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.
The Democrats blinked in the sequester tussle -- by wide margins Congress passed, and the president promised to sign, legislation that would end the furloughs for Federal Aviation Administration employees, which had caused flight delays that Republicans claimed were politically motivated by the Obama administration.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman documented the failure of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to remake the GOP's "uncompromising conservatism to something kinder and gentler" in "House Majority Leader’s Quest to Soften G.O.P.’s Image Hits a Wall Within," in a slanted story that's being passed off as straight news. Weisman emotionally warned: "But these days, those who linger in the middle of the road end up flattened."
"A kinder, gentler nation" is of course the phrase George H.W. Bush used in his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president in 1988, apparently to distance himself from the more conservative Ronald Reagan.
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.'"
The original online headline to Wednesday's New York Times budget legislation story, "Finance Bill, Nearing Senate Passage, Would Protect Some Favored Programs," likely captured what reporters Jonathan Weisman and Annie Lowrey really wanted to say, betraying their big-government default favoritism: "Plan That Would Spare Vital Programs Is Expected to Pass Senate."
"Vital" by whose measurement? The article is peppered with similarly loaded liberal language marking "the worst" cuts, and making the Keynesian argument that any reduction in spending would "inhibit long-term economic growth."
Betraying his impatience with the Republican Party's insistence that President Obama cut spending, New York Times political reporter Jonathan Weisman sounded shocked that the GOP wasn't simply surrendering its principles in the wake of Obama's four–point victory last November, in Monday's "Republicans Determined To Press On With Air, If Not Vote, of Confidence." (Nice flattering photo of Paul Ryan, by the way.)
A year ago this month, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin stood on the floor of the House and declared that the ideals of small government, privatized health care and rigorous spending discipline captured in the budget plan about to pass the House would and should be central to the 2012 election campaign.
Spinning the sequester in the New York Times. After weeks of cringing over the supposedly damaging federal cuts due to take effect tomorrow (even as the public shrugs them off) Jonathan Weisman made an 180-degree turn on the front of Thursday's paper: "Parties Focus On the Positive As Cuts Near." The text box: "An onerous possibility turns out to be not quite so onerous."
Suddenly the Times is seeing a win-win-win situation, for liberals, conservatives, and the White House.
Over the weekend the New York Times painted the $85 billion in budget cuts that will start kicking in Friday – known in Washington-speak as sequestration -- in dramatic terms, falsely heralding a new age of "government austerity" (since when?) and passing along stories of budget-cut fear-mongering from the state level.
Newly minted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party politician, is "raising bipartisan hackles" and otherwise being a "bad boy" in the previously collegial U.S. Senate, opined political reporter Jonathan Weisman on the front page of Saturday's New York Times: "Texas Senator Goes on Attack And Raises Bipartisan Hackles."
Clearly disturbed about Cruz's treatment of Obama's nominee for defense secretary Chuck Hagel, reporter Weisman even put a mike in front of not one but two liberal Democratic senators who likened Cruz to notorious Sen. Joe McCarthy. Well, at least Cruz is liked by what Weisman called "ardent conservatives."
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.
On the front of Sunday's New York Times, reporters Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman suggested President Obama has a "mandate" for tax hikes in the ongoing tactical battle in Congress over the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts in "Soured History Hampers Talks Between Obama and Boehner."
Last year, Mr. Boehner had the edge as Mr. Obama faced a difficult re-election campaign and needed Republicans’ support to increase the nation’s borrowing limit, lest the government default. Now, after a decisive re-election victory and Democratic gains in Congress, Mr. Obama has the stronger hand. He also made higher taxes for the wealthy a central campaign issue, suggesting a mandate borne out in public polls. And he benefits from a hard deadline, Dec. 31, after which all of the Bush-era tax cuts expire if action is not taken to extend them. Polls show that voters would hold Republicans responsible if no deal is reached in time.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman threw around hostile labels in his Thursday piece on the ongoing tactical fight in Washington, pitting the "far right" against responsible "pragmatists" in the tactical battle over fiscal policy in "Boehner Tries to Contain Defections on Fiscal Unity."
Speaker John A. Boehner moved Wednesday to maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership and some pragmatists pressed for quick accommodation on tax rate increases on the rich.
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a golden opportunity to prove just how popular President Obama's plan to avert the fiscal cliff is with his member of his own party. But, true to form, Sen. Reid refused to schedule the vote. "Not a single Senate Democrat has stepped forward to support it, and if you look at it you can see why.... It increases taxes," McConnell was quoted by Ramsey Cox in a story filed the afternoon of December 5 for TheHill.com. For his part, Reid dismissed McConnell's push for a vote as a stunt, although just last week he praised the president's plan, suggesting Obama and Senate Democrats were "on the same page."
Unfortunately this development failed to receive any mention on the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS, or NBC, nor on the December 6 morning programs for the same networks. Likewise both the New York Times and Washington Post December 6 print editions failed to report Reid's refusal to schedule a vote.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman claimed to document the "Senate's Long Slide to Gridlock" on Sunday's front page, but his history was tilted toward blaming obstructionist Republicans, though historically Congress has been dominated by Democrats. He even seemed to pine for the days of Democratic congressional barons, laying the fault of dysfunction on C-Span cameras and Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum back when they were conservative congressmen.
Senator Bob Dole had just assumed the mantle of Senate majority leader, after the Republican landslide of 1994, when he confronted a problem.
Piles of Republican legislation from Newt Gingrich’s self-styled “revolutionary” House were stacking up in a narrowly divided, more deliberate Senate, and Democrats were threatening to gum up the works with amendments that would stall the bills.
