Last Friday, Obama made “history” by being the first president to address Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions. Obama did this in spite of the terrible timing, during the Kermit Gosnell trial. But like the Gosnell trial, Obama’s speech drew a blackout: no story on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, or NPR.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes hailed it was a "history-making" speech, but complained that Obama never used the A-word, which he should never feel ashamed to use. Rachel Maddow praised Obama for “putting a new capstone” on bold proclamations for the “right to choose.” USA Today and the Los Angeles Times somehow missed it. The New York Times blogged it – with this amazing paragraph from reporter Peter Baker as he mentioned Gosnell:
Campaign 2016 has already started, and the New York Times weighed in on the presidential hopefuls in three stories Tuesday. So far, it's a hail for Hillary, a ho-hum greeting for Joe Biden, and hostility toward Republican governors Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal. David Halbfinger's Tuesday front-page story was loaded with hostility toward New Jersey's governor: "Brash Christie Plays Rutgers Circumspectly."
It does not take much for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to uncork his temper. He has called a Navy combat veteran an “idiot,” suggested reporters “take the bat” to a lawmaker in her 70s, and gone taunt-to-taunt with detractors on the boardwalk and in countless town hall meetings.
As two gay-marriage cases reach the Supreme Court this week, the New York Times's Peter Baker served up Bill Clinton's mea culpa on the Defense of Marriage Act, which the president signed into law in 1996, in the heat of his re-election campaign.
While letting Clinton explain his reversal on DOMA, which ensured that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex marriage conducted in another state, Baker relayed the former president's exceedingly lame explanations for angering the left and signing it into law -- apparently Bob Dole (his '96 election opponent) made him do it. And, sleep deprivation.
On Monday, President Obama tapped Thomas Perez, currently the head of the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, to take the helm at the Department of Labor, replacing outgoing Secretary Hilda Solis. This will be the third controversial Cabinet appointment after Brennan and Hagel. In covering the story, Peter Baker of the New York Times mentioned Republican opposition to his nomination, but failed to mention Perez’s radical past preceding his service in the Obama administration, much less his controversial actions while at Justice.
New York Times reporter Peter Baker explored the metaphorical challenges of the gun debate: "In Debate Over Curbing Gun Violence, Even Language Can Be Loaded." It was a politically balanced, if perhaps oversensitive, analysis, until an unfair reference tying Sarah Palin, the former GOP vice presidential candidate, to the shooting by schizophrenic Jared Loughner of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. It's a false tie the Times has exploited before. An excerpt:
Throughout the very long presidential election cycle, two trends remained consistent. The media lauded Obama no matter how horrendous his record, and they savaged Obama’s Republican contenders as ridiculous pretenders.
From the start of the Republican race in 2011, every candidate who took the lead then took an unfair beating. They even slimed Sarah Palin in case she decided to run. Martin Bashir announced she was “vacuous, crass, and according to almost every biographer, vindictive too.” Newsweek mocked Michele Bachmann on its cover, making her look pale, confused and nutty, with the headline “The Queen of Rage.” Politico and other media outlets tried to pin sexual harassment claims on Herman Cain without naming, or even knowing the accusers.
On Monday's front page, New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Trip Gabriel used the upcoming vice presidential debate to criticize Obama's performance in his debate with Mitt Romney last week: "Biden Up Next, Obama's Aides Plot Comeback."
The Times didn't flinch from calling out Obama's "disaster" of a debate performance, but did find some excuses for the president, including distractions like the terrorist massacre in Libya (though that didn't stop Obama from attending a fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day). The Times also dropped in this revelation: "Mr. Obama made clear to advisers that he was not happy about debating Mr. Romney, whom he views with disdain."
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."
New York Times political reporter Peter Baker's Thursday "campaign memo," "Philosophic Clash Over Government's Role Highlights Parties' Divide," marks the first appearance in the Times of President Obama's already notorious slam on business, which, according to Baker's helpful spin, "make clear that he celebrates individual achievement and free enterprise while believing that they are bolstered by collective investment."
It took only a few days for it to become a favorite Republican talking point. President Obama told an audience that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.”
And it only took six days for the remarks to appear in the Times, on Thursday (Obama made the remarks last Friday night in Roanoke, Virginia). The rest of the media were also behind, as documented by the MRC's Geoff Dickens. Meanwhile, Romney surrogate John Sununu's crack that Obama should "learn how to be an American" made instant news at the paper.
