President Obama caused ruffles on a fundraising jaunt to San Francisco when he said in a speech at a fundraising house party that state Attorney General Kamala Harris (pictured) was "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country." The Washington Post made a full story out of it, using the throwaway line the same way the media has done so often against Republican politicians, suggesting it was part of a larger pattern of regrettable behavior: "Obama rekindles talk of a White House boys' club."
President Obama reopened the debate Thursday over whether his administration is too influenced by men after praising the looks of Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general and a possible future gubernatorial candidate....Obama’s remarks during a fundraising trip to the Bay Area buzzed through Twitter and other social media, where reaction ranged from appalled to leave-the-guy-alone.
Since the existing background-check system began, in 1994, officials have screened more than 108 million people before they could buy a gun, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the federal government has blocked 1.9 million attempted purchases because of felony convictions or other problems with the would-be buyers’ background.
But no background check is required for about 40 percent of gun purchases, including those made online or at gun shows, federal officials estimate. Requiring checks for those purchases would be the single most effective way to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, advocates say.
New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Michael Shear found "right-wing conspiracy" mongering in the aftermath of the unusual 12-hour filibuster by Republican Sen. Rand Paul protesting the White House's failing to rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil or against U.S. citizens: "Visions of Drones Swarming the Skies Touch Bipartisan Nerve."
That slightly dismissive headline on the front of Saturday's edition ("Visions" assumes an abstract and an unreasonable fear) is matched by the story, which tilts a little to the left in labeling and to the Obama administration in its dismissive tone toward White House critics, pitting "liberal activists" against "right-wing conspiracy theorists" and "self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution." In contrast, during the Bush years the Times took seriously the most paranoid fears of liberals about the Patriot Act.
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.
Wednesday's banner New York Times headline on the second presidential debate was studiously neutral: "Obama and Romney Mount Biting Attacks in Debate Rematch." Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny's underlying report played it straight, as did Peter Baker in his front-page "news analysis," under the punchy headline "Punch, Punch, Punch."
But while the Obama cheerleading was muted in print, Times journalists let their slant show during live fact-check of the debate, and especially on the TimesCast. Baker wrote for Wednesday's edition:
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
How painfully predictable: The New York Times filled the news gap caused by the cancellation of Monday's events with rumors of party discord. In fact, the Times first tried to gin up controversy at the 2012 Republican National Convention long ago. Here's a May 13, 2010 report from Damien Cave on how toxic beaches in Tampa might ruin the Republican convention, then over two years away:
The wrong mix of poverty juxtaposed with Republicans partying - perhaps against a backdrop of oil-stained beaches – could give Democrats just what they need to portray their opponents as woefully disconnected from the middle class."
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.”
Is the Tea Party on the decline or not? Don't ask the New York Times. Political reporter Michael Shear wrote in Monday's paper that "Tea Party Hopes to Gain Larger Stage in Election With Romney's Pick." The text box: "A movement already energized by a string of electoral victories." But in May, a Times reporter wrote that the Tea Party "has lost momentum." Here's Shear:
For two years, Tea Party lawmakers in the House have been the stubborn barbarians at the gate, strong-arming their often reluctant Republican colleagues by refusing to compromise on spending, taxes, debt or social policy.
New York Times campaign reporter Michael Shear's "Political Memo" on Friday, "The 2012 Cycle: Attack, Feign Outrage, Repeat," was pitched as an even-handed, "pox on both your houses" article on how both political campaigns use phony outrage as a political tool.
But Shear launched a dubious defense of Obama's notorious "You didn't build that" gaffe, and understated the offensiveness of a false and malicious pro-Democratic ad holding Mitt Romney responsible for the death of a worker's wife.
CNN's media critic Howard Kurtz made the ludicrous assertion that reporters shouting loaded questions outside of a sacred site in Poland were still a "model of decorum" compared to Mitt Romney aide who cursed at them to "show some respect" for the place.
"So, the press doesn't look so great there in Poland, but the reporters were a model of decorum compared to Rick Gorka, the Romney spokesman, who later apologized for the kiss crack," Kurtz began his segment on Sunday's Reliable Sources. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Radio and Current TV host Bill Press got thoroughly exposed on CNN Sunday as a shill for President Obama.
After Press shamelessly uttered the typical liberal line regarding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) unsubstantiated claims about Mitt Romney not paying taxes, Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz smartly interrupted saying, "That's a Democratic talking point. That's a Democratic talking point" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Michael Shear, the New York Times's "Caucus" reporter, previewed in Monday's paper the expected political reaction to several big Supreme Court's decisions coming down the pike this week, including the biggest of all, Obama-Care, expected Thursday morning. One reaction that was all too predictable: Labeling disparity and a focus on "angry" conservatives (there were no references to liberals).
Aides to Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, are prepared to use the court’s rulings to their advantage, no matter how they turn out.
If the court strikes down the health care law, they will argue that Mr. Obama lost his biggest legacy. If the court upholds it, they will argue that Mr. Romney is the last hope for conservatives seeking to undo the law.
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.
New York Times reporter Michael Shear filed a "Political Memo" Thursday on the return of former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who lost in 2006 after the media and the Washington Post in particular harped on a daily basis after Allen referred to opponent's opposition research person as "macaca." Shear felt the need to kneecap Allen out of the starting gate by injecting all the old controversies and rumors of racism into the current news cycle for "A Comeback in Virginia, Shadowed by a Stumble."
While confessing Democrats and unions were dealt a "painful blow" Tuesday night as Republican Gov. Scott Walker handily beat Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election, Wednesday's lead story by Monica Davey and Jeff Zeleny opened with the liberal argument that Walker was to blame for undermining the "civility" of the state's progressive politics by engaging in his successful reform of public sector unions. (The online headline, "Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Effort," is a slightly churlish acknowledgement of Walker's convincing win of 53%-46%.)
Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, easily held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions.
Political reporter Michael Shear uses a half-baked Times "expose" to accuse the GOP of using racial attacks by bringing up the legitimate issue of the anti-white, anti-American, paranoid ravings of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for decades in Chicago, in Saturday's "Race and Religion Rear Their Heads."
Perhaps the uglier side of politics is always close to the surface.
President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, have said for months that the 2012 election will be about the economy. But on Thursday, it became -- at least for a brief moment -- about the always touchy issues of race and religion.
Friday's New York Times portrayed Obama supporter Hilary Rosen's gaffe on CNN Wednesday night, when she accused Mitt Romney's wife Ann of having "never worked a day in her life," as less of a Democratic fumble and more of a pox-on-both-their-houses moment for both presidential campaigns.
The story came at an awkward moment for the paper, which prominently played up Mitt Romney's alleged woes with women voters on Thursday's front page: "Romney Taking Steps to Narrow His Gender Gap." And the paper has constantly insisted that the issues of birth control access and abortion will kill the GOP in 2012.
New York Times reporters Michael Shear (pictured) and Erik Eckholm filed an 1,189-word dispatch Friday from the Conservative Political Action Conference, the conservapalooza held annually in Washington, D.C. Perhaps caught up in the excitement, the reporters committed some amusing label overload: “Romney Takes Conservative Leaders’ Questions in Bid to ‘Reconnect’” contains 22 examples of the word “conservative,” the headline making 23.
Fifteen of those 22 incidents are descriptions of groups and individuals by the reporters themselves. By way of comparison, the common conjunction “and” appears 24 times. Here’s a representative slice:
Who cares what an unelected dictator thinks about the U.S. presidential campaign? Well, New York Times reporters do. Michael Shear and Trip Gabriel were in Miami following the campaign in the runup to next Tuesday’s Florida primary and quoted Fidel Castro in Thursday’s “Candidates Scramble to Win Hispanic Voters in Florida.”
They even suggested the dictator (who they merely called “the retired Cuban leader”) “had reason to be annoyed” at threats voiced by Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
The latest New York Times weekly “Caucus” podcast, hosted by reporters Sam Roberts and Michael Shear, opened with Gov. Rick Perry’s blank-out over the third federal agency he would shut down at last week’s Republican presidential debate, an event the Times and other media outlets rewarded with blanket coverage. Shear compared Perry’s flub to a supposedly “famous” one by candidate Barack Obama in 2008, in which Obama appeared to think there were 58 states in the U.S. But was it famous in the Times? Hardly.
The exchange from the podcast, created last Thursday and posted to nytimes.com on Friday.
In a Thursday morning post setting the table for last night’s Republican presidential debate in Orlando, New York Times chief “Caucus” blog reporter Michael Shear became the latest Timesman to falsely finger the Tea Party audience at a CNN debate last week as cheering on the prospect of letting a hypothetical man die for lack of health insurance.
Shear listed six things to watch for in Orlando last night. The last item:
New York Times online political reporter Michael Shear made Saturday’s front page with his close reading of the oeuvre of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and was predictably disturbed by what he found. “Perry’s Blunt Views in Books Get New Scrutiny as He Joins Race” amounts to a handy bit of opposition research before Perry’s debate debut on Wednesday (contingent on the wildfires in his home state of Texas).
Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, believes that climate change is a “contrived, phony mess.” The federal income tax was the “great milestone on the road to serfdom.” And the Boy Scouts of America are under attack by “a radical homosexual movement.”
A brief item by Michael Shear in Friday’s New York Times, “Huntsman Makes Bid To Step Out From Crowd,” faulted moderate Republican candidate Jon Huntsman for not sufficiently “standing apart from the pack” of conservative presidential candidates by calling for higher taxes – or in Shear’s words, “revenue increases.”
Shear called it a “missed opportunity,” as if Huntsman should have argued the liberal line on raising taxes solely to stand out from the conservative crowd.
Michael Shear, chief writer for the New York Times’s “Caucus” blog, sounded sarcastic and bitter, almost angry, at the opening of the paper’s last “Caucus” podcast on Thursday about having to talk about the Anthony Weiner sex scandal.
Host Sam Roberts: “But you pointed out that this is a particularly inopportune time for this latest sex scandal to break in Washington. Why is that?”
Michael Shear: “Lots of policy and we’re going to start with the sex scandal! That’s fine. Yeah, it’s not a good time for Democrats.”
So what vital hard-core political news did Shear spend the entire following day covering to compensate for having to discuss Weinergate? The three-year-old trove of Sarah Palin emails from her time as Alaska governor.
New York Times chief political blogger Michael Shear is a bit annoyed that Sarah Palin is successfully attracting media attention while ignoring reporter’s inquiries and playing hide-and-seek with the press on her "One Nation" bus tour. (Photo by the Times's David Winter.) Shear, who has filed multiple blog posts on the Palin family's historical trail through the Northeast, made Tuesday’s print edition with his gripes: "Palin Family Hits Road, if Not 2012 Trail."
Ms. Palin announced her bus tour with great fanfare last week and is using it on her Web site to raise money for her political action committee. Despite that, she is acting as though her family is just like any other on vacation.
Never mind the charter bus plastered with images of the Constitution. Or the fact that her family vacation has a name: the One Nation Tour. Or that she is documenting her family’s movements on a Web site that invites Americans along. Or that she might just run for president.
Perhaps he resented following Palin over the Memorial Day holiday?