An Editor and Publisher article released late last night came to an aggressive conclusion from a front-page New York Times story by Todd Purdum. In E&P’s estimate, since Purdum reported that Vice President Dick Cheney has not specifically denied being the newly revealed source of Valerie Plame’s name to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, this suggests that Purdum was “[wondering]” if Cheney could be the source:
It’s become almost too commonplace of late – an article by a major, mainstream newspaper suggesting that President Bush misled the American people, as well as Congress, concerning the existence of WMD in Iraq, and the threat Iraq represented to America. For instance, just yesterday, the New York Times published an editorial with such a premise:
“To avoid having to account for his administration's misleading statements before the war with Iraq, President Bush has tried denial, saying he did not skew the intelligence. He's tried to share the blame, claiming that Congress had the same intelligence he had, as well as President Bill Clinton. He's tried to pass the buck and blame the C.I.A.”
And, a front-page Washington Post article this past Saturday by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus asserted this same theme:
“President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.”
Yet, neither of these two publications was so convinced about this issue before Bush was first inaugurated in January 2001, and both took rather strong positions about the existence of such WMD in Iraq, and the threat that country represented to America.
Why would failing to report on an anti-war group's openly displayed 'Letter from God' be a case for media bias? Because every time President Bush makes reference to his belief in God the mainstream media is all over it, like fleas on a dog. And not only his faith, but that of his appointees, as in Maureen Dowd's article, on former Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers. You probably read how after calling into question the qualifications of Condoleeza Rice, Karen Hughes and other women on his staff, referring to them as office wives "who steadfastly devote their entire lives to doting on him", Dowd goes into some detail about Miers' faith: "Bushie and Harriet share the same born-again Christian faith, which they came to in midlife, deciding to adopt Jesus Christ as their saviors. The Washington Post reported that she tithes to the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, "where antiabortion literature is sometimes distributed and tapes from the conservative group Focus on the Family are sometimes screened," and where, when she returns, Ms. Miers asks well-wishers to pray for her and the president....W. is asking for a triple leap of faith. He has faith in Ms. Miers as his lawyer and as a woman who shares his faith. And we're expected to have faith in his faith and her faith, and her opinions that derive from her faith that could change the balance of the court and affect women's rights for the next generation. That's a little bit too much faith, isn't it?" There are numerous other examples of media bias regarding the President's faith, such as during the 2004 election debates, as David Limbaugh pointed out, "President Bush gets so much flak for his faith and John Kerry is applauded for his professions of faith -- by the very same people? As I recall, while President Bush made no secret during the debates of his reliance on God, it was not him, but John Kerry who was citing Scripture -- or trying to. And it was Kerry who said, "My faith affects everything that I do, in truth."
Earlier today, TimesWatch made a run (with help from bloggers EU Rota and Cori Dauber) at a tendentious New York Times editorial claiming Bush "misled Americans" about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and terrorist connections. Now the White House itself has gotten in on the act, dissecting Tuesday's lead editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," piece by piece.
To the paper's charge that foreign intelligence services did not suupport U.S. intelligence, the White House rebuts:
"But Even Foreign Governments That Opposed The Removal Of Saddam Hussein Judged That Iraq Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction."
News Flash: Scandal-plagued left-wing radio network pitches the New York Times and obtains hoped-for "good press."
Radio host Brian Maloney, who broke many of the stories this summer on the financial scandal at Air America, wonders "was Sunday's upbeat New York Times piece on Air America hosts Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes at least partly the result of a 'pitch' by the liberal radio network's public relations department?....After receiving a document-backed inside tip, the Radio Equalizer is investigating whether Air America's Jaime Horn convinced New York Times reporter Susan Brenna to write a self-serving piece on Air America's female hosts."
Maloney obtained an email allegedly from Horn to some fellow Air America Radio staffers, subject line: "Good press is on the way...I hope!" Horn certainly wasn't wrong about that, as the paper lauded the "rising stars" of Maddow and Rhodes.
For more bias from the New York Times, visit TimesWatch.
As financial scandal was breaking at the left-wing radio network Air America (in the blogosphere at least) this summer, the Times could spare just one weak Metro-section story on the network "borrowing" $875,000 from a Bronx Boys and Girls Club, despite the easily exploitable hypocrisy angle (liberals taking money from poor kids!).
Times Public Editor Barney Calame even made the unusual step (online, anyway) of actually chiding his paper for being slow on the uptake.
Well, at last the Times has another Air America story -- but it's a puff piece on the network's female "rising star" hosts Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow.
