The New York Times led Thursday's edition with the Senate defeat of President Obama's gun control proposals in a series of procedural votes, including one on expanding background checks that Democrats had hoped would pass. The front page featured a photo of an angry Obama in the Rose Garden after his quest for more gun control laws in the wake of Sandy Hook came up short: "Gun Control Drive Blocked In Senate; Obama, In Defeat, Sees 'Shameful Day.'"
She may not have walked the red carpet, but Michelle Obama -- all bangs and biceps and bling -- had her own star turn during Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony, when she announced the winner for best picture via satellite from the White House.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman strangely painted the fiscal cliff deal (which displeased conservatives with its tax increases and lack of spending cuts) as a fiscal dream come true for Republicans in his "news analysis" for Wednesday's front page. Weisman also mocked the GOP's historical support for low taxes.
Just a few years ago, the tax deal pushed through Congress on Tuesday would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy, a sweeping bill that locks in virtually all of the Bush-era tax cuts, exempts almost all estates from taxation, and enshrines the former president’s credo that dividends and capital gains should be taxed equally and gently.
The New York Times extended the controversy over offensive comments made by Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin to indict the entire Republican Party, misleadingly conflating Akin's remark about "legitimate rape" with the party's traditional pro-life stance. Wednesday's two connected lead stories were ushered in under the banner headline "Ignoring Deadline to Quit, G.O.P. Senate Candidate Defies His Party Leaders: Unexpected Twist in the Election Campaigns."
The headline over Jennifer Steinhauer's story nationalized the firestorm in Missouri: "Unexpected Turn in Campaign for President," and the story's headline on the jump page crystalized Democratic wishful thinking: "Missouri Controversy May Endanger Republican Chances in the Fall."
Perhaps setting the tone for the 2012 election coverage, the New York Times leaned "staunchly" on "deep-seated" conservative labels in Sunday's front-page off-lead by Jennifer Steinhauer (pictured) and Jonathan Weisman: "Tea Party Focus Turns to Senate And Shake-Up-- Pursuing a House-Style Conservative Fervor." After months of hinting that the Tea Party was losing influence, the toppling of veteran Republican moderate Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana has convinced the Times that the group now poses a danger to moderates and deal-makers in the party.
The primary victory of a Tea Party-blessed candidate in Indiana illustrates how closely Republican hopes for a majority in the Senate are tied to candidates who pledge to infuse the chamber with the deep-seated conservatism that has been the hallmark of the House since the Republicans gained control in 2010.
The front of Thursday’s New York Times National section featured Jennifer Steinhauer’s “Birth Control is Covered, And G.O.P. Vows a Fight.” Steinhauer portrayed the fight in cynical political terms, showcasing Republicans as being opportunistic rather than motivated by principled opposition to Obama’s requirement that Catholic universities and charities violate their religious beliefs by offering free birth control via their health insurance plans.
Congressional Republicans, seizing on the type of social issue that motivates and unifies their base, stepped forcefully Wednesday into the battle over an Obama administration rule requiring health insurance plans provided by Catholic universities and charities to offer free birth control to women, vowing to fight back with legislation to unravel the new policy.
Right from the start of her off-lead story Wednesday, New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer dramatically portrayed GOP conservatives (standing firm against a legislative compromise that would temporarily extend the payroll tax cut instead of a long-term solution) as isolated from mainstream politics. “G.O.P. In House Rejects Stopgap On Payroll Tax.”
The New York Times is once again trying very hard to make the GOP candidates’s tough stands against illegal immigration a damaging campaign issue. Saturday's entry was reported by Jennifer Steinhauer, “Some Republicans in Congress Are Pushing Steps to Ease Immigration.” She gave congressional Republicans backhanded praise for being "more nuanced and measured" on immigration than their presidential candidates, whose trail rhetoric "bristles with talk of moats, militarization and electrified fences when it comes to illegal immigration."
It helps that Steinhauer conflates proposals to increase legal immigration (which many Republicans support) with stopping illegal immigration.
