In a story apparently designed to attack the Bush administration less than a week away from the midterm elections, the New York Times has instead delivered a stunning November Surprise to the Democrats: Saddam Hussein's regime was perhaps only a year away from developing nuclear weapons at the time of the US invasion.
“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.
And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”
For those who already suspect the New York Times has a liberal bias, the Halloween night Times Talk at the New York Historical Society on Manhattan's Upper West Side didn't provide too many scares.
"Writing About Politics in an Age of Contention" featured Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins, Managing Editor Jill Abramson, and Assistant Managing Editor Richard Berke, along with non-Times people Al Hunt, formerly the executive editor for the Wall Street Journal, and Dick Polman, reporter-blogger for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The usual liberal conventional wisdom prevailed, with little disagreement about anything (everyone seemed convinced Democrats would win the House, but warned that Democrats had been sure of victory before).
Since Kerry's "the troops are stupid" remarks were reported on Newsbusters yesterday, the story has truly grown some legs. This has caused the MSM to bend themselves into pretzels to explain away Kerry's typically anti-military remarks and leading the pack, as always, is the "Paper of broken record", the New York Times.
In a piece titled ”Bush Attacks Kerry for Remarks on Iraq Troops”, the Times spends nearly the entire story making this out to be a Bush/Republican issue and barely even takes the time to mention what it is that Kerry said to initiate the incident in the first place, casting the entire story into the rote Republicans-are-at-fault mode.
The story, by Adam Nagourney and several other contributors (amusing that it took a whole committee to make this spin up), nearly ignores Kerry’s actual remarks not even bothering to mention the phrase that caused this whole dust up until the 15th paragraph.
The 14 paragraphs before that has some anti-Bush doozies, too.
There are occasions in the news coverage of campaigns where fevered imagination kicks in and calm, comparative reason takes a holiday. Here we go again, and this time it’s Harold Ford Jr., the Democratic contender for the Senate in Tennessee who is getting the red carpet media treatment. Ford is an attractive black “rising Democratic star,” whose only obstacle is Tennessee’s inability to get beyond its sordid racist past.
The East Coast media recently parachuted into Tennessee to explore if the state was still so backward as to elect yet another Republican. On its front page, The Washington Post began a story with John Layne, aging white Republican, who came to a Ford rally because he has emphysema and worries about health care. "Oh, sure, there's some prejudice," Layne said. "I wouldn't want my daughter marrying one." But apparently, he’ll vote for one if the government benefit checks are good.
While some tabloids capture the drama of John Kerry's uneducated-people-stuck-in-Iraq joke ("KERRY KALAMITY," says the New York Daily News), the nation's biggest newspapers have headlines draining the drama out of the story, and certainly leaving the contents of the "joke" out of the headline:
Here at NewsBusters, the last thing we'd want to do is sow discord among the liberal house columnists of the New York Times. But present purposes oblige me to let Bob Herbert know that his colleague Maureen Dowd doesn't read his column.
That's the only way to explain Dowd's claim in her column this morning that the people "tut-tutting" about Barack Obama's presidential ambitions are Republicans. According to Dowd, those mean GOP types are putting Obama down because of his lack of foreign policy experience.
You, mean, Maureen, as in this statement?:
"In an appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday, [Obama] made it clear that he was considering . . . a run. With all due respect to Senator Obama, this is disturbing. . . [he] has a very slender résumé, very little experience in national politics, hardly any in foreign policy."
The New York Times sure doesn't like it when Republicans fail to give proper respect to Democratic politicians. Here's Mark Leibovich in his Tuesday story from the home district of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, "Controversy Gives Hastert Time at Home."
"Mr. Hastert is also fueled by what appears to be a genuine dislike of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, who would be speaker if Democrats gained 15 seats next week. To invoke Ms. Pelosi as speaker is a Republican talking point, but when Mr. Hastert does it, it smacks of disdain.
