employees. Kaufman shied away from actual details about the union-instigated Walker recall election, like its $18 million price tag and the fact that Walker has a substantial lead in most polls. Instead he focused on tangential stories supposedly representative of Republican corruption and the decline of civility in the state. He ended with a lesson in Times-worthy political decorum, as one Republican state senator regains his civility (i.e., votes with the Democrats).
The year 2012 looks a lot like 2008: high unemployment, a candidate named Obama promising to do something about high unemployment, and the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And one more thing: conservatives are still ridiculing liberation theology. With the complicity of clueless pundits and incurious journalists, they are reducing an important theological movement of the past 40 years to an abusive sound bite.
The usual pro-Obama tilt in postings to the New York Times' political blog "The Caucus" was even more pronounced this week. Times Watch evaluated all the headlines to presidential-election related Caucus posts for the week of May 21-25, excluding summaries composed solely of links to Times stories, and stories related to Congress alone.
As of noon Friday, there were 23 matching posts. Of those 23, the headlines of 9 posts (shown below in bold) were classified as supportive of President Obama, with the remaining 14 classified as neutral. There was not a single headline favorable to Mitt Romney.
Maureen Dowd has devoted her last two Times columns to her problems with the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
Wednesday's edition featured "Father Doesn't Know Best" (get it?). Dowd is confused about the idea of a church insisting its members adhere to its core beliefs, while ranting about "women's lower caste in the church." That subject is a hobbyhorse for Dowd, who has previously compared the status of women in the church to that of women in Saudi Arabia.
In a convenient bit of public relations, the would-be "indelible" image (the initial online headline was "Indelible Image of Boy's Pat on Obama's Head") used by the Times was captured by White House photographer Pete Souza. Calmes, who is a notorious defender of the administration's economic policy, wrote on Thursday:
Monica Davey and Steven Yaccino reported for Tuesday's New York Times from Chicago, the site of the NATO summit and left-wing protests and put the best spin on the violent clashes that led to 90 arrests over the course of a week: "Day of Subdued Protests Follows Night of Clashes in Chicago." The text box: "The prospect of widespread chaos does not materialize."
Apparently left-wing protests are graded on a curve, as "about 90 arrests" is considered "an uneventful weekend." And the Times decided it was safe to mention the Occupy movement's involvement in the protests, after conveniently leaving them out of its previous reporting on terror threats and violence against cops in Chicago.
Not content with letting partisan liberal journalist Joe Klein review "radical Republican" Jonah Goldberg's new book The Tyranny of Clichés, the May 18 edition of the paper's Book Review podcast opened with book editor Sam Tanenahus talking with Klein about his hostile Times book review. Tanenhaus (pictured), author of a little screed called The Death of Conservatism that was discredited within months of its 2009 publication by the rise of the Tea Party, spent the first 14 minutes of the podcast slamming Goldberg's book along with Klein.
This exchange occurred about 40 minutes from the end of the podcast:
Surprising no one, the New York Times handed its review of Jonah Goldberg's new book,The Tyranny of Clichés, to a political enemy, Time Magazine political columnist Joe Klein (pictured), which he did under the loaded headline "Hating Liberals." The paper similarly handed its review of Goldberg's previous book, 2007'sLiberal Fascism, to unsympathetic history professor David Oshinsky.
Klein was even harsher (calling the book "an insight into the...radical Republican state of mind") and more condescending in an accompanying New York Times books podcast, hosted by his equal in conservative mockery, the paper's book editor Sam Tanenhaus. (Check the next Times Watch post for that.)
The NATO summit meeting in Chicago this weekend was the target of a diverse collage of left-wing groups as people with the Occupy movement streamed into Chicago for protests that culminated in violent clashes with cops and 45 arrests on Sunday. Before the summit the Times reported the protest would be a sign of how strong Occupy remained. Yet once the violence and terrorism charges began flying in Chicago, the Occupy movement all but disappeared from the paper's coverage.
Political reporter Michael Shear uses a half-baked Times "expose" to accuse the GOP of using racial attacks by bringing up the legitimate issue of the anti-white, anti-American, paranoid ravings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for decades in Chicago, in Saturday's "Race and Religion Rear Their Heads."
Perhaps the uglier side of politics is always close to the surface.
President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, have said for months that the 2012 election will be about the economy. But on Thursday, it became -- at least for a brief moment -- about the always touchy issues of race and religion.
Savage again showed himself unwilling to label far-left figures like Noam Chomsky as far-left, but has no problem calling the Tea Party "conservative." In the past he has termed the far-left Center for Constitutional Rights "civil libertarians" and "a group of human rights lawyers." Friday he wrote:
The ad strategy, which was aborted after the Times ran with it on Thursday's front page, would have emphasized Obama's controversial Chicago pastor, the racially inflammatory Jeremiah Wright. But the Times as usual described Rev. Wright's anti-white jeremiads in bland terms, burying Wright's 9-11 quote that the attack was “America’s chickens are coming home to roost," and left out his notorious "God damn America!" rant completely. That distanced approach matches the paper's reluctant Wright coverage during the 2008 campaign.
The New York Times's Serge Kovaleski reported from Sanford, Fla. on the many "missteps" in the police investigation into the fatal shooting of black youth Treyvon Martin by George Zimmerman: "In Martin Case, Police Missteps Add to Challenges to Find Truth." Of course, the Times and the rest of the media have made plenty of their own mistakes in covering the volatile case.
