The Times accused the Romney campaign of ads "falsely charging that Mr. Obama has eliminated work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries," claiming such "moves reflect a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race." Yet the claim made in Romney's ad holds up -- unlike the Times's claim that Romney's recent joke about Obama's birth certificate was playing the race card.
No matter what campaign tactic Mitt Romney chooses, it's the wrong one. A July 12 New York Times headline reads: "Romney Faces Calls to Deliver Counterpunch." Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker began their front-page "campaign memo" relaying concerns from the GOP that he is not counterattacking Obama:
Mitt Romney and his team of advisers built a reputation during the Republican primaries as tough street fighters skilled in the tactics of political warfare. They quietly took pride in tearing apart Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of their rivals.
While confessing Democrats and unions were dealt a "painful blow" Tuesday night as Republican Gov. Scott Walker handily beat Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election, Wednesday's lead story by Monica Davey and Jeff Zeleny opened with the liberal argument that Walker was to blame for undermining the "civility" of the state's progressive politics by engaging in his successful reform of public sector unions. (The online headline, "Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Effort," is a slightly churlish acknowledgement of Walker's convincing win of 53%-46%.)
Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, easily held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions.
The ad strategy, which was aborted after the Times ran with it on Thursday's front page, would have emphasized Obama's controversial Chicago pastor, the racially inflammatory Jeremiah Wright. But the Times as usual described Rev. Wright's anti-white jeremiads in bland terms, burying Wright's 9-11 quote that the attack was “America’s chickens are coming home to roost," and left out his notorious "God damn America!" rant completely. That distanced approach matches the paper's reluctant Wright coverage during the 2008 campaign.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny reported Saturday from Mitt Romney’s speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C., “Romney’s Record as Governor Resumes Central Role in Nomination Fight,” and noted that Mitt Romney used the “conservative” label “at least 25 times during a 25-minute speech.” Funny Zeleny should mention that, considering a Friday Times report from CPAC contains 23 instances of the word “conservative” in a 28-paragraph story, making it as popular a word choice as the conjunction “and.”
Zeleny's Saturday dispatch was only slightly less label-happy, using the word 12 times, not counting quoted material or the name of the conference itself. (Is the name Conservative Political Action Conference not a sufficient giveaway?)
New York Times campaign reporters Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg found no hypocrisy in President Obama’s Monday flip-flop on the evils of "Super PAC" fund-raising in Tuesday’s front-page story, “Obama Yields In Marshaling Of ‘Super PAC.’” As of yesterday, Obama is encouraging Democrats to give to the political action committee Priorities USA, which is led by two former White House aides.
After the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United such Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and invididuals. The Times' passive headline puts no responsibility on Obama, portraying his change of heart as a necessary evil he has little control over.
On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, New York Times political reporters Jeff Zeleny (pictured) and Jim Rutenberg loaded up on crude anti-business stereotypes that went beyond even what front-runner Mitt Romney's GOP rivals were saying, in Tuesday’s “On Primary Eve, Rivals Try to Put Romney on Defensive.” (This version is lightly updated from the print version in Tuesday’s newspaper.)
Thursday’s lead story on the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses, “Romney Showing Financial Muscle For Next Round,” found New York Times reporters Jim Rutenberg (pictured) and Jeff Zeleny a little label-happy in Manchester, New Hampshire, using twelve variations on the “conservative” label in a 1,236-word story.
By contrast, back in 2008, the Times’s Michael Powell actually called the liberal Gov. Michael Dukakis a “pragmatist” and ultra-liberal politicians Sen. Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson “populists,” while calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a “liberal pragmatist” a grand total of once. In the same story, Sen. John Edwards was described as having wrapped himself in a “populist cloak.”
Reporting on the campaigns in Iowa on Friday's Early Show, Times political correspondent Jeff Zeleny belittled candidate Michele Bachmann as "a little bit combustible and volatile."
Zeleny added that "Anyone knows what she could do," in response to CBS anchor Jeff Glor's question about the potential for a candidate to do something before the Iowa Caucus to change the GOP race. [Video below the break.]