Susan Brenna's story for Sunday's Arts & Leisure is headlined: "They Look Nothing Like Rush Limbaugh -- As women and lefties, Air America's rising stars are rarities in talk radio. But perhaps not for long."
In a very atypical article, New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick (the man usually designated to report on that strange anthropological sample known as conservatives) writes up a story on plans for anti-Alito ads by liberal groups which actually calls them "liberal groups." How refreshing. A little balance. As in the Roberts nomination, reporters have played less of their usual games in disguising liberal groups as "women's groups," "civil rights groups," "environmentalists," "public interest groups," and other positive-sounding, nonpartisan-sounding words.
Don't be too alarmed. Kirkpatrick still typically labels Roe v. Wade as a "landmark" court decision (try finding a conservative precedent they call a "landmark"), noting liberal groups cite polls showing people don't want Roe overturned. See this for a reminder of how people answer abortion poll questions. He also remarked that White House spokesman Steve Schmidt condemned the planned liberal ads "Even before seeing the commercials." But the shorthand here does suggest they'll be loaded:
The media have been extraordinarily giddy since last Tuesday’s elections. As NewsBusters’ Clay Waters reported on Thursday, the New York Times has been all over this story, suggesting that the replacement of two Democratic governors with two Democratic candidates for governor represented “Republican unraveling.” The New York Times’ Robin Toner continued with this theme this morning in an article entitled “An Opening For the Democrats, However Slim”:
“Democrats dream of another 1994, with control of the House changing hands, this time to them. All they need, after all, is a net gain of 15 seats, surely an attainable goal in a nation of 435 Congressional districts.”
The article quickly raised some hurdles for the Democrats to achieve this goal, none of which included possible problems with their agenda, or the public’s perception of them as not being any better than Republicans as depicted in poll after poll. Instead, Toner created a perfect excuse for failure in 2006:
The Times' top book critic again denies that there's liberal bias in the media.
This morning, Michiko Kakutani hails the anti-Bush book "Attack the Messenger" by Craig Crawford, a columnist for Congressional Quarterly, under the headline "Bushes' War Against Media."
Notice the plural "Bushes." Apparently, only Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. went to war on the media, not Bill Clinton. Then again, given that 89% of the White House press corps voted for Clinton in 1992, perhaps didn't have as much reason to attack the press.
Do the votes in New Jersey and Virginia signal a "Republican unraveling," as the Times suggests, or is the paper just promoting wishful Democratic thinking?
Thursday's "House Shelves Plans for Alaska Drilling" by Carl Hulse is ostensibly about the issue raised in the headline, but much of it harps on the Republican losses in Tuesday's elections (even though the party didn't actually lose any seats). The text box argues: "A concession adds sting to Republican election losses."
Actually, if current returns hold up, Republicans actually made gains in the two contested states by unseating Virginia's Democratic Lt. Governor and narrowly retaining the Attorney General slot.
Democrats won yesterday’s gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, both offices they held going into Tuesday’s voting, and Democrats lost the Virginia lieutenant governor’s race, a switch in favor of the GOP. That’s hardly an impressive show of electoral strength.
But journalists today spun the results like Howard Dean, claiming voters had handed the Republicans “stinging defeats,” as the New York Times hyped on today’s front page.
Eight years ago, when Republicans held those same two governorships during off-year elections, the media didn’t tout Democratic defeats or unhappiness with Democratic President Bill Clinton. Instead, they saw the election of Republican governors as a voters’ approval of the “status quo” under Clinton.
The media storyline from yesterday's election results has been, for the most part, that Democrats picked up big victories, and that it was all bad news for the Republicans. And that President Bush, bogged down in incompetence (Hurricane Katrina) and malice ("he lied - people died!"), pandering to the right-wing (Alito) and heading an out-of-control criminal White House (Libby and Rove) is acting as an anchor, dragging down the Republican Party, leading to these spectacular Democratic wins. We see it in the New York Times:
After months of sagging poll ratings, scandal and general political unrest, the Republicans badly needed some good news in Tuesday's elections for governor. What they got instead was a clear-cut loss in a red state, and an expected but still painful defeat in a blue one.
The Republican loss in Virginia, which President Bush carried with 54 percent just a year ago, came after an 11th-hour campaign stop by Mr. Bush and the kind of all-out Republican effort to mobilize the vote that reaped rich rewards last year.
New Jersey and Virginia's tradition of odd-year elections for governor give the media ample fodder for speculation on how Democrats and Republicans will perform in future congressional and presidential elections. But for the New York Times, the Democratic successes of 2005 seem to have far more significance than did the Republican successes of 1993 and 1997.
