NYTlogoWithPaper2009Those who read the New York Times's coverage of the unsuccessful results of Barack and Michelle Obama's attempt to seal the 2016 Summer Olympics bid for Chicago on Friday afternoon ('For Obama, an Unsuccessful Campaign") might want to read it again.

If it doesn't seem the same, it's because it isn't.

Blogger Weasel Zippers (HT Hot Air Headlines via Instapundit) caught the Times committing a major scrub of the story. But it's really worse than that.

An excerpt of the item's first five paragraphs posted at FreeRepublic at 4:44 Eastern Time on October 2 shows that the article was apparently originally published under the same title with Peter Baker's byline sometime Friday afternoon.

There are even more substantive differences noticed by Weasel Zippers I will get to shortly, but the first five paragraphs alone were obviously worked over, while Jeff Zeleny's name was added to the byline.

After the jump, on the left you will see the original as excerpted at FreeRepublic; on the right are the first five paragraphs currently at the Times web site (saved here at my host for future reference; click here or on the graphic to view a larger side-by-side version in a separate window):



On Saturday Barack Obama visited the West African nation of Ghana, held up as a standard of good government (by regional standards) and delivered a "tough love" speech to the entire continent.

Doing his part, New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker delivered a laudatory story: "Obama Delivers Call for Change to a Rapt Africa." (Baker was chided by Slate's "Today's Papers" columnist for overdoing the "heavy-handed symbolism" of an African-American president visiting Africa.)

But just how "rapt" were those Ghanians? Were they any less rapt when President Bush visited Ghana last year?

The visit of the first African-American president, the son of a onetime Kenyan goat herder, electrified this small coastal nation and much of the region. Thousands of people lined streets, crowded rooftops, packed balconies, climbed trees, leaned out windows, even hung off scaffolding to glimpse his motorcade.



Judge Sonia Sotomayor and Judge Clarence Thomas both had compelling life stories when they were nominated for the Supreme Court. But only Sotomayor's story has been celebrated that way by the New York Times.

Sotomayor's rise from a housing project in the East Bronx to Supreme Court nominee was "a compelling life story" in Thursday's lead article by Peter Baker and Adam Nagourney.

And Scott Shane and Manny Fernandez even celebrated the life history of Sotomayor's mother, in Thursday's "A Judge's Own Story Highlights Her Mother's -- A Tale of Rising Out of Hardship." The Times argued that Celina Sotomayor's story was "as compelling in its own right" as that of her daughter.

And Sheryl Gay Stolberg's gushing 5,000-word "Woman in the News" profile of Sotomayor Wednesday positioned the judge's rise as "Her up-by-the-bootstraps tale, an only-in-America story...."

By contrast, the lead July 2, 1991 story by Maureen Dowd, then a White House reporter, was rather curt when it came to extolling the conservative Thomas's riveting life history. Dowd dispensed with Thomas's inspiring rise from poverty in Pin Point, Ga., where he was raised by his grandparents, in two and a half paragraphs, and suggested a cynical political motivation on the part of President George H.W. Bush. Thomas's life wasn't necessarily inspiring but was merely "offered as inspiring" by the president:



Wednesday's New York Times led with Obama's choice of Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee -- "Obama Chooses Hispanic Judge for Supreme Court Seat," by Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny.

Baker and Zeleny never directly acknowledged Sotomayor's liberal outlook, although there is enough in her judicial record (and her own words) to indicate her ideology.

President Obama announced Tuesday that he would nominate Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a Bronx public housing project to become the nation's first Hispanic justice.

In making his first pick for the court, Mr. Obama emphasized Judge Sotomayor's "extraordinary journey" from modest beginnings to the Ivy League and now the pinnacle of the judicial system. Casting her as the embodiment of the American dream, he touched off a confirmation battle that he hopes to wage over biography more than ideology.

Judge Sotomayor's past comments about how her sex and ethnicity shaped her decisions, and the role of appeals courts in making policy, generated instant conservative complaints that she is a judicial activist. Senate Republicans vowed to scrutinize her record. But with Democrats in reach of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, the White House appeared eager to dare Republicans to stand against a history-making nomination at a time when both parties are courting the growing Hispanic vote.

