The NYT Gloats: Repubs Flopping in Face of “Widely Respected,” Non-Liberal Sen. Hillary

Have a great weekend, Democrats: Sen. Hillary Clinton has a “widely respected record,” Republican “attacks” are backfiring, and she’s still no liberal.

Friday’s front page is dominated by Patrick Healy’s “Clinton Challenger Pulled From Reagan-Era Hat,” on the newest Republican candidate challenging Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Senate this year.

Sen. Clinton’s opponent, whoever it turns out to be, is in for an uphill battle. But the Times doesn’t give Kathleen T. McFarland any shot at all (check out that dismissive headline, which seethes with a sense of Republican flop-sweat). Her name isn’t even mentioned until the fifth paragraph.
 Healy’s story fits the bill.

“It was supposed to be a marquee Republican campaign of the 2006 elections -- a fusillade-style effort to defeat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, which, even if it did not succeed, would excite donors nationally, raise millions for the party and perhaps weaken Mrs. Clinton before the 2008 presidential race.

“Instead, to the chagrin of Republicans in New York and Washington, the party has not recovered from the December implosion of Jeanine F. Pirro's campaign against Mrs. Clinton. Republicans have been desperate for a credible challenger, while party leaders in Washington have tried to fill the vacuum by attacking Mrs. Clinton as ‘angry’ and ‘brittle’ -- criticism they wish was coming from the campaign trail in New York.”

That “implosion” was at least partially provided by the Times mining its Pirro coverage with negative details (third item).

High up, Healy tars Republican hopeful John Spencer, the mayor of Yonkers, as having “a caustic manner and a history of infidelity,” two accusations which could apply to Hillary “plantation” Clinton and Bill (too many to list) Clinton, respectively.

“Those Republican critics are now coalescing around a late entry: Kathleen Troia McFarland, 54, a protégée of Henry A. Kissinger who has not been in public service since working as a Pentagon spokeswoman under President Ronald Reagan. Yet Ms. McFarland, known as K. T., is pretty green: She has been a stay-at-home mother since 1985, and was drawn to the Senate race only because she already believed she was going to lose her bid for a Congressional seat on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.”

Healy writes:

“At the same time, both she and her advisers said the Senate battle provided a crucial chance before the presidential election to test Mrs. Clinton and expose what they see as her liberal voting record.”

The Times will never simply state the obvious, that Clinton is a liberal senator.

Then it’s on to a Hillary homage:

“No matter who the challenger is, Mrs. Clinton is in formidable shape as a senator with high approval ratings, a widely respected record, and celebrity status in a Democratic-leaning state after eight years as the first lady. Independent polls show her to be remarkably popular in New York, with favorability ratings in the 60 percent range. They have also shown that the attacks on her by Washington Republicans are actually increasing her popularity.”

Healy doesn’t share his source for that pearl of “independent poll” wisdom, but immediately follows up to confirm it with a no-doubt “independent” source, Clinton pollster Mark Penn:

"‘The Republican attacks on Senator Clinton have backfired,’ said Mark Penn, her pollster. ‘It is the Republicans who looked partisan as they continue to sink in the polls.’”

For more examples of Times bias, visit TimesWatch.

New York Times
Clay Waters's picture