Thursday’s New York Times front-page campaign story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg prominently featured Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod frankly discussing how the party plans to influence the GOP primary by pitting Newt Gingrich (himself a "juicy target") against Mitt Romney: “Democrats See 2-Horse Race, Adding Whip.” It’s the kind of early White House attacks the Times once disapproved of, at least when done by Republican President George W. Bush.
New York Times political reporters Jeff Zeleny (pictured) and Jim Rutenberg teamed up on Tuesday for a preview of the possible presidential head-to-head matchup Obama vs. Mitt Romney: “As the Primary Campaign Grinds On, Romney’s Team Prepares for Obama.” But they felt the need to put a metaphorical finger on the scale with a negative description of the GOP.
Mark McKinnon, a regular contributor to the liberal Daily Beast website, which owns Newsweek magazine, made a morbid gaffe as he commented on Texas Governor Rick Perry's stumble during the November 9 Republican presidential debate on CNBC. The New York Times on Wednesday quoted McKinnon labeling Perry's brain freeze as the "human equivalent of shuttle Challenger."
Times writers Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker cited the Democrat, who once served as an aide to former President George W. Bush, as an example of how "Republican operatives almost uniformly declared it [Perry's gaffe] as a sign of great trouble for his candidacy."
President Barack Obama continues to benefit from a fawning media of which past Presidents could only dream, yet on Sunday’s This Week two journalists fretted he’s not getting enough credit for his accomplishments, a lack of recognition they blamed on his staff’s poor public relations efforts.
Since he’s taken office, FBN’s Liz Claman asserted, “almost every sector in the S&P is up double digit percentages” and “this is also the President under whom we got Osama bin Laden. Those two things are not getting him any gravitas at the moment.” So, she despaired, “whoever’s running PR for him needs to work on that part of it.” (video below)
Yet Zeleny’s analysis was chock full of the typical liberal bias slant that puffs up President Obama, slams the Tea Party as “intractable” and ignores the partisanship of liberal Senate members, particularly Harry Reid (emphasis mine):
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny was with Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in Waterloo, Iowa, at the official launching of her presidential campaign for Tuesday’s “Bachmann Opens Campaign as Expectations Grow.” But Zeleny concluded his mostly balanced story with a reference to Bachmann’s latest in a “string of gaffes” – her mistaken claim that Western movie star John Wayne had been born in Waterloo, Iowa (though his parents met there).
Yet the Times has totally ignored a far more by President Obama, who wrongly claimed in a speech he gave June 23 to the Army's 10th Mountain Division that he had awarded a Medal of Honor to a living soldier. Jared Monti had actually had been killed in Afghanistan in 2006 and had been bestowed the honor posthumously. Obama apologized to the family.
Reporter Jackie Calmes even filed an online report from Fort Drum, in upstate New York, but failed to note the flub.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny followed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to Tampa and filed “Democrats Scowl at Romney Joke” for Friday's edition, treating as a weighty matter a harmless joke by the candidate to a group of unemployed people as one of a series of “occasionally awkward...off-the-cuff remarks.” Yet the Times has remained silent as President Obama has reeled off a series of gaffes about the high unemployment under his watch.
Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.
“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”
Another day, another New York Times story by Katharine Seelye story on liberal Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards that completely leaves out the words "liberal" and "Democrat" -- an admiring profile of Edwards’s loyal daughter, "For Edwards’s Adult Daughter, A Recurring Role: Family Glue," which led Thursday's National section.
Seelye’s initial online story on Edwards’s indictment last Friday also left out the disgraced politician’s party affiliation, though it was added in by the time the story appeared in print Saturday.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a moderate Republican and conservative tweaker who is leaving his post as President Obama’s ambassador to China, is considering a Republican presidential run, according to New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, whose flattering profile of Huntsman graced Wednesday’s paper: “He’s Done Working for Obama. Now He May Challenge Him in ‘12."
