The New York Times's David Herszenhorn on Friday wrote up a bizarre new conference held by the parents of the Boston Marathon bombers in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, where they have lived for the past year: "Parents Deny Son's Guilt And Accuse U.S. of Plot."
It's puzzling why Herszenhorn chose such a credulous tone to the conspiratorial rants of the bombers' mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (The Washington Post made do with a brief mention at the very end of a related story on Friday).
Monday's New York Times front page contains a "Congressional Memo" by David Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse, "In Personal Ethics Battles, a Partywide Threat." The party is the Democrat Party, the threat possible ethics trials for prominent Democratic representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.
After summarizing the danger that the trials pose for Democrats in an election year, the Times checked in on an unreliable source, Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, to raise a defense of Rangel and Waters, both of whom are black, as is Clyburn.
The paper's political team let Obama fully sell himself as a down-home populist by completely skipping (in the print edition) the fact that Obama would be departing from a town in New Jersey to two glitzy fundraisers in the Times's home town Manhattan. The Washington Post, on the other hand, did notice that Obama later traveled by helicopter to a fundraiser at the Four Seasons in Manhattan, then went on to Vogue editor Anna Wintour's townhouse for another.
Calmes filed a report on the fundraisers Wednesday night for the paper's "Caucus" blog: "After an afternoon of populism, lunching with small-business owners in New Jersey and gabbing with the opinionated ladies of ABC-TV's "The View," President Obama ended his day on Wednesday at separate $30,400-a-person fundraisers here in Manhattan."
But those politics-as-usual details didn't make it into the print story, leaving room for these vital nuggets: Obama "ordered a 'super sub with everything,' to highlight his party's small-business agenda....Mr. Obama ordered a six-inch 'super sub' -- he declared that at nearly 49 he can no longer eat the 12-inch variety -- and sat down at a table with the owner, Dave Thornton, and the owners of three businesses in nearby towns."
After harping on unsubstantiated reports of racial epithets hurled at black congressmen during protests against Obama-care, no reporter for the New York Times bothered to cover in print an actual arrest made in the case of an actual death threat against Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican in the House. (The paper made do with an Associated Press brief.)
Yet David Herszenhorn filed a 10-paragraph story Wednesday on news that an arrest was made in regard to death threats against a prominent Democratic senator, Patty Murray of Washington: "Threats to Kill Senator Lead to Arrest." (The print version is slightly condensed from the online version.)
In the New York Times's latest "Political Points" podcast, posted April 1 at nytimes.com, reporters David Herszenhorn and Jeff Zeleny talked to host Sam Roberts about the health care law as a referendum on the Obama presidency. Though the Times didn't bother to identify the reporters by name on the audiocast, it was almost certainly Herszenhorn (confirmed by comparing his voice pattern with that of another voice later identified as Zeleny's, plus by watching a recent clip of Herszenhorn) who immediately injected discredited accusations of racism into the discussion, in response to Roberts's relatively innocuous conversation starter.
Herszenhorn is known at Times Watch as a strong cheerleader for Obama-care.
From the April 1 podcast:
Host Sam Roberts: "David and Jeff, we've been writing that health care became a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deep divisions in an increasingly fractured society. What is it the surrogate for, do we think?"
Herszenhorn: "Well there's so many things, Sam. One is clearly there's a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote."
Andrew Breitbart at Big Journalism.com has offered a $10,000 reward to anyone with evidence of racial epithets being hurled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who made the charge in the first place. So far no takers, despite the Hill being dense with Blackberries, camera phones, and video equipment of all kinds the day of the vote on Obama-care.
Eternally optimistic New York Times pro-Obama-care reporter David Herszenhorn's Tuesday morning post managed to make the desperate proposal by House Democrats to pass a massive federal expansion of health care entitlement spending without actually voting on the legislation sound like an innocuous procedural wrinkle: “Passing Health Care Legislation, Tucked in a Rule.”
According to a plan by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House would vote on changes to the Senate-approved bill, which would then be "deemed" to have passed the House without actually being voted on in the House.
