Van Jones, "Lefty Dreamboat"? The New York Times assures us that yes, he is. Jones was the Obama administration's Advisor for Green Jobs until he was booted in September 2009 when his name showed up on a list of people who had signed a 9-11 Truther petition, suggesting he thought there was a Bush administration coverup of what really happened on September 11. In his new book "Rebuild the Dream," Van Jones denies ever having signed it, and Andrew Goldman's weekly Q&A for the Times Sunday magazine takes his word as law, under the sick-making headline "Meet the New Lefty Dreamboat – Can Van Jones Take on the Tea Party?"
Jackie Calmes, White House reporter for the New York Times, made a surprise appearance in the Friday Weekend Arts pages to talk about cherry blossom season in Washington, D.C.: "A Fleeting Beauty, Shared With the Multitudes." What was unsurprising was Calmes shoehorning in yet another defense of Obama's economic "stimulus" and a chiding of conservative Republican Rep. Eric Cantor. (The article hasn't yet made it to nytimes.com.)
The New York Times has previously reported on the dangers of the arcane problem of "epistemic closure," whereby the conservative movement (but evidently not the liberal one) suffers from "a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement....a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation."
Speaking of which...In Wednesday's edition of the weekly online chat at nytimes.com among columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, posted under the heading "Moral Arguments," the more liberal Collins unwittingly provided Exhibit A of ideological intolerance, liberal-style.
Why is the New York Times so invested in promoting J Street, the minor, left-wing group of Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)?
Reporter Helene Cooper Wednesday gave the benefit of the doubt to J Street, which wants to, in its words, "end the occupation" of Palestinian land, complains on its website about the influence on Israeli policy by the American "far right," and receives funding from George Soros. Yet Cooper insisted, against that evidence and more, including smearing supporters of Israel by the offensive term "Israel Firster," of calling J Street "Pro-Israel," as did the headline over her story: "J Street, Pro-Israel but Opposed to Attacking Iran, Takes Its Message to Washington."
Support the Second Amendment and gun rights? Gail Collins doesn't want your kind in her town. In her Thursday New York Times column, "More Guns, Fewer Hoodies," the paper's former editorial page editor dropped her trademark (attempts at) humor in her attempt to use the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for severely limiting access to firearms: "Really, just leave us alone. If you don’t like our rules, don’t come here. Is that too much to ask?"
Collins, a sudden liberal convert to states rights, was notably mute on the recent cases of Meredith Graves and Marine Ryan Jerome, arrested in Manhattan under dubious circumstances for carrying concealed handguns.
Peculiar priorities at the New York Times. Reporter Scott Sayare, in Toulouse in the aftermath of the killings of seven by a radical Muslim, seemed to think that the top story out of the tragedy was Muslim fear of rising tensions and loss of "diversity": "After Killings in France, Muslims Fear a Culture of Diversity Is at Risk."
Toulouse is by no means without racism, anti-Semitism, crime or the deep social segregation that marks many French cities, but with a culture shaped by successive waves of immigration, it is described by its inhabitants as a place of particular tolerance.
New York Times reporter turned columnist Frank Bruni is on a nasty streak. He devoted his long Sunday Review column, "Rethinking His Religion," to a former classmate with a pat liberal morality lesson that seemed a lot like an invasion of patient privacy, then attacked Newt Gingrich and insulted Gingrich's wife. James Taranto at Best of the Web explained:
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has some insufferable friends. Yesterday he spent nearly 1,500 words profiling one of them, a classmate at the University of North Carolina whom he knew at the time as a conservative frat boy who "attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie." Bruni, who is gay, "kept a certain distance from him" under the assumption that the young man, whom he does not name in the column, would be hostile to the future Timesman because of his sexual orientation.
Movie reviewer A.O. Scott on Wednesday applied his expertise to the scientific ssue of global warming and rising sea levels, in his sarcasm-laden review of "The Island President," a documentary about "climate change" and the danger it supposedly poses to the island of Maldives: "In Paradise, and Closer Than Ever to Disaster."
There was some strange poll placement in Tuesday's New York Times, which led with "New Poll Finds Drop In Support For Afghan War." Yet the paper buried a story from the same poll, showing people are strongly against ObamaCare, on page 17. Given that the Supreme Court is now arguing the issue, wouldn't it have been more timely for the Times to lead off with or at least front its ObamaCare findings?
"Most Oppose at Least Part of Overhaul, Poll Finds," by Dalia Sussman, Helen Cooper, and Kate Phillips, brought the bad news for ObamaCare, but also found some caveats, including the fact that people apparently just don't understand the law:
The New York Times coverage of the Pope's trip to the dictatorship of Cuba has a strange, cheap-shot emphasis on how the Cuban people are coerced to attend such rallies, an authoritarian power play, but one the paper rarely if ever bothers to address during Cuban May Day rallies held in celebration of communism. A nytimes.com search suggests the Times has never previously used the words "orchestrated" or "intimidation" to describe the Cuban government coercing people to attend May Day parades.
