"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." – Managing editor Jill Abramson as quoted by Times media reporter Jeremy Peters upon her ascension to the executive editor slot, replacing Bill Keller, in a story posted at nytimes.com the morning of June 2. The quote disappeared later that day and did not make it into the next day’s print edition.
David Mamet, Far-Right Playwright
"David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right." – Subhead introducing Andrew Goldman’s May 29 interview with playwright David Mamet in the Times Sunday magazine.
Another day, another New York Times story by Katharine Seelye story on liberal Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards that completely leaves out the words "liberal" and "Democrat" -- an admiring profile of Edwards’s loyal daughter, "For Edwards’s Adult Daughter, A Recurring Role: Family Glue," which led Thursday's National section.
Seelye’s initial online story on Edwards’s indictment last Friday also left out the disgraced politician’s party affiliation, though it was added in by the time the story appeared in print Saturday.
Good news, we’re doomed, says New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in Wednesday’s "The Earth Is Full." (Has the globe-trotting Friedman never been to Texas?) But we can still save ourselves eventually, as long as we realize that "the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less." But does that "own less" solution include the privileged columnist as well?
You really do have to wonder whether a few years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of the 21st century -- when food prices spiked, energy prices soared, world population surged, tornados plowed through cities, floods and droughts set records, populations were displaced and governments were threatened by the confluence of it all -- and ask ourselves: What were we thinking? How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we’d crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?
Ominousspeculation from Women’s Wear Daily (which has robust media reporting) about the management style of Jill Abramson, the New York Times’s executive editor in waiting -- she reminds one anonymous senior editor of the notorious Howell Raines!
Abramson also told an interviewer for The Guardian she was most proud of providing a "sceptical take on the motivations of" Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton. And could liberal feminist columnist and Abramson friend Maureen Dowd become the next Washington bureau chief?
The New York Times’s lead editorial on Monday suggested Republicans had a "Jim Crow" mentality toward voting rights: "They Want to Make Voting Harder? – Early voting has surged among blacks and other Democrats, so Republicans try to restrict it." Good to see the Times has all the answers.
New York Times media reporters Jeremy Peters and Jennifer Preston recognized conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart (pictured below) for breaking the Weiner-gate scandal that resulted in a dramatic press conference Monday afternoon where both Brietbart and Rep. Weiner spoke. "Conservative Blogger, a Go-To Source for Political Scandal, Looks for Legitimacy" was printed in Tuesday's Metro section (Rep. Weiner represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens).
When Meagan Broussard asked one of her friends what she should do about an intimate online relationship she had been having with Representative Anthony D. Weiner, the friend, a Republican, told her to go to Andrew Breitbart.
Mr. Breitbart, a conservative blogger, has established his Web site, BigGovernment.com, as the place to go with tidbits of a scandal in the making. On Monday, he claimed a moral victory after Mr. Weiner admitted that he had indeed sent the suggestive photos posted earlier on his site. "I’m here for some vindication," Mr. Breitbart said as he took to the lectern at Mr. Weiner’s own news conference.
New York Times reporter James Dao has filed his second story in nine days critical of the Afghanistan war. First came the 3,000-word Sunday front-page story on May 29, "After Combat, the Unexpected Perils of Coming Home," emphasizing the negative from the start:
Capt. Adrian Bonenberger made plans for his final patrol to Imam Sahib. But inside, he was sweating the details of a different mission: going home. Which soldiers would drive drunk, get into fights or struggle with emotional demons, he wondered....The final weeks in a war zone are often the most dangerous, as weary troops get sloppy or unfocused. Once they arrive home, alcohol abuse, traffic accidents and other measures of mayhem typically rise as they blow off steam.
While Israel’s armed response to the attempted invasion on its border with Syria was at least somewhat justified, Syrian authorities themselves in the last weeks have slaughtered over 1,000 of its rebelling citizens, actual human rights atrocities that have only sporadically made the Times's front page. In this way the Times is playing into the hands of Syria, which is using the all-purpose enemy Israel as a distraction from its own internal oppression.