As they push for a climactic vote on major health care legislation, House Democratic leaders face a bit of a conundrum: rank-and-file lawmakers detest the Senate-passed health care bill, and yet before the Democrats’ overall proposal becomes law, the House somehow has to find a way to approve that Senate bill.
The reason for that is simple: Democrats no longer control the 60 votes needed to stop Republican filibusters in the Senate, so passing a brand-new bill in both chambers is impossible. Instead, the House is planning to first adopt the Senate bill and then adopt a package of revisions to that bill in an expedited budget measure that cannot be filibustered and can be approved in the Senate by a simple majority.
Herszenhorn reduced the tactics of both sides to procedural maneuvers, though the idea of the House refusing to vote on such vast historic legislation would seem to at least possibly be unconstitutional. The Times doesn't even raise the possibility:
Most incredibly, the two reporters either missed or ignored the most inflammatory comments issued on the Senate floor on Sunday, when Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island comparing some Republican opponents of Obama care to Jim Crow-era lynchers, and Nazis: “History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrils have rolled through taunting crowds, broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner waving secret lists."
From Hulse and Herszenhorn's report, with its emphasis on Republican nastiness:
Nasty charges of bribery. Senators cut off midspeech. Accusations of politics put over patriotism. Talk of double-crosses. A nonagenarian forced to the floor after midnight for multiple procedural votes.
The "nonagenarian" is of course Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Hulse and Herszenhorn returned to the sad plight of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd later.
The Times actually quoted a portion of Whitehouse’s nasty speech chiding the GOP, but without mentioning the odious comparisons to Nazis and Jim Crow racists Whitehouse had made less than four minutes previously:
The New York Times cherishes moderate Republicans who make trouble for their party, like John McCain pre-campaign 2008. But the paper takes quite a different tone with Democrats (or ex-Democrats who caucus with the Democrats) who thwart liberal wishes.
The Times was clearly peeved with Sen. Joe Lieberman in Tuesday's front-page story about the tense health-care debate in the Senate, “Lieberman Gets Ex-Party to Shift On Health Plan.” It's written by David Herszenhorn and David Kirkpatrick from a Democratic perspective. In the Times's worldview, Lieberman is no brave dissenter from the party line:
New York Times health care cheerleader-reporter David Herszenhorn seems unhappy that Republicans continue to oppose Obama-care -- especially John McCain, who Obama beat in the 2008 election.
Herszenhorn really “cranked” up the melodrama (and old man insults?) in his Monday morning post on the Times's “Prescriptions” blog, “The Crankiness of the Defeated," turning a hum-drum event -- the 73-year-old Sen. John McCain challenging Obama on health care -- into a strange anti-Republican hit piece.
As political opera goes, the libretto seemed to be the vengeance of the vanquished.
With President Obama at the Capitol on Sunday for a meeting with the Democratic caucus, his nemesis from last year’s presidential race, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, stood in a corridor just a few steps away facing a gaggle of reporters and television cameras.
It was less aria than huff-and-puff. He and Mr. McConnell suggested that the fact that Mr. Obama was meeting alone with Democrats was evidence that hyper-partisanship continues in Washington and that the president had been powerless to stop it. (Of course, Mr. McConnell, Mr. McCain and their Republican colleagues do their own part to contribute to the continuing acrimony, but that went unspoken.)
As if he really expected Republicans to issue a mea culpa at a partisan press conference.
While the Washington Post ran a full news story by Philip Rucker on the conservative Capitol Hill rally on page 4 on Friday, The New York Times buried it with just six paragraphs – smack dab in in the middle of a story on A-15 headlined "House Democrats Seek Allies for Health Care Vote."
The story by Times reporters Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn focused mostly on how Democrats were organizing their own caucus and gaining endorsements from the AARP, the American Medical Association, and the American Cancer Society.
