Sunday's episode of The Chris Matthews Show featured an exchange between host Pete Williams and New York Times White House reporter Helene Cooper on President Obama pushing for stronger gun control legislation the day of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Cooper laid out the issue in emotional terms, suggesting people must choose between the protection of the Second Amendment and the safety of little kids at school. As if even a total repeal could ever guarantee that.
On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory grilled Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment: "Can you understand why some women have that reaction, that he seems sort of out of touch with what modern women are going through?"
Gregory also seized on Romney's support of flexible work schedules for women as more evidence of a supposed disconnect: "He talked about the – the importance of flexibility so that, you know, women could get home early to be with their kids and make dinner. And he's gotten some criticism for that because it seems that there's a narrow view of what women's view – roles are, both at home and in the workplace."
The Obama-loving media were out in force Sunday downplaying the significance of the White House's ever-changing position on the attacks on our consulate in Benghazi last month.
After New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper called the death of four Americans "peripheral to what's going on right now" on Meet the Press, Time magazine's Joe Klein told Face the Nation viewers this matter "has been like the October mirage - it really isn't an issue" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Seventeen days before Election Day and 45 months after Barack Obama's inauguration following a presidential campaign during which he expressed his eagerness to meet enemy leaders "without preconditions" (Obama responded "yes" to a 2008 presidential debate question containing those words), the New York Times is reporting that the U.S. and Iran "have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations," despite the fact that the White House has "denied that a final agreement (to negotiate) had been reached," and despite a reactive AP report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) claiming that while "The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one ... there's no agreement now to meet."
Despite the supposed certainty of the Times's headline ("U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks"), the paper's Helene Cooper and Mark Landler report that "American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort." If Khamenei isn't on board, it doesn't matter what anybody else, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says or does. Three years ago, two AP reporters covering the government's crackdown on dissidents noted Khamenei's "virtually limitless authority," i.e., he's the country's behind-the-scenes dictator. In a piece that's supposed to be about a supposedly important international development, Cooper and Landler predictably blow through quite a bit of ink and bandwidth trying to paint this development as a problem for Obama's GOP opponent Mitt Romney (bolds are mine):
Wednesday's banner New York Times headline on the second presidential debate was studiously neutral: "Obama and Romney Mount Biting Attacks in Debate Rematch." Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny's underlying report played it straight, as did Peter Baker in his front-page "news analysis," under the punchy headline "Punch, Punch, Punch."
But while the Obama cheerleading was muted in print, Times journalists let their slant show during live fact-check of the debate, and especially on the TimesCast. Baker wrote for Wednesday's edition:
When the New York Times sends reporters to compare and contrast the Romney and Obama campaign styles, little surprise who comes off looking best. The banner headline on the front of Monday's special Campaign 2012 section set the scene: "Two Campaigns With Styles as Similar as Red and Blue."
More Obama favortism from Helene Cooper on the campaign trail. The New York Times reporter followed Obama campaigning in Iowa for Thursday's "Health Care Leads Campaign Dialogue in Midwest" and gave the president credit for lowering the rhetorical temperature of the campaign.
That involved skipping completely the false and vicious attack from Priorities USA, an Obama-affiliated SuperPAC, that tied Mitt Romney to the death of a woman from cancer, and downplaying the offensiveness of Vice President Joe Biden's remark to a mostly black Southern audience that the GOP would "put y'all back in chains."
There were some stark contrasts on the campaign trail in Wednesday's New York Times. After Vice President Joe Biden warned a racially mixed south Virginia audience of the Republican ticket: "They're going to put y'all back in chains." A five-paragraph brief on Biden's comments by Rebecca Berg made page A14 Wednesday, including a brief quote of Mitt Romney's counterattack on the Obama camp in Chillicothe, Ohio, under the soporific headline "A Metaphor Draws Notice."
Berg helpfully corrected Biden's grammar by removing the veep's condescending second-person plural Southernism ("y'all"), replacing it with the more standard "you all." By contrast, the exchange was highlighted in a front-page Washington Post article, which retained Biden's contraction.
New York Times reporters have been hammering away at Mitt Romney over his handling of the immigration issue, using last week's Supreme Court decision that unanimously upheld the main component of Arizona's immigration enforcement law to portray him as in an awkward and defensive position with Latino voters (while downplaying the fact that illegal immigration is a lower priority for Latinos than employment).
Campaign reporter Jeff Zeleny said on PBS's Washington Week last Friday that Romney "really took a hard right stance during this Republican primary nomination" on immigration enforcement, and several minutes of Friday's TimesCast were devoted to portraying Romney on the defensive.
President Obama on Friday bypassed Congress to put in place the New York Times' beloved Dream Act by executive order that halted deportation of young people who came to the United States illegally. That merited Saturday's lead story slot, occupied by immigration beat reporter Julia Preston and John Cushman, "Obama To Permit Young Migrants To Remain In U.S."
Preston and Cushman devoted precisely two of their 28 paragraphs to opposing views from "angry" Republicans in Congress. The rest were devoted to Obama's announcement, joyful illegals, and their liberal supporters happy that immigrants could finally, as the Times has reported ad nauseum, "come out of the shadows" (Preston's reporting in particular is notoriously pro-amnesty.) And the paper's succeeding stories on the issue were little better.
For years, conservative media critics have asserted that many mainstream journalists favor gay marriage and tilt their coverage of the topic accordingly. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday, Mark Halperin of Time magazine seemed to agree. “The media is as divided on this issue as the Obama family -- which is to say not at all,” he said. “And so he’s never going to get negative coverage for this.”
The presidential campaign has just begun in earnest, but New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro already thinks the Mitt Romney campaign is getting too nasty. Barbaro's previous reporting doesn't betray much concern for Republican electoral prospects, but he was very concerned with the tone of the Romney campaign in Thursday's story.
One certainly got that feeling watching Sunday's Meet the Press as guests David Brooks and Helene Cooper both expressed concerns about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney potentially picking a "white guy" to be his running mate (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Why is the New York Times so invested in promoting J Street, the minor, left-wing group of Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)?
Reporter Helene Cooper Wednesday gave the benefit of the doubt to J Street, which wants to, in its words, "end the occupation" of Palestinian land, complains on its website about the influence on Israeli policy by the American "far right," and receives funding from George Soros. Yet Cooper insisted, against that evidence and more, including smearing supporters of Israel by the offensive term "Israel Firster," of calling J Street "Pro-Israel," as did the headline over her story: "J Street, Pro-Israel but Opposed to Attacking Iran, Takes Its Message to Washington."
Chris Matthews this weekend, on the syndicated program bearing his name, offered viewers a mock movie trailer attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In honor of Sunday's Oscars and the presumed favorite "The Artist," Matthews was using the occasion to cinematically show Romney's "downfall" is "when he has to open his mouth" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
Since when does a "few" mean thirteen? The answer appears to be: "When Barack Obama says it does, and when the press won't call him in it."
Rush Limbaugh today talked about a January 25 speech President Barack Obama made at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and pointed to a particular segment demonstrating in his view that Obama was deliberately "downsizing the American Dream." When I went to the actual speech at the White House's web site, I found a statement the President made about his administration's jobs record which was quite problematic (i.e., false), and which, despite the press's rips at Republican candidates who dare question the specifics of Obama's economic performance or the legitimacy of the economic recovery in general, received no press coverage I could locate:
Potential Obama opponent Mitt Romney is “the gift that keeps on giving” according to the Obama campaign team, the New York Times' Helene Cooper eagerly reports in her Monday “Political Memo,” “The Flub Watch Never Stops for Obama’s Team.” The text box reads: “If Romney makes a misstep, the Democrats are ready to pounce.” And Cooper is right there to cover Team Ohama's glorious Twitter victories in loving detail.
"Speaker Says No, So Obama Delays Speech" is how The New York Times's September 1 front page headline spun the short squabble over the timing of President Obama's upcoming speech before Congress on his job creation plan. "Spat Over Which Day to Address Economy," added a subheadline.
For their part, Times writers Helene Cooper and Jackie Calmes ginned up the perpetual lament of partisan discord in Washington, before going on to portray President Obama as the bigger man for amending his initial wish to speak to Congress next Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern:
The text box works in a typical crack at Bush administration foreign policy: “Using force when justified but not going it alone.” The implication, common in the pages of the Times, is that Bush somehow went it alone in the invasion of Iraq. For the record, the United States actually led a 30-nation coalition in Iraq (35 countries joined the fight in Afghanistan).
The New York Times may flinch at the thought of cutting Medicare or unemployment benefits to cut deficits, but reporters have quickly warmed to the idea of a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan in the name of cost-cutting.
Many people, including yours truly, believe that one of the primary reasons for the Politico's existence is to carry negative stories about Democrats and leftists which the rest of the establishment press then mostly chooses to ignore ("Why should we cover that? It's at the Politico already").
President Obama’s much-hyped speech Thursday on the Middle East called for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and endorsing Israel’s pre-1967 borders as the starting point for the negotiations. The New York Times’s lead story Thursday morning by Helene Cooper and Ethan Bronner, "Focus On Obama As Tensions Soar Across Mideast," set the table by sharpening the focus on Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s "unyielding" recalcitrance as the main "stumbling blocks" to negotiations.
Mr. Obama, who is set to address Americans -- and, more significantly, Muslims around the world -- from the State Department on Thursday morning, may yet have something surprising up his sleeve. One administration official said that there remained debate about whether Mr. Obama would formally endorse Israel’s pre-1967 borders as the starting point for negotiations over a Palestinian state, a move that would send an oratorical signal that the United States expected Israel to make concessions.
Times reporting from Jerusalem is often hostile toward the conservative security-conscious Netanyahu, while whitewashing the terrorist origin of the Palestinian militants of Hamas, and there were traces of that on Thursday’s report from Washington.
A New York Times "Learning Network" graphic informs us that under the proposed Obama-GOP tax and spending compromise, "rates will not change for at least two years for anyone."
Wow. Somebody at the Learning Network needs to tell the Old Gray Lady's beat reporters, editorial board, and opinion columnists. Just today, reporter Helene Cooper, in noting how Vice President Joe Biden is playing a "bigger role" in the administration (translation: picking up the pieces from President Obama's disastrous ongoing alienation of anyone and everyone, friend and foe alike), twice refers to the compromise as involving "tax cuts." Cooper's defenders may claim that the Times reporter is partially referring to the proposed one-year reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, but that's not a contentious issue at the moment (though given how broke the Social Security really is, it should be). Federal income tax rates for 2011 and beyond are.
Anyway, as far as the Learning Network is concerned, so far, so good. But then it commits its own unforced error:
Who Benefits? All taxpayers, but especially high-income households, which had faced a new, higher rate.