Benghazi hearings open in the House on Wednesday, and the New York Times printed a preview on page 16 of Wednesday's edition that downplayed any possible revelations about the Obama administration's reaction to the terrorist attack, which killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Testimony is expected by three State Department officials, led by U.S. diplomat Gregory Hicks, deputy mission chief in Tripoli, who said his pleas for military assistance were overruled.
Feeling reader pressure after the Washington Post led its Tuesday's edition by setting up the House hearings, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan addressed the issue on her blog Tuesday afternoon, posing a coverage question to Washington bureau chief (and former neoliberal economics reporter) David Leonhardt, who didn't anticipate hearing much new on Wednesday:
At the Daily Beast on Sunday, liberal Peter Beinart called on Democrats and liberals to "strongly denounce" former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian's insult campaign against Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, or else "Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse."
It's too early to test Beinart's long-term prediction (such bigotry is bad enough already), but the denunciations he desires are nowhere to be found, even as Harpootlian has doubled and tripled down on his original wish to see Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Meanwhile, the establishment press has virtually ignored Harpootlian's unhinged harangues.
On your bike! New York Times's roaming critic Neil Genzlinger reviewed Constitution USA with Peter Sagal, airing Tuesday night on PBS. Judging by the headline, "The Philosophical Rumble Of That Living Document," Genzlinger's editor didn't know what to do with his puzzling, cranky review of the documentary (starring Sagal, liberal host of the NPR game show Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!).
Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, noted a shameful anniversary for the paper -- the 10th anniversary of the Jayson Blair scandal -- but not without calling her paper as "world-class" as the scandal itself.
But to the paper's liberal readership, the more shameful mistake involved reporter Judy Miller's overly credulous reporting on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction during the run-up to the Iraq War.
A New York Times story posted online Sunday evening and appearing at Column 1 on Page 1 in today's print edition included a picture of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh -- hardly a jihadist, at least not directly -- alongside that of three real jihadists: alleged Ft. Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Another curiosity is the difference between the official headline of Scott Shane's report ("A Homemade Style of Terror: Jihadists Push New Tactics") and the browser window title ("Terrorists Find Online Education for Attacks"). That's interesting, because the presence of the "online education" and the following paragraphs in Shane's report effectively punch a gaping hole in the official meme, most strongly propagated by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and President Barack Obama, that Tsarnaev and his now-dead brother Tamerlan "acted alone":
In a web interview after his appearance on ABC's “This Week” yesterday, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who suddenly withdrew after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be his first Secretary of Commerce in 2009, was asked the following about freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: "Do you think he represents most Hispanics with his politics?"
The latest insensitive and arguably racist public utterance coming from the supposed party of tolerance and compassion comes from a Democrat in South Carolina. But not just any Democrat. This one is Dick Harpootlian, the Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Harpootlian has a history of making outrageously offensive public remarks about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, yet he remained as party chairman until (according to Politico) his term ended on Saturday.
Mediaite, Politico, and almost no one else in the establishment press has reported that Harpootlian, speaking at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner Friday night just before Vice President Joe Biden appeared, said while introducing South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (as carried at Mediaite; HT Instapundit): "In about 18 months from now,” he said, “hopefully he’ll have sent Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from."
Timothy Egan, former liberal reporter for the New York Times, hit his usual topic (those wacky Republicans) in his Thursday online column, the wittily titled "House of Un-Representatives."
After mocking Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert for repeating a claim that caribou like to nuzzle up to an oil pipeline targeted by environmentalists, Egan noted that Gohmert "has said so many crazy things that this assertion passed with little comment."
The New York Times's Julia Preston watched parades on May Day for evidence that the fight for amnesty for illegal immigrants was at last gathering public support in "Showing Grass-Roots Support for Immigration Overhaul." Preston hit the jackpot when a protester quoted her back the same line she and the Times have been using for years about illegal immigrants: "I think it is time that we come out of the shadows...."