In paragraph eight, the Times duo finally devoted some 230 words to the conservative rally that drew thousands of Americans from across the country:
While Democrats sought to build support, Republicans engaged in an equally determined effort to block the measure, with House Republicans lining up to address thousands of conservatives gathered at the West Front of the Capitol. No House Republican is expected to vote for the measure, meaning its entire support has to come from within the 258-member Democrat caucus.
After months of plodding work by five Congressional committees and weeks of back-room bargaining by Democratic leaders, President Obama's arms-length strategy on health care appears to be paying dividends, with the House and the Senate poised to take up legislation to insure nearly all Americans.
Debate in the House is expected to begin this week, and the Senate will soon take up its version. Democratic leaders and senior White House officials are sounding increasingly confident that Mr. Obama will sign legislation overhauling the nation's health care system -- a goal that has eluded American presidents for decades.
Pear and Stolberg aren't the first Times reporters to declare an Obama victory on the health "reform" front. David Herszenhorn did the same back on September 10, calling Obama's joint address to Congress on health reform "a clear turning point in the health care debate."
Prospects for Obama-care just keep getting better and better. At least they are in the rather over-excitable world of New York Times health reporter David Herszenhorn. After Obama's address to Congress last month he confidently proclaimed the speech to be a "clear turning-point in the health care debate."
The New York Times's health care priorities were on display in Wednesday's paper. While a parody ad by liberal comedian Will Ferrell and left-wing MoveOn.org was considered newsworthy, suppression of free speech by the Obama administration was left out.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky went on the Senate floor Tuesday and called out the Obama administration for using a federal agency to squelch mailings by insurance company Humana. The mailings to beneficiaries warned them of possible cuts to the Medicare Advantage program under Obama-care.
In a sign of escalating tension on Capitol Hill, the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accused Democrats and the Obama administration on Tuesday of trying to muzzle critics of their proposed health care legislation.
In his Wednesday brief, "Senator Says He Had Affair With An Aide," New York Times reporter David Herszenhorn let us know by the fourth word that U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada, the senator who confessed to the extramarital affair, is a Republican. In paragraph four, Herszenhorn poured on the salt, bringing up Ensign's former membership in Promise Keepers, a Christian ministry that promotes marriage.
Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, admitted Tuesday that he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff.
President Obama’s decision to reverse himself and oppose the release of photographs depicting "detainee abuse" by the U.S. military might be wildly controversial on the left, but the Times story by Jeff Zeleny and Thom Shanker on Thursday’s front page was very slow to feature opposing voices. ACLU chief Anthony Romero surfaced in paragraph 11, and even then he was complaining about how the photos would expose the last administration.
However, on the other side of the front page, on the far left, appropriately enough, was a story by David Herszenhorn headlined "Unease Grows for Democrats Over Security." No one in this story denounced Obama’s reversal on the detainee photos, but they did question Obama’s plans for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. Will the networks dare to find divisions between Democrats?
The political correctness of the New York Times oozed between the lines of a front-page article Tuesday on Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a "master of the one-liner, a self-described ‘left-handed gay Jew.’" The headline was "A Liberal Wit Builds Bridges To the G.O.P.," and reporter David M. Herszenhorn celebrated the "trademark wit" that compared conservatives’ lack of enthusiasm for government intervention to his lack of enthusiasm for the Miss America pageant.
In a sidebar headlined "A Way With Words," the Times celebrates Frank’s wit in lobbying for the gay agenda, like a 2006 quote that "same-sex marriage is the V-8 juice of America," mocking the opposition of the religious right as if straight married men would greet the court-mandated legalization of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts with the declaration "Wow, I could have married a guy."
David Herszenhorn's front-page "Political Memo" for Wednesday's New York Times was devoted to the fight over Graeme Frost, the boy pushed forward by the Democrats to deliver the response to Bush's weekly radio address on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).
The inimitable Mark Steyn is one of several conservative writers unhappy with Democrats "desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job."
Herszenhorn accused Republicans and "conservative bloggers" of attacking the boy and his family. While not as bad as the local coverage in the Baltimore Sun as outlined earlier by Ken Shepherd, there is a hostile tone: