The New York Times’s slanted political personality reporter Mark Leibovich returned to the Times pages Thursday after a long book-leave absence to file a campaign trail story from Iowa on GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, aka “Nasty Newt”: “On Trail, Gingrich Strains to Show Nice-Guy Side.”
New York Times political reporter Ashley Parker made Wednesday’s front page with yet another “Isn’t Romney stiff?”-themed story, “The Retooled, Loose Romney, Guessing Voters’ Age and Ethnicity,” cowritten with Michael Barbaro.
The Times has put Romney's mannerisms under the microscope on several occasions. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in 2004, was another rich Northern politician with a reputation for woodenness and lack of the common touch, but it certainly wasn’t a dominant theme of Times campaign coverage.
New York Times media reporter Jeremy Peters was seeing things in Wednesday’s story on secret, “dog-whistle” religious appeals by GOP candidates past and present: “Appealing to Evangelicals, Hopefuls Pack Religion Into Ads.”
“Dog-whistle politics” is a derogatory term, often employed to describe what liberals consider to be coded, subliminal racist messages “pitched” too high for the general public to recognize. Peters, who seems suspicious of the idea of appealing to evangelical Christians, gets in a dig at Catholics to boot.
New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis took the left-wing idea of extreme weather equaling harmful global warming to heart in his front-page Christmas Day “news analysis” lamenting the Republican block of measures that would document “climate change” more closely, in “Harsh Political Reality Slows Climate Studies Despite Extreme Year.” But an environmental scientist eviscerated Gillis’s article as “perhaps the worst piece of reporting I've ever seen in the Times on climate change.”
An April 20, 2008 New York Times story by David Barstow, “MESSAGE MACHINE: Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand,” won a Pulitzer Prize for the explosive claim that the Pentagon had cultivated “military analysts” in a “trojan horse” campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay.
On December 1 of this year, the Washington Times reported that an investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general, spurred by Barstow’s reporting, found no wrongdoing, and quoted a spokesman for former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld saying the New York Times should return its Pulitzer. But the New York Times itself did not report the Pentagon's vindication until Christmas Day, on page A20.
Reporting from the campaign trail in Iowa on Dec. 13 as the state caucuses approach, Susan Saulny overdid the Christian “conservative” labels: “Iowa Evangelicals Split Over Caucus Endorsement.”
"Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, a conservative advocacy group popular with evangelical Christians here, has been saying supportive things recently about Newt Gingrich," she wrote, "suggesting that social conservatives are open to looking past his extramarital affairs and two divorces as they make a choice in the Republican presidential race."
PBS talk show host Charlie Rose hosted New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt, and columnist Thomas Friedman on December 16 to discuss domestic politics and the year’s events around the world. Friedman in particular was agitated about Obama's failure to sell his wonderful proposals and complained of the president: “He has never leveraged us. He never -- us, I mean the American people.” Or did he mean "us," as in New York Times liberals like the ones around Rose's table?
The entire roundtable lamented President Obama’s inability to convince Americans of his liberal agenda. Abramson faulted only Obama’s “communications failures,” not the big-government policies themselves.
New York Times reporter Mark Landler’s “White House Memo” on Sunday furthered the myth that President George W. Bush unilaterally invaded Iraq: “Iraq, a War Obama Didn’t Want, Shaped His Foreign Policy.”
"Mr. Obama made much of his commitment to a multilateral foreign policy, in contrast to President George W. Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq," wrote Landler.
Reporter David Herszenhorn announced from Moscow Wednesday that the time was seemingly ripe for a “Communist comeback” in the confusingly headlined “Where Communists See a Political Opening, Many Russians See a Closed Door.” Herszenhorn didn't mention the repression and terror of the Communist era.
"If there was ever a moment for a Communist comeback, it would seem to be now," he began.
Right from the start of her off-lead story Wednesday, New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer dramatically portrayed GOP conservatives (standing firm against a legislative compromise that would temporarily extend the payroll tax cut instead of a long-term solution) as isolated from mainstream politics. “G.O.P. In House Rejects Stopgap On Payroll Tax.”