But Keller equating "global warming is a hoax" to genuinely crackpot theories reaffirms the paper's preconceived opinion on the matter: Global warming is real and dangerous, and anyone who believes otherwise is a shill or dupe. And since when does rational, non-conspiratorial thinking require believing everything the Times has to say, as Keller also implied?
Esquire’s Scott Raab recently interviewed the New York Times's soon-to-be-former executive editor, Bill Keller (before his resignation announcement), on the release of a documentary, "Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times." Keller gave no hint of resignation plans in the lunchtime chat at a Midtown restaurant, artfully evading the question "Do you see yourself doing this job in five or ten years?"
Keller was in usual form, sniping at Fox News and taking another personal swipe at Fox's owner, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, and reacting in hypocritical fashion to Raab's offer that he take a "baseball bat...and one free swing" to either Murdoch or an alternate Times bugbear.
UPDATE: Some hours after the Times's initial filing, the phrase "former senator" in paragraph one was changed to read "former Democratic senator."
Where’s the party? New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye filed an online report early Friday on the breaking story of the indictment on campaign finance violations of John Edwards, the former senator and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate (and John Kerry’s 2004 running mate), on charges he violated campaign finance law to conceal an extramarital affair during his presidential campaign. Only one thing missing: His political party.
Liberal replaces liberal at the top of the New York Times masthead. The paper announced today that Jill Abramson would become the Times’ new executive editor as of September 6, replacing Bill Keller, whose liberal record at the paper Times Watch documented earlier.
Abramson likened the paper to holy writ, telling the Times's Jeremy Peters this morning that being named editor was like "ascending to Valhalla":
"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion," she said. "If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."
Abramson’s bias goes back to her days as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Commenting on Bill Clinton’s upcoming inauguration on C-SPAN's Journalists' Roundtable program of January 8, 1993, she enthused:
In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.
Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."
Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:
In her lead story Wednesday, "Pressing Obama, House Bars Rise For Debt Ceiling," New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes accused Republicans of not understanding the debt limit while softening Democratic calls for higher taxes by portraying the Democrats as merely seeking "higher revenues."
The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure to increase the government’s debt limit, acting on a vote staged by Republican leaders to pressure President Obama to agree to deep spending cuts.
Republicans brought up the measure, which was defeated 318 to 97, to show the lack of support in the House for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling without concrete steps to rein in chronic budget deficits.
Are deadly tornadoes really the best "stimulus" to be hoped for from the Obama White House, or is the New York Times just desperately looking for economics green shoots as the 2012 presidential elections approach?
The New York Times has evidently gotten over its Bush-era loathing of U.S. invasions.No more fears of a "rush to war" these days. Instead, the Times uncovered precious "free Libya moments" among the America-loving citizenry of that country, where Americans and Westerners in general are greeted as liberators and people are even "reportedly" naming their daughters after Obama's U.N. ambassador Susan Rice.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Raymond Hernandez profiled Democrat Kathy Hochul, the winner of the recent special congressional election to fill a seat from a Republican district in New York state, in "Her Inheritance: An Eagerness to Serve."
Praising the Democrat in personal terms the Times rarely if ever uses when discussing a local Republican like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Hernandez hit every Lincolnesque cliche in the "devout Roman Catholic" Hochul’s humble family background, which he painted as a challenge overcome by the candidate.
A few months before Kathy Hochul was born, her family was living in a 31-by-8-foot trailer not far from the hulking Bethlehem Steel plant near Buffalo. When things got a little better, they moved to the second-floor flat of a home in working-class Woodlawn.
It’s not something the Times does after Republican wins in special or off-year elections - those victories are typically downgraded as unimportant and atypical, like the Times treated the 2009 G.O.P. wins in governors’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, which turned out to be accurate harbingers of electoral success in 2010.