In 1997, New Jersey's Republican governor Christine Whitman won a close race for re-election, while Republican James Gilmore won in Virginia. The Republican successes in Bill Clinton's second term, when he wasn't up for reelection, were downplayed by the Times two days afterward in a headline: "With Big Issues Absent, The Little Things Count." Reporter Richard Berke didn't see any political significance at all: "Forget the post-mortems about ideological shifts, Republican revivals or which candidate had the most money. The legacy of the off, off-year elections on Tuesday may simply be this: Think small."
Is Wal-Mart good for America or destroying its families? Two new documentaries show opposing views on the world’s largest retailer, but the media didn’t.
The anti-Wal-Mart film “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” has received most of the attention. The movie on the benefits of Wal-Mart, “Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy” was slighted. When both did get attention on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” with the anti-Wal-Mart film getting more airtime from an agreeable Dobbs according to a report by the Free Market Project.
NBC began a November 1 “Today” segment with “A media blitz is under way about Wal-Mart and from Wal-Mart.” Text then appeared on the screen that read “Wal-Mart drives down retail wages $3 billion every year.” Despite mentioning the “media blitz” from Wal-Mart, the only official representation of the store was two lines from an ad. Reporter Dawn Fratangelo mentioned Wal-Mart’s new environmental programs and new health care plan. She then added “But critics call it a publicity stunt,” and interviewed a man from union-backed wakeupwalmart.com about it. Only anti-Wal-Mart people were featured in the story, and nothing positive about the company was included.
The Washington Post’s new ombudsman Deborah Howell, in only her second article in her new position, chose to defend journalists’ use of unnamed sources. Of late, this has become quite a hot-button issue, as an increasing number of articles from more and more media outlets seem to rely almost exclusively on anonymous suppliers of information, supposedly from within the White House.
In fact, in the past week, two of America’s leading magazines, Newsweek and TIME, published articles about turmoil inside the White House with bold predictions about changes to come within the administration. The latter just Monday claimed that deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, Treasury Secretary John Snow, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld are all about to leave the White House in a huge administration reshuffling.
Yet, in both of these reports, not one source was named. This makes the beginning of Howell’s article even more disturbing:
When it comes to conveying the gritty facts of the Paris rioting, the burning cars and shattered shop windows, the mainstream media have typically downplayed the rioters' identity as Muslims. But when it's time to suggest liberal solutions, Muslims are singled out prominently as victims of French racial discrimination, lack of assimilation, and lack of jobs (yet the media are strangely muted about the high taxes and burdensome regulations that keep unemployment in France so high).
One tic particular to the Times is putting the onus for the rioting on France's interior minister and anti-crime advocate, Nicholas Sarkozy.
Sarkozy, who is angling to replace French President Jacques Chirac, got in trouble with Chirac (and the Times) for classifying the rioting thugs as, uh, "thugs."
Regardless of economic data, press accounts are typically negative and pessimistic.
The economy has been growing at a very strong clip since October 2001. Real estate prices are at their highest levels in history, as are homeownership and Americans’ average net worth. Unemployment also is lower than the average during any of the past three decades. Yet Americans are very down, and one third even think the economy is in a recession. Is consistently negative media coverage influencing public attitudes? Might headlines like “Job growth less than expected” and “Jobs come up weak” have something to do with the gloom being felt across the country?
The Labor Department announced unemployment numbers for October on November 4, and despite a decline in this rate and an addition to payrolls, the media reported the gains as “surprisingly meager,” “stalled,” “damped,” and “disappointing.”
Some follow-up on the story of Cpl. Jeffrey Starr, a Marine killed in Iraq on Memorial Day, whose last letter home the New York Times excerpted in an October 26 story marking the 2000th fatality in Iraq.
Sunday's New York Post has the reaction of Starr's girlfriend to the paper's dishonestly selective quotation of his last letter to her: "The reason I chose to share that letter was the paragraph about why he was doing this, not the part about him expecting to die. It hurt, it really hurt,"
As summarized by TimesWatch and others last week, reporter James Dao's story printed a portion of the letter that fit into the paper's agenda of emphasizing the "grim mark" of the 2000th death, thus reducing Starr to a man just waiting to die: "Sifting through Cpl. Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the Marine's girlfriend. 'I kind of predicted this,' Cpl. Starr wrote of his own death. 'A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances.'"
