On 12 January, 2006, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Thrust into the Limelight, and for Some A Symbol of Washington’s Bite.” It was a mini-biography of Mrs. Martha-Ann Alito, and it purported to explain the reasons for Mrs. Alito’s tears during her husband Samuel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It blamed them on a follow-up question by Senator Lindsay Graham, rather than on the verbal savaging of Judge Alito by the Democrats on the Committee, led by Senator Ted Kennedy.
The Times should have gotten the story right, because one of the three reporters on the story was in their New Jersey Bureau, and based in Caldwell. But they didn’t. Here are the operative paragraphs from that article on the cause of her tears:
Eric Lipton’s New York Times article on the congressional investigation into the White House’s initial response to Hurricane Katrina suggests that President Bush was foolhardy in thinking New Orleans had dodged the Katrina bullet on Monday, August 29, a day before the levees broke and plunged the city underwater.
“That night, after the storm passed, a report sent to the White House warned of a quarter-mile breach ‘in the levee near the 17th Street Canal’ and that ‘an estimated 2/3 to 75 percent of the city is underwater.’ Yet Mr. Bush and the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, in interviews after the storm hit, said they never expected the levees to be breached. They said that after the storm had passed Monday, they were convinced that the city had survived without catastrophic damage.
Over at NRO, Jay Nordlinger is on his annual jaunt to observe the global hoi polloi at Davos, Switzerland, but he has a telling tidbit of New York Times bias if you keep with it. Apparently, it's surprising that the President is reading books again, even those distasteful tomes about the dark days of mass murder in the communist bloc:
You may have seen, in the New York Times, that President Bush has been reading that big new book about Mao: Mao: The Unknown Story, by the husband-and-wife team of Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. (Actually, I should have written "wife-and-husband team" — sorry about that.) Did you catch what the Times's writer, Elisabeth Bumiller, had to say about this? (Her story is here.) Very interesting.
There’s an old rule in marketing – stick to what sells. Lately, it appears that America’s media are doing exactly that.
Since the significant rebound in the president’s poll numbers from their October lows, along with an apparent lack of outrage by the public concerning the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and revelations of domestic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, the media seem to be downplaying reports on current events, and, instead, focusing attention on last year’s big story that was largely responsible for the decline in Bush’s favorability ratings.
In the past three days, the media have given more air time and print space to issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina, an event that occurred at the end of August 2005, than a one and a half-hour question and answer session in Kansas that the president held on Monday, and a one-hour address that the second most powerful intelligence figure in our nation gave concerning terrorist surveillance the same day.
The New York Times makes a point to cast the Canadian election as a non-ideological victory for the Conservatives on Wednesday. Canada-based reporter Clifford Krauss marks the country’s groundbreaking election of a Conservative government over a headline seemingly meant to reassure the Times’ timorous liberal readership: “Canada’s Shift: To the Right, Gently – Harper Defeated Liberals More Over Scandals Than Policies.”
Last May, the Canada-based Krauss assumed the liberal view that international treaties and gay marriage laws were signs of political virtue and tolerance: "Canadian cities are among the most ethnically diverse and safest in the world. Canadian tolerance took real form during the past two years with the extension of marriage rights to gays and lesbians in most of the country."
Straight to the point: Oprah has a lot of explaining to do. After reading the article, you're almost forced to conclude one of two things:
She runs an operation that's so intimidating that people within her company who knew better felt they couldn't speak out.
Or, she knew about Frey's Lies and has been an active participant in a monumental literary hoax.
Are there any other choices?
Specifically, addiction counselors at the rehab center where Frey was treated, including a frequent guest on Oprah's show, are outraged at Frey's descriptions of what happened there; are concerned that Frey's Lies may keep others from getting needed treatment; and claim that Oprah's people, if not Oprah herself, knew well in advance that the parts of Frey's book relating to his rehab were largely false (free registration required; link within story added by me; bolds are mine):
The Times again looks for holes in the strong U.S. economy, this time on the front page of Sunday’s special Job Market section, in a report by Eduardo Porter, “Pockets of Concern Slow a Strong U.S. Economy.” The caption to an accompanying chart emphasizes “A Weak Jobs Recovery.”