Oh, now they tell us. As Republicans lick their political wounds, Democrats bask in the glory of winning what was suppose to be a highly contested election, and Washington is abuzz about the looming fiscal cliff which will plunge millions of Americans into higher taxes, The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman wrote today that liberals are now seeing some of Romney’s economic agenda as beneficial to the American middle class. You know, the people ‘Rich Mitt’ wanted to destroy.
Now that the partisan posturing can be tamped down a bit in the wake of the election, some Democrats and their boosters in the media are starting to see Republican policies as plausible avenues to help the American people.
New York Times reporters Jonathan Weisman and Michael Cooper both suggested Mitt Romney would be hurt by comments made by Indiana's Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock at a debate Tuesday night. While explaining why he doesn't support abortion in the case of rape, Mourdock said: "I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Democrats and their media allies pounced, devoting more airtime to Mourdock's comments than to damning emails showing the White House was informed within hours that the Benghazi attacks were terrorism, not a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video. The paper's get-Romney attack line was clear from the headline in Thursday's edition: "Rape Remark Jolts a Senate Race, and the Presidential One, Too."
So much for budget and Medicare reform. On Saturday, New York Times congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman sounded pretty confident that Paul Ryan's budget plan would sink Republican prospects in Congress in November, forwarding confident-sounding Democrats set to bash Ryan's proposals, even naming individual races, in "Ryan's Budget Proposal Is Pitting G.O.P. Troops Against Top of the Ticket." The text box: "A big deal for Romney-Ryan is shunned by the rank and file."
Is the New York Times trying to change the subject from the bad economy to social issues, for Obama's sake? On Thursday Michael Shear (pictured) and Jonathan Weisman did their best to tie controversial comments by Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin to Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan: "Romney Strategists Say They’ll Stay the Course Amid Focus on Abortion."
Mitt Romney’s campaign advisers have concluded that they do not need any major adjustments in strategy to respond to the new focus on abortion and reproductive rights caused by Representative Todd Akin, betting that their candidate’s economic message will still resonate with female voters after the controversy over Mr. Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape.”
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."
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman helped the Democrats's tax-hike agenda in his front-page story Wednesday, "At Fiscal Cliff, Anti-Tax Vow Gets New Look," suggesting Obama's proposed tax hikes were slight and "considerably smaller" by percentage of the U.S. economy than those installed by President Clinton in 1993, as if such an arcane statistic was the only worthwhile one for judging the wisdom of a tax hike.
Congressional Democrats failed to pass the DISCLOSE act Monday, legislation that would require non-profits to identify their donors. New York Times eporter Jonathan Weisman joined the push on Tuesday. Even the headline was regretful about the limits of liberal campaign finance "reform" to rein in a Republican group who defeated a Democratic congressman in 2010: "Tax-Exempt Group’s Election Activity Highlights Limits of Campaign Finance Rules."
Weisman used an example that sounded handpicked from a liberal activist group to make the case for DISCLOSE (not actually named that by the Times, which only used the ponderous full name for the legislation).
Given two chances, New York Times reporters Jonathan Weisman and Michael Shear couldn't identify the universal-health-care backers Families USA as liberal in their Friday piece on what happens after the Supreme Court's imminent ruling on the constitutionality of Obama-care: "Parties Plan Next Move Once Supreme Court Rules on Health Care." Yet they had no problem spotting conservatives on the other side.
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.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman portrayed conservative Republicans as reeling from the renewed focus on so-called women's issues, but only vaguely mentioned that Obama's approval ratings have actually slipped since the public focus on abortion and contraception, in his front-page story Thursday, "Women Figure Anew in Senate's Latest Battle."
On Thursday, New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman fretted over the lack of GOP centrists (a common and long-lasting theme in Timesland) after news broke of the surprise retirement of "fed up" moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine: “After Many Tough Choices, the Choice to Quit.”
As Weisman tells it, it was the rise of those distracting “social issues” that sent Snowe over the edge:
The lead story in Sunday’s New York Times National section, “Before Vote, Republicans Make Moves To the Right” by New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman, focused on Republicans pressuring their candidates to “stampede to the right” before the elections. As the story’s original online headline unflatteringly put it: “Republicans Stampede to the Right Ahead of 2012 Election.”
Weisman, who was formerly at the Wall Street Journal, made his case using ideological ratings of Republican senators from the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group. Yet the Times has dismissed ratings of ultra-liberal senators as “so-called liberal ratings.”
File the news in this report filed late yesterday afternoon by Michael Calderone and John Cook at Yahoo's Upshot Blog under "D" for Double Standards:
White House reporters mum on Obama lunch, even as papers back transparency
White House reporters are keeping quiet about an off-the-record lunch today with President Obama — even those at news organizations who've advocated in the past for the White House to release the names of visitors.
But the identities of the lunch's attendees won't remain secret forever: Their names will eventually appear on the White House's periodically updated public database of visitor logs.
... The Obama White House began posting the logs in order to settle a lawsuit, begun under the Bush administration, from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which sought the Secret Service's White House visitor logs under the Freedom of Information Act.
... And guess who filed briefs supporting that argument? Virtually every newspaper that covers the White House.
Washington Post reporter-slash-columnist Dana Milbank leans mostly toward the columnist today, hailing 89-year-old scold Helen Thomas for pressing relentlessly on White House press secretary Robert Gibbs (and by extension, President Obama) for being too wimpy in advocating the Brave Socialist Initative known as the "public option." Objectivity does not become her, Milbank writes. Lecturing does:
"Has the president given up on the public option?" she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.
The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn't about to be silenced. "I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it," she said.
"Well, I -- I -- I apparently don't answer it to your satisfaction," Gibbs stammered.
"That's right," Thomas snarled.
"I -- I'll -- I'll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days," Gibbs offered. "It's what the president believes in --"
"Is he going to fight for it or not?" Thomas snapped.