Who doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong? Yet that essential knowledge, generally assumed to come from parental teaching or religious or legal instruction, could turn out to have a quite different origin.
What follows is several slaps at religion, the Times asserting that religion has nothing to do with morals short of serving as "social enforcers of instinctive moral behavior".
But the Times seems not to understand the entire point of morals and the claims religions make about them. Few religions claim to have created morals by their practices and tenets but are merely re-enforcing what God has already given us. So, contrary to what the Times assumes, no religion, Christian ones especially, claims to have somehow invented morals with their religious ideals. They attribute creation of such to God.
The Times can't get enough of the RNC's ad mocking Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford Jr., running for Senate against Republican Bob Corker. The Sunday Week in Review featured a front-page "TV Watch" column by television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley, "Scary, Like Funny Scary."
"The much-seen Tennessee ad against Harold Ford Jr. placed by the Republican National Committee in support of his opponent, Bob Corker, was seen as racist."
The New York Times is sure that voters are losing their rights the country over, in essence yelling "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" for voters this year. They have been ballyhooing that voters are being "disenfranchised" all across the country by voting machines and voting law changes -- their biggest worry being ID requirements. The Times points in horror to the continuing effort of the States to nail down who is eligible and a proliferation of new laws assuring that eligibility before casting a ballot claiming this is proof of such "disenfranchisement". Ridiculously, the Times has decided proving you are eligible to vote is a threat to democracy.
Funny how they don't consider people who vote illegally as being any threat to democracy... of course that is because illegal voting benefits the Democrats, their favored party.
I looked around when I heard someone crying, and there was Pollyanna bawling her eyes out. That's how depressing was the one-two punch of pessimism in Paul Krugman's and Bob Herbert's New York Times pay-to-peruse columns of today.
Just in time for the elections, the pair paint a picture of America so dreary you half-expected the Google logarithm to place Prozac ads on the page. Krugman tries to talk down the economy, while Herbert sees a more deep-seated malaise. Annotated excerpts:
Krugman: "Bursting Bubble Blues"
"The housing boom became a bubble . . . the question now is how much pain the bursting bubble will inflict." Guessing Krugman's answer: a lot.
"Some say the worst is already over . . . So maybe this is as bad as it gets. But I think the pessimists have a stronger case." Told you so!
When it comes to using Mafia references for political purposes, Chris Matthews has a one-way sense of outrage. OK for slurring Republicans. Bad, bad, bad when used against Dems.
Matthews is the king of MSM conniption fits over Republican ads. He pounded for days on the RNC ad about Harold Ford, Jr., accusing RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman of "cesspool" tactics and claiming the ad played to white fears of "losing white women to black guys."
Matthews had a similar over-the-top reaction to an ad [see it here] running in NJ that uses a mobbed-up character to mock ethically-challenged Bob Menendez. Here's how Stephen Spruiell at National Review's Media Blog noted Matthews reaction:
"Well maybe because I've spent so much of my life in New Jersey... but you know, I have to tell you Charlie, it's an ethnic ad. Whatever else it is, it's an ethnic ad. It's about Italians in New Jersey, it's about the mob. Tying Menendez into Torricelli. They're closing the loop, they're making their point, and that has been politics in that state for years, between the WASPy people like Christie Todd Whitman and the Keans, father and son, running against the ethnic people, they tied it all together: If you're ethnic, you're a crook, right?"
Amusingly, some of the names they use to define a "Republican Moderate" are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. They also mention Mike DeWine of Ohio, but the three they focus on are Snowe, Collins and Chafee... these are the people they call "moderate".
Let's take a look at how the ACU rates the conservative voting record of these three in 2005 (0 being least conservative and 100 the most conservative).
Susan Collins - 32 Olympia Snowe - 32 Lincoln Chafee - 12
These three are FAR from being "moderate". They are more like Democrats -- and far left ones at that -- than Republicans and rarely vote with their national Party on any issue. But, to the NYT "moderate" means voting with Democrats, apparently.
