Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I pointed to the track record of Dean Baquet, who has ascended to the hallowed perch of executive editor at the New York Times, and observed that "someone who has clearly been a troubling and disruptive presence is now in charge."
Two incidents spanning seven years support my contention. The first occurred in 2006 at the Los Angeles Times, where Baquet, then that paper's editor, petulantly refused to make budget cuts the paper's Tribune Company parent demanded, took his complaints public in the paper itself, metaphorically barricaded himself in his office, and dared the Trib to fire him (they did, two months later). The second occurred in April of last year, when Baquet, now at the New York Times, got into an argument with now deposed Executive Editor Jill Abramson, "burst out of Abramson’s office, slammed his hand against a wall ... stormed out of the newsroom ... (and was) gone for the rest of the day." Now we learn from David Carr at the Old Gray Lady itself that, in essence, Baquet did an "it's her or me" number on Abramson (HT Ann Althouse) to grease the skids for her firing.
The “new media” is expanding in the digital realm, but one trend of liberal bias certainly isn’t new: While The New York Times repeated and repeated that expanding Breitbart News network is “conservative,” left-wing ventures by Glenn Greenwald and Ezra Klein were apparently non-ideological, and drew no ideological labels of any kind – liberal, leftist, progressive – at all.
On the front of Monday’s Business Day section, the Times promoted “The conservative news group begun by Andrew Breitbart, who died in 2012, is going global.” The headline on B-3 was “Conservative News Group to Add Staff to Websites.” Leslie Kaufman's story began with another two C-labels in the first 45 words:
In 2009, Jacob Weisberg argued “The Australian-British-continental model of politicized media that Murdoch has applied at Fox is un-American.” This makes him a natural choice for The New York Times in picking a reviewer for Gabriel Sherman’s new anti-Roger Ailes biography “Loudest Voice in the Room.”
In Weisberg’s opinion, instead of helping the GOP defeat Obama, “Ailes effectively sabotaged them by giving unlimited airtime to fringe figures like Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain during primary season. Having weathered this freak show through the primaries, Mitt Romney couldn’t shake the Fox News taint.” Times media columnist David Carr wrote almost exactly the same thing about the “fringy” conservatives:
The New York Times published an unintentionally humorous headline on December 23: “When ‘60 Minutes’ Checks Its Journalistic Skepticism at the Door.” Times media columnist David Carr is suddenly stunned that “60 Minutes” has aired a puff piece on a serious political matter.
In his article, Carr didn’t breathe a word about Steve Kroft’s long history of servile interviews with Barack Obama, most recently in January when he threw softballs at both Obama and Hillary Clinton at the president’s request. Carr’s never written about Kroft.
From inside The New York Times – where they like to believe they’re not insular, even though their idea of a fierce conservative is David Brooks – media columnist David Carr is carping about Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia's interview where he said he doesn’t read the Times or The Washington Post.
Scalia proved “that the tendency to limit one’s sources of information to avoid dissonance is not the province of a bunch of narrow-minded, politically obsessed characters who send mass e-mails from their mother’s basement.” No, Carr believes Washington is suffering from “gerrymandered news” at the extremes:
You can always make fun of white people. New York Times media writer David Carr bowed deeply to the satirical skills of MSNBC host Chris Hayes and his satire accomplice Cord Jefferson of Gawker.com for making fun of the dreadful moral state of white youth, and a "white criminal culture" which white elders and the "mainstream media" fail to condemn.
Carr said Hayes put on “a satire meant to show how lame the hoary race tropes of cable news have become. As a comedy bit, it was very well done.” He even brought in an academic to label it “brilliant.” Hayes was tapping his “inner Bill O’Reilly” -- better known as the man who crushes Chris nightly in the Nielsens:
During a report on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News on the widely panned cover of Rolling Stone magazine featuring Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a sound bite was included of New York Times media columnist David Carr defending the offensive display: "I think that Rolling Stone committed an act of journalism in both publishing this photo and publishing the story that they did." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Throughout the segment, NBC correspondent John Yang described the near-universal condemnation of the cover, but led up to Carr's commentary by declaring: "Rolling Stone has a history of serious journalism, like the story that led to the resignation of U.S. Afghanistan commander, General Stanley McChrystal. In 1970, Charles Manson appeared on Rolling Stone's cover, and other news magazines have had controversial covers, including Hitler and Osama Bin Laden on the front of Time."
The July 9 broadcast of Now with Alex Wagner wouldn’t be complete without a panel discussing Texas State Senator Wendy Davis – and the abortion battle in Texas. Yet, it reached a new level with New York Times op-ed contributor Beth Matusoff Merfish declaring that she was “proud” her mother underwent an abortion since “she had the wisdom and the courage to know that her own potential would be cut short by a pregnancy and to terminate that pregnancy and I think many of our mothers have similar stories and it is really important to talk about that.”
