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...."
Scandalous news that the Internal Revenue Service intimidated nonprofit opponents of the Obama administration made page 11 of Saturday's New York Times.
The IRS apology to Tea Party and other conservative organizations for politically motivated targeting of their nonprofit status was dealt with in mild fashion by reporter Jonathan Weisman, though not on the front page. "I.R.S. Apologizes to Tea Party Groups Over Audits of Applications for Tax Exemption." The same audits that were applauded last year by the Times' s editorial page. And a Monday front-page follow-up was topped with what even liberal journalists found a bizarre headline: "IRS Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On." That's the story?
Soft labeling of Communist dictators ("enigmatic"?) has been a historical problem for the New York Times. On Wednesday, reporters Mark Landler and David Sanger described the late South Korea president Park Chung-Hee as a "strongman" as his "steely conservative" daughter Park Geun-hye, current president of the country, meets President Obama for the first time.
In contrast, North Korea's new young dictator Kim Jong-un was an "erratic, often belligerent young leader in Pyongyang," the Times leaving out ideological labels and not mentioning the totalitarian nature of his regime.
Thursday's New York Times led with the congressional hearings into the Obama administration's response to the terrorist attack on Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of September 11 that left four Americans dead: "Envoy Testifies Libya Questions Led To Demotion," reported by the team of Scott Shane, Jeremy Peters, and Eric Schmitt. But the paper still treated it as a partisan game of gotcha in an online symposium titled "Serious Investigations, or Partisan Ploys?"
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd offensively roped Clarence Thomas into her column on the arrest on sexual battery charges of Jeffrey Krusinski, the Air Force officer in charge of sexual assault prevention programs for the branch: "There was a fox-in-the-henhouse echo of Clarence Thomas, who Anita Hill said sexually harassed her when he was the nation’s top enforcer of laws against workplace sexual harassment."
Every few months since at least 2006, The New York Times takes time out from brow-beating Evangelicals to praise them for supporting amnesty for illegal aliens.
Most of the "Evangelicals" the Times cites are liberal frauds, far from "unlikely allies" in amnesty, as alleged. It is a specialty of the left to pose as something they're not in order to create the impression of a zeitgeist. The only one I haven't seen quoted yet is the ACLU's minister, Barry Lynn.
Birtherism isn't all that bad to the liberal media when a rising conservative star may be the target. Just ask the Washington Post and the New York Times, two liberal papers that devoted serious attention to the question of whether Cruz might be constitutionally ineligible for the presidency.
Post staffers Ed O’Keefe and Aaron Blake devoted an article to the matter in the May 7 paper's Style section: the question of Cruz’s eligibility for the presidency. He was born in Canada, but had an American mother, thus making him eligible for 2016, but O'Keefe and Blake glommed on to the fact that the hypothetical objection that one must be born on American soil to be "natural born" has never been definitively adjudicated. This isn't isolated to the Washington Post.
Benghazi hearings open in the House on Wednesday, and the New York Times printed a preview on page 16 of Wednesday's edition that downplayed any possible revelations about the Obama administration's reaction to the terrorist attack, which killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Testimony is expected by three State Department officials, led by U.S. diplomat Gregory Hicks, deputy mission chief in Tripoli, who said his pleas for military assistance were overruled.
Feeling reader pressure after the Washington Post led its Tuesday's edition by setting up the House hearings, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan addressed the issue on her blog Tuesday afternoon, posing a coverage question to Washington bureau chief (and former neoliberal economics reporter) David Leonhardt, who didn't anticipate hearing much new on Wednesday:
At the Daily Beast on Sunday, liberal Peter Beinart called on Democrats and liberals to "strongly denounce" former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian's insult campaign against Palmetto State Governor Nikki Haley, or else "Democratic Party bigotry is likely to get worse."
It's too early to test Beinart's long-term prediction (such bigotry is bad enough already), but the denunciations he desires are nowhere to be found, even as Harpootlian has doubled and tripled down on his original wish to see Haley sent “back to wherever the hell she came from.” Meanwhile, the establishment press has virtually ignored Harpootlian's unhinged harangues.
