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.
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman (fresh from a stint at the Washington Post) displayed the extremes of mistaking bean-counting for administrative perfection on the paper’s Washington Wire blog on Tuesday:
For the rainbow cabinet of the nation’s first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you’ve probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press.
How is someone "perfectly" qualified for the cabinet by their sexuality, or by the race of their adopted children? Why doesn’t anyone in the political press have any skepticism about the relevance of race, gender, and sexual orientation in determining every single high government appointment?
The fate of a so-called economic stimulus bill is currently bogged down in the Senate as Republicans and Democrats disagree on how much to spend.
Both sides are playing to the crowd trying to take credit for helping prop up the economy and accuse the other side of trying to block economic aide. It's classic political theater in that way but also in another--left-leaning reporters just can't help but frame things in the way that the congressional Democrats would like them to.
The Associated Press was one of the worst offenders, running a story headlined "Republicans join to block stimulus bill" which waited until the end of the third graf to state the Republican viewpoint that the package was not fiscally responsible. To hear that view, however, you have to wade through more than a few bleeding heart sentences:
The top headline in Saturday's Washington Post underlines the tendency for displaying bias by practicing future-tense journalism. "Bush's Budget Wins May Cost Him" is the headline on Jonathan Weisman's report. Inside, the headline is similar in tone: "President Could Pay a Price for Victories Over Democrats." He may -- or he may not. He could -- or he could not. But it's hard to escape the notion that the Post thinks he should. Or perhaps the Post is afraid that a series of wins by Bush may make him look powerful and boost his approval rating, and they want to keep following his image around with their own cherished personal collection of dark clouds of text.
Why can't the newspapers simply report what has already happened, and not bog down the reader with their own biased impressions of what could or should happen next? Why must reporters always get out a crystal ball and wear a silly fortune-teller's hat? Weisman's soothsayer story began this way:
"The Senate's 88 to 5 vote" on a one-year reprieve for middle class taxpayers on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) "blew a $50 billion hole in the Democrats' promise not to pass any spending or tax measure that would add to the deficit," Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum reported today. The staff writers then rounded up three "conservative 'Blue Dog' Democrats" from the House of Representatives to rail against the Senate for lacking the courage to "take a tough vote," in the words of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.).
But just how conservative are these "conservative" Blue Dogs? Try slightly left of dead-center.
Washington Post staffers Jonathan Weisman and Steven Mufson gaver readers of the December 7 paper an article on a "comprehensive energy bill" that passed the House of Representatives without delving into Republican criticism that the bill lacks any provision to produce or procure more energy domestically, such as from interior and off-shore natural gas and oil reserves.
Weisman and Mufson noted in the lede that the bill will raise "fuel-efficiency standards" and "require increased use of renewable energy sources" and later quickly dispatched with Republican opposition by finely chopping Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner's (R-Ohio) criticism:
Even House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) -- who assails the measure as a "no-energy" bill and as a tax increase that would raise, not lower, energy costs -- lauded the CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) standards as a good and reasonable compromise.
Oh really? On it's "Online Newshour" Web page, PBS -- hardly a right-wing news venue -- gave readers more of Boehner's critical quote:
Trent Lott, once a favored whipping boy of the mainstream media for unfortunate and poorly-worded comments at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday bash, is now being hailed by the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman as a great statesman as he exits the U.S. Senate.
Weisman's page A4 profile, "As Lott Leaves the Senate, Compromise Appears to Be a Lost Art," paints a picture of a U.S. Senate descending into perpetual gridlock thanks to partisanship. Yet Weisman seems to lay all the blame for partisan gridlock on Republican shoulders, assigning no blame to the Democrats who now control the august deliberative body.:
States once represented by common-ground dealmakers, including John Breaux (D-La.), David L. Boren (D-Okla.), James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), are now electing ideological stalwarts, such as David Vitter (R-La.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
Only one of those "stalwarts" is a liberal, the socialist professor-turned-politician Bernie Sanders. Other left-wing ideologues like Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and of course Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) apparently escaped Weisman's attention.
Indeed, while Reid's Senate is one-half of a Congress with abysmal public approval ratings, Weisman lamented that with the Senate "almost dysfunctional" that "new power centers," such as "pragmatist" dealmakers like Trent Lott "are difficult to find."
Covering the flap over Rep. Pete Stark's (D-Calif.) assertion that President Bush likes to see American soldiers die for sport, Washington Post reporter Jonathan Weisman tossed in a swipe about Republicans of his own, characterizing a vote to uphold Bush's SCHIP veto as a vote to "deny children health care."
[Video of Stark's comments available on YouTube via the NRCC here]