On May 27, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo at the New York Times filed a ridiculously incoherent, ignorant and biased report on Tea Party groups' attempts to have their organizations approved for tax-exempt status. The story's window title: "Non-Profit Applcants Chafing at IRS Tested Political Limits." The actual print edition title (Page A1, of course): "Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics." The headlines give the impression that Tea Party groups deliberately tried to test the boundaries of legality.
The pair's content also betrayed more than a little ignorance of the rules governing campaign finance, electioneering, and literature distribution. Among those interviewed for the story was Tom Zawistowski, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director. Zawistowski took great exception to their writeup in an email he distributed on Saturday (bolds are mine; additional paragraph breaks added by me):
Is the IRS scandal just not that big a deal in New York City? Perhaps for out-of-touch journos like liberal Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and The New Yorker editor David Remnick, who downplayed the controversy on Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS.
Kristof predictably spun the scandals into a "so what?" narrative for the White House: "I think it's true that the White House has often been tone-deaf, but every second term has scandals." Meanwhile, Remnick called the IRS scandal the doing of "very low level" employees without acknowledging that higher-ups in Washington could have orchestrated it.
See no scandal, report no scandal. Jill Abramson, Executive Editor of the New York Times, came down to DC on Sunday to defend President Obama on the scandals and the economy, stressing the leaks cases is the only supposed scandal she cares about as she contended “I’m just not sure” the leaks cases, IRS and Benghazi “come together and create, you know -- quote, unquote -- ‘an atmosphere of scandal.’”
An atmosphere the New York Times is working to prevent.
The New York Times may have rebuffed Attorney General Eric Holder’s off-the-record meeting with journalists about leak investigations, but they displayed how they really weren’t angry by burying an actual account of that meeting inside Friday’s paper, while the front page carried stories like “A New Step in Wrestling With the Bra.”
Perhaps the most surprising judgment of what was front page-worthy was an obituary for Father Andrew Greeley, as if he were the Cardinal of Chicago. The Washington Post summed him up well: “an iconoclastic priest and sociologist who irked the Catholic hierarchy by writing best-selling novels that featured churchly misdeeds and graphic sex.” He was also a liberal newspaper columnist. Greeley's “New Deal liberalism” equals newsworthy?
On Thursday night’s O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News host opened the show by attacking former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman for visiting the White House 157 times, almost four times as many appearances as Hillary Clinton. O’Reilly hinted this was a “smoking gun” of the White House running the IRS harassment campaign of the Tea Party.
But guess what: this fact of Shulman’s well-worn path to the White House gates has yet to be reported by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. O’Reilly can’t believe this number:
The New York Times’ Brian Stelter is super-excited about the debut of Al Jazeera America sometime later this summer. He’s especially enthused that AJA “wants to be American through and through,” and is “aiming to have virtually all of its programming originate from the United States.”
And that makes sense. Even Stelter, a fan-boy of all things Al Jazeera, must realize that pre-martyrdom farewell videos and discussions of exactly how satanic the United States really is won’t play in Peoria.
This looks like a perfect exhibit of intimidation combined with insufferable arrogance.
Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner reports that Democratic Party spokesperson Brad Woodhouse, apparently temporarily assuming the role of White House Press Secretary, is really upset that the New York Times refused to meet yesterday for an off-the-record discussion about Attorney General Eric Holder about recent revelations and admissions that the Justice Departmet has been conducting secret sureillance of reporters for several years (bold is mine):
Martin Bashir on Tuesday said New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize."
Yes, the MSNBC host said Peace Prize - not one for economics - all because the perilously liberal economist has advocated more deficit spending and even more federal debt to stimulate the economy (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
It isn’t often that 0.065 percent of something becomes its defining characteristic. But that’s what happened in Paris on Sunday. After a peaceful pro-traditional-marriage march had already ended, 96 protesters – less than 0.065 percent of the 150,000 demonstrators – were arrested for refusing to disperse and skirmishing with police. But from the way the media covered the march, one would think the demonstration itself was made up of violent rioters clashing with police forces.
“French pro-traditional marriage march turns into a riot,” announced The Examiner. Reuters followed suit, starting off their article with a 30 pictures slideshow, of which at least 24 shots were related to the post-march rogue groups of rioters. (Only picture #30 provided a clear view of the streets filled to overflowing with the tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators.) Reuters admitted that “the rally was peaceful throughout much of the day,” but the second half of the article was ominously entitled “WARNINGS OF VIOLENCE IGNORED” and discussed the possibility of the march turning aggressive.
