Pot, kettle: New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani reviewed Tuesday a new biography by Zev Chafets of Fox News president Roger Ailes under the headline, "A Soft-Focus Look at Fox's Tough-Talking Tough Guy." Kakutani faulted the book for relying on familiar stories and, of course, for Fox News's conservatie viewpoint: "There is little cogent analysis in these pages about how Fox News frames its reports from a conservative point of view, or the effect that this has had on the national conversation."
Much of the press is describing the EU's demand that Cyprus seize a portion of bank account holders' deposits, a demand rejected yesterday by the island nation's legislature, as a "tax."
I think it's reasonable to suggest that this characterization is designed to minimize the frightening authoritarianism the EU has just attempted. In a bit of a pleasant surprise, one organization openly calling the move an attempt at "seizure" is the Associated Press.
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal cracked on New York Times columnist Frank Bruni for his Sunday Review column urging the new pope to "dwell less in the bedroom, more in the soup kitchen." (Last week Bruni guest-hosted the Charlie Rose show and pushed similar talking points.)
Taranto had fun with Bruni in his "Best of the Web" column Monday:
Luo's usual beat is campaign finance, where he has a hobby of trying to get the IRS interested in GOP fundraising tactics he doesn't approve of. On Monday Luo displayed a very trusting nature in government regulation, assuming that the men lawless enough to murder women would have been stopped by gun restrictions.
The New York Times Magazine profile of young, nontraditional country singer Kathy Musgraves by contributor Carlo Rotella was infected with smug urban liberalism and a stale defense of the defunct Dixie Chicks, "who had a patriotic fatwa declared against them for saying they were against the war in Iraq and ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas."
You may remember that incident occured happened a few days before the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, and was proclaimed from a stage in London -- a safer place to indulge anti-war stridency than their home state of Texas.
Betraying his impatience with the Republican Party's insistence that President Obama cut spending, New York Times political reporter Jonathan Weisman sounded shocked that the GOP wasn't simply surrendering its principles in the wake of Obama's four–point victory last November, in Monday's "Republicans Determined To Press On With Air, If Not Vote, of Confidence." (Nice flattering photo of Paul Ryan, by the way.)
A year ago this month, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin stood on the floor of the House and declared that the ideals of small government, privatized health care and rigorous spending discipline captured in the budget plan about to pass the House would and should be central to the 2012 election campaign.
There was nothing but festering distress and especially "division" on the right at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference held last week, at least according to the New York Times. As noted previously on NewsBusters, CPAC generated headlines like this one from Saturday: "G.O.P. Divisions Fester at Conservative Retreat."
As Noel Sheppard pointed out, George Will picked up on that headline on ABC's This Week: "...I guarantee, if there were a liberal conclave comparable to this, and there were vigorous debates going on there, the New York Times headline would be, 'Healthy Diversity Flourishes at Liberal Conclave.'" Actually, Will wasn't far off. A contrast of headlines from this year's CPAC and previous years of Netroots Nation -- a roughly equivalent annual meeting of liberals and leftists --shows an obvious disparity in tone.
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its 2013 pity party -- er, annual report -- on the State of the News Media (home page; full overview).
Two things struck me in my initial scan-through: First, the whining about newsroom cutbacks, which are largely related to pervasive bias and misplaced priorities; second, the characterization of newsmakers' improved ability to take their cases directly to the public "without any filter by the traditional media" as some kind of automatically negative trend.
New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter's Friday story -- adapted from a longer post on his "Media Decoder" blog -- relayed the changing of the prime time guard at the nation's most liberal news channel: "Weekend Host Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Slot on MSNBC." Stelter praised Hayes for his "well-regarded morning program," crediting it for "long, thoughtful conversations about politics and public policy," though conservatives would question how deep that surface sheen of sophistication truly is.
Chris Hayes will take over the 8 p.m. time slot on MSNBC in the next month, the Comcast owned channel announced on Thursday, the day after the current host of that hour, Ed Schultz, said he was moving from the weekdays to the weekends.
New York Times Atlanta bureau chief (and foodie) Kim Severson got rather insulting while writing about a new Mississippi law forbidding any locality from making rules on food size or content, passed in the wake of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg's thwarted attempt to limit the size of sugary drinks New Yorkers could order: "'Anti-Bloomberg Bill' in Mississippi Bars Local Restrictions on Food and Drink."