But here's the full context of that quote, as Michelle Malkin first revealed, showing how Starr felt about his death in the context of the fight for freedom in Iraq (portion left out by the NYT in bold):
"Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
NYT Political Reporter Todd Purdum ignores Joe Wilson's whoppers and repeats his paper's pre-election conspiracy-mongering in a hodge-podge of a piece for the Sunday Week in Review. "The Message Mongers Rule Us, but Time Rules Them" is (mostly) about handing scandal and brings up the obligatory Libby-Wilson imbroglio, then segues not so smoothly into the paper's pre-electionconspiracy-mongering:
"The message-control impulse is as strong today as it ever was, though it can take different forms. Few may know whether the Bush administration's decision to elevate the terror alert level for financial institutions in New York and Washington the weekend after the 2004 Democratic National Convention was pure coincidence, political plot or some mixture of the two. At best, it turned out to be based on intelligence that was not particularly fresh, and it prompted more than a little skepticism."
For those of you who were confused, that was an article in today’s New York Times complaining about the lack of tax cuts in the two reform proposals offered by the president’s advisory panel last week.
For those that missed it, Edmund L. Andrews wrote a piece this morning about the recommendations of this panel for future reforms to America’s tax code. In it, he appeared disappointed that there were no significant tax cuts being proposed:
“However sensible those ideas may be, they fall far short of a radical overhaul. Neither of the proposals would have replaced today's system with a flat tax or a pure consumption tax, the goal of many Republican conservatives. More important, neither of the proposals would significantly lower existing tax rates - a crucial attraction of the 1986 overhaul.”
The New York Times’ public editor, Byron Calame, wrote an op-ed this morning concerning the practice of marketing representatives creating ads that either intentionally look like articles to mislead the reader, or watermark images that advertise companies and their messages right behind newsprint:
“The search for revenue, not surprisingly, means the advertising staff of The Times is scrambling ever harder to come up with attractive new options for advertisers. Sometimes that can lead to pressures to let advertisers tie their pitches more closely to the credibility of the news columns. And that can blur the distinction between advertising and articles - risking erosion of the readers' right to assume that the news columns are pure journalism, both in print and online.”
Outcry continues over the Times' omission of quotes from the last letter of Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Starr. As recounted yesterday on TimesWatch, a Times story by James Dao last week marking the death of 2,000 U.S troops in Iraq printed one part of a letter from Cpl. Starr, to be delivered to his girlfriend in case of Starr's death. That portion of the letter showed the Marine foreseeing his own death.
But as Michelle Malkin first revealed, after receiving a letter from Cpl. Starr's uncle, the Times left out the very next part, which explained what Starr considered the greater meaning of his sacrifice in Iraq. In doing so, the Times left readers with a diminished, one-dimensional portrait of a doomed Marine, instead of one who saw his sacrifice in the context of something greater and worthwhile.
Columnist Michelle Malkin hits New York Times reporter James Dao for leaving off a vital part of a quote of a Marine killed in Iraq, a portion that showed how committed the Marine was to the cause of freedom there.
As Malkin describes in a column in the New York Post:
"Last Wednesday, the Times published a 4,624-word opus on American casualties of war in Iraq. '2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tours Stretch On, a Grim Mark,' read the headline. The macabre, Vietnam-evoking piece appeared prominently on page A2. Among those profiled were Marines from the First Battalion of the Fifth Marine Regiment, including Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr."
In this morning's New York Times, reporter Monica Davey issues a dubious roll call of "dignitaries" that attended Rosa Parks' funeral in Detroit: "Outside the Greater Grace Temple, thousands of people who had taken the day off from work waited to see a horse-drawn carriage carry Mrs. Parks's coffin toward a cemetery. In downtown offices, others brought televisions to watch more than six hours of remembrances and a call to action from a long line of dignitaries: the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, former President Bill Clinton and on and on."
The richest part of Brent Bozell's column today on liberal media hypocrisy is how the New York Times actually campaigned against the law at the center of its Plame crusade as a menace that should be wiped from the books:
Just read the editorial page of the New York Times for March 22, 1982. Judith Miller’s employers declared that “an angry, flag-waving Congress is making it a crime to print names the Government doesn't want published, even when they are derived from public sources. Last week the Senate refused to be outdone by the House in making the Intelligence Identities Protection Act offensive to the Bill of Rights.”
The Times plays up Judge Samuel Alito's conservativism -- but ignored Ruth Bader Ginsberg's liberalism in 1993.
Tuesday's lead New York Times story on Bush's Supreme Court pick (by Elisabeth Bumiller and Carl Hulse) plays up Alito's ideology from the start, nothing the federal appeals court judge has a "conservative record on abortion." Later they note he is "solidly conservative" and has "bona fide conservative credentials" and the paper's front-page subhead emphasizes that he's "Hailed By Right."
