Ultraliberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith, perhaps best known to TV/political junkies as an on-air sparring partner of William F. Buckley, has died at the age of 97. I remember seeing the two spar over one of the party conventions on the "Today" show way back when. (I'm guessing it was 1980.) Can you imagine "Today" hosting two intellectuals having a little debate around the conventions today? Today's morning-show world is more likely to be devoted to plastic convention publicity schticks like Republican rappers (remember TRQ, anyone?) and precocious, mop-headed eight-year-old Democrats.
The New York Times greeted Galbraith's death with the headline "Economist Held a Mirror to Society." Apparently, if you believe capitalism is all about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and you believe avidly in massive government intervention in the economy, you "hold a mirror to society." Or at least a mirror to the face of the New York Times.
Amazing. The day after Anemona Hartocollis's puff piece on the court appearance of 18 anti-war 'grannies' accused of blocking an entrance to a military recruitment center in Times Square, the Times follows up with front-page coverage of their aquittal("New York Judge Tells Grannies To Go in Peace").
"They came, they shuffled, they conquered. "Eighteen 'grannies' who were swept up by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours were acquitted yesterday of charges that they blocked the entrance to the military recruitment center in Times Square when they tried to enlist.
The front of Thursday’s Metro section features Anemona Hartocollis’ soggy profile of a group of left-wing elderly protesters arrested last October for blocking a military recruiting center in Times Square.
The headline is sweet: "With ‘Grannies’ in the Dock, A Sitting Judge Will Squirm."
The text box is sickeningly sweet: "Who wants to rule against grandmotherhood, or apple pie, or Santa?"
Alongside the piece is a photo of the "Granny Peace Brigade" on the way back to court, complete with red vests, protest buttons, and walking sticks. It’s enough to send a diabetic into sugar shock.
Ironically, the avowedly left-wing Village Voice provides a more substantive and probing article on the group, led by activist Joan Wile, which is officially named "Grandmothers Against the War."
Gas price rage has blended with executive pay rage recently, since the media have been bashing ExxonMobil’s departing CEO, Lee Raymond, for his pay and pension package.
“Runaway pay,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on April 20, calling executive salaries and benefits “stratospheric” and “staggering.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared Raymond’s “golden” retirement to the “average American” on April 13. “How much is too much?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer on April 11. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “You Must Be Kidding!” referring to Raymond’s package as “stunning” on April 14.
Criticizing highly-paid executives has been in vogue at the news networks lately, but there’s something the anchors aren’t telling you: their colleagues’ top wages could soon be disclosed to the world, and Big Media are fighting it.
Large media companies have been doing everything within their power to hide the compensation plans of their own highest-paid employees from public disclosure. As reported by the Associated Press on April 11:
MediaBistro runs an email from NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller sent to liberal journalist Murray Waas, in which Keller claims the Bush adminstration is "declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
"I'm not sure journalists fully appreciate the threat confronting us -- The Times in the eavesdropping case, the Post for its CIA prison stories, and everyone else who has tried to look behind the war on terror. Maybe we're suffering a bit of subpoena fatigue. Maybe some people are a little intimidated by the way the White House plays the soft-on-terror card.
"Whatever the reason, I worry that we're not as worried as we should be. No president likes reporters sniffing after his secrets, but most come to realize that accountability is the price of power in our democracy. Some officials in this administration, and their more vociferous cheerleaders, seem to have a special animus towards reporters doing their jobs. There's sometimes a vindictive tone in way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries and in the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors. I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values they profess to be promoting abroad."
Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.
"Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional."
The recent unveiling of the Pulitzer Prizes had more of the same politicized whiff that the Oscars oozed earlier this year. Merit is taking a back seat now to "edginess" in both the news and entertainment media. "Speaking truth to power" is in vogue, even if it’s not true and even if it’s not in the public interest.
