During the four weeks preceding February 20, New York Times Company stock had been staging a nice comeback.
Lord only knows that the company's long-suffering shareholders, who before then had seen the share price drop more than 70% since June 2002, a point in time that roughly coincides with the onset of the Old Gray Lady's seemingly intractable case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, welcomed any kind of reversal of fortune.
For a while, they had it. From a intra-day low of $14.01 on January 23, the stock rose over 50%, closing at $21.07 last Wednesday.
But on Thursday and Friday, that climb was halted abruptly, and partially reversed. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4% in those two days, and the S&P 500 dipped 0.5%, NYT stock dove almost 9.7%, closing Friday at $19.03.
It now appears, as predicted by yours truly two weeks ago today, that Hillary Clinton will not be our next president, and that Barack Obama is going to be Democratic Party's presidential nominee.
This means that it must be time for Old Media to start playing robust defense on his behalf.
Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press got Old Media off to a "great" start in that regard this morning, as she linked criticism of Obama's patriotism strictly to conservatives, rewrote the history of the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry, played a game of misdirection regarding the candidate's failure to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem, and made excuses for Michelle Obama's quarter-century gap in her pride in being an American.
Pickler's report, entitled "Conservatives Say Obama Lacks Patriotism," starts thusly:
After a lengthy hiatus due to the Hollywood writers' strike, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" returned to the airwaves last evening, and began with a skit deliciously mocking CNN's recent debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
SNLer Kristen Wiig I believe, apparently impersonating CNN's Campbell Brown who hosted the debate -- although looking much more like Suzanne Malveaux -- introduced the festivities by comically and quite accurately stating (h/t Tim Graham):
Like nearly everyone in the news media, the three of us are totally in the tank for Senator Obama. Now let's meet the candidates. Just four years ago, Barack Obama was known only as a brilliant, charismatic and universally admired member of the Illinois State Senate. Today he is one of our nation's truly visionary leaders. And soon, knock on wood, the first black president of the United States.
If that sound isn't the fat lady clearing her throat, it might be the MSM humming Hillary's dirge. Consider, for example, ABC national political correspondent Jake Tapper's Good Morning America segment today on the differences in tone between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. After playing footage of an angry Hillary waving allegedly misleading Obama campaign literature and then of a relaxed Obama laughing it off, Tapper had this to say.
JAKE TAPPER: There's a difference between a winner's confident stride and the strained scurrying of the also-ran.
Barack Obama has been endorsed by The Nation magazine and MoveOn.org, and his most celebrated California voter is Markos Moulitsas, the purveyor of the hard-left Daily Kos blog. He’s promising to meet with dictators (Cuban, Iranian, North Korean) without preconditions. He’s taken a dramatic step to the hard left. But in his appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday night, comedian Jon Stewart tried to push the strange idea that Obama was a base-spurning maverick like John McCain, that they’re running "outside of traditional dogma." He was mocking how conservatives dislike McCain because they want rigid obedience to their party line:
The network morning shows this year haven't always been tough questioners with the presidential candidates. But it bothered me on Wednesday when ABC's Good Morning America interviewed John McCain (the day before the New York Times unleashed its underbaked "romantic" hints-and-whispers story), and co-host Robin Roberts dragged out the old-age issue against McCain using late-night comedians to mock him. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton sitting still for that tactic?
ROBERTS: You brought up a number of good points in your speech last night. And it was well received. You got a lot of applause when you said you are clearly the most experienced, as you put it. You're 71. You would be 72 on Election Day and the late night comics have taken note of your age as well. I want to get your reaction to this.
JAY LENO (clip): Do you realize when Castro came to power in 1959, John McCain was only 61 years old?
Do MSNBC higher-ups ever watch the garbage being spewed on a nightly basis during their primetime schedule, or does Keith Olbermann have the freedom at this point to present anything he wants on the air regardless of how vile and devoid of facts?
Take for example the fourth story on Thursday's "Countdown" when the host and his guest, Air America's Rachel Maddow, used the New York Times hit piece on John McCain to bash conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh including labeling him a homophobe.
For those that can stand it, just listen to Maddow's answer to Olbermann's question concerning what Limbaugh wants McCain to do now that the Times has attacked him this way (video available here):
If Michael Moore wins an Oscar Sunday for his controversial documentary "SiCKO," it seems certain Hollywoodans and the left will try to use the moment to advance universal healthcare in this country much as they did last year with Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and global warming.
Yet, as media gush over Moore and his socialist healthcare philosophies, will they point out how antagonistic he is to the two Democrat presidential candidates?
