For those who already suspect the New York Times has a liberal bias, the Halloween night Times Talk at the New York Historical Society on Manhattan's Upper West Side didn't provide too many scares.
The firestorm ignited on Tuesday concerning Sen. John Kerry’s insensitive remarks in front of a group of students in Pasadena, California, once again demonstrates the media’s double-standard regarding jokes made by politicians: if you’re a Democrat, the press get it; if you’re a Republican, fuggetaboutit!
Writing at National Review, Byron York recounts the story behind the recent incident where a left-wing activist was tackled at a George Allen campaign event after asking a question about the senator's ex-wife:
The question might not make much sense to anyone who hasn’t kept up with both the race between Allen and Democrat James Webb and the commentary of the left-wing blogosphere. If you have kept up, you know that left-wing bloggers have been agitating for the release of the records from Allen’s divorce from his first wife, Anne. There is a rumor among those bloggers that the records will reveal an allegation that Allen spit on Anne Allen, and the bloggers have been angry that press outlets have not reported the story.
Last week, when the Allen campaign pointed to sexually exotic passages in Webb’s novels, some of those bloggers saw an opportunity. On Thursday, Josh Marshall, of TalkingPointsMemo, wrote that Allen had crossed some sort of line by “mining Jim Webb’s novels for sex scenes.”
“If Allen really wants to play rough,” Marshall wrote, “maybe it’s time for some Democrats to start going on the shows and asking about that sealed divorce records of Allen’s. All those reporters have a pretty good idea of what’s in there. But Sen. Allen (R-VA) just won’t agree to let them see it.”
In a piece titled ”Bush Attacks Kerry for Remarks on Iraq Troops”, the Times spends nearly the entire story making this out to be a Bush/Republican issue and barely even takes the time to mention what it is that Kerry said to initiate the incident in the first place, casting the entire story into the rote Republicans-are-at-fault mode.
The story, by Adam Nagourney and several other contributors (amusing that it took a whole committee to make this spin up), nearly ignores Kerry’s actual remarks not even bothering to mention the phrase that caused this whole dust up until the 15th paragraph.
The 14 paragraphs before that has some anti-Bush doozies, too.
Just yesterday a reader brought to my attention the sudden TV ubiquity of John Harwood. He pointed out that - CNBC and Wall Street Journal credentials notwithstanding - Harwood is a predictable liberal voice. And sure enough, it was none other than Harwood that David Gregory chose for a comment on L'Affaire Kerry on this morning's 'Today.' And darn if that reader wasn't right about Harwood's leftward tilt. Let's read and analyze Harwood's statement:
"It's difficult to see, in a campaign dominated by unhappiness about the Iraq war, how these comments will be a driving force in the last few days."
While some tabloids capture the drama of John Kerry's uneducated-people-stuck-in-Iraq joke ("KERRY KALAMITY," says the New York Daily News), the nation's biggest newspapers have headlines draining the drama out of the story, and certainly leaving the contents of the "joke" out of the headline:
New York Times: "As Vote Nears, Stances on War Set Off Sparks."
-- One liberal message in the week before elections has been questioning the reliability of election devices, softening up the public for widespread litigation if Democrats are losing in any close races. On Thursday night, HBO will air a documentary entitled "Hacking Democracy." It's being widely advertised on liberal blogs with a poor-President-Gore spin: "In the 2000 Presidential election, a vote-counting computer recorded negative votes for Al Gore in Volusia County, FL.
On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann came to the defense of Senator John Kerry in the aftermath of the Democratic Senator's comment that those who don't study and get an education "get stuck in Iraq," interpreted by many as an attack on the intelligence of American soldiers.
This evening's 7:00 PM "The Situation Room" included this exchange among Paula Zahn, Jack Cafferty and Wolf Blitzer:
CAFFERTY: Well, listen, it's tailor-made for the media. We get so sick and tired of, you know, running sound bytes of the candidates that when somebody comes along and does something that's even this much out of ordinary, we pounce on it like cats on a mouse and drag it around until it's dismembered on the living room floor.
On "The Situation Room" this evening, CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux spoke to Paula Zahn about the firestorm surrounding John Kerry's comments suggesting Armed Forces personnel are uneducated:
"And, of course, Paula, what is really telling here is that Kerry, for most of the day, was alone in his explanations, and trying to figure all of this out -- Democrats quietly saying that they really wish Kerry had kept quiet on this one.