The terrorist shootings and bombings that murdered over 100 people in Paris on Friday were carried out by the group known as ISIS (Islamic State), but there was little discussion of Islam in the front-page coverage of the massacres in Saturday's New York Times. The paper demonstrated an unseemly reluctance to talk seriously about the probable identification of the terrorists, despite their own reporting that witnesses heard shouts of "Allahu akbar!" ("God is great!") inside the Bataclan concert hall.
It was an '80s flashback in the New York Times Sunday book review. Serge Schmemann attacked a new book about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin by Garry Kasparov. Schmemann seemed to take personally Kasparov's criticism of Barack Obama and his celebration of Ronald Reagan. Schmemann gave all the credit to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: "...ultimately it was Gorbachev, more than any American or other Western leader, who played the greatest role in bringing down the Soviet system." Deeper inside, the Times gave space for veteran liberal journalist Timothy Noah to review a Jack Kemp biography: "If space aliens were to land a flying saucer on the Capitol’s South Lawn, one question they might ask is: Wherever did you get the idea that cutting taxes would increase revenue?"
In the New York Times Sunday magazine, reporter Jackie Calmes issued an unwanted sequel to her 16,000-word summer screed "'They Don't Give a Damn About Governing,' this one focusing on conservative radio host Steve Deace: "Such is the mood on the far right these days....This strain of conservative media, and its take-no-prisoners ideology, have proliferated on websites, podcasts and video outlets, greatly complicating the Republican Party’s ability to govern and to pick presidential candidates with broad appeal."
Republican and Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin easily won the Kentucky governor's race last night, to the surprise of New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg and her headline writers, who wondered if Bevin was a "loose cannon" who would risk the GOP "losing an opportunity" to pick up a seat.
New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse delivered a balanced column Tuesday recounting why reformist, Tea Party-minded conservatives have aligned against more traditional Chamber of Commerce Republicans. But it was marred by Hulse's contemptuous tone ("the anti-chamber crowd") and labeling habits, with Hulse making not one, not two, but six references to "hard-right" conservatives in a 1,050-word story, with two "hard-line" labels for good measure. Yet the Times' uses of the term "hard-left" in U.S. political stories are vanishingly rare.
The election of a new Speaker of the House had the New York Times firing up its reliably crooked labeling machine. On Thursday, reporter and repeat offender David Herszenhorn lamented that "Many Republicans, including members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who had hounded Mr. Boehner from the speakership, accused him and other party leaders of betraying them with a late-hour deal that was negotiated in secret." Veteran congressional reporter Carl Hulse interviewed former Speaker John Boehner and took his side against his allegedly irresponsible opponents: "Mr. Boehner...eventually became the power structure, only to be forced out by hard-line conservatives he deems 'knuckleheads' for their inability to recognize that compromise is sometimes necessary in politically divided government."
New York Times political reporters Nicholas Confessore, Alan Rappaport, and Maggie Haberman live blogged the third GOP debate, and while the NYT didn't have a problem with the slanted questions from CNBC, they were quite perturbed over the counterattacks from the candidates, a pile-on jump-started by a lengthy and detailed off-the-cuff condemnation by Ted Cruz: "...candidates whine about media bias and lack of substance from moderators, and then often refuse to answer the questions or address policy issues....Rubio [is] continuing his mission to trash the news industry."
Wednesday's New York Times featured "Ted Cruz as Beowulf: Matching Candidates With Books They Sound Like," in which the Times measured the candidates’ debate rhetoric by complexity and eagerly forwarded some unchallenged stereotypes of "simplistic" conservatives: "'Trump has the language of the board room, the language of entertainment,' [professor Sharon] Jarvis said. 'He really speaks to the conservative base who would prefer not to hear complex arguments.'"
The New York Times proudly unveiled on the front of its Sunday May 10 issue an"expose" of nail salons in Manhattan by Sarah Maslin Nir, "The Price of Nice Nails" (Nir also criticized white "gentrification" among Hurricane Sandy volunteers in 2012.) The first part focused on alleged "rampant exploitation" of workers, and is causing major damage to a local industry composed mostly of lower class Asian workers. In her expose, privileged white reporter Nir certainly did her own part for "gentrification," helping heap onerous regulatory burdens on nail salons and hurting the mostly Asian workforce with a set of misleading articles. And the workers are responding with protests at NYT Co. headquarters.
The New York Times' continuing hostility toward the GOP's conservative Freedom Caucus got snide in Sunday's news pages. "The Fights That Ryan Will Face as Speaker, In Plain English" was co-written by veteran congressional reporter Carl Hulse, who never hides his Democratic sympathies, certianly not in this snide, cynical "translation" of a Freedom Caucus-issued questionnaire, which converted standard congressional-ese into the apparently rude and aggressive demands that the "hard-right" caucus is prepared to make on Speaker of the House in waiting, Paul Ryan, including holding legislation "hostage."
Jodi Rudoren and Rami Nazzal reported from the West Bank on the front page of Friday's New York Times: "Palestinians Set Their Rage to Violent Beat." The worst thing that Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief, and Nazzal had to say about a new rash of "protest songs" (!) by Palestinians celebrating the stabbing of Jews is that they are "blunt" and "weak musically." (A sample lyric: "Stab, stab the Zionist – and say God is great!") There are even links to some of the violently inflammatory songs embedded in the online story, so the Times is also spreading anti-Jewish hate speech, including a charming ditty titled "Intifada of Knives"
The New York Times featured more politicized environmentalist doom-mongering from Justin Gillis, the paper's chief alarmist, in "2015 Likely to Be Hottest Year on Record." Of course, the year isn't over yet, but that less-than-compelling news hook didn't stop Gillis from going beyond the stats to work in alarmist environmental and anti-"denialist" political points, while dismissing the inconvenient truth that temperature growth has stalled since 1998. Gillis has made a habit of establishing "historic" warming levels and pollution records that turn out to be rather less than they initially appear.
New York Times political reporter Jennifer Steinhauer filed "Influence of Freedom Caucus Ripples Through Washington" for Tuesday's front page, a long hostile introduction to a page of label-heavy profiles of five congressmen from the Freedom Caucus. Steinhauer's tone was resentful of the success of the new wave of conservative congressmen, alleging they had achieved their goals through "highly gerrymandered districts" and an "intricately coordinated web of conservative media" (as opposed to the coordinated web of liberal media consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post) and had made it "much harder to get things done" in Washington.
An exchange from the Democratic debate involving Scandinavian economic superiority caught the elitist attention of economist turned Democratic political hack Paul Krugman. Bernie Sanders opined: "We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people." That gave Krugman all the wedge to snobbily celebrate little Denmark for his Monday New York Times column." Krugman enthused that at least one party realized how brilliant the high-tax, high-spending Scandinavian model was, "as opposed to just chanting 'U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!'"
Jodi Rudoren, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief whose reporting is heavily slanted toward the Palestinian cause and hostile toward Israel, made Sunday's front page with "East Jerusalem, Bubbling Over With Despair – The Frustration Behind a Series of Stabbings," which blamed Israel-fueled "frustration and alienation" for the "uprising." Rudoren's twisted priorities are evident both in the headline and her tone. Rudoren also discusses the "ugly barrier" built by Israel without mentioning all the Jewish lives it has saved from Palestinian terror.
Reporter Patrick Healy made the front of Friday's New York Times marveling at how differently Republicans and Democrats see America, in "One Nation, Under Debate. Or Are There 2?" Healy, who is hypersensitive to the political strengths of Hillary Clinton, portrayed the Republican presidential field as dour and negative, while his strange choice of cultural commentators for a political story -- playwrights Christopher Durang and Tony Kushner -- betrayed a left-wing cultural perspective.
New York Times reporter David "hard-line" Herszenhorn is making hostile labeling of conservatives a bad habit, especially in his post-Boehner reporting. The shock resignation of the Speaker of the House gave Times reporters an excuse to target the "far-right" conservatives who had supposedly hounded John Boehner out of office, and granting the speaker never a popular figure in Times-land, some retrospective honor. Thursday's story on the reluctant Speaker-elect Paul Ryan included three "hard-line" adjectives and one "hard-right," from a newspaper that rarely if ever refers to American Democrats as "hard-left," and worked in strong adjectives like "harsh," "absurdist" and "cruel," all the while marveling at Republicans who found Ryan insufficiently committed to conservatism.
Once again, the New York Times took sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, being dismissive of Jewish victims of Palestinian violence. Isabel Kershner reported from Jerusalem on the wave of stabbings of Israelis by Palestinians under the headline "Israeli Retaliatory Strike in Gaza Kills Woman and Child, Palestinians Say." There is an extremely strange emphasis in both that headline (what, precisely, was Israel retaliating against?) and the underlying article, which skipped what Israel was retaliating against until paragraph seven, while beginning with the deaths of Palestinians during the "retaliation." A follow-up article faulted the Israeli government's "clampdown" for contibuting to the "cycle of violence," a phrase that puts Palestinian murderers and Israeli self-defense on equal moral footing.
During the 2012 election the New York Times treated Rep. Paul Ryan, currently a reluctant Speaker-elect, as fearsomely conservative. But now the paper is defending him from the "far-right" on the front page. Reporter Jennifer Steinhauer got to the labeling bias right off the bat: "Far-right media figures, relatively small in number but potent in their influence, have embarked on a furious Internet expedition to cover Representative Paul D. Ryan in political silt."
In preparation for Tuesday's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, the New York Times Sunday offered side-by-side profiles by Jason Horowitz and Amy Chozick documenting the brilliance and tenacity of the top two Democratic candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. This goop was offered as a front-page tease: "He's So Confident. She's So Prepared. Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton will use debate skills on Tuesday that have been honed over decades."