Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Justin Gillis, the New York Times' s alarmist environmental reporter, was at it again in a post to the paper's "Green" blog, "Are We Nearing a Planetary Boundary?"
Gillis's preoccupation with the alleged dangers of overpopulation and overuse of natural resources are reminscent of the alarmism created by Paul Erlich's book The Population Bomb, which notoriously predicted in 1968 that 65 millions Americans would die of starvation in the 1970s (more like dieting).
The front of Thursday's New York Times Home section (!) features a large story targeting Mitt Romney that makes the paper's notorious front-page investigation into Ann Romney's troubling horse habit look as significant as Watergate by comparison.
Political reporter Michael Barbaro invaded the Home section and devoted a staggering 1,800-word investigation to the fact that Romney's liberal neighbors in La Jolla, California don't approve of his presence or his politics: "The Candidate Next Door." The text box: "On a cul-de-sac in La Jolla, residents are not happy about their new neighbor's renovation plans – or his entourage."
Wisconsin's reforming Republican Gov. Scott Walker easily turned back a recall attempt by labor activists angry at him for ending collective bargaining for public service unions. But the New York Times, pushing its own agenda, would prefer the story to be about the "stunning amount" of money in politics. The Times and other media have obsessed over the big spending by Walker supporters, which is rather galling considering that it was the left responsible for holding this election in the first place. Also absent: credit to Tea Party activists.
Reporter Monica Davey set the table with Saturday's "Wisconsin Tops Itself in Big-Money Race," portraying the spending as a problem in itself.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner strongly objected to a slanted story on the Fast and Furious scandal by Times legal reporter Charlie Savage posted at the New York Times on Tuesday (it evidently did not make it into print).
The Daily Caller reported: "A spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner told The Daily Caller on Tuesday night that the New York Times published a false story alleging the speaker is trying to cut a deal with Attorney General Eric Holder over congressional subpoenas related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal."
Another day, another vitriolic attack from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on the Catholic Church comparing its treatment of women to Saudi Arabia. The Vatican has recently censured a 2006 book on sexual ethics by Sister Margaret Farley as “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology." According to a Times report Tuesday, the book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, "attempted to present a theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation and remarriage after divorce."
Dowd responded in her Wednesday column, "Is Pleasure a Sin?" Ignoring questions of theology and Catholic teaching, Dowd simply called it another "thuggish" attack by a rigid male hierarchy against women, including the de rigueur comparison to Saudi Arabia.
While confessing Democrats and unions were dealt a "painful blow" Tuesday night as Republican Gov. Scott Walker handily beat Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election, Wednesday's lead story by Monica Davey and Jeff Zeleny opened with the liberal argument that Walker was to blame for undermining the "civility" of the state's progressive politics by engaging in his successful reform of public sector unions. (The online headline, "Walker Survives Wisconsin Recall Effort," is a slightly churlish acknowledgement of Walker's convincing win of 53%-46%.)
Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, easily held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions.
Al Sharpton, the veteran Democratic activist and racial provocateur who hosts "PoliticsNation" on MSNBC, reviewed a James Brown biography for the New York Times Sunday Book Review and was interviewed in the Reviews' "Up Front" section. Sharpton credited the biography by RJ Smith for placing Brown in the context of the civil rights movement. But why would the Times consider Sharpton qualified to comment on anything, much less racial matters?
As usual, the Times didn't address at all Sharpton's racially inflammatory past or any of his controversies. As MRC president Brent Bozell recently wrote:
So much for libertine Manhattan. White House reporter turned liberal columnist Frank Bruni supports New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's overbearing initiative to downsize the sodas New Yorkers will be allowed to purchase in restaurants and movie theaters, in the name of fighting obesity: "Trimming a Fat City."
While Michelle Obama focused on carrots, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg brandished a stick. It’s what we deserve. Cry all you want about a nanny state, but as a city and a nation we’ve gorged and guzzled past the point where a gentle nudge toward roughage suffices. We need a weight watcher willing to mete out some stricter discipline.
Pity President Obama, it's not his fault; after over three years in office, he is still helpless as a newborn when it comes to changing the economy for the better. Sympathetic New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes teamed with Nicholas Kulish for Sunday's "Weak Economy Points To Obama’s Constraints."
The bleak jobs report on Friday predictably had heads snapping toward the White House, looking to President Obama to do something. Yet his proposed remedies only underscore how much the president, just five months before he faces voters, is at the mercy of actors in Europe, China and Congress whose political interests often conflict with his own.
A Thursday Politico story by Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen struck a nerve among liberal journalists by daring to suggest conservatives have a point when it comes to charges of media bias, singling out slanted coverage in the New York Times and the Washington Post:
On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.
Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” -- and the Times made it a brief on A15.
The New York Times is transparently invested in promoting J Street, the left-wing lobbying group of Palestinian-supporting Jewish doves, as an influential counterweight to the more hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as proven by its latest public relations article on behalf of the group: "Lobbying Group Is Being Heard as Moderate Voice on Israel."