On your bike! New York Times's roaming critic Neil Genzlinger reviewed Constitution USA with Peter Sagal, airing Tuesday night on PBS. Judging by the headline, "The Philosophical Rumble Of That Living Document," Genzlinger's editor didn't know what to do with his puzzling, cranky review of the documentary (starring Sagal, liberal host of the NPR game show Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!).
Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, noted a shameful anniversary for the paper -- the 10th anniversary of the Jayson Blair scandal -- but not without calling her paper as "world-class" as the scandal itself.
But to the paper's liberal readership, the more shameful mistake involved reporter Judy Miller's overly credulous reporting on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction during the run-up to the Iraq War.
A New York Times story posted online Sunday evening and appearing at Column 1 on Page 1 in today's print edition included a picture of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh -- hardly a jihadist, at least not directly -- alongside that of three real jihadists: alleged Ft. Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Another curiosity is the difference between the official headline of Scott Shane's report ("A Homemade Style of Terror: Jihadists Push New Tactics") and the browser window title ("Terrorists Find Online Education for Attacks"). That's interesting, because the presence of the "online education" and the following paragraphs in Shane's report effectively punch a gaping hole in the official meme, most strongly propagated by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and President Barack Obama, that Tsarnaev and his now-dead brother Tamerlan "acted alone":
In a web interview after his appearance on ABC's “This Week” yesterday, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who suddenly withdrew after being nominated by President Barack Obama to be his first Secretary of Commerce in 2009, was asked the following about freshman U.S. Senator Ted Cruz: "Do you think he represents most Hispanics with his politics?"
The latest insensitive and arguably racist public utterance coming from the supposed party of tolerance and compassion comes from a Democrat in South Carolina. But not just any Democrat. This one is Dick Harpootlian, the Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Harpootlian has a history of making outrageously offensive public remarks about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, yet he remained as party chairman until (according to Politico) his term ended on Saturday.
Mediaite, Politico, and almost no one else in the establishment press has reported that Harpootlian, speaking at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner Friday night just before Vice President Joe Biden appeared, said while introducing South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (as carried at Mediaite; HT Instapundit): "In about 18 months from now,” he said, “hopefully he’ll have sent Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from."
Timothy Egan, former liberal reporter for the New York Times, hit his usual topic (those wacky Republicans) in his Thursday online column, the wittily titled "House of Un-Representatives."
After mocking Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert for repeating a claim that caribou like to nuzzle up to an oil pipeline targeted by environmentalists, Egan noted that Gohmert "has said so many crazy things that this assertion passed with little comment."
The New York Times's Julia Preston watched parades on May Day for evidence that the fight for amnesty for illegal immigrants was at last gathering public support in "Showing Grass-Roots Support for Immigration Overhaul." Preston hit the jackpot when a protester quoted her back the same line she and the Times have been using for years about illegal immigrants: "I think it is time that we come out of the shadows...."
Preston did her part by helping spin away the small size of rallies held by amnesty supporters; supposedly the turnout was lower because they wanted "more local supporters:"
Last Friday, Obama made “history” by being the first president to address Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions. Obama did this in spite of the terrible timing, during the Kermit Gosnell trial. But like the Gosnell trial, Obama’s speech drew a blackout: no story on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, or NPR.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes hailed it was a "history-making" speech, but complained that Obama never used the A-word, which he should never feel ashamed to use. Rachel Maddow praised Obama for “putting a new capstone” on bold proclamations for the “right to choose.” USA Today and the Los Angeles Times somehow missed it. The New York Times blogged it – with this amazing paragraph from reporter Peter Baker as he mentioned Gosnell:
The New York Times's Pam Belluck wrote twice about the emerging controversy over the Food and Drug Administration's decision immediately allowing girls under 15 to receive Plan B One-Step, the morning-after pill for emergency birth control, without a prescription or parental consent. Citing safety concerns, the Obama administration had previously overruled the FDA, which had removed all age restrictions on access to the pill. Obama's Justice Department announced yesterday that it will appeal the FDA's latest "compromise" decision.
