Chris Hayes is what passes for a progressive intellectual at MSNBC.
Which makes his simple-minded and manifestly mistaken proposal that much more maddening. Making a peek-a-boo video-clip appearance on today's Melissa Harris-Perry's show, which focused on finding solutions to poverty in America, Hayes was seen holding up a hand-written sign with his solution, reading "Giving people money: It's actually that easy." View the video after the jump.
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.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, focused on gun control, showed gains for stricter gun laws and (coincidentally?) made the front page of the national edition, in a report by Michael Cooper and Dalia Sussman, under a wishful headline: "Massacre Sways Public In Way Others Did Not."
But they buried findings in the same poll that show 74 percent of Americans support conservative ideas of stationing armed guards in public places like schools and blaming Hollywood's culture of violence.
The New York Times's Michael Cooper reported from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, capturing the effusive reaction to President Obama's gun-control proposals. In his report, "Recalling Pain Of Guns' Toll, Mayors Urge Bills' Passage – Heartened After Years Of Pushing for Laws," Cooper came off less a hard-bitten reporter than an emotionally over-involved storyteller, pushing for someone to do something about gun violence. (No matter that none of the mayoral anecdotes he relayed included mass shootings like the one in Newtown).
The Mayors Conference is perhaps best known for its grossly exaggerated hunger in America reports, cynically timed for the holiday season when people are tucking into turkey. Times Watch examined the reports from 1987 to 2002 several years ago, and found the Mayors' group was claiming an implausible 1240% increase of hunger in America during that period, which sounds more like North Korea than the most prosperous and democratic nation on earth.
2012 was another banner year for bias at the New York Times, from slanted coverage of campaign 2012, to bizarre displays of unfairness to conservatives. The Times also intensified its push for liberal legislation on issues dear to the heart of its readership, like fighting "climate change" and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Here are some of the worst bits of bias from the year that was. (There's a more comprehensive version of this article on Times Watch.)
Taking Sides With Mitt Romney's Snobby Liberal Neighbors
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."
The Biden-Ryan vice-presidential debate Thursday night brought out the media's "fact check" squads, including the New York Times, which had a squad of reporters evaluating the statements of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan online during the debate. Still, with perhaps 15 reporters on the job Thursday night, the paper still had to out-source a crucial Biden misstatement on Libya to the one-man fact-check machine at the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, the next morning.
The Times boiled down a few of its findings for Friday's print edition under "Check Point" on topics including Medicare, the stimulus, and the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
James Taranto has written at Opinion Journal that this new-style media "fact checking" is "overwhelmingly biased toward the left" and "gives journalists much freer rein to express their opinions by allowing them to pretend to be rendering authoritative judgments about the facts." The Times's debate product doesn't refute Taranto's argument. Reporter Michael Cooper had the top "Check Point" item and per usual found the Republican at fault:
Bogus media "fact-checking" continues, and the New York Times's Michael Cooper is leading the pack. His Saturday "Political Memo," "Fact-Checkers Howl, but Campaigns Seem Attached to Dishonest Ads," marks Cooper's second foray into the burgeoning genre in two days, focusing on the alleged false statements emanating from Mitt Romney's ads and the Republican National Convention podium. Cooper heralds the "Pulitzer Prize-winning" fact-check website Politifact as the gold standard of objectivity, though conservatives point to analysis like this:
The latest entry in the media's obsession with picayune and partisan "fact-checking" of the Republican National Convention: New York Times reporter Michael Cooper's Friday "Check Point," "Facts Take a Beating In Acceptance Speeches." The original web headline was ridiculously partisan for a news story: "Ryan's Speech Contained a Litany of Falsehoods."
Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating -- which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.
New York Times reporter Michael Cooper took elaborate pains to emphasize just how far to the right the GOP has come from those moderate days of -- Ronald Reagan's election? -- in Wednesday's, "Platform’s Sharp Turn to the Right Has Conservatives Cheering." The jump page included side-by-side text comparisons of "Republican Party Platforms, Then and Now." Yet Democratic Party platforms are hardly ever scrutinized by the Times for extremist stands on issues like abortion.
New York Times reporter Michael Cooper's brief "Caucus" story for Wednesday's edition (not yet online), "'You Didn't Build That,' But He Wasn't Saying That," is yet another tiresome defense of the president from the paper's objective journalists, claiming Obama didn't really mean what came out of his mouth in a speech in Roanoke, Va.: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
(Cooper's cop-out follows similar strained efforts by Times reporters Trip Gabriel and Michael Shear to defend the president against an effective line of attack from the GOP.)
Thursday's New York Times front page included a report by Michael Cooper (pictured) and Dalia Sussman on a new CBS News/Quinnipiac University/New York Times poll of likely voters in the crucial states of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin after Romney's choice as running mate Medicare reformer Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin: "In Poll, Obama Is Given Trust Over Medicare."
