One way to know if a journalist is asking a softball question is when the President of the United States compliments the reporter after he or she asks it. That happened twice on Tuesday as Barack Obama talked to reporters about the government shutdown. The President called on Sam Stein of the liberal Huffington Post website. Stein dutifully wondered, "With Speaker Boehner so far unwilling to hold a vote on a clean CR, what assurances can you give to those affected by a shutdown who are concerned about an even longer impasse?"
He added, "And how worried are you personally that your preferred solution to this -- a clear CR at sequestration levels -- may do harm to the nation's economy and your second term agenda?" Finding the question appropriately fawning, Obama responded, "Sam, you're making an important point." The President looked favorably on a similar query from a New York Times journalist. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
At the White House on Thursday, President Obama let his radical leftist slip show when he accepted a 67 year-old letter from from Ho Chi Minh to U.S. President Harry Truman given to him by Vietnam's current president Truong Tan Sang and spoke of the letter's contents: "... we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson. Ho Chi Minh talks about his interest in cooperation with the United States. And President Sang indicated that even if it's 67 years later, it's good that we're still making progress."
Darlene Superville at the Associated Press relayed what Obama said in the final paragraphs of her report on Sunday without a hint of historical knowledge about mass murderer Ho Chi Minh's motivations for writing that letter. Perhaps she's too young and was so consistently indoctrinated by her teachers about how the U.S. was the "imperialist" and Ho Chi Minh was the "freedom fighter" to know any better. Based on his bio, New York Times reporter Mark Landler doesn't appear to be able to claim that kind of historical ignorance, but he has definitely retained a capacity to make excuses for repressive, murderous regimes. Excerpts from his coverage and a correct rendering of the history follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
First, they buried the lede, then they excised it completely.
An initial report yesterday at the New York Times on President Obama's speech on "climate change" at Georgetown University by Mark Landler and John M. Broder -- a report which was still up at least as late as 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, according to this story pull posted at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (go to the bottom of the article at the link), quoted "a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change" expressing his desire for a "war on coal" -- in Paragraphs 17 and 18 (HT to Ed Driscoll at PJ Media; bolds are mine):
New York Times reporter Mark Landler reported on the ongoing controversy over Benghazi on Friday, as House Republicans demanded the White House release what they consider an incriminating email showing officials knew Islamic terrorists were responsible for the attack, yet blamed an anti-Islamic Youtube video instead: "Benghazi Debate Focuses on Interpretation of Early E-Mail on Attackers."
For President Obama, this week delivered a painful double blow, with the Senate defeating his emotional campaign to pass tougher gun legislation and a pair of crude bombs at the Boston Marathon bringing terrorism back to American soil.
It was more painful to the victims of the blast in Boston, but Landler focused solely on how it made the president feel for the Senate to refuse to "break from the past on gun laws."
President Obama's State of the Union speech was covered by the New York Times' Mark Landler: "Obama Vows Push To Lift Economy For Middle Class." Landler, a master spinner for the president, marked the Supreme Court upholding Obama-care in embarrassingly syrupy prose in a June 2012 story: "While Mr. Obama will be remembered for bailing out the auto industry, winding down two wars and dispatching Osama bin Laden, health care was his play for history."
On Wednesday, Landler oddly claimed that Obama had signaled "the era of single-minded deficit-cutting should end" (as if it ever began), while chiding the Republican Party's "hard line stance on immigration" and pushing a higher minimum wage as an unmitigated boon for workers, though it may serve to make it even harder for the unemployed to get a job in the first place.
Veteran journalist Howard Kurtz chided the media's "romance" of departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on CNN's Reliable Sources on Sunday, asking "But, particularly in those TV interviews, could you see any Republican outgoing cabinet member getting that kind of treatment?" Another example came in Sunday's New York Times's front-page review of Clinton's career by Michael Gordon and Mark Landler, "Backstage Glimpses of Clinton as Dogged Diplomat, Win or Lose." The Times opened with the administration's hand-wringing over assisting the Syrian resistance (Clinton's more activist support for the rebels was rebuffed at the White House).
