Common-ground alert: Salon's Alex Pareene doesn't think much of the New York Times's opinion columnists as a group, and neither, presumably, do NewsBusters readers. As for the reasons why, well, let's just say most of Pareene's almost certainly aren't the same as yours.
Pareene blasts Maureen Dowd for "sloppiness, not to mention rote repetition of themes and jokes and incredibly lazy thinking" and skewers Nick Kristof for his alleged "do-gooder liberalism [which] involves the bizarre American conviction that bombing places is a great way to help them." He likes Thomas Friedman even less, writing that Friedman "is an embarrassment" who "writes stupid things, for stupid people, about complicated topics" and "dutifully pushes a stultifyingly predictable center-right agenda."
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat could hardly be considered a conservative in the mold of, say, a Ted Cruz. Most often he has reflected the "conservativism" of fellow New York Times columnist David Brooks who last summer came out in strong support for the Senate immigration bill.
Therefore it was a very pleasant surprise that Douthat broke with his fellow "conservative" columnist by recently denouncing the Republican establishment push to pass an immigration bill this year as "perverse":
NBC’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd had some tough words for President Obama on Monday’s Morning Joe. Todd, anchor of MSNBC’s Daily Rundown and a frequent critic of Republicans on network’s programming, scolded the president for running a “leaderless Washington,” and for failing to “rally the world” to a “solution in Syria.”
Todd’s critique was in reference to a Saturday op-ed in the New York Times, in which conservative columnist Ross Douthat berated the Obama administration for promoting policies of little importance to most Americans – in lieu of an aggressive jobs agenda.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, CNN's Howard Kurtz doubled down on his December column that the media needed "to be leading the conversation" on guns in the wake of Newtown. He even compared the gun debate to the conversations on civil rights and, recently, same-sex marriage. Is gun control the new civil rights movement?
Of course, Kurtz claimed objectivity although since Newtown the media have been anything but fair to gun rights advocates in the "conversation" on guns: "I would say that it's important for journalists, whether you like the phrase 'leading the conversation' or not, to push controversial issues that the politicians otherwise might prefer not to talk about."
Yet New York Times columnist Ross Douthat countered that the media is overwhelmingly one-sided when it tries to push issues into the spotlight, and pointed to the selective outrage behind the Newtown shooting versus the horror stories coming from the Gosnell trial. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Kermit Gosnell is the late-term abortion doctor in Philadelphia, on trial for infanticide in the gruesome killing of seven babies. The day after his trial began March 18 (as Tom Blumer noted at Newsbusters) Jon Hurdle at the New York Times opened by telling readers that "In opening statements in court on Monday, prosecutors charged that a doctor who operated a women’s health clinic here killed seven viable fetuses..."
Fetuses? The Times more accurately described it in a January 2011 brief, when Gosnell was first charged with murder:
Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy stated that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting the traditional family, and commented on a radio show that “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say: You know, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”
That’s tantamount to heresy in Hollywood and in New York and D.C. newsrooms. The media have proven themselves in the tank for same sex marriage, and Chick-Fil-A is learning what it means to cross them.
Never exactly reticent in the cause of promoting gay marriage, CNN continued its long tradition of gay advocacy by highlighting dissenters against Church teaching.
In a June 20 article on CNN’s Belief Blog titled “Can ‘true Catholics’ support same-sex marriage,” Chris Welch highlighted two Catholics who remained within the Church, yet declared opposition to the Church’s teaching of gay marriage.
Right-leaning New York Times columnist Ross Douthat was thrown into the David Brooks chair on the weekly political roundatable on NPR's All Things Considered Friday. NPR anchor Robert Siegel insisted Rick Perry had a whole set of strange and anti-scientific statements that suggest he's "too far right" to be electable. Notice how NPR just rolls up everything they disagree with and loads it into one question for the "conservative" panelist:
In his Monday column, “Tales of the Tea Party,” Ross Douthat, the New York Times' s idea of a conservative, exploded four common Tea Party myths spread by the left. The text box read “The stories liberals tell themselves.” What Douthat couldn’t mention was that all four kinds of “stories” have been told by Times reporters as well.