Three months before President Obama nominated Jon M. Huntsman Jr. as ambassador to China, Mr. Huntsman arrived here to introduce himself to three dozen influential Republicans and talk politics with them over dinner at the Palmetto Club.
Mr. Huntsman, then serving his second term as governor of Utah and prospecting for his political future, worried aloud that Republicans were growing out of touch with a generation of Americans. If the party wanted to win national elections again, he argued, Republicans needed to broaden their appeal to young voters, Hispanics and independents.
CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted the Tea Party movement on Monday's Early Show, but also played up how it might present a "challenge" for potential Republican presidential candidates due its apparent unpopularity: "Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates."
Midway through her report, after noting the would-be GOP presidential candidates, such as Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump, who showed up at some of the weekend rallies, the correspondent turned to possible downside that these politicians might face in appealing to the Tea Party, playing up a result from a recent CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll:
PBS fans love how the show Washington Week is such a peaceful regurgitation of the conventional liberal media wisdom. But there are times in the calm that you wonder what world these liberals are living in. For example, the show's host, Gwen Ifill, seems to think it's plausible that President Obama -- the man who's made trillion-dollar-plus deficits a routine -- could take the "deficit slasher" label away from a conservative. New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny suggested that seniors might be willing to consider seriously Medicare reforms if they'll help lower the debt.
Ifill replied: "Is that why when we see the president come out this week and make speeches like this, it seems like he was snatching the mantle of deficit slasher from Paul Ryan's hands and saying 'No, no, no -- me'?"
President Obama opened the week by calling on Democrats to embrace his re-election campaign. He closed it by praising Republicans for forging a compromise to cut spending this year and avert a government shutdown.
The juxtaposition made clearer than ever the more centrist governing style Mr. Obama has adopted since his party’s big losses in November and his recapture-the-middle strategy for winning a second term.
Actually, Zeleny has considered Obama centrist, or at least a “pragmatist,” from his first year in office, well before the 2010 election. Here's Zeleny on Obama the pragmatist in December 2009: “He delivered a mix of realism and idealism....he continued a pattern evident throughout his public career of favoring pragmatism over absolutes.”
Gave reporter Jeff Zeleny about 330 words on Page A21 to recycle a Caucus Blog post softly covering the video-recorded arguable assault North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge committed against a questioner on a public street "last week," and which came to public light early Monday morning. The vague print edition headline (per the index): "Congressman Apologizes After Tussle."
Devoted almost 1,000 words on Page A15 to a story about a three year-old alleged shoving incident involving California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman that "no one else appears to have witnessed." Yet the headline gives the impression that the facts are not in dispute: "Settlement Was Paid in Whitman Shoving Incident."
During a Monday video interview with the New York Times’ The Caucus blog, the new White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, joined his predecessor Anita Dunn in declaring that Fox News Channel is not a news organization: “I have the same view of Fox that Anita had, which is that Fox is not a traditional news organization.”
Responding to a question by Times reporter Jeff Zeleny about Dunn’s feud with Fox, Pfeiffer explained: “They [FNC] have a point of view. That point of view pervades the entire network both the opinion shows, like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, but also through the newscasts during the day.” He went on to add: “We don’t feel an obligation to treat them like we would treat a CNN or an ABC or an NBC or a traditional news organization. But there are times when it would make sense to communicate with them and appear on the network.”
MediaBistro.com’s TVNewser obtained a response from Fox News to Pfeiffer’s comments: “Obviously new to his position, Dan seems to be intent upon repeating the mistakes of his predecessor... and we all remember how well that turned out.”
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny used an old interview with Barack Obama to defend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's "Negro" comment in his Tuesday "White House Memo," "Reid's Words On Race Carry Hints Of Obama's."
Zeleny already sounds a little tired of the story about besieged Democrat leader Reid, whose 2010 reelection efforts may have gotten even harder after being quoted in "Game Change," a new book by reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, saying Obama had the advantage of "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
Senator Harry Reid's comments about Barack Obama's race -- and its positive implications for his presidential run in 2008 -- have been well aired by now.