Yet the more damaging controversy over the assassination of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mentioned just twice in the 1,674-word story, once as a "low point" for Clinton, but balanced with the "biggest highlight" of her term -- the diplomatic opening to Myanmar. The other reference noted that while the incident may have "marred" her last months of service, she still has the highest favorability ratings of her career.
Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel was hailed as a brave Republican maverick and became a liberal media favorite during the George W. Bush years, for comparing the Iraq War to Vietnam and serving as a general thorn in the Republican president's side. Journalist Dave Weigel likened this 2006 Hagel profile in the New York Times Magazine by former Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld to "a hagiography master class." Now Obama is picking a fight with the GOP by nominating him Secretary of Defense, and New York Times reporters are still serving as reliable reinforcements.
Monday's off-lead introductory piece by Scott Shane and David Sanger was supportive of Hagel, as is the liberal media in general. The Times went so far as downplay anti-Jewish and anti-gay comments Hagel made during the Clinton administration about an ambassadorial candidate to Luxembourg, James Hormel.
New York Times reporter Mark Landler extolled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the "role model," for her "indomitable stamina" and "herculean work habits," but is concerned that the possible presidential candidate is just too darn committed to her job in Saturday's "Scare Amplifies Fears That Clinton's Work Has Taken Heavy Toll." The Benghazi scandal, in which Clinton has yet to testify, is mentioned only in passing.
Demonstrating rapidly shifting attitudes toward gun control in the aftermath of a massacre in a Connecticut school, many pro-gun Congressional Democrats -- including Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a longstanding gun rights supporter -- signaled an openness Monday to new restrictions on guns.
Wednesday's New York Times front page featured Susan Rice's failed attempt to assuage concerns of three Senate Republicans on her false statements about the Benghazi massacre in "Rice Concedes Error on Libya: G.O.P. Digs In." Inside was an unflattering photo of a peeved-looking Sen. John McCain. Posing Republican senator and Rice critic McCain as the bad guy, an on-line text box accompanying the article highlighted a reader comment from "Them or Us": "If you think these three Senators walked in with open minds and no agenda, I'd like to sell you a bridge that crosses the East River into Brooklyn. McCain's little kangaroo court is about as transparent as his anger." Meanwhile, on the back pages, two liberal Times columnists disagreed on Benghazi's significance.
In the front-page story, reporters Mark Landler and Jeremy Peters minimized the import of the policy scandal by focusing on the personal, portraying Rice, who may be nominated by President Obama to the post of UN ambassador, as offering an olive branch that "hostile Senate Republicans" rejected.
On Sunday's front page, New York Times reporter Mark Landler took the heat off United Nations ambassador Susan ("stand-in...bystander") Rice for her media tour spreading false statements about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered by terrorists. Rice went on the Sunday shows after the terrorist attack and falsely suggested that the outburst was spontaneous, blaming an anti-Islamic YouTube video for inciting a spontaneous riot on the anniversary of 9-11.
Both the headline ("A Diplomat's Detour Into the Benghazi Spotlight") and subhead ("Fill-in Role Becomes Obstacle for Rice as State Dept. Choice") favorably emphasized Rice's evasion of responsibility from what she actually told the nation after the attack.
Barack Obama on Wednesday submitted to his first press conference since March. Some of the White House journalists didn't seem to hold the long wait against him, however. One reporter, Christi Parsons of the Chicago Tribune, turned into a gushing fan, congratulating the President on his reelection. Parsons cooed to Obama that she had "never" seen him "lose." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Other questioners, including CNN's Jessica Yellin, exhorted the President to not "cave" when dealing with Republicans.