Douthat began by debunking the Tea Party racism myth, one spread by the paper's Tea Party beat reporter Kate Zernike on several occasions, to the point of considering opposition to the minimum wage racially suspect.
A month ago, a U.C.L.A. graduate student named Emily Elkins spent hours roaming a Tea Party rally on the Washington Mall, photographing every sign she saw.
Elkins, a former CATO Institute intern, was examining the liberal conceit that Tea Party marches are rife with racism and conspiracy theorizing. Last week, The Washington Post reported on her findings: just 5 percent of the 250 signs referenced Barack Obama’s race or religion, and 1 percent brought up his birth certificate. The majority focused on bailouts, deficits and spending -- exactly the issues the Tea Partiers claim inspired their movement in the first place.
The easy thing would be to take them at their word. But for liberals, that would be too simple. The Democrats are weeks away from a midterm thumping that wasn’t supposed to happen, and the liberal mind is desperate for a narrative, a storyline, something to ease the pain of losing to a ragtag band of right-wing populists. Something that explains the Tea Parties -- and then explains them away.
The “Tea Partiers are racists” theory is the most inflammatory storyline, but there are many more. Let’s consider them, in order of increasing plausibility.
Douthat then posted some paragraphs under the following four bullet headlines of stories liberal tell themselves. Under Douthat’s headlines I've inserted examples of how Times reporters have told their readers those same liberal stories.
The editors of the mainstream media must think we all have very short memories.
Their latest schtick is to smear conservative talk show host Glenn Beck as a creepy Mormon who has no business influencing evangelicals.
Aside from the disgusting hypocrisy of Mormon-baiting one minute and then bashing Islamophobia the next, these news outlets are also hoping you've forgotten about their recent smearing of evangelicals like Sarah Palin, John Hagee, and James Dobson.
But hey, they shouldn't be held accountable for their own religious bigotry on display in 2008. That was a whole two years ago, and anyway they had a Democrat messiah to protect.
For a flashback at how low the media stooped then, let's review an editorial cartoon shamelessly bashing Pentecostalism that appeared on the Washington Post's website on September 18, 2008:
Over the weekend, Dave Weigel resigned as WaPo's house chronicler of conservatives after revelations of his antipathy toward the people he was covering. Tonight brings us the spectacle of Ross Douthat, an ostensibly conservative columnist at the New York Times. Appearing on MSNBC's Ed Schultz show, Douthat proffered precisely zero criticism of anyone or anything liberal. But he did manage to mock Mike Huckabee as "passive-aggressive." For good measure, Douthat suggested that "right-wing" people who question Barack Obama's place of birth are too dense to realize that Hawaii is a state of the union.
The Nation's Chris Hayes, subbing for Schultz tonight, didn't have to strain to elicit criticism of conservatives from Douthat. After playing a clip of Huckabee stating the apparent fact that he polls better than other Republicans against Obama, Douthat opined.
Maureen Dowd compared the Catholic Church's treatment of women to that of Saudi Arabia in her Sunday column "Worlds Without Women," before comparing herself, as a Catholic woman, to those living under that harsh Islamic regime.
When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.
I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women's rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men's club than a modern nation. They told me, somewhat defensively, that the kingdom was moving at its own pace, glacial as that seemed to outsiders.
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?
I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
Almost every week at the New York Times, house "conservative" David Brooks and liberal columnist Gail Collins have a public conversation. This week Brooks made a startling admission in The Conversation which really wasn't so surprising when one actually reads his columns. Here is the money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills).
New York Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena announced the news that the Times "has hired Ross G. Douthat, a 29-year-old conservative writer and editor at The Atlantic, as an Op-Ed columnist." But is Mr. Douthat (pronounced DOW-thut) really a conservative, or is he the kind of conservative only the New York Times could love? Their own story says pick (B), a sort of kid brother of David Brooks:
His writing steers away from partisanship -- he frequently criticizes Republicans -- or doctrine, showing a concern for income inequality that is usually the terrain of more liberal writers. On abortion, he said in an interview, "I’m sort of a squishy pro-lifer," interested in finding areas of compromise. He initially favored the war in Iraq, but later opposed it.