Times readers may find the article’s tone familiar. Here’s Porter from Sunday:
“If you believe most statistics, the national economy is doing quite well. Corporate profits are soaring. Consumer spending and business investment have been growing at a healthy clip. In the third quarter of last year, output expanded at an annual pace of about 4.1 percent. And private-sector economists are expecting growth above 3.5 percent this year. Yet, amid the vim and vigor, there is a weak spot that does not quite mesh with these readings. More than four years since the economy emerged from recession in November of 2001, businesses are still not hiring much. Employment grew by a mere 3.5 million jobs, or 2.7 percent, in 49 months' worth of this economic expansion. Last year, the job market grew by 1.5 percent.”
This year’s Martin Luther King Day celebration was a wild and woolly collection of left-wing blather.
In Washington, showing remarkable feats of amnesia that he was ever vice president in a corrupt administration, Al Gore gave a speech claiming President Bush was a law-breaking president and his illegal actions a threat to the survival of our democracy, an extraordinary accusation for even this man to make, given the same policies were executed by the Clinton-Gore administration.
In New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin announced that God wanted New Orleans to be a “chocolate” city again. When challenged that this might make him sound like a little racist, he dug a deeper hole by claiming whites were the milk in his milk-chocolate shake.
Even in this stew of silliness, Hillary Rodham Clinton still managed to draw headlines for herself by marching into a Baptist church with Al Sharpton in Harlem and giving a fiery speech. First, Hillary sounded the same Clinton-amnesia notes as Gore, charging that President Bush’s team was historically filled with corrupt cronies, that his presidency "will go down in history as one of the worst.” But with Sharpton proudly looking on, she threw the race card on the table with a big, noisy thwack. “When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about.” Bush is not only incompetent. Dennis Hastert is a slave master. Laura Bush was right. It was “ridiculous.”
These pictures may be worth more than a thousand words. On Monday, White House officials acknowledged that, yes, photographs did exist of President Bush in a classic grip-and-grin with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist at the center of a bribery and corruption scandal in the capital. But that did not mean, they said, that Mr. Bush had a personal relationship with him.
Wow. Are you reading an issue of The Nation? No - it is none other than an objective, balanced and fair-minded NYT reporter suggesting that a half-dozen pictures of President Bush with Jack Abramoff at various events and fundraisers over the past five years is somehow proof of nefarious wrongdoing.
The NYT's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney was ultra-sensitive to any sign of harsh Republican rhetoric during the 2004 campaign, and he’s no less raw about it a year later, using strong terms to describe Karl Rove’s speech to the Republican National Committee in a front-page story Monday. But what about Howard Dean calling Rove "unpatriotic"?
“With a campaign of high-profile national security events set for the next three days, following Karl Rove's blistering speech to Republicans on Friday, the White House has effectively declared that it views its controversial secret surveillance program not as a political liability but as an asset, a way to attack Democrats and re-establish President Bush's standing after a difficult year.”
The folks at the Grey Lady again can't seem to wrap their noggins around the fact that the NSA program is tapping international calls made from this country, AND calls that come in from other countries.
What is so hard to grasp here? Terrorism is a clandestine business. Should we be calling the terrorists we're monitoring to let them know they are being monitored? Have there been any wrongful deaths, convictions or violations in connection with the NSA program? No. Do the American people support it? Yes.
Savor this morsel, from the NYT political pundit / terrorism analyst / foreign policy opinion leader / surveillance expert Eric Lichtblau :
Israel-based Steven Erlanger gets page 3 play Friday for his interview with the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber in Nablus (“Into the West Bank Abyss: From Student to Suicide Bomber”).