Preston did her part by helping spin away the small size of rallies held by amnesty supporters; supposedly the turnout was lower because they wanted "more local supporters:"
Last Friday, Obama made “history” by being the first president to address Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions. Obama did this in spite of the terrible timing, during the Kermit Gosnell trial. But like the Gosnell trial, Obama’s speech drew a blackout: no story on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, or NPR.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes hailed it was a "history-making" speech, but complained that Obama never used the A-word, which he should never feel ashamed to use. Rachel Maddow praised Obama for “putting a new capstone” on bold proclamations for the “right to choose.” USA Today and the Los Angeles Times somehow missed it. The New York Times blogged it – with this amazing paragraph from reporter Peter Baker as he mentioned Gosnell:
The New York Times's Pam Belluck wrote twice about the emerging controversy over the Food and Drug Administration's decision immediately allowing girls under 15 to receive Plan B One-Step, the morning-after pill for emergency birth control, without a prescription or parental consent. Citing safety concerns, the Obama administration had previously overruled the FDA, which had removed all age restrictions on access to the pill. Obama's Justice Department announced yesterday that it will appeal the FDA's latest "compromise" decision.
The New York Times's Trip Gabriel reported Tuesday that each side has rested its case in the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, on trial for four charges of infanticide at his Philadelphia clinic. The first paragraph is revealing:
“They are known as Baby Boy A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E, all of whom prosecutors call murdered children and the defense calls aborted fetuses -- the very difference in language encapsulating why anti-abortion advocates are so passionate about drawing attention to the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which wrapped up here on Monday with summations by both sides.”
The New York Times has long excused the continuing unpopularity of Obamacare by arguing that people just don't understand it or that it's been unfairly caricatured by political opponents. The latest entry was John Harwood's "Political Memo" Tuesday, "The Next Big Challenge for Obama's Health Care Law: Carrying It Out." The text box fretted: "Misinformation and complex imperatives could cause trouble."
New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey's story on the front of Monday's Business section has a headline that just begs for the old joke ("World Ends: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit") on the Times's traditional knee-jerk liberalism: "Recession Worsened Wealth Gap For Races."
Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.
The Democrats blinked in the sequester tussle -- by wide margins Congress passed, and the president promised to sign, legislation that would end the furloughs for Federal Aviation Administration employees, which had caused flight delays that Republicans claimed were politically motivated by the Obama administration.
Bob Herbert: columnist from the Planet Benzar? Seriously, what the former New York Times op-ed writer had to say this morning is enough to make you wonder whether he occupies the same orb as the rest of us. Appearing on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Herbert literally laughed out loud at the notion that American media leans liberal. According to Herbert, the bias in the American media is "overwhelmingly" to the right.
Herbert's snicker came in response to a statement by New York Times reporter Amy Chozick, also an MH-P guest. Chozick recently wrote an article reporting on the Koch brothers' possible interest in buying the Tribune Company, which among other media outlets owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. According to Chozick, the brothers' interest was in part sparked by their outrage in seeing the liberal bias when they pick up American newspapers. View the video after the jump.
On Thursday for Friday's print edition, the New York Times carried a weakly headlined but well-written story entitled "U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination" on its front page. Written by Sharon LaFraniere with the help of three others, it laid out how what began in 1997 as a class-action suit by black farmers (Pigford v. Glickman) claiming they had suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture "became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms." Moreover, LaFraniere covered how the scope of the litigation grew "to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers" to the tune of over 90,000 claims and potential ultimate taxpayer cost of over $4.4 billion, in the process morphing into a vehicle for the Obama administration to unjustifiably dole out taxpayer money to as many people and constituent groups as possible. It is worth reading the entire story, though it will make just about anyone concerned about the financial and cultural future of this nation shudder.
The Times coverage indeed "vindicates" the late Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government blog exposed the fraud associated with Pigford, but that vindication is hardly satisfying. We're supposed to be impressed that the paper finally got around to substantively covering it, and that the paper even noted the "Public criticism (which) came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud." I don't see why.
Friday's New York Times Arts section featured a liberal lecture on America's "culture of endless consumption" and "income inequality" disguised as an opera review from music critic Zachary Woolfe.
Never mind that Woolfe's newspaper panders to a rich liberal readership with stories like this from June 3, 2012: "Family Travel at the $300,000 Price Point." The lead: "Imagine you are heading to your ski house in Aspen with a couple of friends and a weekend’s worth of luggage. The forecast calls for snow. Do you grab the keys to your practical family vehicle or climb into your Ferrari?" Jennifer Kingson tackled the pressing populist issue of luxury dog houses on June 28.
And Stephanie Clifford on October 17 penned "Just the Thing for Those Who Have It All," which opened with an invitation to spend: "So you've earned it. Now, how to spend it? We have a few ideas." Among them: A $50,000 camera, a $37,500 crocodile handbag, and a gold-plated lamb skull at the bargain price of $5,500.