Showing how the same findings can be interpreted in politically slanted ways, the Times even squeezed in a front-page graphic of Obama's superior standing on Medicare in the swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin, but downplayed the tightening of the actual electoral race in Florida and Wisconsin, which was picked up on by other outlets reading the same poll data.
New York Times reporter Michael Cooper, who did not hide his disdain for Republican candidate John McCain in 2008, sees an internal threat for Republicans hidden in "the recent flurry of socially conservative legislation" emanating from state legislatures in his Saturday lead, "Concern In G.O.P. Over State Focus On Social Issues." In a bid at guilt by association, both Cooper and another Times reporter cite ALEC, conservative-affiliated nonprofit, for extremely tenuous ties to the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Tax-cut hostile New York Times reporters Michael Cooper and David Kocieniewski teamed up Thursday in a “news” article that assumed as fact (using a study from a left-of-center “nonpartisan” group) that plans by Republican presidential candidates for reducing tax rates would by design lead to widening deficits and "benefit the wealthiest the most": “Higher Deficits Seen In Romney’s Tax Plan, And His Rivals’, Too.” Yet the Times's own chart shows 80% of filers earning between $20,000 and $30,000 -- hardly "the rich" -- would get a tax cut as well.
(Kocieniewski’s hostility to tax cuts is well documented, while Cooper attacked Obama from the left on March 2, 2011 for signing into law an obscure tax break not even liberal economists have a problem with.)
Confessore, who once worked for the liberal journals Washington Monthly and American Prospect, once again staunchly defended Social Security. In a December 2004 post for the Prospect, he praised the Times, the paper he was about to join, for its harsh coverage of President Bush’s attempt at free-market-based Social Security reform.
The New York Times on Friday downplayed results in its own poll that found 44 percent of respondents think the cuts in the debt deal didn't go far enough, versus only 15 percent who said "too far." In an article starting on the front page, writers Michael Cooper and Megan Thee-Brenan didn't mention this fact until the ninth paragraph of page A-14.
The New York Times may flinch at the thought of cutting Medicare or unemployment benefits to cut deficits, but reporters have quickly warmed to the idea of a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan in the name of cost-cutting.
Are deadly tornadoes really the best "stimulus" to be hoped for from the Obama White House, or is the New York Times just desperately looking for economics green shoots as the 2012 presidential elections approach?
More New York Times' s crusading against state spending cuts in Tuesday's edition. Reporter Michael Cooper’s “Michigan, With Persistent Unemployment, Cuts Jobless Benefit by Six Weeks” raised quite a grand commotion out of a small cut in Michigan’s unemployment benefit plan: The state will now pay only 20 weeks of benefits to the jobless, instead of the standard 26 weeks (and even those come before federal unemployment benefits kick in, which now run for up to 99 weeks).
The story’s text box implied bad faith on the part of new Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. “A surprise inside a bill whose purpose was to extend federal benefits.”
Michigan, whose unemployment rate has topped 10 percent longer than that of any other state, is about to set another record: its new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, signed a law Monday that will lead the state to pay fewer weeks of unemployment benefits next year than any other state.
Democrats and advocates for the unemployed expressed outrage that such a hard-hit state will become the most miserly when it comes to how long it pays benefits to those who have lost their jobs. All states currently pay 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, before extended benefits paid by the federal government kick in. Michigan’s new law means that starting next year, when the federal benefits are now set to end, the state will stop paying benefits to the jobless after just 20 weeks. The shape of future extensions is unclear.
The lead National section story in Wednesday's New York Times by Michael Cooper was an odd choice, hitting President Obama from the left on a rather obscure newly established tax break not even liberal economists have found much fault with: “A Tax Cut May Carve Into Budgets Of 19 States.” Cooper melodramatically fretted that it "could blow a hole in state budgets."
Included in the tax-cut package Obama signed in December extending the Bush tax cuts, was legislation allowing businesses to deduct the full value of new equipment from their taxes immediately. Cooper found fault:
Michael Cooper’s lead story in the National section of the New York Times on Saturday, "Debunking the Myths of the Midterm," offered up four alleged myths downplaying the import of the Republican takeover of the House and big gains in the Senate. The first four of Cooper's five "myths" centered around the idea that the Republican victory and Democratic defeat of 2010 had been overstated (the fifth was a paragraph of throwaway humor headlined “The Pundits Have a Clue” while arguing the opposite).
Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths.
But the four partisan myths Cooper tried to knock down were all ones that made Republicans look strong.
“Return to the Republican Fold” (Cooper denied it.) “The Sweeping Mandate” (No way.) “The Lost Youth Vote” (Not so fast.) “A Disaster for the President” (Not necessarily.)