“Sami Antar, 21, in his second year of physical education studies at An Najah University here, left the apartment at 8 a.m. Thursday. In the afternoon, he blew himself up on behalf of the militant group Islamic Jihad in Tel Aviv, in a zone of shops and restaurants, but killed only himself. About 20 Israelis, ordinary people going about their daily business, were wounded, one of them seriously.”
Next comes Erlanger’s entry for bad metaphor of the year:
In November 2002, The New York Times latched its iron journalistic jaws onto a story which it considered to be of extreme national import: feminist Martha Burk's crusade to blackmail Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters Tournament, into ending its men-only membership policy by pressuring CBS to drop its coverage of the storied golf championship. Burk's crusade eventually failed, but only after an almost obsessive focus by the New York Times about the quixotic mission.
Fast forward to January 2006 and the Alito hearings, and the revelation that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) once belonged to, and as recently as October donated $100 to, the Owl Club, a male-only social organization which was booted from Harvard for refusing to admit women as members.
No liberal conventional wisdom here! The back page of Sunday’s special Academy Awards section lists the “ideal slate of Oscar candidates” from the top three movie critics at the Times, Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden, each of whom have revealed liberal sympathies in their film critiques.
The only movie that makes all three lists for Best Picture? The GLAAD-approved “Brokeback Mountain,” which tops all three lists, presumably being each critic’s favorite flick.
“Brokeback” actor Heath Ledger also tops each list for Best Actor nominee, and actress Michelle Williams is nominated by the Times trio as Best Supporting Actress. The movie also gets the top nod from all three for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Apparently, not even the communists are socialistic enough for the New York Times. Cleaning up my office this morning, I noticed the front-page of Saturday’s Times featured a large photo of an ill Chinese man with the headline “Wealth Grows, but Health Care Withers in China.” The subheadline explained, “Rural Areas Lag With Fall of Socialized Medicine.”
Reporter Howard W. French rued the fact that Chinese communist leaders are discarding elements of Mao’s system: “Until the beginning of the reform period in the early 1980's, China's socialized medical system, with ‘barefoot doctors’ at its core, worked public health wonders. From 1952 to 1982 infant mortality fell from 200 per 1,000 live births to 34, and life expectancy increased from about 35 years to 68, according to a recent study published by The New England Journal of Medicine.”
As for the purported health benefits of Mao’s version of communism, estimates of the number of deaths vary widely, but most are in the tens of millions.
In an effort to continue the ongoing cover-up that the NYT admits the Clinton Justice Department (via Janet Reno) was responsible for, the results of the anticipated Barrett Report by an independent council David Barrett released this week are presented in a biased manner (just look at that headline) that differs from the paper’s overblown coverage of Tom DeLay’s laughable indictments by Ronnie Earl. Here are some background explanations by other media outlets and pundits besides the NYT.
Editor and Publisher reports that the New York Times has "decided that only TimesSelect subscribers should be allowed to e-mail Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, et al."
Back in September the Times asked the hundreds of papers who publish the Op-Ed contributors through The New York Times News Service (NYTNS) to stop printing the writers' e-mail addresses with the columns (and to take the columns off their Web sites, too). Apparently not everyone got the message, because last week the Times' syndication service sent out an advisory reminding its client papers to remove the e-mail addresses.
There is another line of defense against unwanted email.
Two days after Sen. Hillary Clinton stood in front of a black church audience on Martin Luther King Day to claim Republicans were running Congress like a “plantation,” the Times devotes a large front-page story to her by Hillary-beat reporter Raymond Hernandez.
Does the Times use the quote as a jumping-off point for an investigation to unmask the liberal agenda behind Clinton’s careful centrist public persona? Does it use the inflammatory remark to round up past controversial statements from Clinton, to suggest she’s not ready for her seemingly inevitable presidential run in 2008?
Not quite. Although a Republican would no doubt get that treatment, the “plantation” controversy is disposed of in a single sentence in “Senator Clinton Makes Her Run While Tiptoeing Around 2008.”
The Times commemorates Martin Luther King day in its usual way, making it a Bush-bashing holiday.