After calling on Parsons, Obama added, "Christi was there when I was running for state senate." With a big grin on her face, the Tribune reporter extolled, "That's right. I was!...I have never seen you lose." Yellin pushed the President from the left, demanding, "...Two years ago you said that you wouldn't extend the Bush era tax cuts, but at the end of the day, you did. So, respectfully sir, why should the American people and the Republicans believe that you won't cave again this time?"
The New York Times leaned "Forward!" for Barack Obama's reelection in its campaign coverage over the weekend. The front of the paper's Saturday Election 2012 section featured a large photo from an Obama rally of a volunteer handing out flags at a fairground rally in Hilliard, Ohio on Friday. The caption noted "A crowd of 2,800 showed up to see Mr. Obama."
Meanwhile, campaign reporter Ashley Parker estimated on Twitter Friday night that 25,000 people attended a Romney rally in West Chester Township in Ohio. But those strong turnout figures for Romney, which suggested high levels of enthusiasm in a crucial state, were buried in the very back of Parker and Michael Barbaro's Sunday story from the campaign trail.
Seventeen days before Election Day and 45 months after Barack Obama's inauguration following a presidential campaign during which he expressed his eagerness to meet enemy leaders "without preconditions" (Obama responded "yes" to a 2008 presidential debate question containing those words), the New York Times is reporting that the U.S. and Iran "have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations," despite the fact that the White House has "denied that a final agreement (to negotiate) had been reached," and despite a reactive AP report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) claiming that while "The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one ... there's no agreement now to meet."
Despite the supposed certainty of the Times's headline ("U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks"), the paper's Helene Cooper and Mark Landler report that "American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort." If Khamenei isn't on board, it doesn't matter what anybody else, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says or does. Three years ago, two AP reporters covering the government's crackdown on dissidents noted Khamenei's "virtually limitless authority," i.e., he's the country's behind-the-scenes dictator. In a piece that's supposed to be about a supposedly important international development, Cooper and Landler predictably blow through quite a bit of ink and bandwidth trying to paint this development as a problem for Obama's GOP opponent Mitt Romney (bolds are mine):
On Friday, New York Times political reporter Mark Landler pushed Bill Clinton as Barack Obama's hope to win the white working class, and dubiously defended the Obama administration's gutting of the welfare reform law pushed by Republicans and signed by Clinton in 1996: "It’s the President’s Message, With President Clinton."
Saturday's story from the Obama trail by New York Times reporter Mark Landler, "Obama Urges Voters to Look Ahead on Economy," was not as blatantly pro-president as Landler's June 29 paean hailing the president as "bailing out the auto industry, winding down two wars and dispatching Osama bin Laden." But it was still quite sympathetic to the president's plight.
The text box highlighted Obama's hunt for economic silver linings ("Extracting a few bits of good news from an anemic monthly employment report") and the lead polished his halo as an "evangelist of hope and change."
Landler, whose reporting on Obama is getting more gushy as the election nears, shone his journalistic flashlight on any slivers of good economic news he could find and suggested they would benefit Obama in the Midwest.
President Obama drew “Turn Off Fox News” headlines on the Drudge Report when New York Times reporter Mark Landler noted in a pool report from a bar in Amherst, Ohio, that someone joked he was in a building with Fox on the TV.
Drudge also highlighted that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett blamed Fox News for the impression that’s developed that Team Obama is waging a class war on the wealthy. As she relentlessly shoveled all the Obama talking points on July 1 at the leftish Aspen Ideas Festival, former Time editor Walter Isaacson nudged her about their public image:
Landler was passionate about the "change we can believe in" wrought by the president through the Affordable Care Act, which Landler called his expansion of the "nation's safety net" and an effort to reduce income inequality (with a single mild paragraph on those historic tax hikes buried over halfway down).
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.