The weekend fallout has largely devolved into a familiar Democrat vs. Republican argument focusing on the political consequences for Mr. Reid, the Senate Democratic leader who is scraping through a tough re-election fight at home in Nevada.
Bloggers and their readers have "joked" about the New York Times being the official house organ of the Obama White House. Maybe it's not a joke.
Earlier this month (as seen at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), several bloggers caught the Times making significant changes to its initial coverage of Chicago's humiliating loss of its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, and of President Obama's involvement in that loss. The first Times report by Peter Baker was fairly harsh, questioning the President's judgment in getting involved, while citing his slipping poll ratings.
After Times organ grinder -- er, reporter -- Jeff Zeleny got a hold of the story, most of the harshness went away, as did Baker's original story. All of a sudden, at the same URL, there was no reference to tarnished presidential prestige. A dismissive assertion that the embarrassment "would fade in a news cycle or two" appeared. There was also a mention of Obama's 25-minute meeting with Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal that was not in the original. The reference to falling poll numbers also disappeared.
Well, the Times has just pulled a similar stunt in its coverage of President Obama's Wednesday night/Thursday morning visit to Dover Air Force Base. Once again, Jeff Zeleny is involved.
Those who read the New York Times's coverage of the unsuccessful results of Barack and Michelle Obama's attempt to seal the 2016 Summer Olympics bid for Chicago on Friday afternoon ('For Obama, an Unsuccessful Campaign") might want to read it again.
If it doesn't seem the same, it's because it isn't.
An excerpt of the item's first five paragraphs posted at FreeRepublic at 4:44 Eastern Time on October 2 shows that the article was apparently originally published under the same title with Peter Baker's byline sometime Friday afternoon.
There are even more substantive differences noticed by Weasel Zippers I will get to shortly, but the first five paragraphs alone were obviously worked over, while Jeff Zeleny's name was added to the byline.
After the jump, on the left you will see the original as excerpted at FreeRepublic; on the right are the first five paragraphs currently at the Times web site (saved here at my host for future reference; click here or on the graphic to view a larger side-by-side version in a separate window):
Big liberal protests, such as the Million Mom March (for gun control), the 2006 demonstrations in favor of illegal immigrants’ “rights,” and numerous anti-war marches all garnered heavy play and adoring coverage from the broadcast networks, cable news outlets, and big papers like the New York Times. So how did those news outlets react to Saturday’s huge protest with conservative themes? MRC’s analysts scrutinized the coverage; here’s their report card:
■ ABC, CBS and NBC: The broadcast networks did not offer any pre-rally coverage before Saturday’s protests, but offered decent coverage of the event itself. ABC’s World News on Saturday was pre-empted by college football, but Good Morning America offered full reports on both Saturday and Sunday, as did NBC’s Today. Both the NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News led with the rally on Saturday night, although CBS’s morning news shows gave the protest almost no attention.
The tone of coverage, however, was largely antagonistic.
There was a huge protest against Obama's big-government plans at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, but one was hard-pressed to find evidence of it on the New York Times home page Sunday morning: A small headline tucked under the Political subhead.
The print edition wasn't much more forthcoming. Although the Washington D.C. Fire Dept. estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people attended the 9/12 protest, and many estimates are higher, the Times made do with one medium-sized story buried on page A37 of the Sunday paper, "Thousands Attend Broad Protest of Government," teasing it on the front page in a below-the-fold photo from the march. A much smaller Obama rally got better placement, and so had a previous ACORN-led left-wing protest numbering...40 people.
Reporter Jeff Zeleny painted protesters as "angry" and "profane" and that the rally contained "no shortage of vitriol," as if there were never raised voices and obscene signage at left-wing anti-war rallies:
A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since he took office, a culmination of a summer-long season of protests that began with opposition to a health care overhaul and grew into a broader dissatisfaction with government.
On a cloudy and cool day, the demonstrators came from all corners of the country, waving American flags and handwritten signs explaining the root of their frustrations. Their anger stretched well beyond the health care legislation moving through Congress, with shouts of support for gun rights, lower taxes and a smaller government.