New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore knows he has one goal in his professional life: not to help Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. After a tough front-page story Wednesday (with Amy Chozick) on the financial mess that is Bill Clinton’s foundation, Confessore appeared briefly that night on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
O’Donnell warned that Limbaugh loved the Times article and would use it as anti-Clinton grist. Confessore shot back that Limbaugh handled his work with his “usual level” of factual ineptitude, that his take was "unrecognizable in terms of my piece":
On May 27, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo at the New York Times filed a ridiculously incoherent, ignorant and biased report on Tea Party groups' attempts to have their organizations approved for tax-exempt status. The story's window title: "Non-Profit Applcants Chafing at IRS Tested Political Limits." The actual print edition title (Page A1, of course): "Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics." The headlines give the impression that Tea Party groups deliberately tried to test the boundaries of legality.
The pair's content also betrayed more than a little ignorance of the rules governing campaign finance, electioneering, and literature distribution. Among those interviewed for the story was Tom Zawistowski, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director. Zawistowski took great exception to their writeup in an email he distributed on Saturday (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):
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.
It's hard to imagine that Nicholas Confessore and his editors at the overwhelmingly Obama-friendly New York Times were just making things up when he reported over the weekend in a Page A1 story that the Obama campaign's Organizing For America operation, now "rebooted" as the supposedly independent Organizing For Action, "will rely heavily on a small number of deep-pocketed donors ... whose influence on political campaigns Mr. Obama once deplored," granting them quarterly access to the Obama if they raise $500,000 or more.
According to Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, when asked about the story, in Spiering's words, "asserted that OFA was an 'independent organization' that just happened to support the president’s policy agenda," "refused to address the New York Times reporting," and "ended the press briefing as reporters were still asking questions and fled the podium." If the late Tony Snow had done this while serving as press secretary under George W. Bush, we'd be seeing a continuous loop of the walkout on network TV all day long. The key paragraphs from the Times story, the reaction of MSNBC's Chuck Todd follow the jump, and the Associated Press's non-denial denial firewall follow the jump.
A tale of three presidential inaugurations during wartime and strife. The New York Times found it bad form for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush's second inauguration in January 2005, during a time of war. A January 11, 2005 editorial on Bush's second inauguration, "Victor's Spoils," sniffed:
At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala. The $40 million record for inaugural partying set four years ago for Mr. Bush is expected to be shattered this month....Ordinary citizens might have hoped that the overriding issue in Washington- the perilous Iraq war, with its drain on the nation's blood and treasure- would dictate restraint. But plans for the four-day extravaganza roll forward with nine celebratory balls being underwritten by the usual corporate and fat-cat supplicants in the political power mill. There's nothing new in Washington's triumphalist celebrations, festooned with price tags for access, but war usually mutes the singing and dancing. Not this year.
The New York Times has been going to town on controversies over Mitt Romney’s money, from his personal tax rate to the work of Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded. Thursday’s front page story goes into excruciating detail on what is known about Romney's wealth, under the self-fulfilling headline “Romney Riches Are Being Seen as New Hurdle,” by Nicholas Confessore, David Kocieniewski, and Michael Luo. The story was touted by Charlie Rose on CBS Thursday morning and captured by the MRC's Matthew Balan. But riches were not nearly such a "hurdle" when liberal John Edwards ran for president in 2008.
Confessore, who once worked for the liberal journals Washington Monthly and American Prospect, once again staunchly defended Social Security. In a December 2004 post for the Prospect, he praised the Times, the paper he was about to join, for its harsh coverage of President Bush’s attempt at free-market-based Social Security reform.
Three liberal New York Times reporters teamed up Thursday morning to fact-check the Republican debate (and defend Obama) at the Reagan library.
John Broder, Nicholas Confessore, and Jackie Calmes cowrote “Attacking the Democrats, but Not Always Getting It Right,” which was not labeled or presented as "news analysis" (a label the Times is using less of lately) but as a factual news story. The text box read: “The candidates’ arguments run into factual hurdles.”
New York Times reporters Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore filed another in a series of front-page stories Friday revolving around the natural gas industry, especially the “fracking” process by which natural gas is obtained from shale and is opposed by liberal environmentalists. This time the scene is the paper’s own backyard: “Cuomo Moving To End a Freeze On Gas Drilling.”
The Cuomo administration is seeking to lift what has effectively been a moratorium in New York State on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technique used to extract natural gas from shale, state environmental regulators said on Thursday.
The process would be allowed on private lands, opening New York to one of the fastest-growing -- critics would say reckless -- areas of the energy industry. It would be banned inside New York City’s sprawling upstate watershed, as well as inside a watershed used by Syracuse, and in underground water sources used by other cities and towns. It would also be banned on state lands, like parks and wildlife preserves.
On Monday, PBS talk show host Charlie Rose decided to discuss the passage of a "gay marriage" law in New York with two New York Times reporters and a writer for The New Yorker -- not exactly a divided or diverse panel. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin (also with The New Yorker) predicted to Rose that we're less then ten years out from the Supreme Court proclaiming "gay marriage" must be recognized in all 50 states:
The question I have is, when will the Supreme Court arrest the issue, because I don't think they are in any rush to do it. I think at the end of the day they will say that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. You can`t have one kind of marriage for straight people and one kind of non-marriage for gay people. But I don't think they are in any rush to do that and I think it will maybe be five years or maybe be ten years, and at that point the whole country will have it.