Sometimes, certain claims made by establishment media reporters or people who are quoted don't pass the smell test. Then, when you dig in, to borrow a phrase from Michael Savage, the stench makes you clench.
Such is the case with a front-page story ("Number of People Living on New York Streets Soars") that went up online at the New York Times late Friday, and appeared in its Saturday print edition.
Reporter Julie Bosman opened fairly enough with this paragraph:
The Bloomberg administration said Friday that the number of people living on New York’s streets and subways soared 34 percent in a year, signaling a setback in one of the city’s most intractable problems.
The New York City Department of Homeless Services’ Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOME) is conducted in late January each year. It’s almost as if Bosman and/or her editors thought that this opening statement was too strong and needed some seasoning; after all, you-know-who’s administration in Washington was overseeing the economy during the entire period in question.
So take a look at how Bosman, with the help of a “clever” homeless services official, tried to massage the results in the next five paragraphs, and then be amazed at how reality differs:
The smart folks soberly support Barack Obama, while the ridiculous-looking rednecks love Sarah Palin. That's the subtext of the New York Times coverage on Wednesday. Jennifer Steinhauer was watching the second presidential debate with Obama fans at a Mexican restaurant in Des Moines, "Where He First Got Going, Cheering Obama On."
Debate watchers at Dos Rios -- the sort of crowd that can cite chapter and verse of Medicaid waivers without notes -- watched intensely, taking their eyes off the television only to grab a Corona.
Strangely, one of the self-evident geniuses in attendance thinks Barack Obama wants universal health care, despite the Times' desperateinsistence that that's just one of the McCain campaign's many lies:
Health care was clearly a big issue in this crowd, and Mr. Obama's statement that health care was a "right" got a big round, too. "I like the fact that he is taking steps toward universal health care," said Mr. Matson, an osteopath.
In contrast, a Republican rally in Florida featuring Sarah Palin is painted in threatening terms by the Times. In herWednesday story, "Palin Plays to Conservative Base in Florida Rallies," Julie Bosman seems perturbed at the sight of conservative Republicans in their natural element.
The New York Times's hypersensitivity towards perceived attacks on Obama was on display in Friday's "Ad Campaign" review by Julie Bosman. Under the heading "Scorecard," Bosman described the Obama's first ad of the general election campaign as an effective counterattack against anti-Obama "smear e-mail and Internet innuendo."
This advertisement tries to define Mr. Obama and his life story in the face of smear e-mail and Internet innuendo about his heritage, questions about his patriotism and accusations about his liberal record. It emphasizes his devotion to work, both personally and in his record, highlighting legislation that shows his compassion for working-class Americans and veterans -- and his toughness with welfare recipients. With its flag pin and statements on patriotism -- the commercial is called "Country I Love" -- it seeks to put to rest any doubts about his devotion to the United States. The advertisement addresses the problems Mr. Obama needs to address and tacks him back to the center.
Like rock journalists following Bono, the Times reporters seem utterly fascinated by the minutia of Obama's day, while taking a few potshots at a Bush administration it's already condemned as doomed to perdition in the history books.
Like most presidential candidates, Mr. Obama is developing his executive skills on the fly, and under intense scrutiny. The evolution of his style in recent months suggests he is still finding the right formula as he confronts a challenge that he has not faced in his career: managing a large organization.
The skill will become more important should he win the presidency, and his style is getting added attention as the country absorbs the lessons of President Bush's tenure in the Oval Office. Mr. Bush's critics, including former aides, have portrayed him as too cloistered, too dependent on a small coterie of trusted aides, unable to distinguish between loyalty and competence, and insufficiently willing to adjust course in the face of events that do not unfold the way he expects.
John McCain's first major television ad of the general election campaign is an apparent attempt to inoculate himself from criticism of his support of the Iraq War by underlining the fact that War Is Hell. New York Times reporter Julie Bosman used the opportunity (in the paper's regular Ad Campaign feature on Saturday) to suggest from out of nowhere that McCain had a "warmonger" reputation to live down.
The presidential field has winnowed down further, with Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani announcing their withdrawal from the presidential race on the same day. But while the left-wing Democrat was serenaded as a trailblazer, the moderate Republican was mocked for "living an illusion."
While few were surprised by Giuliani's announcement (and subsequent endorsement of fellow moderate John McCain) after his distant third-place finish in Florida, Edwards' decision must have shocked at least one person -- New York Times reporter Julie Bosman, who must be feeling snake-bit after her Tuesday story portraying Edwards as the Energizer Bunny, motoring on and becoming a possible kingmaker at the Democratic convention.