Move along, nothing to see here but right-wing conspiracy-mongering. That was the New York Times’ message covering the Inspector General report on how the F.B.I. came to investigate ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Though the report was highly critical of the F.B.I., reporter Mark Mazzetti’s lead “news analysis” on Tuesday appeared under the banner headline “Report Debunks Anti-Trump Plot In Russia Inquiry.” The paper did at long last debunk the Russian dossier, albeit on page 18.
The New York Times gave former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Capitol Hill a negative review in Thursday’s edition, terming it “shaky” and “halting,” even “excruciatingly awkward,” while tucking in rumors that he wasn’t fully engaged in the prosecution. Can one detect some frustration, even embarrassment in the paper’s coverage, now that the former special counsel, whose reputation for tenacity and “straight-arrow,” law-and-order omniscience the Times helped inflate, has flopped hard in public view? Now that Mueller’s shaky command of the details in his own report is public knowledge, we learn there were hints beforehand, which the Times apparently chose not to share.
Saturday’s New York Times “news analysis” was filled with regret that straight-shooting Robert Mueller was outfoxed by dastardly Donald Trump and his “handpicked” sidekick Attorney General William Barr. Mueller turned out just too principled for his own good: "Mr. Mueller’s refusal to pass judgment on whether the president broke the law is one example of how the special counsel operated by rules ill fitted for the Trump era. He said nothing and the president said everything. He worked in secret, allowing the president to fill the void with reckless accusations of a witch hunt. His damning conclusions were encased in dense legal jargon that the president distorted into a vindication."
The New York Times Friday edition was chock-full of post-Mueller report coverage emphasizing President Trump’s attempts to hinder an investigation into what amounted to no underlying crime, while glossing over his vindication from criminal charges and the discrediting of the media's “collusion” narrative of the last two years. Special counsel Robert Mueller found no conspiracy by the Trump campaign to cooperate with Russian agents and Mueller did not cite the president for obstruction of justice. So the paper changed the subject to Bill Barr's "Nixonian" spin and Democrats pushing impeachment.
From the day President Obama nominated him, the New York Times has oozed sympathy for the plight of Chuck Hagel, Obama's nominee for secretary of Defense. Times reporters have warned darkly of the disappearance of congressional "comity" and "courtesy" (as if the clubbiness and glad-handing endemic to the U.S. Senate represents some shining exemplar of good government) among Republicans, who dare suggest Hagel came off grossly uninformed and confused on foreign policy issues in his congressional hearings.
Wagons were being circled in Thursday's "Senate Democrats, Accusing G.O.P. of Obstruction, Try to Force Hagel Vote," with reporters Jeremy Peters and Mark Mazzetti portraying the battle from the Democratic Party's point of view, with concerns about Benghazi reduced to "a point of conservative ire."
The New York Times is developing a bad habit of sending its columns to the Obama administration for approval. Daniel Harper at the Weekly Standard reported yesterday on a no-no committed by then-contributing Times columnist Peter Orszag, former director of Obama's Office of Management and Budget and an Obama-care booster in an October 20, 2010 column, "Malpractice Methodology." Halper wrote in part:
The New York Times, laboring under the false impression it participated in George W. Bush's "rush to war" in Iraq, is pushing back hard against the prospect of preemptive action against Iran's nuclear threat, raising the specter of another Middle East quagmire for the United States.
Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker reported Tuesday's lead story, "U.S. Simulation Forecasts Perils Of Strike At Iran."