But a couple of other Times stories, including one by Jodi Kantor took a sympathetic and defensive view of Obama-Care that suggested the measure had suffered because of Republican deception and a failure to understand the bill's benefits.
For such a historic figure, Barack Obama sure doesn't have much influence on the world. That's the theme of reporter Peter Baker's front-page "news analysis" for Monday's New York Times, portraying the president as a passive victim of world events spinning unluckily out of his control: "Obama's Focus on Re-election Faces World of Complications."
For Barack Obama, a president who set out to restore good relations with the world in his first term, the world does not seem to be cooperating all that much with his bid to win a second.
Most Americans suspect that President Obama was motivated by politics, not policy, when he declared his support for same-sex marriage, according to a new poll released on Monday, suggesting that the unplanned way it was announced shaped public attitudes.
President Obama opened the week by calling on Democrats to embrace his re-election campaign. He closed it by praising Republicans for forging a compromise to cut spending this year and avert a government shutdown.
The juxtaposition made clearer than ever the more centrist governing style Mr. Obama has adopted since his party’s big losses in November and his recapture-the-middle strategy for winning a second term.
Actually, Zeleny has considered Obama centrist, or at least a “pragmatist,” from his first year in office, well before the 2010 election. Here's Zeleny on Obama the pragmatist in December 2009: “He delivered a mix of realism and idealism....he continued a pattern evident throughout his public career of favoring pragmatism over absolutes.”
It’s quite remarkable to think about and unfortunately it is true.
Throughout the 2009 stimulus debate early in his term, President Barack Obama and other Democrats argue it was time to put America to work with the aid of the government and so-called “shovel-ready jobs.” But in a startling admission in an interview with The New York Times’ White House correspondent Peter Baker, Obama said “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”
So after the American taxpayers were sold a stimulus bill that was supposed to repair the country’s ailing infrastructure and stem the rise in unemployment, the president’s economic policies haven’t lived up as advertised. On the Oct. 13 broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer offered a spot-on explanation.
Do Republican presidents really pick "strong conservatives" for Supreme Court nominations, while Democrats are reduced to picking moderates who end up disappointing true liberals? Clinton's 1993 liberal nominee, former ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg, would seem to rebut that view, as would George H.W. Bush's 1990 selection of David Souter, who moved to the left upon appointment to the dismay of conservatives.
Kagan serves as solicitor general and was dean of Harvard Law School. Strongly pro-choice and pro-gay rights, her condemnation of the military's policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" led her to ban military recruiters from the campus. Yet the Times forwarded liberal complaints that Kagan may not be sufficiently activist to hold up the liberal wing of the Supreme Court.
The most striking thing about Peter Baker's story at the front of the New York Times Week in Review, “Is Failure Forgivable?” is the photo illustration that takes up the entire top half of the page, a photograph taken by the Times's Damon Winter and illustrated by free-lance designer/illustrator Nola Lopez.
At first glance the symbol in the center certainly looks like a Christian cross, and the religious effect is heightened by the halo effect of the sun around Obama's head as he is giving a speech, presumably on health care. If the cross is meant as a medical symbol as used by the Red Cross (a symbol itself derived from the Christian symbol), the execution is vague and open to interpretation.
And the word “Forgivable” in the print headline is certainly a hint toward religious subtext, intentional or not, though honestly it's hard to see what the point of the photo illustration is.
Sam Roberts, host of the weekly "Political Points" podcast at nytimes.com, and White House correspondent Peter Baker had an exchange about Karl Rove’s new book “Courage and Consequence,” about six minutes from the end of Thursday’s edition of “Political Points."
Roberts parroted the conventional liberal wisdom about the Bush administration's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, asking Baker whether the American public deserves an apology from Rove and President Bush for the intelligence failure. It was up to Baker to point out that the idea of Saddam Hussein having WMD was not a view pushed by the White House onto gullible Democrats, adding that many Democrats who looked at the intelligence agreed that Iraq posed a threat.
Sam Roberts: “Peter, let me ask you, let me ask you a question about the “courage” part of that. He says that George Bush would not have invaded Iraq had he known there were no weapons of mass destruction there. Does Karl Rove or the president owe the American public an apology?”
A rather shocking thing happened on "Face the Nation" Sunday: CBS News's chief legal correspondent said Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) racist remarks about presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008 will harm Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
Quite contrary to how ABC's George Stephanopoulos gave cover to the Senate Majority Leader by declaring his comments were supposed to be private, "FTN" took Friday's revelations much more seriously.