The MSNBC network is known for two things: A lack of dissent and touting the official Obama line. So, it's not surprising that the show's panel included Ben LaBolt, a former press secretary from Obama’s 2012 campaign, and Karen Finney, former DNC Communications Director and board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
MRC's Christian Robey suggested a letter to the editor on Monday for David Carr'sstrange column attacking MRC's letter attacking the media for rigging this presidential election by hounding Romney and protecting Obama. Carr wrote Brent Bozell assembled "conservative royalty" to attack "ostensibly tendentious coverage."
Some of us were skeptical that a liberal newspaper would deign to publish a letter from an organization that critiques the media on a daily basis. Every blog post here is a bit of a letter to the editor (or executive producer). But with this advice, Brent Bozell allowed me to draft a letter and we sent it along, and we received notification that they were interested in publishing it. It appears near the bottom of the editorial page Thursday on page A26. The headline is simply "Bias In The Media":
As shown on Times Watch this morning, New York Times media reporter David Carr may pooh-pooh the idea of liberal bias. But he's a stronger supporter of the First Amendment than some of his Times colleagues, like movie critic A.O. Scott, who ludicrously defended a left-wing journalist's vandalism of the subway poster as "free expression" and even "democracy."
In "The Sweet Spot," a weekly videocast featuring Carr and movie critic A.O. Scott discussed controversial advertisements put up in the New York City subway system by anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
David Carr of The New York Times wrote an unintentional laugh line for Monday's paper: "There is a growing worry that the falling value and failing business models of many American newspapers could lead to a situation where moneyed interests buy papers and use them to prosecute a political and commercial agenda."
No! Could you believe a newspaper would follow a political agenda based on what its owner wanted to do? Where have we ever heard of that before, say, with an owner who told Daddy he thought the Americans should be shot in Vietnam? But wait: in San Diego, it's that other, somehow less professional bias: Union-Tribune owner Douglas Manchester is "anti-big government, anti-tax and anti-gay marriage. And he’s in favor of a remade San Diego centered around a new downtown waterfront stadium and arena."
New York Times media reporter David Carr's profile of the late Andrew Breitbart, "The Provocateur" was a slightly hostile look at the life and influence of the sleepless conservative activist, that included this unnecessary and petty parenthetical stab: "For good or ill (and most would say ill), no one did it like Mr. Breitbart."
Veteran New York Times media reporter David Carr’s Monday column self-righteously attacked an unfortunate headline on an ESPN mobile website, “Chink in the Armor,” that was widely interpreted as a purposeful slur on the ethnicity of benchwarmer-turned-NBA-sensation Jeremy Lin: “Media Hype For Lin Stumbles On Race.”
Giving no benefit of the doubt to the ESPN editor, who has since been fired, Carr declared the headline one of myriad “underlying racist tropes that still lurk in the id of American sports journalism.” This lecture comes from a reporter who last year characterized Midwesterners as folks with “low-sloping foreheads,” akin to cavemen.
“Page One,” a new documentary about a year in the life of the New York Times directed by Andrew Rossi, is showing at the sleek new Lincoln Center theatre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for a mere $13. While not openly partisan or even political (there were no Obama stickers spotted on desks, no rants about the paper’s myriad conservative critics), “Page One,” which captures in semi-compellingif scatter-shot fashion a year or so in the life of the Times’s media desk, fits snugly in to the Upper West Side mentality of entitled liberalism.
It’s a running conversation running over with angst, as Times reporters tackle stories about new media while simultaneously pondering the paper’s own place in the rearranged cosmos, as the paper’s very reason for being seems under attack in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and liberal news aggregators like the Huffington Post stealing audience.
New York Times media reporter and columnist David Carr discussed the surprising recent audience gains of the newly controversial National Public Radio in “Gains For NPR Are Clouded,” featured on the front of Monday’s Business Day section.
Carr sometimes grasps the conservative point of view on media issues, but on Monday he joined his boss, Executive Editor Bill Keller, in chiding the journalism of News Corporation, the media consortium owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Carr also went after the purported conservative bias at Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal in a December 14, 2009 column, “Tilting Rightward at Journal.”
On Monday he described an NPR under siege while defending the necessity of publicly funded journalism against new calls for budget restraint.
It's certainly not surprising that the New York Times would publish a hit piece on Glenn Beck, but coming hours after CNN's Howard Kurtz spent almost ten minutes bashing the Fox News commentator makes me smell a rat.