Back in 2004, reporter Jeffrey Gettleman lit into Bush for going to Atlanta to mark the day. Here are some excerpts from his January 15, 2004 report:
"Many of Atlanta's civil-rights leaders are outraged about Mr. Bush's planned visit to commemorate Dr. King's 75th birthday and are using the occasion for protests. Already, they have marched with bullhorns, signs and thumping drums, shouting for the president to stay away....Many demonstrators asked how Mr. Bush, who pushed for war in Iraq, could champion Dr. King, who stood for nonviolent resistance....When President Clinton came in 1996, he received a standing ovation. But this presidential visit will be different. It seems to have lifted the lid on long-simmering anger many blacks feel toward Mr. Bush. Some Bush policies, including tax cuts mainly benefiting those with higher incomes and cutting back on welfare-type programs, have alienated black voters, analysts say."
There were no Democrats involved with the Abramoff probe? After reading the latest online NYT assesment of the facts, you'd think that.
Ladies and Gentlemen - we have entered the twilight zone. In their ongoing efforts to obscure the depth and bipartisan nature of the congressional corruption scandal, the New York Times shows itself to be little more than a public relations organ of the Democrat Party. Committing the sin of omission once again, a piece on the Abramoff probe by Anne Kornblut neglects to implicate any Democrats in the scandal, instead focusing on slicing and dicing Bob Ney. The Grey Lady accomplishes this by dumping every allegation made in Abramoff's plea agreement all over the pages, mixed with the filtered responses of anyone who might support him (including his lawyer, who is quoted once with two sentences).
A Saturday New York Times editorial, “A Home for the Drawing Center,” celebrates the fact that a left-wing museum, originally to be located at Ground Zero, has found a new home in Manhattan, and accuses opponents of the project of opposing free speech.
“The Drawing Center, of course, was once part of other plans to rebuild Lower Manhattan. It was going to inhabit a planned cultural center at ground zero, until, in a memorable spasm of apparently unscripted patriotism, Gov. George Pataki made it impossible for the center to remain. If nothing else, the battle over culture at ground zero made it perfectly clear that Governor Pataki favors free speech, but only if it takes place in another part of town.”
Just a heads up for a great piece on the New York Times’ latest entry into the “liberal phony photo-journalism posing as editorial content” category.
Kudos to Thomas Lifson of The American Thinker who has busted the Old Grey Lady once again:
Is a fake staged photo fit to print? What if it staged in a way that makes the US forces fighting the War on Terror look cruel and ineffective? The evidence argues that yes, it can run, and in a prominent position - at least in the case of the New York Times website.
“….vital positions at the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration have gone unfilled in recent years, inviting only further laxity on the part of companies that have been allowed to outsource their safety responsibilities to off-site contractors that are not subject to regular federal inspections. And the safety administration, which once maintained rescue experts at regional offices, now has them dispersed across the nation on the theory that they can be summoned fast enough to save lives. Warning signs have abounded in recent years. Yet The [Charleston] Gazette found that a plan begun a decade ago to upgrade the mine rescue program was quietly scuttled by the Bush administration. The pro-company bias of the administration is itself a factor deserving full investigation if the inquiries now being promised are to have any credible effect.”
Over at the American Thinker, William Tate has a good post on how the New York Times, which is currently scourging the Bush Administration over concerns it's "abusing" surveillance powers, blythely ignored evidence of greater "abuse" of such powers by the Clinton Administration. Here's an excerpt from the conclusion:
[D]uring the Clinton Administration, evidence existed (all of the information used in this article was available at the time) that: an invasive, extensive domestic eavesdropping program was aimed at every U.S. citizen; intelligence agencies were using allies to circumvent constitutional restrictions; and the administration was selling at least some secret intelligence for political donations.
These revelations were met by the New York Times and others in the mainstream media by the sound of one hand clapping. Now, reports that the Bush Administration approved electronic eavesdropping, strictly limited to international communications, of a relative handful of suspected terrorists have created a media frenzy in the Times and elsewhere.