The New York Times's David Herszenhorn on Friday wrote up a bizarre new conference held by the parents of the Boston Marathon bombers in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, where they have lived for the past year: "Parents Deny Son's Guilt And Accuse U.S. of Plot."
It's puzzling why Herszenhorn chose such a credulous tone to the conspiratorial rants of the bombers' mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (The Washington Post made do with a brief mention at the very end of a related story on Friday).
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage displayed a novel angle on terrorist recidivism in his story on recent outbreaks of violence among the terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay: "Despair Drives U.S. Detainees To Stage Revolt." (Is your heart breaking yet?) Savage wrote on Thursday's front page:
But the relative calm on display to visiting reporters last week was deceiving. Days earlier, guards had raided Camp Six and locked down protesting prisoners who had blocked security cameras, forbidding them to congregate in a communal area. A hunger strike is now in its third month, with 93 prisoners considered to be participating -- more than half the inmates and twice the number before the raid.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman documented the failure of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to remake the GOP's "uncompromising conservatism to something kinder and gentler" in "House Majority Leader’s Quest to Soften G.O.P.’s Image Hits a Wall Within," in a slanted story that's being passed off as straight news. Weisman emotionally warned: "But these days, those who linger in the middle of the road end up flattened."
"A kinder, gentler nation" is of course the phrase George H.W. Bush used in his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president in 1988, apparently to distance himself from the more conservative Ronald Reagan.
Politico media reporter Dylan Byers stirred up media indignation with an unflattering article Tuesday on Jill Abramson, the New York Times executive editor, "Turbulence at the Times", based largely on anonymous Times sources who snipe that Abramson is detached, brusque, and a "very, very unpopular" presence in the newsroom.
One Monday morning in April, Jill Abramson called Dean Baquet into her office to complain. The executive editor of The New York Times was upset about the paper’s recent news coverage -- she felt it wasn’t “buzzy” enough, a source there said -- and placed blame on Baquet, her managing editor. A debate ensued, which gave way to an argument.
Besides the paper's usual off-putting tone suggesting the terrorist brothers were just normal kids (..."Holden Caulfield-like adolescent alienation....Sometimes, Dzhokhar sounds downright sentimental"), Kakutani, whose liberal views are clear from her book reviews, managed to discuss Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Twitter postings without mentioning his pro-Obama and 9-11 Truther tweets.
The trial in Philadelphia of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, on trial for infanticide, continues to be mostly ignored by the mainstream press. After public outcry. there was a bump in coverage, and the New York Times finally sent a reporter to cover the trial. But Trip Gabriel only filed a single story from Philadelphia, and that focused not on the trial but on the "online furor" that forced the media to pay attention.
Wednesday's New York Times story by Cairo correspondent David Kirkpatrick about a car-bombing in Libya buried an important new development in the Benghazi scandal. A report from House Republicans accused then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of rejecting a call for additional security for U.S. diplomats in Libya before the Benghazi terror attack that killed four Americans last year on the anniversary of September 11.
In a 1,700-word report on conflict and office politics at the New York Times, the Politico's Dylan Byers omitted critical context about the apparent personality clash between Jill Abramson, the paper's executive editor, and Dean Baquet, its managing editor.
Byers could have remedied the situation by including these seven words at an appropriate point: "Baquet, who has a history of insubordination ..." This history is not a secret, as illustrated in the following writeup at the (I'm not kidding) New York Times in September 2006 (bolds are mine):
NewsBusters reported Sunday the media's chorus to silence Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) is growing louder.
As fate would have it, at roughly the same time, David Brooks was sitting down for a chat with PBS’s Jeff Greenfield at the 92nd Street Y during which the New York Times columnist said, “It doesn’t help that [Cruz] has a face that looks a little like Joe McCarthy” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Showing how difficult it is to make the smallest reductions in federal spending, New York Times personal finance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard's latest "Your Money" column criticized, as hurting the old and poor, a proposed change in how inflation is calculated that would slightly curb the annual increases in entitlement spending. The proposal is generally supported by conservatives and reviled by liberals.
Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men. With all our warts, we have built a unique society -- a country where a black man, whose middle name is Hussein, whose grandfather was a Muslim, can run for president and first defeat a woman in his own party and then four years later a Mormon from the opposition, and no one thinks twice about it. With so many societies around the world being torn apart, especially in the Middle East, it is vital that America survives and flourishes as a beacon of pluralism.