Preston can hardly contain her enthusiasm for the movement, especially when she's discussing the "Dreamers" – the young people brought to the country illegally pushing for an accelerated path to citizenship.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is now Pope Francis, and Thursday's New York Times front-page "Man In the News" profile by Emily Schmall and Larry Rohter, "A Conservative With a Common Touch," opened respectfully. But after a dash of local color and historical context, the Times quickly mounted its old hobby horse: the Church's positions on liberal issues like abortion and gay marriage:
But Cardinal Bergoglio is also a conventional choice, a theological conservative of Italian ancestry who vigorously backs Vatican positions on abortion, gay marriage, the ordination of women and other major issues -- leading to heated clashes with Argentina’s left-leaning president.
It’s like watching the Disney princesses become dragons: seeing starlets like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens “prove” they’re mature by dabbling in drugs and booze while stripping down for steamy sex scenes.
“Spring Breakers,” rated R for sex, drugs, language, nudity, and violence, danced with the absurd by showcasing a threesome and having one star perform fellatio on a gun barrel. The movie, to be released Friday, March 15, has emerged as a kind of “violent pop song,” or an elongated music video, according to director Harmony Korine. In the film, four college girls robbed a restaurant only to land in jail for spring break. Alien, a drug dealer played by James Franco, bailed the girls out in return for some “dirty work.”
Lowrey, who on March 2 called the hard-to-detect budget cuts of sequestration "painful and stupid," gave the game away in her lead sentence, signaling that she doesn't really think that enormous debt is much of a crisis:
New York Times campaign finance reporter Nicholas Confessore's 2,000-word front-page story Wednesday took a liberal angle on a judge striking down New York City's controversial new regulation that would have banned soda portions over 16 ounces.
Besides the paternalism of lines like "a victory for the industry’s steadfast, if surprising, allies: advocacy groups representing the very communities hit hardest by the obesity epidemic," Confessore hinted at a quid pro quo involving donations from the beverage industry going to black and Hispanic non-profits, which in turn parroted the industry talking points against the regulation.
National Review magazine has published an excellent and comprehensive response to New York Times Book Editor Sam Tanenhaus's dishonest smear of conservative thought in a cover story for The New Republic. The article by National Review contributors Ramesh Ponnuru and Jonah Goldberg appears in the March 25 issue.
After first explaining that for the left, "The explanation for conservatives’ opposition to President Obama and his agenda must be found not in our ideas but in our pathologies," they argue (bolds added by me):
In Monday's New York Times, in a report which appeared online late Sunday, reporters Richard W. Stevenson and John Harwood devoted considerable space to the idea that President Obama's latest "outreach" effort is primarily an attempt to "salvage a big deficit-reduction deal," and not a political ploy to show voters in the 2014 congressional elections that he's really interested in achieving a compromise when no genuine desire exists.
Steven Hayes at the Weekly Standard believes it's the latter ("For Obama, It's All About 2014"), as should anyone, probably including the reporters just cited, who is on the mailing list of Obama's permanent campaign known as Organizing For Action. On Thursday, three days before the Times reporters tried to convince America that Obama is in deal-making mode, OFA, which self-evidently tailors its message to the White House's true desire went into over-the-top scaremongering mode in an email from proven prevaricator Stephanie Cutter (bolds are mine):
Incivility. It is a word that tripped off the lips and pens of liberal commentators great and small after the deadly 2011 shootings in Tucson that ended the political career of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. One of the most vocal critics of the right’s incivility in word and deed was The New York Times, which ran more than one finger-wagging editorial and found column inches for more of the same from its opinion columnists.
Our left-wing media’s somber, mourning coverage of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez once again demonstrates the double standard journalists reserve for dictators.
Seven years ago, the left’s greatest South American hate object, Augusto Pinochet, passed away. Never mind how he used free-market reforms to modernize Chile. Never mind that after 15 years of rule, he allowed a national plebiscite to vote against him, and he stepped down peacefully. The left-wing outrage pulsed on the front pages.
Detroit's former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted Monday on multiple serious charges, including racketeering, fraud, and extortion. But Times reporter Mary Chapman buried Kilpatrick's Democratic party affiliation in paragraph 19 of her 21-paragraph report.
