As Congress holds hearings on the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the New York Times placed its partisan political story by Michael Schmidt and Eric Schmitt on page A10 under a neutral, purely political headline, "Before Hearings on Libya Attack, Charges of Playing Politics." The text box was mild: "An inquiry is expected to focus on potential intelligence failures."
The Washington Post at least put Benghazi on the front page, in a story by Anne Gearan under the critical but off-target headline "Deadly Benghazi Attack Could Mar Clinton Legacy" (as if Hillary Clinton's reputation is the key issue at stake, not the four Americans killed). NewsBuster Ken Shepherd critiqued Gearan's story.
Michael Schmidt reported from Baghdad Wednesday for the Times on the conclusion of the trial (held in California) of the last Marine accused in the so-called Haditha massacre in Iraq: “Anger in Iraq After Plea Bargain Over 2005 Massacre.” Although Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich pled guilty to a single misdemeanor that called for a maximum of 90 days in jail, Schdmit insisted on calling him a "ringleader" in the "massacre."
After the incident came to light in July 2006, Times reporter Paul von Zielbauer filed over 30 stories on the alleged killings of two dozen Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, which anti-war activists were quick to compare to the My Lai massacre of Vietnam. The Times has long presumed the guilt of the Marines involved, while barely covering the steady drip of acquittals of all but one of the eight Marines charged in the “massacre.”
The day the war in Iraq was officially declared over, the New York Times returned to the 2005 Haditha “massacre” on Thursday’s front page. Baghdad-based reporter Michael Schmidt uncovered classified military documents about to be burned for fuel to cook a fish: “Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre.” Just above the story stood a photo of President Obama greeting crowds at Fort Bragg, N.C. with the subhead “Obama Thanks Troops as He Observes End of Iraq War," teasing the paper's actual end-of-the-war story, which only made page A20.
As the war marked its official end, Schmidt let his feelings show, accusing "traumatized" troops of having grown "increasingly twitchy, killing more and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi civilians deliberately..."
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the downfall of the Soviet Union, the New York Times and other liberal media outlets often produced stories suggesting a bright side to the fallen dictatorships. The trend was notoriously encapsulated in a February 12, 1992 Times headline marking the release of the last political prisons of the Soviet era: "A Gulag Breeds Rage, Yes, but Also Serenity."
Similarly, the Times often latched on to the chaos of the Iraq war to suggest things had in at least some ways been better under the rulership of bloody dictator Saddam Hussein, responsible for the torture and killing of hundreds of thousands of people, Kurds, Iranians, and Iraqis.
A late and particularly insensitive entry in the field came on Sunday, Michael Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi, "As Baghdad Erupts in Riot of Color, Calls to Tone It Down," suggesting that "Baghdad has weathered invasion, occupation, sectarian warfare and suicide bombers. But now it faces a new scourge: tastelessness."
One day after the New York Times hailed a grand total of four protesters of immigration enforcement, another tiny left-wing protest of “dozens” against Arizona’s new immigration law made The New York Times on Friday -- outside a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Reporters Monica Davey and Michael S. Schmidt never used a liberal label for the protesters, even as they cited organizer Leone Jose Bicchieri, who’s hailed in one biography as a “Witness for Peace” when Marxist-Leninists ran Nicaragua in the 1980s. The leftists even called a black man a racist for opposing them:
At one point, a fan, carrying his own bullhorn and two large American flags, got into a screaming match with protesters as he declared that he was "standing with America's favorite pastime" and urged the crowd not to boycott Arizona at all. The protesters chanted at the man, who was African-American, "Racist, go home!"
Davey and Schmidt also relayed: “Outside Wrigley, Connie Andersen, dressed in Cubs gear, said of the Arizona law, ‘This is a speedy path to Nazi Germany fascism.’”