The campaign ad mocking Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. may be fading from the airwaves, but not in the pages of the New York Times, which is still pushing the "racism" angle, as it does in Anne Kornblut and Jim Rutenberg's Friday story, "Federal Rules Help Shield Creators of Political Advertisements." Their opening paragraph was also strategically located on Friday's front page with the little headline "A Provocative Attack, A Familiar Creator." It read:
Looking out your window this morning, don't be surprised to find not one but two pigs flying in tidy formation. As we noted here, on yesterday's 'Today' show, Matt Lauer eschewed the Rush-bashing bandwagon that developed in response to El Rushbo's remarks about the Michael J. Fox ad. As Matt put it: "if Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself into the fray, he has to expect to be, you know, taken to account."
If that was enough for Hell's equivalent of Al Roker to issue a frost warning, an editorial in this morning's NY Times is enough to send Hades into the deep freeze. For the Gray Lady has . . . endorsed a Republican, Chris Callaghan, for the statewide office of New York Comptroller.
The Times jumps into the liberal-inspired brouhaha over the RNC's supposedly racist TV ad against Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., who is running in Tennessee against Republican Bob Corker.
"The Tennessee Senate race, one of the most competitive and potentially decisive battles of the midterm election, became even more unpredictable this week after a furor over a Republican television commercial that stood out even in a year of negative advertising.
Just as we figured, a liberal was behind the first published leaks of the Mark Foley emails. The New York Times, amazingly enough, broke this story.
But the headline writers at the Times couldn't bring themselves to inform readers of the politics of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group that is very liberal on issues not pertaining to sexuality, and the former employer of the still-anonymous individual who started the blog stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.
It's also worth noting that not a single Republican or conservative media figure is quoted in the story denouncing Democrats for their personal attacks or gutter politics, something the Times certainly would have done had a Democrat been the victim. (HT: several readers.)
Reporter Randal Archibold gets a full story out of Kevin Tillman, brother of former NFL player Pat Tillman, who died by friendly fire after quitting pro football to go into service in Afghanistan. Kevin Tillman lashes out at the Bush administration in an article published on the Truthdig website on October 19. (Truthdig is run by Robert Scheer, the left-wing former columnist for the L.A. Times.)
At least they're honest about it. So avid is the New York Times for a Dem House majority that in an editorial of this morning, it's decided to throw Chris Shays [R-CT] to the wolves, under the bus, or wherever it is that liberal Republican congressmen go when the Times won't endorse them anymore.
Although they came to bury him, the Times does throw in some praise of Shays [rhymes!]:
Referring to him as "a good representative."
Noting that it has "admired his independence and respected his leadership."
Describing him as "a rare voice for moderation within [the] Republican caucus."
Calling him "a beacon of integrity."
Not good enough for the Gray Lady. Endorsing his Democrat opponent, the Times make no bones about sacrificing Shays' electoral bones on the altar of a Pelosi speakership:
The lead story for the June 23 New York Times exposed a U.S. terrorist surveillance program involving international bank transfers ("Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror"):
"Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials."
Reading their respective pay-per-view columns this morning, it's a gauge of just how far out Paul Krugman is on the port side of politics that his New York Times colleague Bob Herbert sounds positively moderate by comparison.
In The Obama Bandwagon Herbert expresses salutary - and surprising - caution when it comes to the current outbreak of Obama-mania:
"It’s a measure of how starved the country is for a sensible, appealing, intelligent, trustworthy leader that a man who until just a couple of years ago was an obscure state senator in Illinois is now suddenly, in the view of an awful lot of voters, the person we should install in the White House."
This is a truly shocking revelation by the New York Times ombudsman Byrone Calame (hat tip to Michelle Malkin). In a column published Sunday, Calame – the Times' “public editor” – has reversed a previous position of his concerning the Times June 23 article about secret international banking surveillance designed to uncover the sources of terrorist funding. Now, Calame thinks it was a mistake for the Times to reveal the existence of this program (emphasis mine throughout):
After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.
Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.
This is quite a reversal for Calame who wrote at the time:
Be it her politics - or perhaps her personality - one thing is clear: some big-time MSM women columnists don't dig Hillary. Yesterday I described here how the LA Times Rosa Brooks described Hillary - in the context of her support for legislation authorizing torture in ticking-bomb type cases - as having "hit bottom" and "fallen as low as it's possible to go."
Today Maureen Dowd weighs in - with a vengeance. The central thesis of the subscription-required Obama’s Project Runway is that the Illinois senator needs to decide whether he is content to be the glamor guy basking in Dem adulation, or wants to get serious and run for president. [On a related note, earlier today I posed the question here as to whether Obama is ready for prime time in light of his suggestion on last night's Olbermann that we should encourage Iran and Syria to "take ownership" for the stability of Iraq.]
The first debate between incumbent junior Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and the challenger John Spencer occurred Friday night, and your opinion of who the winner and loser was likely depends on which media source you rely on. As one would expect, the New York Times gave the win to the Democrat. Conversely, former Clinton administration advisor Dick Morris felt Hillary lost “big time”.
They claimed Kean fell into a political trap set by Menendez, so what if he had to lie to them to pull it off. How nice of them to call the Times later and change their tune once again ... after the event and the headline.
The two [Bob Menendez and Tom Kean] appeared at a candidate forum yesterday sponsored by the Metro West Jewish Federation, and they discussed the usual topics: the Iraq war, Social Security, and stem cell research.
The midterm elections are approaching and some members of the media are revving up their bias. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann recently suggested that President Bush might be as big a threat as the terrorists. This was only a day after referring to conservative talk show hosts who visited the White House as the "Legion of Doom." CNN’s Jack Cafferty wondered if Karl Rove is planning an "October surprise" to salvage the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections.
The print media have also offered unrestrained attacks from the left. A "Washington Post" report described House Speaker Dennis Hastert appearance as "a cross between Wildford Brimley and Jabba the Hutt." Nothing quite like objectivity, huh? A former "New York Times" bureau chief recently characterized the Christian right as "fascist." Perhaps he’d been chatting with "Newsweek" columnist Jonathan Alter. Alter told Don Imus he hoped the country has seen the last of "values voters."
The "Today" show fawned over Barack Obama, describing him as "electrifying" and a "rock star." This was on the same day that they giddily predicted a "perfect storm" to wipe out the Republicans in the midterms. Another early AM program, CNN’s "American Morning"encouraged author David Kuo to call for Christians to boycott the upcoming election.
The Associated Press reported late Thursday evening that the chairman of the House Intelligence committee Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) has suspended a Democrat staffer over possibly being the source of the recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times (hat tip to Michelle Malkin): “In a letter to Hoekstra dated Sept. 29, Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., a committee member, said the Democratic staffer requested the document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before a Sept. 23 story by the Times on its conclusions.”
It wouldn't be election season without at least one member of the MSM associating Republicans with the Ku Klux Klan. And who better to oblige than the New York Times, in its editorial of this morning It’s Voter-Fooling Time in America. The Times presents its piece as a non-partisan hand-wringer over dirty or deceptive campaign tactics in the last weeks before Election Day. And the editorial does dutifully claim that Dems are "no less tempted to flash bare-knuckle mischief" than Republicans, and offers one example of a Connecticut Dem making a nasty claim about his opponent.
But when you get down into the details, you notice that the Times attributes every other dirty trick or hardball tactic described to Republicans and - sure enough - manages to work in an allusion to the KKK:
Remember Chris Hedges, the former Times reporter and Middle East bureau chief for the paper who got unplugged for his anti-war ranting at a Rockford College graduation ceremony in 2003?
Here was his stirring opener to the assembled graduates:
“Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves."