In homes across this country that subscribe to the New York Times, Americans will wake up on Thanksgiving morning to be told that the land they love is still in some kind of Great Depression. Of course, unemployment is at 5 percent, more Americans own their own homes than ever in history, and the average citizen has a higher net worth – meaning assets minus debt – than ever before, including during the supposed boom years of the late ’90s. Alas, none of that is important to the Times editorial staff...not even on Thanksgiving.
To be sure, this kind of economic mischaracterization is certainly nothing new to the mainstream media. However, stuck in the middle of an editorial about one of the nation’s most cherished holidays, on the very day in question, does make it a little more distasteful than usual:
In reviewing the new George Clooney film “Syriana,” New York Times film critic A.O. Scott files a classic paragraph explaining how this movie may not actually resemble the current political reality, but even if it’s a conspiracy-theory stew of baloney, its heart is in the right place:
“Someone is sure to complain that the world doesn't really work the way it does in ‘Syriana’: that oil companies, law firms and Middle Eastern regimes are not really engaged in semiclandestine collusion, to control the global oil supply and thus influence the destinies of millions of people. O.K., maybe. Call me naïve -- or paranoid, or liberal, or whatever the favored epithet is this week -- but I'm inclined to give Mr. Gaghan the benefit of the doubt. And even if the picture's rendering of current events turns out to be entirely off base, the energy, care and intelligence with which it makes its points are hard to dismiss.” Okay, Mr. Scott, you have it: you're a paranoid liberal. A peek at Metacritic.com shows that critics routinely found it to be liberalism on speed:
Inside the New York Times today, reporter Gardiner Harris reports on how federal regulators have found that all four women who died after taking the RU-486 abortion drug cocktail “suffered from a rare and highly lethal bacterial infection.” This is certainly not a story the major media has shown much interest in. They did major stories (hawking liberal interest groups) warning about fat-free Pringles and taco shells made of genetically engineered corn, but major corporations that make surgery-free abortions possible? The corporate watchdog suddenly is a harmless, quiet pooch.
Harris reported “officials from the F.D.A. and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have decided to convene a scientific meeting early next year to discuss this medical mystery, according to two drug agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.”
Comments are a wonderful thing and truly one of the best features of blogging. I say that because a particular comment on the CBS News "Public Eye" blog is worth highlighting here at NewsBusters now that axed CBS News producer Mary Mapes has come under increasing fire from her former employer. This raises a question for PE commenter "Neuro-con." (Unfortunately, CBS's software does not allow direct linking to a comment so you'll have to search or scroll a bit.)
Mapes' book was newsworthy, in that it confirmed that she has an
extremely distorted notion of truth. CBS is implicated in maintaining
such an individual on the payroll for 15 years.
CBS has an ethical obligation to (at least) make public a list of her previous pieces for 60 Minutes, along with transcripts.
The NY Times and The New Republic, when confronted with a
pathological liar on the payroll, went back and re-reported every
single one of their stories. In both cases, a pattern of behavior was
Vaughn [Ververs, PE's editor], please answer this question: Why does CBS hold itself to a much lower standard than the NYTimes or The New Republic?
In the New York Times Sunday book review, Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter checks out "Truth and Duty," the apologia from Mary Mapes, the disgraced former CBS News producer of "Memogate" infamy, in which she blames right-wing bloggers and everyone but herself for how her "expose" of Bush's National Guard duty blew up in the face of her network.
The liberal Alter is highly critical of Mapes and CBS, but makes a rather paranoid and over-the-top claim about "Buckhead," the Atlanta attorney who originally questioned the fake documents used by CBS's "60 Minutes II" to attack President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service record.
"Buckhead"'s posting on the right-wing FreeRepublic website began the blogosphere's speedy evisceration of the forged memos, but Alter has this novel spin: "The blogger's anonymous assertion, within hours of the broadcast, that the proportional spacing and type font of the Killian memos did not exist in those days was only one of many falsehoods spread by political hit men."
Today’s New York Times featured a Carl Hulse article that depicted the future of the Republican Party as being almost as bright as Alaska for the next several weeks. In Hulse’s view, just about everything that has gone wrong in America in 2005 can be linked to Republicans, while, conversely, in a 27 paragraph piece, there was only one paragraph that suggested any problems for the party on the opposite side of the aisle. Frankly, this article read more like a press release from a political strategist than a column in a leading, national newspaper.
First, Hulse set the stage: “The ugly debate in the House on Friday over the Iraq war served as an emotional send-off for a holiday recess, capturing perfectly the political tensions coursing through the House and Senate in light of President Bush's slumping popularity, serious party policy fights, spreading ethics investigations and the approach of crucial midterm elections in less than a year.”
He then established the goal: “Capitol Hill was always certain to be swept up in brutal political gamesmanship as lawmakers headed into 2006 - the midpoint of this second presidential term and, perhaps, a chance for Democrats to cut into Republican majorities or even seize power in one chamber or the other.”