New York Times chief political blogger Michael Shear is a bit annoyed that Sarah Palin is successfully attracting media attention while ignoring reporter’s inquiries and playing hide-and-seek with the press on her "One Nation" bus tour. (Photo by the Times's David Winter.) Shear, who has filed multiple blog posts on the Palin family's historical trail through the Northeast, made Tuesday’s print edition with his gripes: "Palin Family Hits Road, if Not 2012 Trail."
Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, she is acting as though her family is just like any other on vacation.
Never mind the charter bus plastered with images of the Constitution. Or the fact that her family vacation has a name: the One Nation Tour. Or that she is documenting her family’s movements on a Web site that invites Americans along. Or that she might just run for president.
Perhaps he resented following Palin over the Memorial Day holiday?
Acclaimed playwright David Mamet is featured in the New York Times Sunday magazine’s "Talk" feature (formerly "Q&A") on the eve of the publication of "The Secret Knowledge," his dramatic intellectual break with the political left.
Early reviews suggest Mamet’s message is bracing, and the left has responded in kind with vicious cries of sellout. Perhaps that’s why Andrew Goldman’s Q&A with Mamet is testier than his previous interviews (he replaced the liberal Deborah Solomon in the magazine’s Q&A slot in March). Even the subhead was slanted and hostile: "David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right."
Is the right to blame for everything, even 9-11 Truthers?
New York Times Metro reporter Colin Moynihan botched some basic politics in his Friday metro section tribute to a leftist journalist and radio host, "At an On-Air Haven for Dissent, a Voice Is Silenced." Text box: "Taking a stand against 9/11 conspiracy theories."
Moynihan, who has made a cottage industry of issuing flattering coverage of prominent radical leftists, from domestic terrorist William Ayers to convicted terrorist-aiding lawyer Lynne Stewart, was covering the case of Bill Weinberg, a local radio host. Weinberg was fired from left-wing WBAI for accusing his hosts of "promoting fringe right-wing commentators and conspiracy theories claiming that the United States government was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center."
One problem: The so-called Truther movement is identified with the hard left, not the right. That may help explain why the Times has dealt with it in almost flattering fashion the few times that it has covered the subject at all. Most notorious was reporter Alan Feuer’s June 5, 2006 piece from a Truther convention in Chicago.
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage’s two stories on libertarian Sen. Rand Paul holding up extending sections of the Patriot Act ignored the huge hypocrisy of the act’s newest vocal defender, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The paper also demonstrated a new-found comfort on the part of the Times for the act, which it excoriated during the Bush years.
Reid attacked fellow Sen. Ron Paul in personal terms on the Senate floor Wednesday, but the Times ignored both the attack and Reid’s overheated defense of the Patriot Act, which would surely have been denounced as demagoguery coming from a Republican. Liberal journalist Spencer Ackerman called Reid a demagogue, saying "Dick Cheney would be proud." (Ouch!) Ackerman fumed:
Congressional Democrats pressed for a vote on the Ryan plan yesterday, and it went down to defeat 57-40, with five Senate Republicans opposing it along with the Democrats.
The House Republican Medicare plan would convert it into a subsidized program for the private insurance market. When they proposed it last month as the centerpiece of their budget plan, Republicans were confident that the wind of budget politics was at their backs.
New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner inaccurately portrayed on Thursday how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted on his return to Israel after a lively visit to America, which included a tense meeting with President Obama and a triumphant speech to Congress. Examining the trip solely from the angle of Netanyahu's refusal to offer territorty concessions in the name of peace talks, Bronner found failure: "In Israel, Premier’s U.S. Trip Dims Hopes for Advancing Peace Talks." The online headline was worse: "Israelis See Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure."