Even then, the Times never even directly labeled Kilpatrick a Democrat:
On the front page of Monday's New York Times, Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak presented readers with the proposition that "Smaller States Find Outsize Clout Growing in Senate." It's part of "Unequal Representation," a Times series "examining challenges to the American promise that all citizens have an equal voice in how they are governed."
But Liptak's analysis of the "disproportionate power enjoyed in the Senate by small states...on issues as varied as gun control, immigration and campaign finance" showed a lot of concern for the specifically liberal policies currently thwarted by the old inconvenient Constitutional arrangement.
New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Michael Shear found "right-wing conspiracy" mongering in the aftermath of the unusual 12-hour filibuster by Republican Sen. Rand Paul protesting the White House's failing to rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil or against U.S. citizens: "Visions of Drones Swarming the Skies Touch Bipartisan Nerve."
That slightly dismissive headline on the front of Saturday's edition ("Visions" assumes an abstract and an unreasonable fear) is matched by the story, which tilts a little to the left in labeling and to the Obama administration in its dismissive tone toward White House critics, pitting "liberal activists" against "right-wing conspiracy theorists" and "self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution." In contrast, during the Bush years the Times took seriously the most paranoid fears of liberals about the Patriot Act.
Appelbaum said in an August 2011 Times podcast that "the real problem is that there's this tremendous political pressure to get smaller, and everything we know about economics tells us that they should be doing the opposite, they should be getting bigger right now....it's as cheap as it's ever been to borrow money, invest it in infrastructure, invest it in things that will pay off in the long run, and help out the economy." On Saturday he and Schwartz (who also likes government stimulus) argued:
While you were watching Rand Paul's historic filibuster and the debate surrounding budget sequestration, an economic theory battle was waging between two of the nation's foremost liberal economists Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs.
In his most recent salvo published at the Huffington Post Saturday, Sachs spoke heresy to Obama-lovers across the fruited plain including Krugman claiming that following the 2008 financial crisis, "It was the Fed, not the fiscal stimulus, which prevented a fall into depression."
There's something odd with a Sunday New York Times report on gun ownership in America. They claim the number of Americans owning guns are at its lowest since the 1970s. They attribute it to a reduction in violent crime, which contradicts the media narrative that we need more gun control, and the increased rates of Americans settling in urban areas. The problem is two years ago; the number of Americans owning guns was at 47 percent. Now, it's 35 percent. So, there was a twelve-point drop in two years, and a little over three months after Sandy Hook.
How could that be right? Here's what the Times duo of Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff reported:
Republican Sen. Rand Paul's filibuster on Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to rule out drone strikes against U.S. citizens, which ended early Thursday morning, was absent from the front page of Thursday's New York Times. The Times buried its coverage of Paul's striking "talking" filibuster, in which he held the floor for nearly 13 hours, ostensibly in opposition to Obama's choice of John Brennan for CIA director. Brennan was serving as a proxy for Paul's demand that Holder rule out drone strikes on American citizens or on U.S. soil.
Paul's performance did not merit a full news story in the Times. Coverage was limited to a few paragraphs in the middle of a more comprehensive story by Charlie Savage on bipartisan criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder, and a single sentence deep into Scott Shane's front-page story "C.I.A.'s History Poses Hurdles For a Nominee." Liberal columnist Gail Collins also wrote about it, in snotty fashion. There wasn't even a print-edition photo of the dramatic filibuster.
No good deed goes unpunished? In a compromise move, North Carolina officials will issue drivers licenses to young illegal immigrants who have won deferrals from deportation, but with a distinguishing colored marking on the licenses – a pink stripe. New York Times Atlanta bureau chief Kim Severson likened the stripe to "a modern-day scarlet letter" in "North Carolina to Give Some Immigrants Driver's Licenses, With a Pink Stripe."
Severson insisted in her Wednesday story from Raleigh that "some are calling" it that, though she doesn't quote anyone using that memorable term. (A web search suggests the "some" people calling NC's move "a modern-day scarlet letter" are solely Severson's fellow aggrieved liberal journalists.)
Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez is dead of cancer at age 58, the end of a bizarre odyssey that took him to Communist Cuba in a failed attempt at a cure. William Neuman's off-lead story in Wednesday's New York Times credited the left-wing dictator for having "changed Venezuela in fundamental ways, empowering and energizing millions of poor people who had felt marginalized and excluded."