Then, Hulse enumerated all the Republican shortcomings:
Sunday’s New York Times Magazine features another weekly submission from Randy Cohen, writer of "The Ethicist" column, about a non-political topic -- who should pay for damage done to an office building by a doctor’s patient -- but on Friday’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS Cohen made clear his disgust with President Bush. When Ferguson raised Bill Clinton’s name, Cohen reacted with outrage that Ferguson was still concerned about such old news: "Oh, Clinton, he's been out of office for, you know, how long? Seven years. Some little lie about his personal life. We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war. You're talking about Clinton from seven years ago?" Actually, Clinton left office fewer than five years ago. Cohen advised that on Monica Lewinsky “he should have said, 'None of your business' and then after that, it's between him and his wife.”
Cohen’s hostility to President Bush isn’t based on recent events. A MRC CyberAlert item in June of 2003 recounted: “Since President Bush is either a 'liar’ or 'corrupt’ or just plain 'incompetent’ now that his reasons for war with Iraq have all been found to be untrue, the 'ethicist’ columnist for the New York Times wondered on CNN whether Bush can 'honorably’ continue to serve in office.” (Full rundown of those comments, in which he made Aaron Brown seem reasonable, as well as what he said Friday night on CBS, follows.)
Battling chilly temps and uncooperative winds, a Ukrainian group assembled outside New York Times headquarters in Manhattan Friday to protest the 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Times reporter Walter Duranty for his pro-Stalin coverage of Russia.
The Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 (Ukrainians call it the Holodomor) was engineered by Russian dictator Josef Stalin -- and whitewashed from Duranty's reporting for the Times. Duranty, who covered the country for the Times from 1922 to 1941, ignored Stalin's atrocities, including the famine that killed seven to ten million Ukrainians.
Duranty, who is "credited" for coining the phrase (referring to Stalin’s purges) "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs," said of the famine accusations, which were reported at the time by left-wing journalists like Malcolm Muggeridge: "Any report of a famine in Russia today is an exaggeration or malignant propaganda."
Rep. John Murtha's anti-war pessimism leads Friday's New York Times, but criticizing the war isn't new for the "conservative" congressman.
"Fast Withdrawal Of G.I.'s Is Urged By Key Democrat" is the headline to Eric Schmitt's story:
"The partisan furor over the Iraq war ratcheted up sharply on Capitol Hill on Thursday, as an influential House Democrat on military matters called for the immediate withdrawal of American troops and Republicans escalated their attacks against the Bush administration's critics....'Our military has done everything that has been asked of them. It is time to bring them home,' Mr. Murtha said, at times choking back tears. Mr. Murtha's proposal, which goes well beyond the phased withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq that other moderate Democrats have proposed, stunned many Republicans who quickly held their own news conference to criticize the plan."
As reported by the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker, the network evening news broadcasts tonight all lead with Congressman John Murtha’s (D-Penn.) call for the removal of American troops from Iraq. Yet, they seemed disinterested in focusing much attention on Rep. Murtha's “denouncement” of the Iraq war more than a year ago. (Please see a May 10, 2004 CNN story stating, “Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, in a news conference with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the problems in Iraq are due to a ‘lack of planning’ by Pentagon chiefs and ‘the direction has got be changed or it is unwinnable.’") Maybe most important, the networks totally ignored the fact that Rep. Murtha has been expressing disgust with the Bush administration’s prosecution of this war since six months after it started.
Rep. Murtha first voiced his displeasure with how things were going in Iraq on September 16, 2003, when he called for the immediate firing of President Bush’s defense leadership team. The network news organizations this evening chose not to inform their viewers of this, and, instead, implied that Rep. Murtha was a "hawk" that has always supported this war, and that his statements today were recent revelations.
Quite the contrary, the New York Times reported on September 17, 2003 (link courtesy of Common Dreams.org):
The latest edition of "The Balance Sheet," the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP) newsletter, is up and archived on freemarketproject.com. Balance Sheet, published every week on Wednesday afternoon, provides the best of FMP coverage from the previous week on the media's bias against the free market.
You can obtain a free subscription to "The Balance Sheet" by clicking here and signing up for e-mail delivery.
Highlights from this week include FMP director Dan Gainor's take on the Fox News's special from Sunday: "The Heat is On," editor Amy Menefee's analysis of the media's hyped predictions on natural gas prices for this coming winter, and as always, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" in economic and business reporting from the past week, and yes, the New York Times makes the list, but perhaps in a way that will surprise you. All that, plus links to commentaries, analysis, research and upcoming events from experts at think tanks like American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, and Cato.
The White House is counterattacking anti-war critics charging that "Bush lied" us into Iraq, and Elisabeth Bumiller files a short piece showing the vice president has joined in ("Cheney Says Senate War Critics Make 'Reprehensible Charges'"). Cheney was speaking to a Frontiers of Freedom gathering in Washington when he said those accusing Bush of manipulating war intelligence were making "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."
The updated, online version of Bumiller's article claims:
"In his speech, Mr. Cheney echoed the argument of Mr. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the past week that Democrats had access to the same prewar intelligence that the White House did, and that they came to the same conclusion that Mr. Hussein was a threat. The administration, however, had access to far more extensive intelligence than Congress did. The administration also left unaddressed the question of how it had used that intelligence, which was full of caveats, subtleties and contradictions. Many Democrats now say they believe they had been misled by the administration in the way it presented the prewar intelligence."
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.”