CBS Newser Jan Crawford said, "I think the much bigger question is more broadly, what is this going to mean in the midterms, and for the Democrats specifically in the midterms. Because you know, this could very well make the base much less enthusiastic to come out to vote."
She concluded, "I think as we look forward into this upcoming election, it's going to have big problems for Harry Reid, big problems for Democrats in general (video embedded below the fold with transcript)
An upcoming book, “The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr," deals with Ken Starr's investigation of the Clinton scandals of Whitewater and lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Politico got an early copy of the February 16 release by law professor Ken Gormley, and broke out some of the juiciest bits Thursday evening. The headline: “Monica’s Back -- Says Clinton Lied.” Among the findings: Bill Clinton had an affair with Whitewater figure Susan McDougal and lied under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky, as confirmed by Lewinsky herself.
But the New York Times’s Peter Baker on Saturday uniquely found a pro-Clinton angle, burying the sex scandal and perjury details and boring in on another facet, as indicated by the headline: “F.B.I. Accused of Abuse of Power in Clinton Case.”
New York Times reporter Peter Baker questioned whether President Obama’s soaring rhetoric ("the most gifted orator of his generation") was still getting through in his Sunday Week in Review piece "The Words That Once Soared," and even let Obama aides suggest the president's Cairo speech"was responsible for Iranians taking to the streets of Tehran to protest a disputed election."
As the most gifted orator of his generation, President Obama finds speechmaking perhaps his most potent political tool. It propelled him to national prominence in 2004 and to the White House in 2008. And whenever he needs to calm economic fears or revive stalled health care legislation, he takes to the lectern.
The Times finds the Democratic party to be a veritable symposium of “gifted orators.” Obama’s already been called that three times before in the Times, the first instance coming all the way back on March 19, 2006 in a story by Anne Kornblut, before he was even running for president.
Those who read the New York Times's coverage of the unsuccessful results of Barack and Michelle Obama's attempt to seal the 2016 Summer Olympics bid for Chicago on Friday afternoon ('For Obama, an Unsuccessful Campaign") might want to read it again.
If it doesn't seem the same, it's because it isn't.
An excerpt of the item's first five paragraphs posted at FreeRepublic at 4:44 Eastern Time on October 2 shows that the article was apparently originally published under the same title with Peter Baker's byline sometime Friday afternoon.
There are even more substantive differences noticed by Weasel Zippers I will get to shortly, but the first five paragraphs alone were obviously worked over, while Jeff Zeleny's name was added to the byline.
After the jump, on the left you will see the original as excerpted at FreeRepublic; on the right are the first five paragraphs currently at the Times web site (saved here at my host for future reference; click here or on the graphic to view a larger side-by-side version in a separate window):
But just how "rapt" were those Ghanians? Were they any less rapt when President Bush visited Ghana last year?
The visit of the first African-American president, the son of a onetime Kenyan goat herder, electrified this small coastal nation and much of the region. Thousands of people lined streets, crowded rooftops, packed balconies, climbed trees, leaned out windows, even hung off scaffolding to glimpse his motorcade.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Judge Clarence Thomas both had compelling life stories when they were nominated for the Supreme Court. But only Sotomayor's story has been celebrated that way by the New York Times.
Sotomayor's rise from a housing project in the East Bronx to Supreme Court nominee was "a compelling life story" in Thursday's lead article by Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney.
By contrast, the lead July 2, 1991 story by Maureen Dowd, then a White House reporter, was rather curt when it came to extolling the conservative Thomas's riveting life history. Dowd dispensed with Thomas's inspiring rise from poverty in Pin Point, Ga., where he was raised by his grandparents, in two and a half paragraphs, and suggested a cynical political motivation on the part of President George H.W. Bush. Thomas's life wasn't necessarily inspiring but was merely "offered as inspiring" by the president:
Baker and Zeleny never directly acknowledged Sotomayor's liberal outlook, although there is enough in her judicial record (and her own words) to indicate her ideology.
President Obama announced Tuesday that he would nominate Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a Bronx public housing project to become the nation's first Hispanic justice.
In making his first pick for the court, Mr. Obama emphasized Judge Sotomayor's "extraordinary journey" from modest beginnings to the Ivy League and now the pinnacle of the judicial system. Casting her as the embodiment of the American dream, he touched off a confirmation battle that he hopes to wage over biography more than ideology.