The partisan liberal news site Talking Points Memo managed to be tougher on President Obama's Thursday speech in Maryland than reporter Mark Landler of the New York Times, at least in his initial online filing on Thursday afternoon, "Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential Candidates." TPM reporter Benjy Sarlin did the sort of aggressive fact-checking of Obama's claims that the Times reserves for Republican candidates and politicians.
When Senator Barack Obama was photographed clutching a copy of “The Post-American World” as he left his campaign plane during the Democratic primaries in May 2008, some critics viewed it as a telling sign that he embraced a view of the United States as a waning world power.
Like his colleague Ashley Parker did in her own Sunday Times story, Landler celebrated Obama’s oratory, but right at the beginning of his story, on the president keeping his support for gay marriage at an official arms length. Landler also assumed opposition to gay marriage will be a political loser for whoever the Republican candidate may be.
Stupid white men for the G.O.P.? New York Times White House reporters Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler teamed up for Friday’s front-page campaign preview, “Obama Charts A New Route to Re-election.” In a change from the paper’s standard politically correct approach to race and class, the reporters crudely emphasized that “less-educated, low-income whites” tend to support Republicans. (What happened to "the party of the rich"?)
With his support among blue-collar white voters far weaker than among white-collar independents, President Obama is charting an alternative course to re-election should he be unable to win Ohio and other industrial states traditionally essential to Democratic presidential victories.
New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler followed President Obama out West on what certainly felt like a partisan campaign tour. Landler acknowledged Obama’s partisanship and “acidic words” for the G.O.P., but also protected the president’s right flank by characterizing his appeals for higher taxes and his class rhetoric as “populist,” not liberal, and by failing to correct the false impression Obama gave of shameful audience behavior at two Republican presidential debates.
President Obama met his dream date on Monday at a town hall meeting in Silicon Valley: a balding, soft-spoken former Google employee who said he was so rich he did not have to work anymore and begged Mr. Obama to raise his taxes.
Reporters have repeatedly portrayed Barack Obama as a deficit hawk committed to "slashing" spending, as MRC Research Director Rich Noyes documented in April ahead of the president's much-anticipated budget speech.
While the media touted Obama's budget blueprint, which contained puny cuts, as "deeply painful," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Congress the president's framework lacked sufficient detail to be scored as a credible plan.
Since then, Obama still hasn't revealed a serious plan to cut spending, yet correspondents continue to paint the president as a budget cutter.
Chief New York Times “Caucus” blog writer Michael Shear hosted the latest edition of the paper’s “Caucus” podcast (there's no direct link) Friday, where he, political reporter Jeff Zeleny, and White House reporter Mark Landler agreed that Republican candidate Michele Bachmann was wrong to dismiss concerns about possible financial consequences resulting from a failure to raise the debt ceiling.
About four and a half minutes from the end, Landler took side in the budget-cutting battle, emphasizing how far Obama had come toward the Republican position with “very significant cuts,” and sympathized with the president’s “frustration” over the “unreasonable” “intransigence of the Republicans.”
President Obama’s budget blueprint may have been unanimously rejected by Congress in late May, but suddenly the president is the courageous, ambitious one on budget talks after issuing new rhetoric indicating a willingness to make cuts in social programs like Medicare.
In his Sunday front-page story, “House Speaker Is Pulling Back On Deficit Deal – $4 Trillion Plan Stalls Over Tax Increase,” congressional reporter Carl Hulse (pictured) continued to shade his own word choices in a pro-Democratic direction. Though the headline accurately stated that the stumbling block in negotiations are Democratic calls for a “tax increase,” Hulse reliably avoided the unpopular phrase in his report. The text box also underlined the idea of Obama the risk-taker: “An attempt at something big that some Republicans found too big.”
New York Times’s White House reporter Mark Landler provided puffball coverage of Vice President Joe Biden, who has evidently “overcome his reputation for gaffes” (says who?), in “Obama’s Growing Trust in Biden Is Reflected in His Call on Troops” Saturday. Landler emphasized the increasing confidence Biden is inspiring at the White House.