According to the paper's blatantly promotional coverage of J Street, which the paper insists on calling "pro-Israel," just keeps moving from strength to strength (as it has for years at the Times, without ever coming close to challenging AIPAC in influence). Here's reporter Eric Lichtblau on Thursday:
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker was in Las Vegas and made controversy Wednesday over Mitt Romney's appearance at a fundraiser with media mogul and political controversialist Donald Trump. Parker used Trump's "birther" beliefs as an excuse to dredge up old Romney flubs: "Romney, on His Big Day, Finds Himself Upstaged."
It was supposed to be a day of triumph for Mitt Romney, when he would at last formally claim the Republican presidential nomination with a victory in the Texas primary. And Mr. Romney was to focus attention on an aggressive new attack on President Obama, highlighting the White House’s role in backing failed companies like Solyndra.
Instead, Tuesday was hijacked by Donald J. Trump. Inexplicably to many in his party, Mr. Romney had scheduled an appearance at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday night with Mr. Trump.
Peter Applebome, New York Times reporter and writer of the paper's"Our Towns" column, talked with residents of Chappaqua, New York pondering if they will be lucky enough to have Bill and Hillary Clinton as "‘Great Neighbors,’ but for How Long?" (Applebome also lives in Chappaqua, according to his New York Times bio.) It's an extremely homey, gushing story about two Democratic politicians, especially a power couple extremely infleuntial in national politics.
The Sunday New York Times devoted a 2,300-word front-page story by Trip Gabriel helpfully reminding everyone that the Romneys are really really rich. The ostensible subject of the pointless piece, "In Rarefied Sport, a View of the Romneys’ World," was Ann Romney's participation in "dressage," "in which horses costing up to seven figures execute pirouettes and other dancelike moves for riders wearing tails and top hats."
The Times, being a good liberal paper, of course consistently discourages ostentatious displays of wealth by never glorifying the lifestyles of rich and famous Manhattanites, and would certainly never try to make a buck off same.
The latest Times Sunday Magazine featured a 5,000-word story keyed to the Wisconsin recall election pitting Republican Gov. Scott Walker against Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who Walker beat in the actual election in 2010. Contributor Dan Kaufman proposed to explain how Wisconsin politics got so rancorous: "Land of Cheese and Rancor – How did Wisconsin get to be the most politically divisive place in America?"
Yet he left out a lot, including the nasty tactics against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who was compared to Hitler by the left-wing union protesters who took to the state capitol, after Walker moved to take away the collective bargaining rights of public-sector employees. Kaufman shied away from actual details about the union-instigated Walker recall election, like its $18 million price tag and the fact that Walker has a substantial lead in most polls. Instead he focused on tangential stories supposedly representative of Republican corruption and the decline of civility in the state. He ended with a lesson in Times-worthy political decorum, as one Republican state senator regains his civility (i.e., votes with the Democrats).
In his Monday column, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller hoped gay marriage would be vindicated by the Supreme Court: "A Brief for Justice Kennedy."
Keller has previously argued for gay marriage while hinting that those who disagree are motivated sheerly by bigotry. On Monday he gushed that two lawyers fighting for gay marriage can "make history" at the Supreme Court and snobbishly lauded the "more enlightened states" that had already made it legal.
Mark Oppenheimer's latest bimonthly "Beliefs" column for the New York Times accused conservatives like Jonah Goldberg of misunderstanding Marxist "liberation theology" in using Rev. Jeremiah Wright to attack Barack Obama: "A Campaign Pitch Rekindles the Question: Just What Is Liberation Theology?"
The year 2012 looks a lot like 2008: high unemployment, a candidate named Obama promising to do something about high unemployment, and the Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. And one more thing: conservatives are still ridiculing liberation theology. With the complicity of clueless pundits and incurious journalists, they are reducing an important theological movement of the past 40 years to an abusive sound bite.
The usual pro-Obama tilt in postings to the New York Times' political blog "The Caucus" was even more pronounced this week. Times Watch evaluated all the headlines to presidential-election related Caucus posts for the week of May 21-25, excluding summaries composed solely of links to Times stories, and stories related to Congress alone.
As of noon Friday, there were 23 matching posts. Of those 23, the headlines of 9 posts (shown below in bold) were classified as supportive of President Obama, with the remaining 14 classified as neutral. There was not a single headline favorable to Mitt Romney.
Maureen Dowd has devoted her last two Times columns to her problems with the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
Wednesday's edition featured "Father Doesn't Know Best" (get it?). Dowd is confused about the idea of a church insisting its members adhere to its core beliefs, while ranting about "women's lower caste in the church." That subject is a hobbyhorse for Dowd, who has previously compared the status of women in the church to that of women in Saudi Arabia.
New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes gushed over Obama's hair as a symbol of hope for blacks in Thursday's "When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State," which made the front page of the paper's National section and is the most emailed Times story as of Thursday morning.
In a convenient bit of public relations, the would-be "indelible" image (the initial online headline was "Indelible Image of Boy's Pat on Obama's Head") used by the Times was captured by White House photographer Pete Souza. Calmes, who is a notorious defender of the administration's economic policy, wrote on Thursday: