Saturday's front-page New York Times story by education writer Michael Winerip on a school testing scandal involving Beverly Hall, former superintendent of Atlanta public schools: "35 Indicted in Test Scandal at Atlanta Schools." Hall is "charged with racketeering, theft, influencing witnesses, conspiracy and making false statements. Prosecutors recommended a $7.5 million bond for her; she could face up to 45 years in prison."
It's a sorry end to a saga that includes politically correct embarrassment for the paper and reporter Shaila Dewan, who defended Hall in two notorious stories from August 2010, trumpeting the false initial vindication of Superintendent Hall, who is black, while hinting at a racial element to criticism that Hall and the Atlanta school district had falsified minority student test scores.
This week marks 10 years of Times Watch, the Media Research Center's project monitoring the liberal bias of the New York Times, America's most influential newspaper. Over the course of roughly 3,500 posts since March 2003, we have followed the Times through events historic (wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), pathetic (Jayson Blair, Howell Raines) and dangerous (the paper scuttling two separate anti-terror programs.)
Here in rough chronological order are the Top Ten highlights of the New York Times' 10-year investigation into the bias of the New York Times.
Barack Obama doesn't want the tragedy in Newtown to go to waste, using emotionally manipulative language to push gun control in a White House speech while surrounded by relatives of victims of gun violence. Jeremy Peters and Peter Baker reported in Friday's New York Times, "Months After Massacre, Obama Seeks to Regain Momentum on Gun Laws."
With resistance to tougher gun laws stiffening in Congress, a visibly frustrated President Obama on Thursday implored lawmakers and the nation not to lose sight of the horrors of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
Joseph Lhota is a moderate Republican running for mayor of New York City, but Michael Barbaro's front page Thursday story focuses on an incident back in 1999 when he inflamed Manhattan's artsy liberal elite: "For Mayoral Hopeful Who Lost Fight to Remove Art, No Regrets." Barbaro also reminds us that the New York Times is guilty of double standards in its treatment of art that offends religious sensibilities.
Lhota was deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani when controversy erupted over the Brooklyn Museum's display of Chris Ofili's painting of the "Holy Virgin Mary," clumped with elephant dung.
After two days of same-sex marriage arguments at the Supreme Court, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg bestowed a blessing on the "serious and unassuming" Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). Even the headline equated gay marriage with the civil rights fight, citing the legendary civil rights lawyer who became a Supreme Court Justice: "In Fight for Marriage Rights, 'She's Our Thurgood Marshall.'"
The Marshall reference comes from left-wing former Rep. Barney Frank, who is openly gay and married. We also learn "Ms. Bonauto is too busy juggling legal briefs, homework and piano lessons to see herself as a woman making history." But not too busy to be feted in the news pages of the Times.
In two New York Times columns in a row, George W. Bush-era White House reporter Frank Bruni has giddily borrowed Sen. John McCain's description of conservatives like the drone-filibustering Sen. Rand Paul as "wacko birds" ("Rand Paul’s Loopy Ascent").
When you’ve got loons the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin fluttering about, I suppose it’s easy not to seem like such a wacko bird yourself.
Only some social issues are divisive in the Plains states, or so implies the New York Times. A sour tone permeated Wednesday's front-page story by John Eligon and Erik Eckholm from Fargo on North Dakota's strict new abortion laws, which ban abortions based on sex or disability and forbid abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable: "New Laws Ban Most Abortions in North Dakota." Yet Colorado's passage of civil unions legislation for gay couples was celebrated with no dissenting voices.
And alhough the quotes from sources pro and con were balanced, with two people quoted in favor, two against, and one classified as neutral, the two pro-life sources were the last two quoted, in paragraphs 26 and 29-30 of the 31-paragraph story.
As two gay-marriage cases reach the Supreme Court this week, the New York Times's Peter Baker served up Bill Clinton's mea culpa on the Defense of Marriage Act, which the president signed into law in 1996, in the heat of his re-election campaign.
