Clay Waters

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Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center. His self-published whodunnit? is titled Death In The Eye.

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New York Times "continuous news desk" reporter David Stout posted a story at 1:23 Tuesday afternoon marking the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court by a Senate vote of 58-42.

The teaser sentence: “The vote is a triumph for President Bush and conservatives who have longed to tilt the balance of the court to the right.”

Stout’s text emphasizes Alito’s conservatism again and again:



New York Times reporter James Dao reports Friday on a study suggesting most of New Orleans’ displaced black population may not return, and dips briefly and non-critically into Mayor Ray Nagin’s Martin Luther King day remarks about the future racial makeup of New Orleans. He even leaves off the most controversial part -- Nagin’s incendiary preference for a “chocolate New Orleans.”



Eric Lipton’s New York Times article on the congressional investigation into the White House’s initial response to Hurricane Katrina suggests that President Bush was foolhardy in thinking New Orleans had dodged the Katrina bullet on Monday, August 29, a day before the levees broke and plunged the city underwater.

Lipton writes on Thursday:



The New York Times makes a point to cast the Canadian election as a non-ideological victory for the Conservatives on Wednesday. Canada-based reporter Clifford Krauss marks the country’s groundbreaking election of a Conservative government over a headline seemingly meant to reassure the Times’ timorous liberal readership: “Canada’s Shift: To the Right, Gently – Harper Defeated Liberals More Over Scandals Than Policies.”



David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute spotted an undeniable pattern of media unease in the network and newspaper coverage of the nomination of conservative Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, compared to how those same outlets treated Bill Clinton's 1993 nomination of liberal ACLU lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Cato's executive vice president asked rhetorically, in an article last Thursday for Reason Magazine:



The Times again looks for holes in the strong U.S. economy, this time on the front page of Sunday’s special Job Market section, in a report by Eduardo Porter, “Pockets of Concern Slow a Strong U.S. Economy.” The caption to an accompanying chart emphasizes “A Weak Jobs Recovery.”

Times readers may find the article’s tone familiar. Here’s Porter from Sunday:



The NYT's chief political reporter Adam Nagourney was ultra-sensitive to any sign of harsh Republican rhetoric during the 2004 campaign, and he’s no less raw about it a year later, using strong terms to describe Karl Rove’s speech to the Republican National Committee in a front-page story Monday. But what about Howard Dean calling Rove "unpatriotic"?



Israel-based Steven Erlanger gets page 3 play Friday for his interview with the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber in Nablus (“Into the West Bank Abyss: From Student to Suicide Bomber”).

He explains:



No liberal conventional wisdom here! The back page of Sunday’s special Academy Awards section lists the “ideal slate of Oscar candidates” from the top three movie critics at the Times, Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden, each of whom have revealed liberal sympathies in their film critiques.



Two days after Sen. Hillary Clinton stood in front of a black church audience on Martin Luther King Day to claim Republicans were running Congress like a “plantation,” the Times devotes a large front-page story to her by Hillary-beat reporter Raymond Hernandez.



The Times commemorates Martin Luther King day in its usual way, making it a Bush-bashing holiday.

Back in 2004, reporter Jeffrey Gettleman lit into Bush for going to Atlanta to mark the day. Here are some excerpts from his January 15, 2004 report:



A Saturday New York Times editorial, “A Home for the Drawing Center,” celebrates the fact that a left-wing museum, originally to be located at Ground Zero, has found a new home in Manhattan, and accuses opponents of the project of opposing free speech.



New York Times White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller follows Bush back to the site of the Hurricane Katrina’s devastation for Friday’s “In New Orleans, Bush Speaks With Optimism but Sees Little of Ruin," and again tries to portray him as out of touch on Hurricane Katrina.



A Wednesday editorial, “Lost Time, Lost Lives in the Mine,” once again jabs a crude finger at Bush for the West Virginia mine disaster.



As MRC colleague Brent Baker reported, former National Security Agency official Russell Tice unveiled himself on ABC News last night as one of the sources for last month’s New York Times scoop on the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance program.



At the top of the lead story for Tuesday's New York Times, reporters Richard Stevenson and Neil Lewis put the onus on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to show he’s not “too much of an ideologue.”



Saturday’s front-page teaser for its Page One business section story by Edmund Andrews and Richard Stevenson (“Bush Cites 2 Million New Jobs in 2005 and Healthy Economy”) is headlined “Jobless Rate Declines But Wages Lag Inflation.”

This continues the Times’ stubborn insistence on putting a negative spin on good economic news, a motif reflected in the paper’s broader coverage.



The New York Times' California-based correspondent John Broder is usually happy to relay bad news about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Friday’s story from Sacramento doesn’t disappoint: “Humbled Schwarzenegger Apologizes for ’04 Election, and Then Proposes a Centrist Agenda.”



NYT reporter Adam Nossiter has an eager story about a “very conservative congressman” pushing what Nossiter calls “the ultimate big government solution” for post-Katrina rebuilding in New Orleans. The headline writers and editors were also wooed by Rep. Richard Baker’s apparent apostasy (“A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans”), putting the story on Thursday’s front page.



NYT business reporter/columnist Gretchen Morgenson loves corporate scandals, and she rounds up the year’s greatest hits for an illustrated, above-the-fold story, “The Big Winner, Again, Is ‘Scandalot,’” for Sunday’s Business section year-end wrap-up.