Kovaleski's front-page story Thursday glided over a scrap of data pointing toward vindication for Zimmerman: "...One witness, though, provided information to the police that corroborated Mr. Zimmerman’s account of the struggle, according to a law enforcement official."
New York Times columnist (and former White House correspondent for the paper) Frank Bruni gets nasty and personal again in his Tuesday column "The Right's Righteous Fraud," picking on 21-year-old Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah, for blogging about gay marriage, even throwing out a date rape reference. Judging by the time stamps at Bristol's blog, Bruni has stirred up another round of hateful lefty comments to Palin's original May 10 blog post, some of them simply regurgitating Bruni's bile.
In March, Bruni devoted a column to a former classmate providing a pat liberal morality lesson that seemed a lot like an invasion of doctor-patient privacy, then attacked Newt Gingrich and insulted Gingrich's wife. Today Bruni, who is openly gay, goes after Palin's oldest daughter for hypocrisy and being a bad mother, after Bristol had the audacity to blog her opinion on gay marriage (she's against it):
New York Times reporters Mark Landler and John Cushman Jr. covered President Obama's plea to women's voters disguised as a commencement address at Barnard College, a woman's college in Manhattan: "In Graduation Speech to Women, Obama Leaps Into Gender Gap." What the paper failed to bring up was that according to its own polling, the female "gender gap" is currently Obama's problem, not Mitt Romney's.
Most Americans suspect that President Obama was motivated by politics, not policy, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage, according to a new poll released on Monday, suggesting that the unplanned way it was announced shaped public attitudes.
Psycho-capitalism? The overwhelmingly liberal readership of the New York Times is predictably eating up a charged story in the increasingly pretentious and hard-left Sunday Review section, "Capitalists And Other Psychopaths," by left-wing essayist William Deresiewicz, a critic who often writes for The Nation. Bringing the article to life is a cartoon of two men with painted smiles torturing ants with a magnifying glass. The text box: "Rich people are more likely to lie, cheat and break the law. No surprise."
As of Monday afternoon it was the paper's second-most read and e-mailed story (behind a more substantive Times magazine cover story on diagnosing children as psychopaths), as liberal readers ironically used tools honed and perfected by capitalists to spread a tale -- published by a capitalist organization, the New York Times Company, with revenues of $2.3 billion in 2011 -- of the utter wickedness of capitalists.
In which the NY Times reveals itself, yet again, to be a simple, partisan rag...
In 2005, the Republicans in the United States Senate were frustrated by the Democrats' use of the filibuster to thwart Presidential nominations to the Federal judiciary, and were particularly concerned with the threat of a filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, which had never previously happened. Because of this, they contemplated a rule change to eliminate, or significantly limit, the filibuster, a change that was termed the "nuclear option." The mainstream press, as represented here by the New York Times, was appalled. This despite the fact that, with Democrats in the White House and control of the Senate, they had favored filibuster reform. No, they were just wrong earlier, and their new, more fully matured position, was the right one. Clearly, the filibuster was wrong. A problem.
Perhaps setting the tone for the 2012 election coverage, the New York Times leaned "staunchly" on "deep-seated" conservative labels in Sunday's front-page off-lead by Jennifer Steinhauer (pictured) and Jonathan Weisman: "Tea Party Focus Turns to Senate And Shake-Up-- Pursuing a House-Style Conservative Fervor." After months of hinting that the Tea Party was losing influence, the toppling of veteran Republican moderate Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana has convinced the Times that the group now poses a danger to moderates and deal-makers in the party.
The primary victory of a Tea Party-blessed candidate in Indiana illustrates how closely Republican hopes for a majority in the Senate are tied to candidates who pledge to infuse the chamber with the deep-seated conservatism that has been the hallmark of the House since the Republicans gained control in 2010.
The New York Times's Monica Davey and Trip Gabriel shared Democratic "giddiness" over the possibility of winning a Senate seat in the Republican-leaning state Indiana on Thursday: "With Primary Over, a New Battle for Indiana Senate Seat Begins." The text box was all sunshine for the Democratic Party's prospects for the Indiana seat: "Strategies emerge as Democrats now see a chance at a win."
The morning after Senator Richard G. Lugar, in his 36th year in office, was overwhelmingly defeated in a Republican primary election, this state awoke on Wednesday to another surprise: A new battle, now likely to be far fiercer and costlier than once expected, was already brewing over the seat he leaves behind.
As the president traveled to the West Coast on Thursday, where in Seattle he said Americans should have the chance to succeed “no matter who you love,” his presumptive challenger, Mitt Romney, and Republican leaders in Congress, tried, with limited success, to steer the focus of the presidential campaign back to the nation’s sluggish economy.
To many Russian and Ukrainian immigrants, the cornucopia in the shops along Brighton Beach Avenue -- pyramids of oranges, heaps of Kirby cucumbers, bushels of tomatoes with their vines still attached and a variety of fish, sausages and pastries -- seems like an exuberant rebuke of the meager produce that was available to them when they lived in the Soviet Union.
New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney departed from his L.A.-beat to comment on Obama's announcement yesterday in support of gay marriage, and didn't hedge on its "historic significance." The president's statement, delivered to ABC reporter Robin Roberts, predictably led Thursday's edition, and Nagourney's "news analysis" also made the front: "A Watershed Move, Both Risky and Inevitable."
President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage on Wednesday was by any measure a watershed. A sitting United States president took sides in what many people consider the last civil rights movement, providing the most powerful evidence to date of how rapidly views are moving on an issue that was politically toxic just five years ago.