Judge Sotomayor's past comments about how her sex and ethnicity shaped her decisions, and the role of appeals courts in making policy, generated instant conservative complaints that she is a judicial activist. Senate Republicans vowed to scrutinize her record. But with Democrats in reach of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, the White House appeared eager to dare Republicans to stand against a history-making nomination at a time when both parties are courting the growing Hispanic vote.
Again, the Times hinted at but didn't directly label Sotomayor with the still-damaging label of "liberal," never using the term to describe her.
President Obama delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame on Sunday, amid protests that the nation's preeminent Catholic college shouldn't be honoring a pro-choice president who even supports the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion.
President Obama directly confronted America's deep divide over abortion on Sunday as he appealed to partisans on each side to find ways to respect one another's basic decency and even work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
As anti-abortion demonstrators protested outside and a few hecklers shouted inside, Mr. Obama used a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame to call for more "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" in a debate that has polarized the country for decades. The audience at this Roman Catholic institution cheered his message and drowned out protesters, some of whom called him a "baby killer."
Monday's print version is toned down from the original filing Sunday afternoon at nytimes.com. That story, credited to Peter Baker alone, had a headline with a more defensive thrust -- "At Notre Dame, Obama Defends His Abortion Stance." That filing (no longer available at nytimes.com, but you can read it here for now) also included this paragraph:
Did the NYT bury reporter Peter Baker's story on a memo written by Obama's own national intelligence director, suggesting that harsh interrogation methods had proved effective in understanding Al Qaeda? Washington Examiner journalist Byron York has his suspicions.
From Baker's 850-word online story, "Banned Techniques Yielded 'High Value Information,' Memo Says, " which has rocketed across the Drudge Report and the conservative web since it was posted at nytimes.com Tuesday:
President Obama's national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.
"High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa'ida organization that was attacking this country," Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Baker caught an intriguing bit of redaction by the Obama administration:
In the midst of a discussion about President-elect Barack Obama's national security team, Washington Week host Gwen Ifill on Friday night's program sought confirmation for her theory that “what people are beginning to say is that this President-elect should be President now” as “people are saying why isn't Barack Obama leading the fight about the auto-makers?”
New York Times reporter Peter Baker agreed: “That's right, exactly.” He proceeded to fret over how “people voted for change and this strange, odd 77-day waiting period that we impose...between our election and our inauguration” just isn't compatible with the “hyperactive 24/7 fast-moving culture that we have today.” Baker admired how “Obama is trying to find some balance between respecting President Bush,” whom Baker conceded is “still in charge,” and “finding a way to assert leadership.”
On Monday’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, CNN’s Campbell Brown lashed out at President-Elect Barack Obama for his flippant response to a reporter’s question: “Mr. President-Elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn’t just about the media. It’s about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn’t. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn’t you mean?”
During the press conference where Obama unveiled his national security team, Peter Baker of the New York Times brought up the tough primary fight between the President-Elect and Mrs Clinton: “...[Y]ou were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I’m wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.” The outgoing Illinois senator replied, “I mean, I think -- this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you’re having fun.”
Washington Post reporter Peter Baker penned a story on Bill Clinton for Friday’s front page. The Post website summarized: "Former president promotes wife’s candidacy while trying to set the record straight on his own tenure." Set the record straight? That’s what Baker wrote in his article: "As Clinton travels the country campaigning for his wife with characteristic intensity, he is fighting not only to promote Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy but also set the record straight on the two terms he spent in the White House." Does Clinton have the credibility to "set the record straight" when he has a long record of public lying, even lying in court?
Baker’s front-pager promoted Clinton’s long-standing pique with independent counsel Ken Starr:
"Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon," he told the students last week, his eyes narrowing and his finger jabbing the air.
In Monday’s Washington Post, reporter Peter Baker’s front-page political analysis on President Bush’s improving fortunes carries a strong whiff of Hate to Admit It:
In many ways, the shifting political fortunes may owe as much to the absence of bad news as to any particular good news. No one lately has been indicted, botched a hurricane relief effort or shot someone in a hunting accident. Instead, pictures from Iraq show people returning to the streets as often as they show a new suicide bombing.
That’s just wrong. The Big Kahuna of bad news has always been Iraq, which has always cast a dark cloud over other news. Left out of Baker’s analysis: how much the media spin has affected most of these stories (leave out Iraq for the moment).