In Saturday's "Attacking Obama's Associations," New York Times reporter Michael Cooper reviewed a John McCain campaign ad emphasizing Barack Obama's ties to controversial Chicago political figures like the radical Bill Ayers and the felonious fundraiser Tony Rezko. He wasn't impressed, which is no surprise from the McCain-mocking Cooper. But did Cooper really compare domestic terrorist Bill Ayers to shady financier Charles Keating? Why yes, yes he did.
But first, Cooper confidently claimed that
--the effort to tie Mr. Obama to Mr. Ayers is overstated. Mr. Ayers, who is now an education professor in Chicago, did host a coffee for Mr. Obama's first run for office, and serve with him on a charitable board, but the two men do not appear to have been close, and Mr. Obama does not appear to have expressed sympathy for Mr. Ayers's past radical actions.
Thursday's New York Times lead story by Elisabeth Bumiller and Michael Cooper covered Palin's rapturously received speech at the Republican Convention Wednesday night, "On Center Stage, Palin Electrifies Convention." After describing how she introduced herself to the "roaring crowd" in St. Paul, the Times threw in this dubious assertion:
But the nomination was a sideshow to the evening's main event, the speech by the little-known Ms. Palin, who was seeking to wrest back the narrative of her life and redefine herself to the American public after a rocky start that has put Mr. McCain's closest aides on edge. Ms. Palin's appearance electrified a convention that has been consumed by questions of whether she was up to the job, as she launched slashing attacks on Mr. Obama's claims of experience.
Actually, only the liberal media was consumed by that question -- Palin was a wildly popular pick even before her impressive convention speech.
The back and forth of racial accusations between the Obama and McCain camps made the front of Friday's New York Times in "McCain Camp Says Obama Plays 'Race Card,'" by Michael Cooper and Michael Powell. The reporters bizarrely suggested that it was the GOP, not Obama, that has injected race into the campaign, and relayed some dubious anecdotes to suggest Obama has been a victim of racist Republican attacks.
To continue the fun, a McCain spokesman on Friday compared the Times's editors to your "average Daily Kos diarist sitting at home in his mother's basement" playing Dungeons & Dragons.
"McCain Goes Negative, Worrying Some in G.O.P.," the New York Times fretted Wednesday in a headline over a story by reporter Michael Cooper. Times readers learned that while it's perfectly acceptable for the Times to call conservative Sen. Tom Coburn "Dr. No" in a front-page headline, it's bad for John McCain to call Barack Obama the same thing.
Cooper opened his story:
In recent days Senator John McCain has charged that Senator Barack Obama "would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign," tarred him as "Dr. No" on energy policy and run advertisements calling him responsible for high gas prices.
(The headline to Monday's front-page story about Sen. Tom Coburn: "Democrats Try to Break Grip Of the Senate's Flinty Dr. No.")
In Wednesday's off-lead story by Michael Cooper and Larry Rohter, the New York Times found both McCain and Obama retreating to home base when it comes to economic solutions. But the Times' unconscious embrace of liberal conventional wisdom was evident in how it treated much-argued political terms like "windfall profits", "the death tax," and even "victory" in Iraq.
Bush's mild tax cuts were seen as only benefiting "the wealthy" (by whose definition?), an assertion the Times underlined by repeating it three times.
And look how the Times used quotation marks as warning flares or to suggest a conservative position was dubious. While "victory" and "death tax" were seen as partisan Republican terms and secured in protective quotes, Democrat-loaded terms like "windfall profits of oil companies" weren't put in quotes but stood unencumbered and presented as fact, even though the phrase "windfall" is calculated to make it appear oil company profits are somehow unjust or unearned.
John McCain not only surprised and pleased many with his hands-off stand against government intervention in the home mortgage "crisis," he broke through the liberal media's fascination with Obama-Clinton, but at a cost -- the New York Times's front-page story from March 26 was notably unsympathetic, relaying only criticism from his Democratic opponents. Hillary's plan, by contrast, had been warmly received by the Times the day before.
Late last week McCain pivoted toward calling for more federal help for struggling homeowners, and the Times took another bite, in "McCainShifts on Aid to Some Mortgage Holders," Friday's piece by reporter Michael Cooper:
The New York Times's Michael Cooper and Michael Luo covered the Republican debate Thursday night in Myrtle Beach, S.C., hitting the theme of a "faltering" Fred Thompson, lashing out in a desperate bid to salvage his campaign.
"Fred D. Thompson tried to salvage his faltering presidential campaign at a debate Thursday night with a barrage of sharp attacks on the 'liberal' policies of Mike Huckabee, the fellow Southerner whom he clearly sees as a rival in the South Carolina primary.
"The performance by Mr. Thompson, which including several pointed one-liners, capped a debate that showed the altered terrain of the Republican field as it moved beyond contests in Iowa and New Hampshire."
The Times portrayed Thompson as an aggressor and Mike Huckabee turning the other cheek.