Which "Israelis" are the Times talking about? In the headline, substitute "Some liberal Israeli newspaper columnists" for "Israelis," and it would be accurate and also signal the pointlessness of the story. Is it news that some liberal Israelis oppose Netanyahu and his refusal to accept the pre-1967 boundary lines demanded by the United Nations and other anti-Israel entities?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Will Newt Gingrich's big credit line at Tiffany's define his 2012 Republican presidential run? The New York Times seems to hope so. Wednesday’s front page "Political Memo" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg on Gingrich’s credit line was bejeweled with a headline that sounded like a liberal wish: "All That Glitters May Redefine Run by Gingrich."
To the long list of rich-guy foibles that turned into defining campaign moments -- John Edwards’s $400 haircut, John Kerry’s kite-surfing, John McCain’s inability to remember how many homes he owns -- let us now add Newt Gingrich’s $500,000 revolving line of credit at the luxury jeweler Tiffany & Company.
One difference: The Times ran their April 20, 2007 story on Edwards’ haircut not on the front page, but on page 15.
The New York Times provided big play to Tuesday’s special congressional election to fill New York's 26th congressional district near Buffalo, a race in which Democrat Kathy Hochul upset Republican Jane Corwin. Reporter Raymond Hernandez was quick to assume this one special race spells bad news for Republican plans to reform Medicare, and their prospects in the national elections 18 months away. But how does the Times typically react when Republicans win special and off-year elections?
Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
Conservatives may have it rough in the pages of the New York Times, but U.S. Communists can count on favorable, critic-free publicity, with Times reporters even employing Communist lingo like "the proletariat." The latest: Joseph Berger’s Monday metro story, "Workers of the World, Please See Our Web Site." The original online headline was less cheeky but more slanted: "Leftist Parties in New York Have New Appeal."
Berger’s profile of three Manhattan-based hard-left parties has a light, hopeful tone similar to Channing Joseph’s notorious November 7, 2010 photo-story in the Times, "Where Marxists Pontificate, And Play ," in which the worst thing he found to say about the Manhattan gathering of supporters of murderous regimes was their reputation for "seriousness."
Like Joseph before him, Berger posed no awkward questions about the atrocities of Communist heroes Stalin, Mao, or Castro. He wrote:
President Obama trusts America’s generous and compassionate nature, that our rugged individualism is tempered by a belief that we’re all connected. In his speech on budget reform on April 13, he celebrated "our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more."
The president’s faith in Americans’ sense of common purpose is uplifting. But it does not fit the history of American budgetary politics.
I don’t just mean Tea Partiers’ revulsion at the government spending "our money," or Republican Paul Ryan’s Reverse Robin Hood gambit to cut trillions from spending on social programs in order to pay for a tax cut for the rich.
The budgetary policy of the United States has been the least generous in the industrial world for a very long time.
So much for objective journalism; in recent weeks the New York Times has embraced gay advocacy. The May 16 front page carried a complimentary profile by Dan Barry (normally the "This Land" columnist for the paper) of Rick Welts, president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, coming out as a gay man, "Going Public, N.B.A. Figure Sheds Shadow Life."
"This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits," said Mr. Welts, who stands now as a true rarity, a man prominently employed in professional men’s team sports, willing to declare his homosexuality. "Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation."
It turns out retired CBS News anchor Katie Couric had at least one fan during her failed attempt to lift the network's evening newscast out of the ratings cellar: Gail Collins, former editorial page editor of the New York Times turned feminist columnist. Collins devoted her Saturday column to Couric’s significance as the first female nightly news anchor: "Katie Couric Moves On."
After hailing Couric’s (of course) "historic Sarah Palin interview," Collins declared Couric a "total success," ratings be damned. How so? By managing "not to screw things up." (The soft bigotry of low expectations?)
From my perspective as a charter of the progress of American women, Couric was a total success. The first great mandate for a First Woman is not to screw things up for the Second Woman or the Third. On that count, Couric did great. She was under incredible scrutiny and pressure, and she held up her end. There was never a point at which American viewers turned to each other and said: "Well, that certainly didn’t work out."