The New York Times's Trip Gabriel reported Tuesday that each side has rested its case in the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, on trial for four charges of infanticide at his Philadelphia clinic. The first paragraph is revealing:
“They are known as Baby Boy A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E, all of whom prosecutors call murdered children and the defense calls aborted fetuses -- the very difference in language encapsulating why anti-abortion advocates are so passionate about drawing attention to the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which wrapped up here on Monday with summations by both sides.”
The New York Times has long excused the continuing unpopularity of Obamacare by arguing that people just don't understand it or that it's been unfairly caricatured by political opponents. The latest entry was John Harwood's "Political Memo" Tuesday, "The Next Big Challenge for Obama's Health Care Law: Carrying It Out." The text box fretted: "Misinformation and complex imperatives could cause trouble."
New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey's story on the front of Monday's Business section has a headline that just begs for the old joke ("World Ends: Women and Minorities Hardest Hit") on the Times's traditional knee-jerk liberalism: "Recession Worsened Wealth Gap For Races."
Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.
The Democrats blinked in the sequester tussle -- by wide margins Congress passed, and the president promised to sign, legislation that would end the furloughs for Federal Aviation Administration employees, which had caused flight delays that Republicans claimed were politically motivated by the Obama administration.
Bob Herbert: columnist from the Planet Benzar? Seriously, what the former New York Times op-ed writer had to say this morning is enough to make you wonder whether he occupies the same orb as the rest of us. Appearing on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC show, Herbert literally laughed out loud at the notion that American media leans liberal. According to Herbert, the bias in the American media is "overwhelmingly" to the right.
Herbert's snicker came in response to a statement by New York Times reporter Amy Chozick, also an MH-P guest. Chozick recently wrote an article reporting on the Koch brothers' possible interest in buying the Tribune Company, which among other media outlets owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. According to Chozick, the brothers' interest was in part sparked by their outrage in seeing the liberal bias when they pick up American newspapers. View the video after the jump.
On Thursday for Friday's print edition, the New York Times carried a weakly headlined but well-written story entitled "U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination" on its front page. Written by Sharon LaFraniere with the help of three others, it laid out how what began in 1997 as a class-action suit by black farmers (Pigford v. Glickman) claiming they had suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture "became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms." Moreover, LaFraniere covered how the scope of the litigation grew "to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers" to the tune of over 90,000 claims and potential ultimate taxpayer cost of over $4.4 billion, in the process morphing into a vehicle for the Obama administration to unjustifiably dole out taxpayer money to as many people and constituent groups as possible. It is worth reading the entire story, though it will make just about anyone concerned about the financial and cultural future of this nation shudder.
The Times coverage indeed "vindicates" the late Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government blog exposed the fraud associated with Pigford, but that vindication is hardly satisfying. We're supposed to be impressed that the paper finally got around to substantively covering it, and that the paper even noted the "Public criticism (which) came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud." I don't see why.
Friday's New York Times Arts section featured a liberal lecture on America's "culture of endless consumption" and "income inequality" disguised as an opera review from music critic Zachary Woolfe.
Never mind that Woolfe's newspaper panders to a rich liberal readership with stories like this from June 3, 2012: "Family Travel at the $300,000 Price Point." The lead: "Imagine you are heading to your ski house in Aspen with a couple of friends and a weekend’s worth of luggage. The forecast calls for snow. Do you grab the keys to your practical family vehicle or climb into your Ferrari?" Jennifer Kingson tackled the pressing populist issue of luxury dog houses on June 28.
And Stephanie Clifford on October 17 penned "Just the Thing for Those Who Have It All," which opened with an invitation to spend: "So you've earned it. Now, how to spend it? We have a few ideas." Among them: A $50,000 camera, a $37,500 crocodile handbag, and a gold-plated lamb skull at the bargain price of $5,500.