Radio host Hugh Hewitt's interviews with reporters can be fascinating. On Tuesday, he pressed New York Times reporter Michael Shear about the question of what President Obama was doing on the night of September 11, 2012 as the Benghazi consulate came under a vicious terrorist attack. Shear showed an obvious distaste for digging into this, saying "relevance is in the eye of the beholder" and "I'm not personally trying to get to the bottom of that."
Speaking of digging into irrelevant issues, when Shear was at The Washington Post, he spent months in 2006 trying to dig a political ditch for Sen. George Allen for insulting a Democratic opposition researcher as "Macaca." So political bias might be a better guess as to his interests:
Code Pink's Media Benjamin managed to break into another presidential event on Thursday, namely Barack Obama's speech at the National Defense University. The topic was "U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy," meaning that the administration's aversion to the T-word seems to be diminishing as the damaging scandal-related news continues to pour in.
Readers will see that Benjamin was relatively civil towards Obama. In fact, Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons at the Los Angeles Times wrote the following: "Rather than dismiss Benjamin as a heckler, the president engaged her, asking her to let him explain but also pausing to listen as she continued to talk while security closed in around her." That behavior is in direct contrast to how she behaved last decade during the Bush administration -- something never mentioned in any coverage of Thursday's speech I found. The full exchange with Obama followed by a recounting of what made Benjamin an overnight sensation in Sepetmber 2002, follow the jump.
Believe it or not, none of the largest national newspapers put an article on Wednesday’s IRS hearings on the front page. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal had a picture of Lois Lerner, but sent the reader to an inside page for the story. The New York Times and USA Today offered no picture, either.
USA Today has an excuse: it put Lerner taking the Fifth on Wednesday’s front page in a preview. But The New York Times only put this taxpayer scandal on Page One: “Europe Pushes to Shed Stigma Of a Tax Haven.” Oh, heavens forbid. Andrew Higgins championed a “sweeping global assault on tax evasion,” starting in Luxembourg.
In real life it's near impossible to find anyone who pities the IRS. That's what the New York Times is for. In a Business Day section front-pager for Thursday's paper, the Times's Michael Shear lamented that the CEO of Apple received relatively kind treatment from a Senate panel this week while IRS officials have been grilled.
"One thing became clear this week on Capitol Hill: It is better to be a tax dodger than a tax collector," whined Shear in the opening paragraph of "Torches and Pitchforks for I.R.S. but Cheers for Apple." "Plenty of good will for iPhones but only disdain for the tax collector," lamented a pull quote on the jump page which appeared underneath a picture of Apple's chief Tim Cook. Apparently Shear, and his editors at the Times, are perplexed that congressmen hold a government agency that abused its power to target Americans for their political beliefs in lower regard than a company which employs thousands of Americans and produces products loved the world over, by people of every political stripe, including those lovable hippies of the Occupy Movement.
While the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal this morning gave front-page coverage to yesterday's grisly beheading of a British serviceman on a London street in broad daylight, the New York Times placed their 20-paragraph story by London correspondent John F. Burns on page A7. Editors slapped on the headline, "'Barbaric' Attack in London Renews Fears of Terror Threat," with "barbaric" in scare quotes.
While the Post, Journal, and Times all ran quotes from one of the attackers as transcribed from a cell phone video filmed by a bystander, the Times curiously left out a portion of the rant where the attacker boasted, "We swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone."
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt featured two liberal journalists on his nightly program this week, and both joined the chorus of media outrage at the Obama administration over the Justice Department’s recent AP probe. Bloomberg View’s Jonathan Alter called Eric Holder’s explanation of the probe “pathetic” and suggested that President Obama should “apologize to journalists” over the scandal, while Michael Shear of the New York Times was frosted by the “absolutely chilling” way that the Obama/Holder DOJ has treated journalists like criminals.
Just last week, Alter fretted over the administration’s scandals with Chris Matthews on Hardball, claiming that White House staffers had “an unhealthy love” for Obama. On Wednesday, Alter blasted the administration for their “especially aggressive” attitude towards reporters, calling the Justice Department’s recent actions “disturbing."
"With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible 'co-conspirator' in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news."