In particular, will they address a recent unfriendly exchange between Moore and Hillary Clinton reported by The Hill late Friday evening (h/t NBer Par for the Course, emphasis added throughout):
How anti-gun is Barack Obama? Will the media tell us? Cam Edwards at NRANews.com was alarmed by a recent blog post by David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy. A December 13, 1999 article in the black newspaper the Chicago Defender reported on Obama's proposals at that time, as he ran and lost a primary against Congressman Bobby Rush the next year:
Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]
Obviously, this is in the post-Columbine frenzy, but what sort of bizarre proposal is that? If I stole Obama's car and killed someone with it, would it be fair to make Obama a felon for it? Gun owners (at risk of being involuntary criminals) quickly ask what is the meaning of "securely stored"? But there's more from the Defender:
In an attempt to salvage some degree of credibility for presidential candidate Barack Obama's assertions about military equipment shortages, Reuters reporter Andrew Gray went back to a long-discredited claim planted by a local Tennessee reporter, and resurrected a Donald Rumsfeld quote that was not relevant to his story topic.
First, Gray went to what Obama claimed, and how the Pentagon responded:
During the face-to-face encounter on Thursday evening, Obama said he had heard from an Army captain whose unit had served in Afghanistan without enough ammunition or vehicles.
Obama said it was easier for the troops to capture weapons from Taliban militants than it was "to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief," President George W. Bush.
"I find that account pretty hard to imagine," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer found an astoundingly gentle way to ask Hillary Clinton about the possibility of not being the Democratic nominee. On Friday's program, the ABC journalist wondered if such a victory was even necessary. She soothingly suggested, "The question is, are you in a new place about winning? Have you decided that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, even if you don't win the presidency?"
Sawyer's question, in reference to a comment made at the debate in which Clinton claimed she would be "fine," whatever happens in the election, led to more softballs. The GMA host lauded the Democratic presidential contender for something as simple as having her daughter at the debate. "...We noticed that Chelsea came up and immediately slipped your hand into yours, last night. What was that about? What was going on between the two of you?"
On Friday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton and wondered if she would step aside for the good of the Democratic Party: "More important for you to be elected, or for a Democrat to be in the White House a year from now?"
Smith began the interview by asking Clinton: "And you stopped, you paused, you drew a breath, and you said you were honored to be there with Barack Obama. And I whispered, as you said that, 'valedictory.' Was that the beginning of the end of your campaign?" Smith went on to wonder if a long drawn-out nomination fight was "worth it"given Obama’s lead:
And I thought I saw some of the fight leave your body last night. I thought I saw there was almost a sign of body language like this guy has won ten states in a row. He has a significant lead in delegates. You know, is it worth going after every single vote tooth and nail for the next two, three, four weeks?
Count Fox News's Chris Wallace in the group that believes the New York Times recent hit piece about John McCain might end up helping the GOP presidential candidate woo disgruntled conservatives in time for this November's elections.
Wouldn't it be just exquisitely delicious irony if it turned out the Times spent 3,000 words to diminish McCain's candidacy only to end up furthering it?
According to Wallace, who was interviewed Thursday by WOR radio's Steve Malzberg, such is definitely possible (11-minute audio available here):
You tell me that you need me Then you go and cut me down, but wait You tell me that you're sorry Didn't think I'd turn around, and say...
It's too late to apologize, it's too late I said it's too late to apologize, it's too late
I don't know about you, but the lyrics for "Apologize" by OneRepublic came to mind as I read this item from Newsweek.com about a new chill in the air separating the generally press-friendly Arizona senator and the Third Estate:
It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.
That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.
MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.
If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.
The New York Times "scoop" strongly suggesting a romantic relationship between John McCain and a lobbyist drew heavy coverage from all three morning shows Thursday. All three featured interviews with McCain staff members on the defensive. Critical scrutiny of the Times story was mostly left to the McCain aides, as the networks presented the tone of a real crisis for McCain, not for the newspaper.
On NBC’s Today, at least its opening allowed the idea that an outrage had taken place: "Good morning, bombshell or hatchet job? A New York Times report out this morning raises questions about John McCain's relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago. He is outraged and he is fighting back. Will it turn the presidential campaign upside down?"
From Elisabeth Bumiller's New York Times follow-up article of today [emphasis added]:
Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers directed strong criticism at The Times in what appeared to be a deliberate campaign strategy to wage a war with the newspaper. Mr. McCain is deeply distrusted by conservatives on several issues, not least because of his rapport with the news media, but he could find common ground with them in attacking a newspaper that many conservatives revile as a left-wing publication.
Let me get this straight. The Times has run an article relying on anonymous, disgruntled former associates as sources, dredging up old stories and making base accusations with no hard evidence in support. But it's McCain who's waging war?
