Clearly, the New York Times couldn't run with Jonathan Weisman's headline or opening sentence in the report he filed shortly after Friday's portion of Friday's testimony at a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee in its Saturday print edition. And it didn't.
The original headline at Weisman's story, as seen here (HT Ann Althouse via Instapundit), was "Treasury Knew of I.R.S. Inquiry in 2012, Official Says." His opening sentence: "The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year." Along came Jeremy Peters, who helped to "properly" frame these matters, turning it into yet another "Republicans attack our poor innocent administration" piece. That is what made it to today's paper -- on Page A12, naturally accompanied by a "better" headline. Meanwhile, except for excerpts captured at places like the indispensable FreeRepublic, Weisman's original has been flushed down the memory hole.
Benghazi hearings open in the House on Wednesday, and the New York Times printed a preview on page 16 of Wednesday's edition that downplayed any possible revelations about the Obama administration's reaction to the terrorist attack, which killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Testimony is expected by three State Department officials, led by U.S. diplomat Gregory Hicks, deputy mission chief in Tripoli, who said his pleas for military assistance were overruled.
Feeling reader pressure after the Washington Post led its Tuesday's edition by setting up the House hearings, Public Editor Margaret Sullivan addressed the issue on her blog Tuesday afternoon, posing a coverage question to Washington bureau chief (and former neoliberal economics reporter) David Leonhardt, who didn't anticipate hearing much new on Wednesday:
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.'"
Reporting on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to serve Obama as secretary of defense, the New York Times' Jeremy Peterstried to imply as he has before that the Republican move to filibuster Hagel, who bombed in hearings, was both uncollegial and unprecedented.
But Peters had to stretch in his Tuesday piece, limiting his examples to the narrow fact that Hagel is the first secretary of defense nominee to be threatened with a filibuster (ignoring the many other Republican nominees filibustered by Democrats, as well as the Democrats' outright rejection of Republican nominee John Tower in 1989).
From the day President Obama nominated him, the New York Times has oozed sympathy for the plight of Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense. Times reporters have warned darkly of the disappearance of congressional "comity" and "courtesy" (as if the clubbiness and glad-handing endemic to the U.S. Senate represents some shining exemplar of good government) among Republicans, who dare suggest Hagel came off grossly uninformed and confused on foreign policy issues in his congressional hearings.
Wednesday's New York Times front page featured Susan Rice's failed attempt to assuage concerns of three Senate Republicans on her false statements about the Benghazi massacre in "Rice Concedes Error on Libya: G.O.P. Digs In." Inside was an unflattering photo of a peeved-looking Sen. John McCain. Posing Republican senator and Rice critic McCain as the bad guy, an on-line text box accompanying the article highlighted a reader comment from "Them or Us": "If you think these three Senators walked in with open minds and no agenda, I'd like to sell you a bridge that crosses the East River into Brooklyn. McCain's little kangaroo court is about as transparent as his anger." Meanwhile, on the back pages, two liberal Times columnists disagreed on Benghazi's significance.
In the front-page story, reporters Mark Landler and Jeremy Peters minimized the import of the policy scandal by focusing on the personal, portraying Rice, who may be nominated by President Obama to the post of UN ambassador, as offering an olive branch that "hostile Senate Republicans" rejected.
In a bit of a surprise, New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Jim Rutenberg filed a longish article on a recently unearthed Obama video from 2007 showing the president in a fiery, racially charged mode and praising his anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, a video downplayed or ignored by most of the mainstream media: "Race at Issue for Obama As Right Revives '07 Talk."
Less surprising was the snotty text box: "New fodder for a favorite topic in conservative circles." And the reporters took care to trace the tape's provenance down the conservative media food chain.
Independent political groups have long been the guerrilla warriors of presidential elections, tossing explosive advertisements into the middle of a campaign like hand grenades, with little regard for the strategy of the candidate they support.
Ignoring the liberal slant of virtually every other media outlet, New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters singled out the Fox News morning show Fox and Friends for partisan slant: "Enemies And Allies For ‘Friends.’" Peters never questioned why Republican candidates may shun liberal media outlets like NBC.
When it comes to sitting for interviews Mitt Romney is not usually a willing and eager subject. But there is one invitation he rarely turns down.
“Fox & Friends” has had Mr. Romney as a guest 21 times in the last year. That’s almost twice a month, vastly more than the four times each he has appeared on NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which draw five times the audience.
The New York Times went full Hollywood on the front of Sunday Styles. Jeremy Peters, a political-media reporter for the paper, profiled the imperious fashionista Anna Wintour as "an engaged politico and valuable asset to President Obama and his re-election effort." Wintour, the inspiration for the book and movie The Devil Wears Prada, raised her profile when she released a much-mocked fund-raising video invitation on behalf of Barack Obama: "Power Is Always in Vogue." (Because Wintour edits Vogue magazine, get it?)