While letting Clinton explain his reversal on DOMA, which ensured that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex marriage conducted in another state, Baker relayed the former president's exceedingly lame explanations for angering the left and signing it into law -- apparently Bob Dole (his '96 election opponent) made him do it. And, sleep deprivation.
Barbaro, who covered the Romney campaign in hostile fashion and hated Wal-Mart's occasional donations to conservative groups (dwarfed by the corporation's liberal giving), didn't ask whether big-money Bloomberg was playing an unfairly influential role by trying to buy legislation he favors through his group Mayors for Illegal Guns.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, a former White House reporter for the paper, followed Sen. John McCain in mocking attendees of the latest Conservative Political Action Conference (aka CPAC) as "wacko birds" in his column Sunday on gay marriage at the Supreme Court.
A front-page New York Times profile of Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which fights gay marriage legislation, was actually fair until reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg's laudatory reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which raises money by smearing social conservative organizations as "hate groups."
Saturday's New York Times took an offensively soft approach to the death of a Hamas terrorist instigator who raised her sons to kill Jews: "Mariam Farhat, 64, the 'Mother of Martyrs.'" The text box couched the terrorism in passive terms: "A woman who took unusual pride in how three of her sons died." The word "terrorism" didn't even appear in the obituary by William Yardley, who also called the murderous part of Hamas the "military wing."
Barack Obama's speech in front of a sympathetic young left-wing audience in Israel demanding that Israel's leaders take risks for peace with the Palestinians, and to end the Israeli "occupation," received gushing reviews for its "historic" nature from New York Times journalists. Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren joined host Marcus Mabry and deputy foreign editor Michael Slackman on Thursday's Timescast. Joining by phone from Jerusalem, Rudoren could hardly contain her excitement.
Rudoren: "Well, this was an audience of people who were predisposed to like the speech and like Obama, and they wanted to come, and it was a largely left-wing audience, and they [ate?] the speech up. They loved it. He spoke Hebrew, he made jokes, he handled a heckler well. And he just played the strings of, sort of, the Israeli public very effectively, talking about their ancient roots in land, and then he delivered what was a very tough message, which he said very strongly, Israel cannot remain a Jewish and democratic state if it continues the occupation of the Palestinian territory...."
The original online headline to Wednesday's New York Times budget legislation story, "Finance Bill, Nearing Senate Passage, Would Protect Some Favored Programs," likely captured what reporters Jonathan Weisman and Annie Lowrey really wanted to say, betraying their big-government default favoritism: "Plan That Would Spare Vital Programs Is Expected to Pass Senate."
"Vital" by whose measurement? The article is peppered with similarly loaded liberal language marking "the worst" cuts, and making the Keynesian argument that any reduction in spending would "inhibit long-term economic growth."
Pot, kettle: New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani reviewed Tuesday a new biography by Zev Chafets of Fox News president Roger Ailes under the headline, "A Soft-Focus Look at Fox's Tough-Talking Tough Guy." Kakutani faulted the book for relying on familiar stories and, of course, for Fox News's conservatie viewpoint: "There is little cogent analysis in these pages about how Fox News frames its reports from a conservative point of view, or the effect that this has had on the national conversation."
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal cracked on New York Times columnist Frank Bruni for his Sunday Review column urging the new pope to "dwell less in the bedroom, more in the soup kitchen." (Last week Bruni guest-hosted the Charlie Rose show and pushed similar talking points.)
Taranto had fun with Bruni in his "Best of the Web" column Monday:
Luo's usual beat is campaign finance, where he has a hobby of trying to get the IRS interested in GOP fundraising tactics he doesn't approve of. On Monday Luo displayed a very trusting nature in government regulation, assuming that the men lawless enough to murder women would have been stopped by gun restrictions.
The New York Times Magazine profile of young, nontraditional country singer Kathy Musgraves by contributor Carlo Rotella was infected with smug urban liberalism and a stale defense of the defunct Dixie Chicks, "who had a patriotic fatwa declared against them for saying they were against the war in Iraq and ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas."