Add to this the increased pressure Beck has come up against from MSNBC personalities since Keith Olbermann surprisingly left America's most liberal television news network in January, and one has to wonder what Times author David Carr had in mind with his Monday piece "The Fading Power of Beck’s Alarms":
When conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck take stands against Obama-care or amnesty for illegal immigrants, the New York Times is quick to raise concerns. But certain correct causes and personalities not only get a pass but receive heroic treatment. A prime example is comedian-activist Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and main news source for many young liberal hipsters.
Stewart is celebrated once again by the Times, this time on the front of the Monday Business section by media reporters David Carr and Brian Stelter, for his latest crusade, a push to fund the health care of 9-11 responders who became ill. The online headline “In ‘Daily Show’ Role on 9/11 Bill, Echoes of Murrow.” A comparison to Murrow, the vaunted journalist slayer of Sen. Joe McCarthy, is a deep compliment in liberal media circles.
Did the bill pledging federal funds for the health care of 9/11 responders become law in the waning hours of the 111th Congress only because a comedian took it up as a personal cause?
And does that make that comedian, Jon Stewart -- despite all his protestations that what he does has nothing to do with journalism -- the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow?
"But it is an open question whether conservative media outlets risk damage to their credibility when obscure or misleading stories are blown out of proportion and when what amounts to political opposition research is presented as news." -- Media reporter Brian Stelter on the Andrew Breitbart-Shirley Sherrod tape controversy, July 26.
Leave That Sort of Thing to Us, Part II
"But what is emerging is more of a permanent crusade, where information is not only power, but a means to a specific end. As content providers increasingly hack their own route to an audience, it's becoming clear that many are less interested in covering the game than tilting the field." -- Media columnist David Carr on the Andrew Breitbart-Shirley Sherrod tape controversy, July 26.
Conservative Sen. James Inhofe, "Laughable Fool"
"Senator Inhofe should be a harmless diversion, the kind of laughable fool that any state can kick back to the capital, where hard-earned ignorance is supported by a well-paid staff." -- From former reporter Timothy Egan's July 21 post at nytimes.com.
The New York Times went to town on Andrew Breitbart and Fox News on Sunday and Monday, rehashing the racial controversy over the Shirley Sherrod tape and suggesting conservative media outlets were guilty of "tilting the field," blowing "obscure or misleading stories...out of proportion" and presenting "political opposition research" as news. Hmm. Isn't that what the New York Times has been doing to conservatives for years?
In the last couple of days, Andrew Breitbart, a conservative Web site operator, has been called a liar, a provocateur, a propagandist -- and even a race-baiter. But he says he knows who the true race-baiters are: some Democratic activists.
Andrew Breitbart highlighted the edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod on one of his Web sites. "It's warfare out there," he says.
It was one of Mr. Breitbart's Web sites, BigGovernment, that highlighted the heavily edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod, a black official at the Department of Agriculture, apparently saying that she had been biased against a white farmer she was supposed to help. Ms. Sherrod's full speech actually demonstrated the opposite, but do not expect Mr. Breitbart to be embarrassed.
Stelter later evinced a convenient concern for journalist credibility for "when obscure or misleading stories are blown out of proportion and when what amounts to political opposition research is presented as news." Stelter must have missed the Times's hit pieces on John McCain alleging an affair and suggesting his birthplace made him unqualified to serve as president, or the paper's sabotage of two successful Bush-era terror-fighting programs it disapproved of.
Let no one say the New York Times is blind to media bias. It's uncovered it at the (conservative) New York Post and (conservative) Fox News -- although admissions of the paper's own clear liberal tilt are few and far between.
David Carr's Monday media column, “Tilting Rightward At Journal,” found a conservative slant at yet another Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlet, The Wall Street Journal. The text box: “Under Murdoch's rule, a new tone in the news pages.”
Sunday was the second anniversary of the sale of The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. At that time, a chorus of journalism church ladies (I was among them) warned that one of the crown jewels of American journalism now resided in the hands of a roughneck, and predicted that he would use it to his own ends.
The Obama presidency is, for better or worse, the most media saturated administration in the nation's history. Due at least in part to revolutionary changes in the sharing of information, but equally abetted by the president's media-hungry personality and style of governing, Obama's face is just about everywhere these days.
And Americans have noticed. In an attempt to land a spot on a DC-based reality show, the so-called state dinner party-crashers, the Salahis, went where they knew the cameras would be: the White House.
The Obama administration has pursued a relentless media strategy by trumpeting the president on traditional and new media outlets at every opportunity. It's tech-savvy staff has allowed the president to market his message to a wide range of demographics. The strategy was a cornerstone of Obama's presidential campaign, and he has adopted it as a style of governing.