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.”
New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters on Tuesday defended Republican Gov Nikki Haley of South Carolina from a phony scandal story that made the rounds of the media via Twitter last week, in "A Lie Races On Twitter Before Truth Can Boot Up." Peters reminded readers that Haley had previously been hit with an "unfounded blog report of marital infidelity." So why did the Times eagerly make that "unfounded" report a news story in 2010?
New York Times media editor Bruce Headlam was less than gracious after the sudden death of conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart, citing in a Times webcast “his willingness to push the limits of what he saw as journalism, what a lot of other people saw as just stunts and demagoguery.”
Media reporter Jeremy Peters wrote the official Times obituary Friday for Breitbart, who died suddenly at age 43 after collapsing while walking outside his home in Los Angeles: “Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43.” As a news story it was balanced, but compared to the usual Times obituary it was certainly critical, starting in the third paragraph:
“Dog-whistle politics” is a derogatory term, often employed to describe what liberals consider to be coded, subliminal racist messages “pitched” too high for the general public to recognize. Peters, who seems suspicious of the idea of appealing to evangelical Christians, gets in a dig at Catholics to boot.
New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters issued a warning to young journalists on Wednesday’s front page, “Covering 2012, Youths on the Bus”: There are partisan bloggers out there who are out to embarrass mainstream journalists. Ironic, given that mainstream journalists have been doing just that to conservative politicians for decades.
A group of five fresh-faced reporters from National Journal and CBS News clicked away on their MacBooks one recent afternoon, dutifully taking notes as seasoned journalists from the campaign trail shared their rules of the road.
Preparing journalists to cover the presidential campaign these days is also an exercise in indiscretion management. In the new dynamic of campaigns, reporters themselves are targets both of political strategists as well as other journalists and bloggers.
Michael Shear, chief writer for the New York Times’s “Caucus” blog, sounded sarcastic and bitter, almost angry, at the opening of the paper’s last “Caucus” podcast on Thursday about having to talk about the Anthony Weiner sex scandal.
Host Sam Roberts: “But you pointed out that this is a particularly inopportune time for this latest sex scandal to break in Washington. Why is that?”
Michael Shear: “Lots of policy and we’re going to start with the sex scandal! That’s fine. Yeah, it’s not a good time for Democrats.”
So what vital hard-core political news did Shear spend the entire following day covering to compensate for having to discuss Weinergate? The three-year-old trove of Sarah Palin emails from her time as Alaska governor.
New York Times media reporters Jeremy Peters and Jennifer Preston recognized conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart (pictured below) for breaking the Weiner-gate scandal that resulted in a dramatic press conference Monday afternoon where both Brietbart and Rep. Weiner spoke. "Conservative Blogger, a Go-To Source for Political Scandal, Looks for Legitimacy" was printed in Tuesday's Metro section (Rep. Weiner represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens).
When Meagan Broussard asked one of her friends what she should do about an intimate online relationship she had been having with Representative Anthony D. Weiner, the friend, a Republican, told her to go to Andrew Breitbart.
Mr. Breitbart, a conservative blogger, has established his Web site, BigGovernment.com, as the place to go with tidbits of a scandal in the making. On Monday, he claimed a moral victory after Mr. Weiner admitted that he had indeed sent the suggestive photos posted earlier on his site. "I’m here for some vindication," Mr. Breitbart said as he took to the lectern at Mr. Weiner’s own news conference.
In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.
Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."
Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:
Thursday’s New York Times featured a puffball profile by Jeremy Peters of Jay Carney, the recently installed White House press secretary and former reporter for Time magazine undergoing a trial by fire in the wake of international crises. Carney left Time after the election to become communications director for Vice President Biden before getting his White House promotion.
His former colleagues at Time never knew which politicians he voted for. He complained privately that he felt the magazine’s coverage of the 2008 election -- the one that put his current boss in the White House -- was too lopsided toward Barack Obama.
The New York Times provided decent front-page coverage of the emerging scandal that took down top executives at National Public Radio, a hidden-camera sting that caught top fundraiser Ron Schiller making prejudicial remarks against Republicans in general and the Tea Party movement in particular. The backlash resulted in the resignation of Ron Schiller as well as NPR President and chief executive Vivian Schiller (no relation).
But Times media reporter Jeremy Peters took an incomplete look at the recent rash of hidden-camera hoaxes on Saturday under the strongly worded headline “Partisans Adopt Deceit As a Tactic for Reports.” Peters falsely implied that "gotcha" journalism had faded from view, ignoring two recent examples in the mainstream media, one from NPR itself.
New York Times media reporters Jeremy Peters and Brian Stelter sounded a little defensive in Monday’s Business section story on the political blame game that immediately followed the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six others in Tucson. The confusing headline: “After Tucson, Blanket Accusations Leave Much to Interpretation.”
For every action in politics today, there’s an overwhelming and opposite reaction.