So shockingly began a New York Times editorial Wednesday.
When does a textbook example of a "local crime story" become worthy of 18-paragraphs of coverage in the national news pages of the New York Times? Well, it helps if it services a socially liberal narrative. Bonus points if that narrative involves persecution for the sake of sexual orientation in some shape or form.
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
On May 13, the New York Times continued their campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz by misrepresenting his opposition to the Marketplace Fairness Act. Over the past few months, the Times has published numerous pieces blasting the Texas senator, which is the price you pay in the liberal press for having a backbone concerning defending your conservative beliefs.
As the conservative-leaning nonpartisan Tax Foundation noticed in this instance, the Times's Timothy Egan erroneously charged the following:
Yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I took apart Espo's claim that there is a "lack of evidence to date of wrongdoing close to the Oval Office" by showing that in at least five situations -- Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting, AP phone snooping, and HHS's shaking down of insurance companies to fund ObamaCare promotions -- have all been known by people who directly report to the President, and are thus just one step away from him. On Sunday evening, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the case of the IRS targeting, it's a lot less than one step (bolds are mine):
Former Obama press secretary and campaign advisor Robert Gibbs had some harsh words for New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd Monday.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Gibbs said, “I don’t normally read Maureen...largely because it’s sort of largely the same column for the last like eight years” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
Clearly, the New York Times couldn't run with Jonathan Weisman's headline or opening sentence in the report he filed shortly after Friday's portion of Friday's testimony at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in its Saturday print edition. And it didn't.
The original headline at Weisman's story, as seen here (HT Ann Althouse via Instapundit), was "Treasury Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012, Official Says." His opening sentence: "The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year." Along came Jeremy Peters, who helped to "properly" frame these matters, turning it into yet another "Republicans attack our poor innocent administration" piece. That is what made it to today's paper -- on Page A12, naturally accompanied by a "better" headline. Meanwhile, except for excerpts captured at places like the indispensable FreeRepublic, Weisman's original has been flushed down the memory hole.
As multiple scandals engulfed the presidency, "Watching Washington This Week," a nytimes.com video featuring New York Times congressional reporters Jeremy Peters and Ashley Parker having a pseudo-informal chat outside the White House, managed to place President Obama as the victim of a cold Republican Congress.
Tuesday's front-page New York Times story by Michael Shear and Jonathan Weisman, "Obama Dismisses Benghazi Furor But Assails I.R.S," again emphasized partisan back-and-forth at the expense of journalistic digging into the actual facts of the IRS and Benghazi controversies swirling around the Obama White House.
Weisman's byline is an assurance that the story to follow will be light on details and heavy breathing on Republican partisanship. Tuesday's entry fit the bill, especially the lead sentence, in which Weisman prioritized the partisan angle of "Republican adversaries" over the substantive angle of "new questions about the administration’s conduct."
In his Sunday New York Times column, former White House reporter Frank Bruni took a whack at "America the Clueless" and Republicans in particular, but made a couple of pretty clueless errors of his own (Eighteen percent of AP survey respondents said Obama was Jewish)?
The New York Times did some damage control for the Obama administration in its lead editorial Tuesday, defending in part, the IRS's politically motivated audits against fledgling Tea Party nonprofits during the last campaign cycle. The paper ridiculously portrayed the White House as just as outraged as conservatives in a headline: "White House Under Fire: It Condemns I.R.S. Audits of Political Groups."
And the paper's own public editor lambasted the paper's soft-soap coverage of the scandal: "Many on the right – as noted last week in my blog posts about Benghazi – do not think they can get a fair shake from The Times. This coverage won’t do anything to dispel that belief."
The New York Times unsurprisingly stuck by its biased language on the abortion issue as it broke the news that a jury had found Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder on Monday. Jon Hurdle labeled the convicted murderer's victims "fetuses" in the second sentence of his article. Hurdle would go on to use the slanted term five more times in his write-up.
The correspondent later acknowledged that the prosecution had referred to the murder victims as babies, but only after using his "fetuses" label.
New York Times's environmental reporter Justin Gillis earned an unusual two-column lead story part in Saturday's paper, part of his long-running scarefest series, "Temperatures Rising." The latest entry: "Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears." (Though that scary headline turns out to be upon further review a bit premature.) Gillis committed his usual smear of warming skeptics: "Climate-change contrarians, who have little scientific credibility but are politically influential in Washington...."