On Thursday’s CBS "Early Show," co-host Harry Smith teased upcoming coverage of accusations of John McCain having an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman: "And Republican front-runner John McCain blasted on the front pages of The New York Times...not exactly the coverage you may be looking for if you're running for president." Later, Smith introduced the segment by exclaiming: "This bombshell report that Republican front-runner John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist who was a visitor to his office and traveled with him on a client's corporate jet."
In a following report by correspondent Nancy Cordes, the New York Times article was quoted:
According to The Times, the aides warned him "he was risking his campaign and career" because Iseman's firm had telecom clients with business before his Senate committee. They say quote, "McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Iseman."
Appearing on Thursday's 1pm hour of MSNBC News Live, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews couldn't resist taking a few swipes at Rush Limbaugh. After anchor Peter Alexander played a clip of the conservative talk show host discussing the New York Times story on Senator John McCain, Matthews irritably claimed, "Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant here. Irrelevant. He doesn't know anything more than what he read in the New York Times."
The radio clip, which was from Thursday's edition of Limbaugh's program, featured the host urging the GOP presidential candidate to learn a lesson from the front-page New York Times story speculating about a improper relationship with a D.C. lobbyist. Matthews's apparent annoyance at Limbaugh might have something to do with being mentioned in the clip. At one point during the monologue, Limbaugh asserted, "[McCain] has thought Chris Matthews and these other people in the drive-by media are his friends. They aren't."
Cheap Shots Fit to PrintThis would make even the Daily Kos and MoveOn.org blush.
Well, maybe not. But still, ... .
The New York Times on Wednesday evening went to the web with "For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk", an innuendo-filled and fact-deprived 3,000 word ramble on the 1999 professional interactions between now virtually certain Republican Presidential nominee John McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman. They then extrapolated the unproven impropriety of this alleged "relationship" into a broader questioning of McCain's ethics.
Both McCain and Iseman flatly deny the affair. Their refutation, and the Times' protracted inability to gather any evidence to the contrary, should in no way have served to prevent them from levying the accusation in long form print, apparently.
At least when the National Enquirer prints unsubstantiated garbage, they go with new stories, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued today on the Fox News Channel. Bozell was referring to the New York Times publishing a front page article on a 10-year old rumor regarding presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and lobbyist Vicki Iseman.
If one of the major presidential candidates made a campaign pledge not to take money from lobbyists, would it be newsworthy if founding members of the law firm Jack Abramoff used to work for were contributing to his or her campaign?
Apparently not if the candidate is a Democrat.
According to the liberal website Raw Story, and confirmed by examining Federal Election Committee records, top brass at Greenberg Traurig, the law firm convicted lobbyist Abramoff worked for between 2001 and 2004, have given thousands of dollars to Barack Obama's campaign (emphasis added):
The New York Times has launched a full-scale attack campaign against John McCain and in so doing, revealed their liberal agenda for all to see! It’s the clearest example of their bias since they published MoveOn.org’s "General Betray Us" ad...Why wasn’t this story published previously?
If you're infuriated by this failing liberal news organization’s desperate attempt to tar and feather the Republican front-runner by dredging up 8 year-old allegations, take quick action and do something about it
Join our MRC Action Team and help bury the NY Times with thousands of angry emails and phone calls.
As media digest the recent John McCain sex scandal allegations by the New York Times, one side of the story seems destined to get ignored: one of the four co-authors took money from a liberal activist group to fund a hit piece about Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) in 2006.
Before becoming an investigative reporter for the Times, Pulitzer Prize winner Marilyn W. Thompson was editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky.
As Howard Kurtz reported in October 2006, Thompson was in the middle of what one might call a pay for play hit piece against that state's leading Republican figure (emphasis added):
A story that mildly resembles today's McCain "scoop" came four years ago, the charge that young AP reporter Alexandra Polier may have had an affair with John Kerry. No proof emerged. How did the New York Times cover that charge?
On February 17, 2004, on page A-19, the Times ran a 434-word piece by reporter Jim Rutenberg, one of the four reporters on the McCain story today. The rumor had a "vibrant life on the Internet," but not in the New York Times. Here it is:
Discussing the recent New York Times smear of John McCain and alleged inappropriate relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, "View" co-host Joy Behar, who floated conspiracy theories in the past, floated another one today.
"Is there any possibility that- I'm just throwing this out, and Bill O'Reilly will call me a 'pinhead' for this. But is there any possibility that the right wing of the party, the real conservative Limbaugh, Huckabee, that group, planted this article? Like they're behind it? Because they're too trying to cut his legs off."