A New York Times story posted online Sunday evening and appearing at Column 1 on Page 1 in today's print edition included a picture of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh -- hardly a jihadist, at least not directly -- alongside that of three real jihadists: alleged Ft. Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, foiled Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Another curiosity is the difference between the official headline of Scott Shane's report ("A Homemade Style of Terror: Jihadists Push New Tactics") and the browser window title ("Terrorists Find Online Education for Attacks"). That's interesting, because the presence of the "online education" and the following paragraphs in Shane's report effectively punch a gaping hole in the official meme, most strongly propagated by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and President Barack Obama, that Tsarnaev and his now-dead brother Tamerlan "acted alone":
Do I dare say it? Did The New York Times actually write a responsible article concerning the investigation of the Boston Terror Attack? The April 17 piece by Katharine Q. Seeyle, Scott Shane, and Michael S. Schmidt had no mentions of right-wing extremists –and the meretricious links to Patriots/Tax Day. Additionally, the word “extremist” is only associated with a brief bit about “terrorist cookbooks,” which are available online. By contrast, when you look at National Journal’s highly speculative story on Boston, the culprits are either al-Qaeda or right-wing domestic terror groups. This development comes after initial reports that the trail has tragically grown cold.
Sadly, before the bodies were even cold the media were suggesting that conservatives or “right-wing extremists” could be behind the bombing. Terabytes of digital data are still being combed through by investigators, and there's no proof solidly linking the so-called “right wing” of America -- those type of hate groups, by the way, are roundly repudiated by true conservatives -- was responsible for this senseless attack. But that doesn't seem to matter to James Kitfield of the National Journal, who wrote yesterday morning:
On the day after terrorism struck the Boston Marathon, the New York Times chose a different kind of terror-related story to join it on the front page, from intelligence reporter Scott Shane: "U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes."
Shane and his headline writer harped on the "nonpartisan" nature of the Constitution Project, despite the fact that it clearly leans left, as a scan of the group's priorities (not to mention the personal remarks of its very own president in the Times itself) reveals.
New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Michael Shear found "right-wing conspiracy" mongering in the aftermath of the unusual 12-hour filibuster by Republican Sen. Rand Paul protesting the White House's failing to rule out the use of drone strikes on American soil or against U.S. citizens: "Visions of Drones Swarming the Skies Touch Bipartisan Nerve."
That slightly dismissive headline on the front of Saturday's edition ("Visions" assumes an abstract and an unreasonable fear) is matched by the story, which tilts a little to the left in labeling and to the Obama administration in its dismissive tone toward White House critics, pitting "liberal activists" against "right-wing conspiracy theorists" and "self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution." In contrast, during the Bush years the Times took seriously the most paranoid fears of liberals about the Patriot Act.
President Obama's media acolytes must really be disappointed – they're comparing his administration's unilateral behavior in the war on terror to that of George W. Bush. The new interest was kicked off by a Justice Department document leaked on Monday that offered a legal analysis of when the president can order the targeted killing of an American citizen suspected of terrorism, without due process. Wednesday's lead New York Times article from Yemen was a rundown of the fatal drone strikes authorized by President Obama and his "kill list" coordinator John Brennan, now Obama's nominee to head the C.I.A.
The Times relegated the actual news about the leaked document to page 11, in the International section, in a "news analysis" by reporters Scott Shane and Charlie Savage that dug into the politics of the controversy under an odd, vague headline: "Report on Targeted Killing Whets Appetite for Less Secrecy."
Former Republican senator Chuck Hagel was hailed as a brave Republican maverick and became a liberal media favorite during the George W. Bush years, for comparing the Iraq War to Vietnam and serving as a general thorn in the Republican president's side. Journalist Dave Weigel likened this 2006 Hagel profile in the New York Times Magazine by former Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld to "a hagiography master class." Now Obama is picking a fight with the GOP by nominating him Secretary of Defense, and New York Times reporters are still serving as reliable reinforcements.
Monday's off-lead introductory piece by Scott Shane and David Sanger was supportive of Hagel, as is the liberal media in general. The Times went so far as downplay anti-Jewish and anti-gay comments Hagel made during the Clinton administration about an ambassadorial candidate to Luxembourg, James Hormel.
New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane made Thursday's front-page with a quasi-movie review of "Zero Dark Thirty," the critically acclaimed new release about the Bin Laden raid that suggests "enhanced interrogation" like waterboarding aided in finding him. The headline, "Portrayal of C.I.A. Torture in Bin Laden Film Reopens a Debate," shows the Times comfortable using the loaded word "torture" to describe interrogation methods like water-boarding that inflict temporary physical panic.
Previously Shane has fiercely resisted the idea that waterboarding contributed to finding Osama bin Laden, ignoring CIA director Leon Panetta's admission that it had. Shane wrote on May 4, 2011: "But a closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden's trusted courier and exposing his hide-out."
In other words, it may have helped, but don't make me write it.
A front-page "news analysis" Thursday by New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane, "Talking Points Overshadow Bigger Libya Issues," downplayed the seriousness of the controversy and attempted to reduce GOP criticism of UN ambassador Susan Rice, a possible Secretary of State candidate, into just more food for the partisan "meat grinder."
Shane questioned why "four pallid sentences that intelligence analysts cautiously delivered are the unlikely center of a quintessential Washington drama, in which a genuine tragedy has been fed into the meat grinder of election-year politics." The paper wasn't so forgiving about President George W. Bush's famous "16 words" in 2003 about Saddam Hussein looking for nuclear material in Africa.
New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane's mock Q&A in Thursday's edition, "What Happened in Libya? Clearing Up a Fierce Dispute," served to shield President Obama from criticism on how his administration described the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, misleadingly emphasizing that Obama "referred to the attack as an 'act of terror' twice" in two days. Shane omitted that Obama and his administration proceeded to blame the attacks on spontaneous protests over a YouTube video, with Obama himself doing so several times in a September 26 speech to the United Nations.
Shane is worried that "what happened in the attack, and disputes over who said what about it, have left many people confused." (Is "confused" code for "criticizing the Obama administration"?) He's the latest Times reporter to insist that Obama "applied the 'terror' label to the attack" in his Rose Garden address on September 12, while admitting "the reference was indirect." The Times' s own managing editors would quibble with that assessment.
Defending Obama from comparisons to President Jimmy Carter, New York Times intelligence reporter Scott Shane questionably claimed that "the deaths of American diplomats in Libya are not a continuing crisis" in Saturday's "Romney Team Tries Hanging a Jimmy Carter Label on Obama." Certainly not if the major media have a say in suppressing the controversy over how the Obama administration's claims about the attacks differ from the facts.