New York Times reporters Jennifer Steinhauer and Steven Yaccino unfurled a hit piece (accompanied by a severely unflattering photo) on Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, conservative freshman congressman and Tea Party favorite, on the front of Tuesday’s National section: “G.O.P.’s Freshman’s Fiscal Message Clashes With His Finances.” It’s not the first time the paper has gone after a Tea Party conservative on such personal terms.
Double standards on story placement in the New York Times? A “Political Victory” for the White House over trade deals that promise only “small” economic benefits was trumpeted in the headline to Thursday’s lead story, while a “major setback” for Obama and his jobs bill was buried on Wednesday’s inside pages.
New York Times White House reporters Jackie Calmes and Jennifer Steinhauer were with Obama on the money-raising trail in Texas and did their usual spin job for the partisan, combative president in Wednesday’s “Obama Pitches Jobs Bill And Appeals to Donors.”
President Obama on Tuesday combined fund-raising and campaigning for his jobs bill in the home state of the Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry and the Congressional district of a House Republican leader, and he did not shy away from telling donors that they and Texas’ oil companies should pay more taxes for the nation’s good.
New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer showed typical Times labeling slant in her Saturday update on Congress’s so-far-failed attempts to keep the government open after the end of the month.
After House approval of its stopgap bill after midnight on Friday, the Senate voted 59 to 36 to set aside the House bill, with a handful of conservative Republicans joining with Democrats to deliver a quick and decisive rejection. Democrats opposed the measure because the disaster relief effort was offset by spending cuts to other programs dear to them. Conservatives appeared to feel their House colleagues had failed to cut short-term spending deeply enough.
When President Obama announced he wanted to deliver his latest speech on the economy to a joint session of Congress on the same night as a GOP presidential debate, House speaker John Boehner politely requested the administration wait one day. Obama acceded, to the chagrin of the left and the New York Times.
Reporter Jennifer Steinhauer devoted a full story to the squabble in Friday’s edition, focusing almost solely on the supposed “disrespect” shown by Republicans to poor, put-upon President Obama: “G.O.P. vs. Obama: Disrespect or Just Politics?”
Rep. Allen West (Fla.), the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), is considering leaving the CBC after a fellow member of the caucus practically compared Tea Party members to lynch mob members.
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) recently told a gathering in Miami that Tea Party members "would love to see us as second-class citizens" and to see blacks "hanging on a tree."
New York Times staffer Jennifer Steinhauer reported the development yesterday on The Caucus blog. Today the Times ran a condensed version of that blog post on page A16 and headlined it "Taking Issue With Criticism," as though Rep. Andre Carson's comments were legitimate critiques of the Tea Party movement.
House Republican leaders were forced on Tuesday night to delay a vote scheduled on their plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, as conservative lawmakers expressed skepticism and Congressional budget officials said the plan did not deliver the promised savings.
President Obama seized on the re-emergence of an ambitious bipartisan budget plan in the Senate on Tuesday to invigorate his push for a big debt-reduction deal, and he summoned Congressional leaders back to the bargaining table this week to “start talking turkey.”
New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer showed her labeling slant in Wednesday’s “news analysis” on how the war in Libya is tearing apart the Republican Party, “U.S. Mission Exposes Divisions in Congress and Within G.O.P.,” finding “conservatives” and “right-of-center” pols, but failing to identify the ultra-liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich as a liberal. The strongest word Steinhauer could find for Kucinich was “anti-war.”
In the past Steinhauer has singled out Republican politicians as ideologically extreme, citing Rep. Allen West for his “hard-right stands” and overdosing on the “conservative” label. She wrote on Wednesday:
Congressional Democrats pressed for a vote on the Ryan plan yesterday, and it went down to defeat 57-40, with five Senate Republicans opposing it along with the Democrats.
The House Republican Medicare plan would convert it into a subsidized program for the private insurance market. When they proposed it last month as the centerpiece of their budget plan, Republicans were confident that the wind of budget politics was at their backs.