Again, the Times hinted at but didn't directly label Sotomayor with the still-damaging label of "liberal," never using the term to describe her.



President Obama delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame on Sunday, amid protests that the nation's preeminent Catholic college shouldn't be honoring a pro-choice president who even supports the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion.

Monday's front-page New York Times story, "At Notre Dame, Obama Calls for Civil Tone in Abortion Debate," by Peter Baker and Susan Saulny, began by giving Obama credit for good intentions that resulted in a favorable response from his audience:

President Obama directly confronted America's deep divide over abortion on Sunday as he appealed to partisans on each side to find ways to respect one another's basic decency and even work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

As anti-abortion demonstrators protested outside and a few hecklers shouted inside, Mr. Obama used a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame to call for more "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" in a debate that has polarized the country for decades. The audience at this Roman Catholic institution cheered his message and drowned out protesters, some of whom called him a "baby killer."

Monday's print version is toned down from the original filing Sunday afternoon at nytimes.com. That story, credited to Peter Baker alone, had a headline with a more defensive thrust -- "At Notre Dame, Obama Defends His Abortion Stance." That filing (no longer available at nytimes.com, but you can read it here for now) also included this paragraph:



Did the NYT bury reporter Peter Baker's story on a memo written by Obama's own national intelligence director, suggesting that harsh interrogation methods had proved effective in understanding Al Qaeda? Washington Examiner journalist Byron York has his suspicions.

From Baker's 850-word online story, "Banned Techniques Yielded 'High Value Information,' Memo Says, " which has rocketed across the Drudge Report and the conservative web since it was posted at nytimes.com Tuesday:

President Obama's national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

"High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa'ida organization that was attacking this country," Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Baker caught an intriguing bit of redaction by the Obama administration:



In the midst of a discussion about President-elect Barack Obama's national security team, Washington Week host Gwen Ifill on Friday night's program sought confirmation for her theory that “what people are beginning to say is that this President-elect should be President now” as “people are saying why isn't Barack Obama leading the fight about the auto-makers?”

New York Times reporter Peter Baker agreed: “That's right, exactly.” He proceeded to fret over how “people voted for change and this strange, odd 77-day waiting period that we impose...between our election and our inauguration” just isn't compatible with the “hyperactive 24/7 fast-moving culture that we have today.” Baker admired how “Obama is trying to find some balance between respecting President Bush,” whom Baker conceded is “still in charge,” and “finding a way to assert leadership.”


Campbell Brown, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgOn Monday’s “No Bias, No Bull” program, CNN’s Campbell Brown lashed out at President-Elect Barack Obama for his flippant response to a reporter’s question: “Mr. President-Elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn’t just about the media. It’s about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn’t. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn’t you mean?”

During the press conference where Obama unveiled his national security team, Peter Baker of the New York Times brought up the tough primary fight between the President-Elect and Mrs Clinton: “...[Y]ou were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I’m wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.” The outgoing Illinois senator replied, “I mean, I think -- this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you’re having fun.”



Washington Post reporter Peter Baker penned a story on Bill Clinton for Friday’s front page. The Post website summarized: "Former president promotes wife’s candidacy while trying to set the record straight on his own tenure." Set the record straight?



In Monday’s Washington Post, reporter Peter Baker’s front-page political analysis on President Bush’s improving fortunes carries a strong whiff of Hate to Admit It:

In many ways, the shifting political fortunes may owe as much to the absence of bad news as to any particular good news. No one lately has been indicted, botched a hurricane relief effort or shot someone in a hunting accident. Instead, pictures from Iraq show people returning to the streets as often as they show a new suicide bombing.

That’s just wrong. The Big Kahuna of bad news has always been Iraq, which has always cast a dark cloud over other news. Left out of Baker’s analysis: how much the media spin has affected most of these stories (leave out Iraq for the moment).