So why use that explanation for the crowds surrounding the Pope, but leave that obvious explanation off when talking about crowds listening to dictator Fidel Castro's latest multi-hour-drone-a-thon of a speech?
Saturday's front-page New York Times story by Susan Saulny focused on the Santorum campaign in Louisiana before Santorum's easy win in the Republican primary there: "On the Right, Santorum Has Women's Vote."
Saulny emphasized the religious angle of Santorum's appeal. The condescending story provided slight corrective to the paper's misleading previous coverage assuming Santorum lacked support from women, but maintained the unsubstantiated idea, embraced by the Times, that moderate Republican women are turned off by appeals to social conservatism.
Has the New York Times Business section gone soft on former New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, now under the scandal spotlight for his service as chief executive of the failed financial services firm MF Global?
Saturday's Business Day story by Azam Ahmed and Ben Protess buried intriguing details that reflect suspiciously on Corzine under the bland headline, "Congressional Memo Sheds New Light on MF Global." The paper didn't even identify the scandal-plagued former governor as a Democrat.
The New York Times's Scott Sayare reported on Saturday from Toulouse, France, the sight of the killing of Jewish schoolchildren by a radical Islamist, "After Unity Over a Rampage in France, Politics Drives in Wedges," and accused the French paper Le Figaro as being "increasingly viewed as a mouthpiece" for tough-on-crime French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
That's quite ironic, considering Sayare himself functioned as a mouthpiece for Obama in a September 23, 2010 story, calling the president "a powerful symbol of hope" among poor Muslims in the Paris slums. And the paper has long been irredeemably hostile to President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom the Times can never forgive for being friendly with President George W. Bush.
Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who previously confessed she couldn't grasp "the moral compass" of people who opposed Obama-care, denied the need for any balance when discussing the constitutionality of the matter in her Wednesday column, since the measure's opponents are so obviously wrong.
Journalistic convention requires that when there are two identifiable sides to a story, each side gets its say, in neutral fashion, without the writer’s thumb on the scale. This rule presents a challenge when one side of a controversy obviously lacks merit. But mainstream journalism has learned to navigate those challenges, choosing evolution over “intelligent design,” for example, and treating climate change naysayers as cranks.
Friday's New York Times column by Paul Krugman is titled "Paranoia Strikes Deeper." (It's evidently a sequel to Krugman's "Paranoia Strikes Deep" column of November 9, 2009. We eagerly await the final installment of the trilogy, "Paranoia Strikes Deepest," which should come out before the 2012 election.)
New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis didn't even try in her brief review to render an objective look at the pro-life movie "October Baby," as her copy seethed with anger and evident indignation that pro-lifers still existed in this day and age (note to Catsoulis: by some poll numbers, there are more pro-lifers that pro-abortion believers). Catsoulis's political views are of the simplistic left-wing variety, as she has demonstrated on several occasions in past reviews. She wrote in Friday's Times:
Scott Sayare and Steven Erlanger reported for the New York Times from Toulouse, France on Thursday on the cornering of the killer of seven people in France, including three children: "Shooting Suspect, Cornered and Armed, Tells French Police That He Killed 7." The story was filed before the suspect, Mohammad Merah, was shot dead in a police raid.
Merah's confession obviously made it hard for the Times to avoid the fact he's an Islamic radical inspired by Al Qaeda:
New York Times columnist Gail Collins went on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night, ostensibly to discuss her new biography of President William Henry Harrison. But the first segment was entirely devoted to what even Letterman knows she is famous for: Obsessively retelling in her columns the tale of poor Seamus, Mitt Romney's dog, strapped in a crate to the roof of a station wagon for a family vacation that took place almost 30 years ago. Collins eagerly obliged Letterman's request to hear the story, to the amusement of the audience, many of which seemed to be hearing the story for the first time.
Comedian Bill Maher, host of HBO's panel show "Real Time," appeared in Thursday's New York Times, pleading for a cease-fire in the current culture wars over insensitivity: "Please Stop Apologizing."
It's quite a convenient argument for Maher, given that he's been under fire from conservatives lately for his vulgar and demeaning descriptions of Sarah Palin, delivered last year both on his HBO show and in his comedy act (and refused to apologize). Conservatives have argued there is a media double standard against conservative figures, noting that radio host Rush Limbaugh was excoriated for calling a Georgetown law student a "slut," but that Maher suffered no censure for his far more vile comments about Palin (you can read them in this Reality Check from Rich Noyes of the MRC).
What makes Maher's appearance in the Times galling is that the paper has yet to inform its own readers of Maher's previous comments, even though conservatives have spent weeks making them an issue. Not even a front-page Times story that included details of Maher's $1 million donation to a pro-Obama SuperPAC roused the Times to mentioning his attacks on Palin.
In his latest "Economic Scene" column for Wednesday's New York Times, "Inequality Undermines Democracy," Eduardo Porter seemed puzzled by why Americans aren't into class warfare.
Porter, a former economics reporter for the Times, fretted America was turning into a "hereditary plutocracy" and put in another plug for the lefties of Occupy Wall Street.