The New York Times provided big play to Tuesday’s special congressional election to fill New York's 26th congressional district near Buffalo, a race in which Democrat Kathy Hochul upset Republican Jane Corwin. Reporter Raymond Hernandez was quick to assume this one special race spells bad news for Republican plans to reform Medicare, and their prospects in the national elections 18 months away. But how does the Times typically react when Republicans win special and off-year elections?
Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
In Wednesday’s “Good Feeling Gone, In Congress, Anyway,“ New York Times reporters Jennifer Steinhauer and Carl Hulse suggested it was unseemly for Republicans to not accede to President Obama on domestic issues, after the killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALS in Pakistan.
The article superficially appears to be an even-handed “pox on both houses“ story, but the text provided a tableaux of Democrats fuming over Republican actions or lack of same, as if Republicans had reacted to the unifying national moment of Obama’s capture with stubborn partisan obstruction. Two photo captions demonstrated Democrats seeing a "spirit of unity" dashed by the GOP:
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, complained about the “excessive regulation” of business.
Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said he hoped a “spirit of unity” would prevail, but there was little sign of it Tuesday.
Steinhauer’s profile, while not overtly hostile, contained no less than eight ideological labels to describe the “conservative” West, not including the first word of the headline, while his comments on feminism and support for Israel were labeled “incendiary.” This from a newspaper that constantly refers to the truly incendiary Al Sharpton as a “civil rights activist.” A sampling:
But the most compelling part of Representative Allen B. West of Florida is his own biography, there for all to see: an African-American Tea Party activist Republican congressman and ally of hard-right Israelis who, after his beloved career in the Army ended under a cloud, defeated the sitting Democrat in a largely white, politically polarized district here and quickly became one of the right’s most visible spokesmen.
Mr. West’s popularity among conservatives goes far beyond South Florida. He was chosen to give the keynote speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and is frequently featured on the Fox News Channel and in other conservative settings where he enjoys explaining, reiterating or unleashing any number of incendiary remarks concerning what he often calls “the other side.”
Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times offered a story Thursday on already hypocritical freshman House Republicans favoring big-picture spending cuts, but fighting for local projects. The headline was "Gung-Ho for Big Cuts in Spending, Less Fond of the Ones That Hurt Back Home." Steinhauer reported: "While scores of congressmen and women are singing an ode to spending reductions with their Republican choir in Washington, back home, the tune sometimes changes...Such inconsistencies, while hardly new to this Congress, are political chum for Democrats."
That could be the slogan for The New York Times: "All the News That Is Political Chum for Democrats."
The first star of the story is Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington state, who campaigned against the "stimulus" and voted for the $61 billion cut, but now wants to help secure a $10 million grant for the Port of Vancouver. It’s true that trillion-dollar deficits can be built out of local projects. But Steinhauer was helpfully setting up local Congressman Steve Israel from Long Island to lecture:
House Republicans quietly moved Friday to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, saying they would step in to argue for the measure’s constitutionality after the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending it.
Republican leaders had the option of inserting themselves in the case by introducing a resolution on the House floor and allowing members to speak out on the issue. Instead they released a statement of their intent on a Friday afternoon when the House was out of session.
By choosing that route, Republican leaders illuminated a central problem they face in the 112th Congress: how to reflect the priorities of traditional social conservatives when much of the party’s energy is focused on the federal budget and the national debt, the animating passions of the freshman class of lawmakers.
Inspired by the Tea Party’s focus on the Constitution and the limits it places on the power of the federal government, the House of Representatives read the entire document in the House chamber as one of its first official acts on Thursday. But reporter Jennifer Steinhauer marked the occasion more with cynicism and snippiness than solemnity in Friday’s “Constitution Has Its Day (More or Less) in House.” Her lead:
If you are a member of the House and you plan to read the text of the Constitution on the floor, it’s probably a good idea to have already taken the oath to support and defend it first.
