The New York Times is engaging in defense of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, accused of influence peddling in his suspicious relationship with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private plane. Menendez intervened on Melgen's behalf in two Medicare disputes.
Last Sunday the paper very strangely chided a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, for its part in exposing the Menendez scandal (even though the Times itself collaborated with the group, using its data to write its February 1 front-page story on the Menendez accusations). As if to make up for helping put the story (somewhat) into the mainstream press, the front of Thursday's edition featured a sympathetic profile of Menendez by reporters Raymond Hernandez and Sam Dolnick, "Amid Questions About Ethics, Battle-Tested Senator Digs In." The Times gave more space to supporters who suggest the whole thing is a smear job.
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.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Raymond Hernandez profiled Democrat Kathy Hochul, the winner of the recent special congressional election to fill a seat from a Republican district in New York state, in "Her Inheritance: An Eagerness to Serve."
Praising the Democrat in personal terms the Times rarely if ever uses when discussing a local Republican like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Hernandez hit every Lincolnesque cliche in the "devout Roman Catholic" Hochul’s humble family background, which he painted as a challenge overcome by the candidate.
A few months before Kathy Hochul was born, her family was living in a 31-by-8-foot trailer not far from the hulking Bethlehem Steel plant near Buffalo. When things got a little better, they moved to the second-floor flat of a home in working-class Woodlawn.
The New York Times provided big play to Tuesday’s special congressional election to fill New York's 26th congressional district near Buffalo, a race in which Democrat Kathy Hochul upset Republican Jane Corwin. Reporter Raymond Hernandez was quick to assume this one special race spells bad news for Republican plans to reform Medicare, and their prospects in the national elections 18 months away. But how does the Times typically react when Republicans win special and off-year elections?
Democrats scored an upset in one of New York’s most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party’s plan to overhaul Medicare.
The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
The New York Times’s pro-Democratic election enthusiasm is showing. Metro reporter Raymond Hernandez has written two stories in two days about House Speaker John Boehner coming to aid a Republican candidate in a special election May 24 in upstate New York. Monday’s story previewed Boehner’s visit in support of Jane Corwin, who is running a "struggling campaign...for a vacant seat in Congress": "Tight Race For Congress Prompts Visit By Boehner – Upstate Trip to Help Struggling Republican."
The personal interest shown in the race by Mr. Boehner – who will host a fund-raiser for Ms. Corwin and also make a public appearance with her – reflects the growing concern among Republicans about a race that they had not expected to be so competitive.
The visit also comes as national Democrats, who had all but written off the race a few weeks ago, now view an opportunity to turn it into a referendum on the House Republican agenda in advance of the battle for control of the House in the election next year.
Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd looked at his polls and decided to retire, so Democrats were buoyed by the hope of replacing him with the state's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal. Credit should go to The New York Times and Raymond Hernandez for digging up something embarrassing. Blumenthal's not a Vietnam combat veteran, as he has implied:
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
Five deferments -- just like the liberals forever reminded people about Dick Cheney. (The Times website offers a clip of Blumenthal's speech on video.) Will the rest of the national media notice?
It's enlightening to see what topics New York Times editors find disturbing and newsworthy and which ones they shrug off or ignore.
New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a Democrat who is nonetheless under strong suspicions at the liberal Times for her support of gun rights and her previous representation of a white conservative district. On Friday's front page, she came under fire via a stash of old ammo in a story by Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski. "As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco." Gillibrand is in trouble for defending Big Tobacco as a lawyer representing Philip Morris back in 1996.
The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.
So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.
Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab's top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.