Liberal Tina Brown’s website The Daily Beast as another Top 25 list of journalists today – The Left’s Top 25. (Noel Sheppard noted their top conservatives last week.) Tunku Varadajaran, formerly of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, listed Jon Stewart as the most impactful journalist on the left.
What stands out are the "mainstream" media figures on the list. There’s CNN host Christiane Amanpour, and a trio of Washington Post people, past and present. But the largest force in this Left list is five from The New York Times: columnist Paul Krugman (number 2), op-ed page editor David Shipley (4), economics writer David Leonhardt (8), Times magazine writer Deborah Solomon (22) and Times magazine contributor David Rieff (24).
What will shock readers is the MSNBC deficit: only Rachel Maddow (11), and no Matthews or Olbermann.
The largely positive blurbs that accompany this photo gallery hardly seem written by a conservative. Take the Paul Krugman encomium:
New York Times Magazine critic Deborah Solomon conducted an all-over-the-map interview with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, alternating between conservative "terrorism," lesbianism and Girl Scout cookies. At one point she wondered, "But do you think certain radio and television hosts are feeding intolerance and even terrorism?"
Solomon’s interview, which will appear in the August 16 print edition of the Times, also included an attack on Glenn Beck of Fox News. After repeating the host’s contention that President Obama "has a deep-seated hatred for white people," the journalist derided, "Do you think a statement like that incites hate crimes?"
The New York Times's embrace of Barack Obama's candidacy, and its fervent defense of him against John McCain's "racist" and unfair attacks, made 2008 a particularly bias-packed year for the paper. During the 2008 campaign Times bias often came with a smile, instead of a snarl, with the Times and the rest of the mainstream media having fallen hard for Obama's "historic" candidacy (jilting its previous love, Hillary Clinton). The Times even praised the moderate maverick McCain for a while -- until he clinched the Republican nomination and became the only thing in the way of a groundbreaking victory for either a liberal woman (Clinton) or a liberal African-American (Obama).
Below are the favorite quotes from Times Watch's five Times-dissecting judges. You can read all of the worst quotes of Campaign 2008 at Times Watch.
"On Thursday evening in a glittering Berlin, cheered by as many as 200,000 people, Mr. Obama delivered a tone poem to American and European ideals and shared history. In contrast, just before he spoke, Mr. McCain, was sitting in Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, having a bratwurst, and saying grumpily that he would prefer to speak to Germans when he is president, not before." -- Steven Erlanger in a July 26 filing from Paris while covering Barack Obama's world tour.
In her weekly Q&A session for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Deborah Solomon conducted a strongly hostile interview with Brigitte Gabriel, Lebanese-American journalist and opponent of radical Islam, while the headline blurb referred to Gabriel as a "radical Islamophobe."
The best-selling author and radical Islamophobe talks about why moderate Muslims are irrelevant, the lessons we should have learned from Lebanon and dressing like a French woman.
Is the Times calling Gabriel radical because she has an irrational fear ("phobia" or "-phobe") of Islam in general, or is "radical Islamophobe" a too-cute way of saying Gabriel has an irrational fear of radical Islam? Either way, the incredibly suspicious, hostile tone of Solomon's questioning is clear.
Deborah Solomon, reporter for the New York Times Magazine, conducted her weekly Q&A this Sunday with Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, ostensibly discussing his plan to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by harnessing wind power.
But Solomon, who admitted voting for Al Gore in the 2000 election, also posed hostile questions about Pickens's involvement in the 2004 campaign against Democrat John Kerry:
Solomon: You helped re-elect Bush in '04 when you gave $3 million to the Swift Boat campaign to discredit John Kerry's Vietnam service. Do you regret your involvement?
Liberals were outraged in 2004 when they nominated Sen. John Kerry, who by the way, served in Vietnam, and some veterans who served with him on Swift Boats had the audacity to challenge his war heroism. So how will they greet cranky old leftist author Gore Vidal who does some "swift boating" of his own in the Sunday New York Times Magazine? Interviewer Deborah Solomon talked to the "literary lion" about John McCain, and Vidal suggested the "rumor" of McCain’s heroism should be so questioned, we might even doubt he actually served time as a POW:
And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?
Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. That’s what he tells us.
Why would you doubt him? He’s a graduate of Annapolis. I know a lot of the Annapolis breed. Remember, I’m West Point, where I was born. My father went there.
Somebody better break it to the New York Times: they might still be the paper of record in their own minds, but to the rest of the world they're just one more dead-tree joint struggling for attention.
The Old Grey Lady's unjustified conceit was on display during this afternoon's Hardball, when one of its columnists was aghast that Chris Matthews had had the audacity not to have read her oeuvre.
Deborah Solomon, who has a weekly column in the NYT Sunday magazine, had interviewed the Rev. John Hagee, a minister who has endorsed McCain and has made a number of controversial statements. I'd mention in passing that while Hagee's critics have accused him of anti-Semitism, he has in fact received numerous awards from Jewish groups for his steadfast support of Israel.
It's a tradition that goes back at least as far as the Vietnam War, when CBS edited and reshuffled the content of a TV interview with a US general to make it appear as if he believed that having wars from time to time was a necessary and good thing. CBS, operating in the days of Old Media's de facto monopoly, paid little if any price for its transgression. Someone on the order of a Bill Buckley or Cal Thomas objected, and that was about it.
That creative editing was occurring and considered a hallowed right of Old Media during its "good old days" is almost indisputable. As I recall it, several Nixon Administration advisers in the early 1970s whom the networks wished to interview agreed to do so, with but one proviso: The interviews would either be live, or air unedited. My recall is that CBS never followed through on any of these interviews. Readers are welcome to fill in any gaps in yours truly's memory.
The practice of "creative interviewing" continues. The latest to get caught doing it is New York Times "Questions For" writer Deborah Solomon.
At least this time, someone at the media outlet involved is openly questioning the technique. That would be Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt, who skewered Solomon's methodology in his Sunday column (HT Don Luskin; link requires free registration; bolds are mine throughout this post):