On Sunday, New York Times reporter Randal Archibold offered up more of his slanted reporting on Arizona's pending new immigration enforcement law, suggesting that supporters of tough immigration enforcement are fostering fear by exaggerating the problem of violent crime on the border with Mexico: "On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas."
But does his evidence stand up? Two conservative writers say no, pointing to FBI statistics that show crime has increased substantially in towns outside major metropolitan areas and rural counties.
When Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, announced that the Obama administration would send as many as 1,200 additional National Guard troops to bolster security at the Mexican border, she held up a photograph of Robert Krentz, a mild-mannered rancher who was shot to death this year on his vast property. The authorities suspected that the culprit was linked to smuggling.
"Robert Krentz really is the face behind the violence at the U.S.-Mexico border," Ms. Giffords said.
It is a connection that those who support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and tighter borders often make: rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement.
But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol. While thousands have been killed in Mexico's drug wars, raising anxiety that the violence will spread to the United States, F.B.I. statistics show that Arizona is relatively safe.
"Far-Right" Angle on G.O.P. Senate Candidate From Nevada
"But on the other hand some of these women are, like in Nevada, against Harry Reid, Sharron Angle has, she's a Tea Party candidate who's given Democrats renewed hope of saving Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, from what was looking to be near certain defeat, because she is so extreme....The Democrats generally at first blush on Wednesday morning when the results were in were happy that both Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, looks newly secure because the Nevada Republicans had nominated such an extreme, Tea Party-type member." -- Reporter Jackie Calmes in a June 10 "Political Points" podcast.
"Among her detractors and her supporters [Angle] 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." -- Reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, June 10.
G.O.P. Already Doomed
"Some critics are already asking Republican leaders how they managed to let a promising election season get so mightily out of control." -- June 10 front-page teaser to a story by Matt Bai on Republican election prospects for November.
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.
New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, previously heard insulting California voters for failing to vote for tax hikes, ventured over the border on Tuesday's front page to cover a Republican primary scuffle in Arizona involving Sen. John McCain being challenged from the right by former congressman J.D. Hayworth: “McCain, Facing G.O.P. Foe in Primary, Tilts to the Right.” The online headline: “From Right of Radio Dial, a Challenge to McCain.”
Hayworth was part of the Republican class of 1994, who served six terms in the House until losing in 2006. Steinhauer described Hayworth's defeat in loaded terms: “His loss to Harry E. Mitchell, a Democrat, in his 2006 re-election bid was humiliating, and underscored voter distaste for some of his more boisterous ways.”
From the start, Steinhauer hit the liberal cliches about conservative radio hosts.
J. D. Hayworth is a large man, and to compensate for his indulgences, he hits the elliptical trainer every morning at 4, zipping along to an incongruous soundtrack of Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra and old advertising jingles.
Until recently, he would then repair to a local radio station, where he would spend the better part of the day denouncing, in no particular order, illegal immigrants, all things Barack Obama, those who are insufficiently patriotic and, his favorite mark, one John McCain, the senior senator from Arizona.
Steinhauer feels for McCain, who in her telling is being pushed “starkly” to the right by “far right” meanies like Hayworth, in a piece notable for its sudden sympathy toward John McCain, whose coverage in the Times seems to be determined based on whether a loss by him would help or hurt the conservative movement. As Times Watch has demonstrated, McCain was clearly the Times's favorite Republican in Campaign 2008 – until he became the clear frontrunner and the only likely candidate standing between a historic Democratic presidency involving either the first female or first black president.
The New York Times is still having difficulty dealing with democracy in California -- namely the state's unique ballot initiatives, which sometimes produces results inconvenient to a liberal agenda. First it was last year's surprise passage of Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage that threw the Times for a loop. This week it was the rejection of five fiscal measures in a special statewide referendum on Tuesday, notably Proposition 1A, pushed by supporters and the Times as a necessary measure of fiscal solvency that would have raised or extended a variety of taxes in return for a vague spending cap.