New York Times art critic Holland Cotter’s year-i- review piece Sunday opened with an awkward metaphorical shout-out to the lefty park-squatters of Occupy Wall Street and an excoriation of the “noxious” 1 percent: “Complacency Butts Up Against Game Changers”: "...art-worldlings did at least adopt one thing from the Occupy Wall Street movement: a new identifying label for the source of particularly noxious vibes emanating from art fairs, V.I.P. galas and museum boardrooms: namely the 1 percent."
Can we declare a moratorium on using the word “enigmatic” to describe North Korea’s totalitarian leadership?
The death of the North Korea dictator Kim Jong-il made the late edition of the Monday New York Times. The obituary by veteran foreign policy reporter David Sanger appeared under the rather neutral online headline “A Ruler Who Turned North Korea Into a Nuclear State.”
Those GOP moderates just keep “dwindling” away. New York Times Political editor Richard Stevenson Sunday wrote about Americans Elect, a new organization that favors an alternative nominating process for electing a president in the name of nonpartisanship: “Group Clears a Path For a Third-Party Bid.” But what Stevenson called a “process to enable creation of a centrist ticket” was in fact packed with Democratic Party soldiers and disgruntled Republicans. Stevenson employed an old Times trick to denigrate the GOP by singling out for approval “one of a dwindling band of moderate Republicans.”
New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage played softball with Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday’s front page: “A Lightning Rod Undeterred by G.O.P. Thunder.” The online headline even more strongly suggested that Holder was standing brave and firm against a torrent of politically motivated Republican criticism: “Under Partisan Fire, Holder Soldiers On.”
Savage has previously downplayed the Fast and Furious “gun-walking” scandal, when the Justice Department signed off on a plan that allowed guns to flow untracked into the U.S. and Mexico, putting thousands of illegally purchased firearms on the street, one of which led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Savage’s November 8 coverage of Holder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee omitted Holder’s admission that his initial statements to Congress about his knowledge of the gun-walking were "inaccurate,” while the Washington Post recognized its importance with Page 2 placement and a headline mention.
The day the war in Iraq was officially declared over, the New York Times returned to the 2005 Haditha “massacre” on Thursday’s front page. Baghdad-based reporter Michael Schmidt uncovered classified military documents about to be burned for fuel to cook a fish: “Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre.” Just above the story stood a photo of President Obama greeting crowds at Fort Bragg, N.C. with the subhead “Obama Thanks Troops as He Observes End of Iraq War," teasing the paper's actual end-of-the-war story, which only made page A20.
As the war marked its official end, Schmidt let his feelings show, accusing "traumatized" troops of having grown "increasingly twitchy, killing more and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi civilians deliberately..."
After trashing his warnings of a potential nuclear-based EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s policy prescriptions are once again in the sights of the New York Times. Campaign reporter Trip Gabriel suggested Gingrich had a simplistic vision of the Iran threat in Thursday’s “Gingrich’s Foreign Policy Words Summon the Cold War, but Enemy Is Iran.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who poses as a tough friend of Israel, offensively referred to the “Israel lobby” in his Wednesday column “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir."
After bashing Newt Gingrich for suggesting the Palestinians are an “invented” people, Friedman reiterated the usual talking points in support of a Palestinian state, but with a hostile and paranoid twist.
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker, on the Mitt Romney beat, again got cynically snide and personal with the “robotic” candidate in the lead to Wednesday’s "Political Memo" from the campaign trail in New Hampshire, “As Rivalry Tightens, Romney Is Reflective.”
In his Monday column “The Good Newt,” former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller dished out some rare if backhanded defense for Newt Gingrich, at least on Newt’s amnesty-style ideas on illegal immigration: “There are plenty of reasons the thought of President Newt Gingrich makes me shudder. But on this hard, defining American issue, he’s shown a combination of brains, heart and guts that puts the rest of his party to shame.” Later, after backlash from liberal readers, Keller posted that he would avoid using the word "illegals" in future.
The New York Times showed desperate liberal Euro-philia -- an embrace of collective economic action at the expense of national sovereignty -- on the front of Tuesday’s Business section, as reporter Landon Thomas Jr., writing from London, pondered a frightening (and extremely hypothetical) martial-law scenario in Greece if the euro currency were to be abandoned by that country, a member of the European Union: “Pondering a Dire Day: Leaving the Euro.” (Greece joined the EU's single currency in 2001.)