The roster of Pulitzer winners had an unmistakeable get-Bush smell to them, especially Dana Priest’s exposing secret prisons in Europe for terrorists in the Washington Post, and James Risen’s and Eric Lichtblau’s NSA-surveillance exposure in the New York Times. The Pulitzers have a prize for Public Service, but these leaks in the War on Terror might better deserve an award for Public Endangerment. As Bill Bennett put it, many Americans think it’s odd that on these stories, "the leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize."
Sunday's off-lead story by David Cloud is on Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst fired for leaking classified information about suspected terrorists allegedly being held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. It comes under the comforting headline "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules."
"On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine her as a leaker of classified information."
Liberal movie critic Manohla Dargis continues to mix popcorn and politics in her Friday review of "American Dreamz."
"But what gives the film its gleam of topicality, its suggestion of relevance, is that it directly sends up both the Bush presidency and 'American Idol,' those twin pillars of contemporary homespun populism. The problem being that, as Jon Stewart, among many others, habitually reminds us, both surrendered to self-parody some time ago."
See Times Watch for more New York Times bias, including Times Watch's just-released study on the paper's fawning coverage of Sen. Hillary Clinton as she prepared for a presidential run in 2008.
Something very good happened in Iraq yesterday, and, for a change, The New York Times noticed. In fact, the editors not only put this news on the front page, but also published an editorial about it – color me shocked.
As you all likely know, Iraq Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has been under immense pressure from the Bush administration to resign due to his failures to form a unified government after the successful December elections. As the Times reported in its lead paragraph: “Under intense domestic and American pressure, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari dropped his bid to retain his job on Thursday, removing a major obstacle to forming a new government during a time of rising sectarian violence.” Paragraph two was just as optimistic: “Leaders from each of Iraq's main factions — Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurd — called the decision a breakthrough.” So was paragraph three: “‘I believe that we will succeed in forming the national unity government the people are waiting for,’ Adnan Pachachi, the acting speaker of Parliament, said at a news conference at the Convention Center inside the fortified Green Zone.”
Amazing. Three opening paragraphs of positive news about Iraq – on the front page no less. When’s the last time that happened at The Times?
Of course, it wasn’t all positive, as paragraph four demonstrated:
Many of you are likely aware of a book by Peter Schweizer entitled “Do As I Say (Not As I Do).” In it, Schweizer demonstrated the hypocrisy of many popular liberals who espouse one position in public that they clearly don’t follow in their private lives.
Well, it seems that The New York Times is guilty of such hypocrisy. In an article Wednesday concerning a looming shareholder revolt at the Times Company over declining share values, it was revealed that one of the complaints coming from Times’ largest investors is how much upper-managers have been paid during a tough period for the company. In fact, a representative from Morgan Stanley – one of the largest Times shareholders – stated: “‘Despite significant underperformance, management's total compensation is substantial and has increased considerably over this period.’"
Yet, just three days earlier, the Times published a 1024-word, front-page business section article entitled “Fund Managers May Have Pay Secrets, Too”: “Amid all the talk about executive compensation and pay for performance, one group of managers has been pretty much untouched: those who run mutual funds.”
On April 13, The Times published an editorial -- yes, an editorial -- entitled “A Cozy Arrangement” concerning -- you guessed it -- executive pay:
When Sen. John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in the presidential election of 2004, the press turned its attention to 2008 and Sen. Hillary Clinton as a potential Democratic savior.
As Mrs. Clinton’s home state broadsheet, the Times has a front-row seat for the run-up to Election 2008. Yet a Times Watch study has discovered that ever since the Hillary-for-president talk heated up in earnest, the newspaper has used its seat more as a cheering section for Clinton than as a dispassionate perch for objective observation.
A reader wishing for a full, balanced picture of Sen. Hillary Clinton won’t get it from the New York Times, which has followed a pattern of mainstreaming Clinton’s liberal policies while throwing roadblocks in front of her potential Republican Senate opponents and playing down Clinton’s controversial remarks.