By contrast, when President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, Richard Berke's lead story in the June 15, 1993 edition didn't describe Ginsburg, a feminist and former ACLU lawyer, as liberal. Berke even let Clinton get away with saying (without rebuttal from Republicans or anyone else): "Ruth Bader Ginsburg cannot be called a liberal or conservative. She has proved herself too thoughtful for such labels."
The Times' personal profile of Bush's pick by Neil Lewis and Scott Shane takes a similar tone. The headline to the jump page notes Alito's "Clear Conservative Record" and the text describes him as "solidly conservative."
In another contrast, on June 15, 1993, the Times' profile of Ginsburg took Clinton's lead in positioning Ginsburg as a centrist: "Despite her long record as a champion of women's rights, Judge Ginsburg has occasionally disappointed some of her former allies in the liberal advocacy groups. In her 13 years on the appeals court, she has often gone out of her way to mediate between the court's warring liberal and conservative factions."
(On June 27 of that year, the paper ludicrously termed Ginsburg, a former director of the Women's Rights Project of the ACLU, as a centrist: "Balanced Jurist at Home in the Middle.")
Last week four Christian Indonesian girls who were on their way to their Christian high school were attacked by hooded attackers who successfully beheaded three of the girls. However, what most people would consider an outrage, The Washington Post and the the LA Times doesn't even consider newsworthy.
The Washington Post spent most of their ink dealing with the bird flu epidemic, and the LA Times gives this tragic story a two sentence blurb and doesn't even mention that the girls were Christians, thus implying the persecution of Christians isn't important.
Saturday's big front-page feature story on the indictment of I. Lewis Libby comes from political reporter Todd Purdum, and his take on prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is typically positive (and just in time for Halloween): "It was as if Mr. Fitzgerald had suddenly morphed from the ominous star of a long-running silent movie into a sympathetic echo of Kevin Costner in 'The Untouchables.'"
In the same edition, television-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley reviews prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's Friday press conference and makes the very same comparison: "In any turmoil, television seeks a hero. Stepping above the political wrangling, Mr. Fitzgerald presented himself to viewers as a righteous, homespun voice of reason, using baseball metaphors to explain his investigation and the flag to defend it….Back in the United States attorney's office in Chicago, the relentless prosecutor is known as Eliot Ness with a Harvard degree. Standing at a lectern at the Justice Department, wearing a blue shirt and red tie, a film of sweat on his forehead, Mr. Fitzgerald looked more like a Jimmy Stewart character: Mr. Fitzgerald goes to Washington."
A Nexis search indicates the Times never compared Ken Starr to Eliot Ness. However, on March 24, 2002, then-Washington bureau chief (now managing editor) Jill Abramson did pass along comparisons of Starr to another historical figure, albeit one with not quite as good a reputation: "But by the time he stepped down in October 1999, relentless attacks by Democrats and Clinton allies had created a powerful caricature of him as a prude and a Torquemada leading a partisan inquisition."
Harlingen, Texas, October 28,2005: The New York Times appears to be unhappy that Karl Rove was not indicted, when the charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction where made against I. Lewis Libby. The newspaper’s headline grudgingly stated “Rove Apparently Is Not Indicted Today…”
Today’s Times lead story also strongly reflects the newspaper’s displeasure that charges were not brought against Rove.
Though the news was all about the Libby indictment, Rove’s name is mentioned repeatedly throughout the lengthy article. Such as, “Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff was not charged today, but will remain under investigation.” Or, Mr. Rove, as the president’s alter ego…” and “...the investigation of Mr. Rove offer(s) abundant grist, at least for now, to critics who question the administration’s commitment to truth and candor.”
In Saturday's lead editorial, "The Case Against Scooter Libby," the New York Times tries to tie the complicated Joseph Wilson-Valerie Plame-Niger-uranium affair up with a bright-red conspiratorial bow by making out that columnist Bob Novak was out to get diplomat turned (discredited) anti-war activist Joseph Wilson.
By the Times' tendentious reading, the "conservative hawk" Novak went after Wilson for contradicting the White House on Saddam Hussein seeking uranium in Niger: "Mr. Novak reported that Mr. Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A. and had suggested Mr. Wilson for the mission. In the eyes of Mr. Novak and other conservative hawks, that made the trip suspect because they saw the C.I.A. as an adversary. The office where Mrs. Wilson worked was not toeing the line on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."