Last week, the reaction came from conservative politicians who bridled at suggestions in the media that Jared L. Loughner may have been influenced by right-wing rhetoric and talk radio when he killed six people and gravely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords in a rampage on Jan. 8 in Tucson. In her video address on Wednesday, Sarah Palin said that journalists and pundits should not manufacture “a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.”
The question left unanswered: which journalists and pundits?
Medical marijuana is an evergreen (pardon the pun) topic for alternative weeklies, along with the return of vinyl records. The recent loosening of federal regulations under Obama have pushed the issue into the mainstream, with one surprising side effect -- a huge boost in ad sales for alternative papers and even some mainstream dailies, as medical marijuana businesses like "Happy Buddah" and "High Mike's" attempt to entice customers, er, patients.
But the New York Times, usually hypersensitive to how corporate advertising affects coverage of industry-related issues, didn't spot any potential conflicts in this case, even as a newspaper executive lamented how a tightening of a state law on medical marijuana could adversely affect his newspaper ad sales.
Reporter Jeremy Peters' report from Colorado Springs, "New Fuel for Local Papers: Ads for Medical Marijuana," on Tuesday's front page, failed to question whether such massive advertising for a controversial product could influence a newspaper's journalism. By comparison, the Times banned tobacco cigarette ads from its pages in 1999, and tobacco companies have long been prohibited from advertising their products on television and radio.
When it hit the streets here last week, the latest issue of ReLeaf, a pullout supplement to The Colorado Springs Independent devoted to medical marijuana, landed with a satisfying thud.
Two stories in Thursday's New York Times featured the paper avoiding pinning liberal labels on two media organs: the liberal newsmagazine Newsweek and the far-left political blog Daily Kos.
Reporter Jeremy Peters insisted in Thursday's Business Day that the left-leaning magazine Newsweek was "apolitical," yet easily spotted a right tilt in two potential purchasers of the struggling weekly: "2 Suitors for Newsweek Are Said to Be Ruled Out." A photo caption made the easily refutable claim that Newsweek "strives to be apolitical."
The Washington Post is looking for a bidder who will be a good fit for the magazine, which strives to be apolitical.
Really now? As Nathan Burchfiel at NewsBusters reminds us: "Newsweek has attacked Tea Parties and conservative leaders like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, earned praise from gay marriage activists for its coverage, launched pro-atheism attacks on religious figures like Mother Teresa, among numerous other liberal positions."
Peters gave Newsweek's editors the benefit of the doubt on its liberal slant, which even Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz believes is an accurate view:
The ideas that Newsweek is promoting are mainly left-of-center....When Newsweek put a conservative's essay on the cover, it was by David Frum, assailing Rush Limbaugh under the headline 'Why Rush Is Wrong.' And when Newsweek took on Obama, it did so from the left, in a piece built around New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and his criticism of the president's economic policies.
Peters was able to see conservatism and libertarianism in the two rejected buyers, but not the clear liberalism at Newsweek.
It's probably safe to assume that a lot of reporters in the mainstream media lean to the left side of the ideological spectrum. And it was seen throughout the health care debate over the past year and a half - that somehow we need to raise the rhetoric beyond hyperbole like death panels, etc.
"[T]he Post found itself in another potentially embarrassing and ethically compromised position on Wednesday after one of its most senior reporters abruptly canceled an appearance at her own book party, which was being sponsored by a public relations firm with strong ties to the Democratic Party," Peters wrote.
The G.O.P. had two big victories yesterday in off-year elections, winning the race for governor in New Jersey and Virginia for the first time since 1997. The New York Times's coverage was dominated by three themes used to explain away the success of Republicans:
The Republicans won by appearing moderate.
The congressional race in upstate New York revealed deep divisions within the G.O.P.
These off-year elections don't mean much anyway (except when Democrats win).
1) Republicans Won by Moderating:
Even after wins by two conservative Republicans, the Times spin was that moderation had prevailed, arguing that both New Jersey Governor-elect Chris Christie and Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell won by trimming their social conservative stands.
In a Tuesday web post before returns were in, the paper's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney said that even a win by Virginia conservative McDonnell would be a victory for moderation:
Sunday's gay rights rally on Capitol Hill garnered a positive story on the first page of Monday's New York Times National section by reporter Jeremy Peters, "New Generation of Gay Rights Advocates March to Put Pressure on the President." Peters claimed that "tens of thousands" had gathered on the West Lawn of the Capitol Sunday to prod Barack Obama to move more aggressively to promote greater equality for gays.
Unlike the paper's hostile coverage of the "tea party" and "9/12" rallies by anti-spending conservatives, the Times's relatively prominent (page A12) coverage of the gay rights rally displayed no hostility toward the beliefs of the protestors and didn't label them liberal, even though a photo slideshow at nytimes.com featured images of Socialist Worker party members marching in solidarity.