On this morning's Today show, NY Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman repeated his astonishing wish that the price of crude oil . . . go to $100/barrel ASAP. This is apparently a favorite Friedman mantra, as NewsBusters/MRC's Tim Graham and Brian Boyd have noted.
Friedman's theory is that extremely high oil prices are desirable because they would induce behavioral changes that would ultimately decrease demand and force oil prices way down. Here's how the exchange with host Matt Lauer unfolded:
Friedman: "I hope the Iranians get as crazy as they want. My attitude toward the president of Iran is 'you go, girl', because the faster we get to $100 a barrel, pal, the quicker we're going to get back to $20. Because when we go to $100/barrel, then you're going to see all these people change their behavior and their oil-buying habits and their car-buying habits in a fundamental way."
Frustrated with nearly five years of declining stock values and increased executive compensation, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, one of the top institutional shareholders of the New York Times is crying foul and demanding major corporate and management changes.
"Over the past several years, the New York Times Co.
has consistently underperformed its peers. Its market value has
declined 52% since its peak in June 2002," the company said in a statement put out by its managing director, Hassan Elmasry.
"Despite significant underperformance, management's total compensation
is substantial and has increased considerably over this period."
Christian Science Monitor reveals what most economists have known for years. Free Market Project
For years, the media have been telling Americans the economy, though growing, is not producing good jobs. From Lou Dobbs’ continuous rant at CNN about “The War on the Middle Class” to the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne claiming in a February 21 op-ed that “The decline of manufacturing employment means the economy is producing fewer well-paying jobs,” the media mantra has been that wage gains during this recovery have been very disappointing.
“Now Democrats have argued, though, that under the Bush administration, Americans have seen wages remain flat, also high health care costs and high heating oil and gas prices,” CNN’s Elaine Quijano reiterated on an April 15 “CNN Live” report.
After a longtime “Chicken Little” media view of the labor markets, The Christian Science Monitor finally broke from the pack in an April 11 article by Mark Trumbull stating the “Newest job numbers show that businesses are expanding opportunities in high-wage fields.”
Just two days earlier, however, The New York Times asserted that “New technology and low-cost labor in places like China and India have put downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the average American worker.”
Who’s right? Well, the Monitor used some highly-regarded economists to support its assertions:
The annual Pulitzer Prize awards announced Monday night, by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, rewarded Washington Post and New York Times reporters who exposed -- and thus undermined -- secret anti-terrorism efforts, as well as a Washington Post critic who mocked Vice President Cheney's outdoor apparel and ridiculed the supposed 1950s-era clothing worn by then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' kids. The Pulitzer board gave the “Beat Reporting” award to Dana Priest of the Washington Post “for her persistent, painstaking reports on secret 'black site' prisons and other controversial features of the government’s counterterrorism campaign.” The “National Reporting” award was won by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times “for their carefully sourced stories on secret domestic eavesdropping that stirred a national debate on the boundary line between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberty.” The duo infamously penned the damaging December 16 article, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan grabbed the “Criticism” award “for her witty, closely observed essays that transform fashion criticism into cultural criticism.” In a January 2005 piece featured by the Post in a new page created to showcase her Pulitzer-winning work, Givhan complained that at a gathering of world leaders to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Dick Cheney “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.”
Sunday's off-lead story is by Japanese-based reporter Norimitsu Onishi ("Revival in Japan Brings Widening Of Economic Gap -- Reckoning for Premier -- Egalitarianism Is at Stake as Rich-Poor Division Threatens Mobility").
Of course, Japan's striated class system and government-controlled economy was for decades the main threat to mobility. But Onishi has another culprit in mind: Reaganism.
"Japan's economy, after more than a decade of fitful starts, is once again growing smartly. Instead of rejoicing, however, Japan is engaged in a nationwide bout of hand-wringing over increasing signs that the new economy is destroying one of the nation's most cherished accomplishments: egalitarianism."
The Washington Post's Sunday "Book World" section published two book reviews today offering some notice and praise for new books by New York Times reporters/authors.
One was a review of recently departed New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer and his new America-bashing book "Overthrow." Julia Sweig oozed: "Kinzer's narrative abounds with unusual anecdotes, vivid description and fine detail, demonstrating why he ranks among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling, especially for those on the left." She loved his book "Bitter Fruit" on American intervention in Guatemala. (Short summary: Kinzer was against it.) He's a raving leftist, but Times top editor Bill Keller still insists they don't run a liberal newsroom over there.
Thursday’s New York Times carries a largely hagiographic obituary by Marc Charney of the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, worshipped in left-wing circles for his anti-war protests of the 60s from his position of influence as chaplain of Yale University.
“The Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., a civil rights and antiwar campaigner who sought to inspire and encourage an idealistic and rebellious generation of college students in the 1960's from his position as chaplain of Yale University, then reveled in the role of lightning rod thrust upon him by officials and conservatives who thought him and his style of dissent dangerous, died yesterday at his home in Strafford, Vt.”
in the NYT this morning concerning the run-off election of disgraced former
Congressman Duke Cunningham’s congressional seat has a curious number of
liberal activists quoted, when compared to the number of those from the other side of Cunningham's corner.
Before we get to the bias, here is the line-up of “experts:”
Polisci. prof. Stephen Erie, Dem. Congressional Caucus leader Rahm Emanuel,
MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser, leftwing blogger Markos “Screw them”
Moulitas (aka Kos), and some unnamed “analysts” that have high hopes for
Democrats in the district. There was one Republican quoted.
Yesterday, Times Watch wondered when the New York Times would correct its front-page story from last Friday suggesting the White House and Lewis Libby had willfully misled reporters on an intelligence finding on Saddam Hussein’s quest for uranium, a story based on bad information released by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s office had to correct its court filing on Tuesday.
On Thursday morning, the Times files an Editors’ Note on the matter, and runs an article that refutes the thrust of its front-page story -- but on Page A17.
Here’s the correction in full, including the paper’s lame explanation for why it took the Times until today to correct, when the Washington Post, for instance, had the correction story on Wednesday.
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller submitted to an "Ask the Editors" Q&A session online, and the denials of a liberal bias were insistent. When one questioner decried the opinions of liberal columnists Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd, and then suggested it's ludicrous that the Times was equally comfortable with Democrats or Republicans, Keller replied:
It would, indeed, be preposterous to argue that The Times does not have a liberal editorial page, or that a majority of the columnists (with a couple of outstanding exceptions) do not tend liberal. But it's just plain wrong to say that the newsroom is "liberal" -- in the sense that it toes a certain political or ideological line. This segregation of opinion is the practice at most American newspapers. The Wall Street Journal has one of the most conservative opinion pages of any American newspaper, but I would not describe the paper's news coverage as "conservative."
Here we go again. Anne Kornblut’s Wednesday story on Sen. Hillary Clinton’s speech in Chicago (“A Speech on the Economy, for 2006 or 2008?”) helps the senator and potential presidential candidate by ludicrously awarding her “conservative credentials.”
Kornblut, like Times’ reporters before her, sets Clinton on a mainstream path that bears little resemblance to the liberal senator’s actual voting record (she sports a lifetime record of 9 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union rankings of senators' voting records).
“Mrs. Clinton did not, in her 57-minute speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, assail President Bush by name. Indeed, Mrs. Clinton repeatedly emphasized her conservative credentials and alliances, and she blamed the sharp partisan fighting in Washington for dissuading business leaders from working with government.”
On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, Dobbs scolded “this country's major daily newspapers” for how they “misled” readers in their coverage of immigration rallies since “their headlines failed to tell the truth about what the rallies are all about: Rallies in favor of illegal immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.” Dobbs showed the front pages of four newspapers, starting with the New York Times' headline of “Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status,” followed by the Washington Post's description of “Immigration Rights Rallies,” USA Today's “Historic rallies voice a 'dream'” and the Wall Street Journal's “Immigration-Policy Protests Draw Huge Crowds of Workers.”
Dobbs, however, offered praise for one newspaper's “astute” take, quoting approvingly from a Tuesday Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial which contended: “Organizers wanted the marches to be more about people and less about policy. Most television stations swallowed the bait and delivered news reports soft enough to follow Sesame Street on PBS.” (Transcript, of the comments from Dobbs, follows.)
New York Times National reporter Jodi Rudoren (formerly Jodi Wilgoren, and therein lies a self-absorbed tale) has a Saturday front-page story on yet another investigation of a congressman, Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.
“As lawmakers have increasingly slipped pet projects into federal spending bills over the past decade, one lawmaker has used his powerful perch on the House Appropriations Committee to funnel $250 million into five nonprofit organizations that he set up. Those actions have prompted a complaint to federal prosecutors that questions whether any of that taxpayer money helped fuel a parallel growth in his personal fortune.
On the media beat Monday, New York Times reporter Lorne Manly (is that his real name?) wrote a story headlined "Before You Hit Send, Pause, Reflect," on the sad case of ABC weekend "Good Morning America" executive producer John Green, who was suspended for a month after the New York Post reported that he said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had "Jew shame." He was not suspended immediately when the Drudge Report displayed an e-mail from the 2004 presidential debates where he declared "Bush makes me sick" for his attacks on Kerry.
Manly lamented that the Green mini-scandal has put a "chilling effect" on wild and woolly newsrooms. He began by noting that although newsrooms may be more sanitary and smoke-free than the kind portrayed in the old Cary Grant-Rosalind Russell movie "His Girl Friday," "their freewheeling nature has not been completely extinguished, with the banter and off-color humor about the day's events and personalities ricocheting among today's cubicle dwellers, at times through news organizations' e-mail systems." Manly's story completely exaggerates how the media supposedly bend over backwards to appear fair and balanced:
A New York Times reporter who called recent corporate layoffs “worse than the Great Depression” was the paper’s choice to write about the positive job growth in the economy.
Reporter Louis Uchitelle authored somewhat critical view of the latest unemployment report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That report showed a 211,000-job gain in March 2006 and a low jobless rate of 4.7 percent. By comparison, nearly one in four Americans was without work in the early 1930s.
Despite low unemployment and 31 straight months of job gains, economics writer and author Louis Uchitelle calls for federal laws to restrict corporate layoffs, a policy even a liberal Berkeley economist questions.
In anticipation of mass rallies in support of illegal immigrants, pro-immigrant reporter Nina Bernstein made Sunday’s front page with “Making It Ashore, but Still Chasing U.S. Dream,” following up on the stories of the 286 Chinese immigrants on Golden Venture freighter that ran aground off Queens in 1993.
Inside Sunday’s paper is Abby Goodnough and Jennifer Steinhauer’s “Senate’s Failure to Agree on Immigration Plan Angers Workers and Employers Alike,” which looks at the impasse solely from those who would benefit from an amnesty program, and gives new respect to business owners in favor of illegal immigration, not previously a favored interest group in the Times.
While most in the media insist on bombarding audiences with constant pessimism when it comes to Iraq and the war on terror (today’s New York Times headline, for example, asserts “Arab Democracy, a U.S. Goal, Falters”), it is worth recalling that three years ago this morning, newspapers such as the New York Times were trumpeting good news from Iraq — the “joyous” and “cheering, often tearful welcome” that the people of Baghdad had for American forces when they were finally liberated from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny.
The Times’ John Burns — who was himself, a target of Saddam’s secret police during the final days of the dictatorship — was eyewitness to the celebrations. His story appeared on the front page of the April 10, 2003 Times. While including the fact that some Iraqis were both anti-Saddam and anti-American, and noting the doubts many Iraqis had about the future, Burns makes it pretty clear that, to use Vice President Cheney’s phrase, Americans were mostly “greeted as liberators.” Excerpts: