Meet the "so extreme," "far-right conservative" Sharron Angle, who won the Nevada Senate primary on Tuesday and will face Democrat Harry Reid in the fall. Those quotes aren't from Daily Kos or even a New York Times columnist, but from two of the Times's political reporters, Jennifer Steinhauer and Jackie Calmes.
(This post is based on two items previously posted on Times Watch.)
Further, Ms. Angle -- the Tea Party-blessed candidate who bested her two better-financed competitors in Tuesday's primary -- is an untested statewide candidate whose positions as a lawmaker put her firmly to the right of most mainstream Nevada voters. The hot lights of national exposure can be a liability for new -- and overly loquacious -- candidates, as Rand Paul, the Republican Senate nominee from Kentucky, quickly found.
Among her detractors and her supporters she is known as a far-right conservative and a thorn in the side of both parties, routinely voting no on almost everything that came before the Legislature. She is also a tireless campaigner. When a 2002 redistricting forced her to face off with a wildly popular Republican incumbent, Greg Brower, she went door to door nightly, won and ended his political career.
Yesterday, in the midst of the commencement address he delivered at Hampton University, President Obama made a startling "admission" (readers will see why "admission" is in quotes shortly):
And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
There are more troubling overtones inherent in the excerpt that many observers have already noted. I'll stay away from them for the purposes of this post.
Those matters aside, there are still a few pesky items that arise from the bolded portion of the excerpt.
New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes claimed in Tuesday's Obama-pitying "For Obama, A Nonstop Juggling Act" that his "supporters" call him a pragmatist. So does that make Times reporters Obama supporters as well? And is the Tea Party really "far right"?
By his own reckoning, Mr. Obama has always been hard to peg ideologically. His Republican opponents charge that he is masking a left-wing agenda in centrist-sounding words.
His supporters, including those who work for him, say he is a pragmatist whose instincts are genuinely centrist, both as a matter of politics and style.
The Times also constantly sells its readers on the idea that the big-spending, socially liberal Obama is some kind of moderate "pragmatist."
Calmes also repeated popular Democrat-friendly talking points, calling the left-leaning retiring Sen. Evan Bayh a "centrist" and claiming his retirement had to do with the "dysfunctional Congress," as opposed to dimming Democratic prospects for the 2010 election.
Senator Evan Bayh's comments this week about a dysfunctional Congress reflected a complaint being directed at Washington with increasing frequency, and there is broad agreement among critics about Exhibit A: The unwillingness of the two parties to compromise to control a national debt that is rising to dangerous heights.
On the eve of President Obama's first State of the Union address, the lead story in Wednesday's New York Times by Jackie Calmes focused on Obama's abrupt transformation into a born-again deficit hawk: "Obama, On Own, To Set Up Panel On Nation's Debt."
In a related video, Calmes played along with Obama's sudden about-face, claiming "the president wants to make deficit reduction a big part of his second-year agenda." Obama can apparently do no wrong: After spending months defending Obama's costly stimulus package, Calmes is now giving Obama credit for the opposite: cutting spending!
Obama's pre-State of the Union political woes were barely mentioned, a far cry from how the Times treated George W. Bush's political misfortunes before his last two addresses.
In a Friday news analysis piece that appeared in the paper's print edition today (teased at its web site as seen on the right), Jackie Calmes at the New York Times began with a pathetic headline, and opened with pity on our poor overwhelmed, stressed-out, stretched-in-all-directions President:
Obama Tries to Turn Focus to Jobs, if Other Events Allow
President Obama keeps trying to turn attention to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as his chief of staff has put it. But he is finding that it can be hard to focus on any one issue when so many demand attention, often unexpectedly.
This is simply another variation on the "distracted" President theme I noted last year (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). You know, if those terrorists and other messy realities wouldn't intervene, Barack Obama could do his job sooooo much better.
Calmes resumed the pity party in her seventh paragraph:
In the eyes of many in the liberal media, President Obama can do no wrong. If he does, it's not his fault; he is simply a victim of circumstance, or he made the best decision he could given the options. One can tell news items portraying Obama in this light by their descriptions of problems in the passive voice.
Take yesterday's New York Times article by Jackie Calmes, for instance. The piece displays a conspicuous use of the passive voice in the headline: "Promise to Trim Deficit Is Growing Harder to Keep", instead of, say, "Obama's Policies Make Deficit Reduction Unlikely".
The refrain is getting old. When Obama's economic policies caused the debt to skyrocket, and didn't lead to recovery but rather to more federal spending aimed at shoring up the economy, it was because the recession was worse than the administration had planned. Obama's brilliant plans to raise taxes on businesses failed because Congress succumbed to political pressure. Anticipated savings in Iraq were nullified when it turned out winning a war in Afghanistan might actually require significant funding. And Medicare is already being cut to pay for the health care overhaul, so those cuts can't go towards drawing down the deficit. You see, it's never actually Obama's fault.
If you haven't noticed, a lot of media outlets have gotten worked up into a tizzy over the mere mention of death panels. The New York Times got so worked up, it went after a few conservatives outlets by name in its Aug. 13 issue.
"But the rumor [that Obama's health care proposal would create death panels] - which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false - was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists," Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes wrote for the Times. "Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton's health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York's lieutenant governor)."
Unless you are hopelessly liberal and/or drinking WAY too much Kool-Aid, you are fully aware that President Obama and his Democrat minions on Capitol Hill can't get enough money from the so-called rich to pay for all the programs they're proposing.
On Saturday, such an inconvenient truth was actually revealed by none other than the New York Times:
"This idea that everything new that government provides ought to be paid for by the top 5 percent, that's a basically unstable way of governing."..."There is no way we can pay for health care and the rest of the Obama agenda, plus get our long-term deficits under control, simply by raising taxes on the wealthy...The middle class is going to have to contribute as well."
What follows are the questions that President-elect Obama took today at his 11 a.m. news conference after formally announcing former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as his choice for Health and Human Services Secretary.:
JACKIE CALMES, Wall Street Journal: Given the, in your statement when you addressed the controversy over Gov. Blagojevich, you did not repeat what your spokesman said yesterday about having him, that he should resign. Why did you not? And could you tell us what context, if any, you know that your staff or any emissaries for you have had with prosecutors or the FBI?
PHIL ELLIOTT, Associated Press: Thank you. Have you or anyone in your transition or campaign been intereviewed as it relates to the criminal complaint? And who is the transition advisor referenced in the complaint?
Meet the newly minted traditionalists at the New York Times, two female reporters who seem to doubt whether or not a woman can have it all -- at least if she's a Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Labor Day edition of the Times's "Political Points" podcast, recorded at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn, was hosted by Jane Bornemeier with commentary from reporters Jackie Calmes, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Kirkpatrick. The conversation was predictably dominated by "baby-gate" -- the news that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant. Some choice excerpts in which the two female reporters question the judgment of McCain and Palin and find the issue of a teenager's pregnancy fair game: