Jay Carney is doing a round of interviews fresh out of the White House. In The New York Times Magazine, Jim Rutenberg threw briefing-room softballs like this: “Do people in the first row like to showboat?”
Carney said yes: “If you look at the difference in tenor between the on-camera briefings and the on-the-record-but-off-camera gaggles, it’s night and day.” That’s not just due to the TV audience, it’s due to the idea that gaggles are more designed to set up the briefing and the day’s coverage. In this and other interviews, Carney tries sneakily to dismiss the idea that Obama didn’t live up to hise pledge to be transparent.
In a bit of a surprise, New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Jim Rutenberg filed a longish article on a recently unearthed Obama video from 2007 showing the president in a fiery, racially charged mode and praising his anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, a video downplayed or ignored by most of the mainstream media: "Race at Issue for Obama As Right Revives '07 Talk."
Less surprising was the snotty text box: "New fodder for a favorite topic in conservative circles." And the reporters took care to trace the tape's provenance down the conservative media food chain.
The first Obama-Romney presidential debate of 2012 ran under this less-than-informative banner headline in Thursday's New York Times: "Obama and Romney, in First Debate, Spar Over Fixing the Economy." The actual headline to the story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg also failed to capture the sense, overwhelming even among the liberal press, that Romney had helped himself with a sharp, energetic performance at the University of Denver: "Feel of Seminar as Accusations Fly From Rivals."
The Washington Post's banner headline was more direct and captured the consensus of the night: "Romney takes fight to Obama," while the story claimed the president "found himself on the defensive repeatedly." Other headlines from around the country captured the same effect.
By contrast, you had to parse the Times to sense that Romney won the night. (One significant Timesman, former Executive Editor Bill Keller, reluctantly awarded Romney the debate on his Twitter feed, calling Romney's performance "shameless but masterful.")
Again the Times focused on the political damage fostered by Mitt Romney's (accurate) statement at a fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans do not pay income taxes. Meanwhile, the Times buried two controversial Obama comments. One is an old audio tape of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution," a remark reporter Richard Oppel Jr. actually defended in Thursday's edition.
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."
How painfully predictable: The New York Times filled the news gap caused by the cancellation of Monday's events with rumors of party discord. In fact, the Times first tried to gin up controversy at the 2012 Republican National Convention long ago. Here's a May 13, 2010 report from Damien Cave on how toxic beaches in Tampa might ruin the Republican convention, then over two years away:
The wrong mix of poverty juxtaposed with Republicans partying - perhaps against a backdrop of oil-stained beaches – could give Democrats just what they need to portray their opponents as woefully disconnected from the middle class."
Even the weather is tilting against the GOP, Jim Rutenberg (pictured) and Michael Shear reported from the Republican National Convention in Tampa for Monday's New York Times. They cynically employed the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac, shaping it into a desperate pro-Obama weapon to use against Republican principles of limited government: "Storm Rewrites G.O.P.'s Script For Convention."
The Times accused the Romney campaign of ads "falsely charging that Mr. Obama has eliminated work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries," claiming such "moves reflect a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race." Yet the claim made in Romney's ad holds up -- unlike the Times's claim that Romney's recent joke about Obama's birth certificate was playing the race card.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is attracting lots of media attention Bush for claiming that even conservative hero Ronald Reagan would struggle in today's Republican Party, a Tea Party-infused "orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement."
New York Times Political reporter Jim Rutenberg was intrigued: "Jeb Bush Offers Critical Views of Modern Republican Party and Its 'Orthodoxy.'" The online headline to his Tuesday story was more explicitly partisan: "Jeb Bush Questions G.O.P.’s Shift to the Right." A photo caption of Bush emphasized: "Jeb Bush, pictured here in January, criticized the current state of the Republican party for its strict adherence to ideology."