As MRC colleague Brent Baker reported, former National Security Agency official Russell Tice unveiled himself on ABC News last night as one of the sources for last month’s New York Times scoop on the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program.
Stephen Spruiell at National Review Online predicted something like this last week, asking: “If Tice turns out to be one of the NY Times' anonymous sources for its NSA stories, didn't the Times readers deserve to know that its information came from a potentially unbalanced ex-employee with an ax to grind?”
Spruiell is referring to the fact that Tice lost his job after the NSA revoked his security clearances, citing psychological concerns."
A piece by Neil Lewis in today's Grey Lady has a curious pseudo-profile of some of the prosecutors (led by head prosecutor Noel Hillman) who cut the plea bargains and deals in the Abramoff case. Members of the Department of Justice's Office of Public Integrity are highlighted in the piece. It begins with a somewhat misleading lede, which is an indication of the cloudiness to come:
"The plea agreement from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, which has the potential for a multitude of legal troubles for Congressional Republicans, has been largely the work of a team of career prosecutors in the Justice Department led by an avid surfer and early Bruce Springsteen fan from New Jersey."
At the top of the lead story for Tuesday's New York Times, reporters Richard Stevenson and Neil Lewis put the onus on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to show he’s not “too much of an ideologue.”
“Addressing concerns among Democrats that his past support for conservative positions makes him too much of an ideologue for a seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his public drive for confirmation Monday by saying judges should have no agendas or preferred outcomes of their own.”
Later, they make this claim to suggest Alito may find the vote rough going:
“But the biggest difference from the Roberts hearings may have been in the political climate. Since then, Mr. Bush has been weakened by the failed nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, the continued bloodshed in Iraq and the corruption inquiries that have ensnared Republican lobbyists and members of Congress.”
Today's "legal context" article in the NYT shifted the focus of the Alito confirmation hearings from abortion to the limits of presidential power. Once again, reporter Adam Liptak offers a confusing round-up of the issues Alito will likely face in the hearings today and during the week.
The opening line of the article, however, is key when asking some later questions:
"The opinion is more than 50 years old, and it is not even binding precedent."
The opinion Liptak is referring to is a 1952 decision from Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer, in which President Truman attempted to sieze private steel mills in order to put down labor disputes during the Korean War. The Truman Administration argued that it was in the interest of national security to have steady steel production, but this position was rebuked a court which felt Truman was over-stepping his presidential authority.
The magazine to the stars, Variety, called the New York Times’ James Risen a “journalistic hero.” In an article about the problems that Risen’s new book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," might pose for the Times, Variety reporter Michael Learmonth began by offering great praise for the author: “After years of entanglement with Judith Miller, the New York Times can celebrate a true journalistic hero in James Risen, the reporter who uncovered the NSA eavesdropping story.”
“The book also indicates Iraq had abandoned its nuclear weapons program shortly after the first Gulf War, but that information was ignored by the neocons selling an invasion of Iraq. Those on the selling end of the equation had the ear of Miller, whose W.M.D. stories got most of the headlines when it mattered.”
Learmonth concluded by expressing concern for the future of this new “hero”:
Saturday’s front-page teaser for its Page One business section story by Edmund Andrews and Richard Stevenson (“Bush Cites 2 Million New Jobs in 2005 and Healthy Economy”) is headlined “Jobless Rate Declines But Wages Lag Inflation.”
This continues the Times’ stubborn insistence on putting a negative spin on good economic news, a motif reflected in the paper’s broader coverage.
By contrast, when the job numbers weren’t as impressive, the paper trumpeted the figures not merely in the business section, but in its lead story, as TimesWatch recounted back on August 9, 2004:
“David Leonhardt's lead story Saturday on the latest disappointing job figures is headlined: ‘Slow Job Growth Raises Concerns On U.S. Economy."’ The headline to the online edition is much blunter and more partisan: ‘In Blow to Bush, Only 32,000 Jobs Created in July.’”