You may remember that incident occured happened a few days before the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, and was proclaimed from a stage in London -- a safer place to indulge anti-war stridency than their home state of Texas.
Betraying his impatience with the Republican Party's insistence that President Obama cut spending, New York Times political reporter Jonathan Weisman sounded shocked that the GOP wasn't simply surrendering its principles in the wake of Obama's four–point victory last November, in Monday's "Republicans Determined To Press On With Air, If Not Vote, of Confidence." (Nice flattering photo of Paul Ryan, by the way.)
A year ago this month, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin stood on the floor of the House and declared that the ideals of small government, privatized health care and rigorous spending discipline captured in the budget plan about to pass the House would and should be central to the 2012 election campaign.
There was nothing but festering distress and especially "division" on the right at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference held last week, at least according to the New York Times. As noted previously on NewsBusters, CPAC generated headlines like this one from Saturday: "G.O.P. Divisions Fester at Conservative Retreat."
As Noel Sheppard pointed out, George Will picked up on that headline on ABC's This Week: "...I guarantee, if there were a liberal conclave comparable to this, and there were vigorous debates going on there, the New York Times headline would be, 'Healthy Diversity Flourishes at Liberal Conclave.'" Actually, Will wasn't far off. A contrast of headlines from this year's CPAC and previous years of Netroots Nation -- a roughly equivalent annual meeting of liberals and leftists --shows an obvious disparity in tone.
New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter's Friday story -- adapted from a longer post on his "Media Decoder" blog -- relayed the changing of the prime time guard at the nation's most liberal news channel: "Weekend Host Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Slot on MSNBC." Stelter praised Hayes for his "well-regarded morning program," crediting it for "long, thoughtful conversations about politics and public policy," though conservatives would question how deep that surface sheen of sophistication truly is.
Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the Comcast owned channel announced on Thursday, the day after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends.
New York Times Atlanta bureau chief (and foodie) Kim Severson got rather insulting while writing about a new Mississippi law forbidding any locality from making rules on food size or content, passed in the wake of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's thwarted attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks New Yorkers could order: "'Anti-Bloomberg Bill' in Mississippi Bars Local Restrictions on Food and Drink."
Preston can hardly contain her enthusiasm for the movement, especially when she's discussing the "Dreamers" – the young people brought to the country illegally pushing for an accelerated path to citizenship.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is now Pope Francis, and Thursday's New York Times front-page "Man In the News" profile by Emily Schmall and Larry Rohter, "A Conservative With a Common Touch," opened respectfully. But after a dash of local color and historical context, the Times quickly mounted its old hobby horse: the Church's positions on liberal issues like abortion and gay marriage:
But Cardinal Bergoglio is also a conventional choice, a theological conservative of Italian ancestry who vigorously backs Vatican positions on abortion, gay marriage, the ordination of women and other major issues -- leading to heated clashes with Argentina’s left-leaning president.
Lowrey, who on March 2 called the hard-to-detect budget cuts of sequestration "painful and stupid," gave the game away in her lead sentence, signaling that she doesn't really think that enormous debt is much of a crisis:
New York Times campaign finance reporter Nicholas Confessore's 2,000-word front-page story Wednesday took a liberal angle on a judge striking down New York City's controversial new regulation that would have banned soda portions over 16 ounces.
Besides the paternalism of lines like "a victory for the industry’s steadfast, if surprising, allies: advocacy groups representing the very communities hit hardest by the obesity epidemic," Confessore hinted at a quid pro quo involving donations from the beverage industry going to black and Hispanic non-profits, which in turn parroted the industry talking points against the regulation.
National Review magazine has published an excellent and comprehensive response to New York Times Book Editor Sam Tanenhaus's dishonest smear of conservative thought in a cover story for The New Republic. The article by National Review contributors Ramesh Ponnuru and Jonah Goldberg appears in the March 25 issue.
After first explaining that for the left, "The explanation for conservatives’ opposition to President Obama and his agenda must be found not in our ideas but in our pathologies," they argue (bolds added by me):