In Monday’s New York Times, reporter Eleanor Stanford interviewed the showrunner for The Handmaid’s Tale, “Seeking to Be More Than TV Medicine -- Bruce Miller wanted Season 3 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ to be entertaining above all else.” Stanford opens with a feverish description of life in present-day America. The opening paragraphs are a particular hoot: "What do you do when reality starts looking uncomfortably like your dystopian fiction?" A similar social liberal overreaction could be found with reporter Ernesto Londono fretting over “State Dept. Alters Stance On Showing Pride Flags.” The text box: “Quietly abandoning gay rights as a foreign policy imperative.”
New York Times stringer Daniel Politi teamed with the paper’s Brazil bureau chief Ernesto Londono to cover a failed attempt in Argentina to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of a pregenancy: “Though Abortion Bill Failed in Argentina, a Movement Took Hold -- A Narrow Loss Inspires Women.” The text box to Friday’s story assured the paper’s pro-choice readership: “‘Abortion will be legal soon. Very soon,’ one woman said.” The online version carried a Reuters photo of “An abortion-rights supporter in Buenos Aires on Thursday after a bill to legalize abortion was defeated.” Who, by the way, was in the act of throwing a colored smoke bomb. The text ignored the eruptions of violence in the aftermath of the defeat of the abortion bill, which it usually does when it comes to left-wing protest violence
As Venezuela's socialism-driven disaster deepens, the press's unwillingness to recognize its cause has gone from being "merely" negligent and outrageous to absolutely disgusting. This obvious failure, which is almost certainly conscious and deliberate, is present even when a journalist's work portraying the human element of the crisis is otherwise compelling. Such is the case with Ernesto Londoño's Saturday report at the New York Times about how refugees fleeing that country are overwhelming the ability of towns in northern Brazil to handle them.
"Republican lawmakers Thursday blamed the Obama administration for the stunning resurgence of Iraq’s al-Qaeda franchise and called on the White House to take assertive steps to help Baghdad beat back militant uprisings in the country’s west." That's how Ernesto Londono opened his January 10 story "Republicans blame Obama administration for al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq," a front-page-worthy story which Washington Post editors buried on page A10.
By contrast, the Post ran not one but two Chris Christie bridge-scandal stories on the Friday edition's front page. The other stories rounding out the front page centered on efforts to hash out a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan, the Washington Redskins announcing their new head coach, and privacy/data-collection concerns from dashboard computers in new cars.
Former senator Chuck Hagel's shoddy performance at his confirmation hearing yesterday has not merely been panned by conservative outlets but also liberal ones. For example, in "What Happened to Hagel?", Daily Beast's Ali Gharib concluded that "a proud statesman" appeared "confused and unsure as he took body shots" from skeptical senators, all the while being unable to explain "some version—any version—of the sober views he's put forward over his years as a foreign policy thinker."John Judis of The New Republic complained that "[f]ormer Sen. Chuck Hagel didn’t acquit himself well.... He was equivocal, often unconvincing, and seemed taken aback by questions that had been swirling around the rightwing blogosphere for weeks."
But leave it to the Washington Post to dutifully carry the Obama administration's water. In his page A3 February 1 story, "Hagel sharply attacked at Senate hearing," Ernesto Londono took aim at the GOP for their "withering criticism" of Hagel. Londono conceded that "at times [Hagel] struggled" but insisted that he "nonetheless offered a full-throated endorsement of the United States' alliance with Israel, insisted he has never advocated for unilateral nuclear disarmament and called Iran an existential threat."
On Wednesday, the networks described President Obama's speech in Indonesia as a proclamation on Indonesia's religious tolerance. ABC's Jake Tapper breezed over it on Good Morning America: “Before his speech, the President visited the largest mosque in this, the biggest majority-Muslim country in the world.” He quoted Obama: “Those are the spires of the cathedral the Catholic Church over there. See, right next door.”
But as Laura Ingraham pointed out that morning on her radio show, no one actually pressed the president on whether Muslim countries really tolerate Christians – or whether they can end up persecuted, even executed for not being Muslim. Terry Mattingly at Get Religion noted Indonesian examples. But the networks seriously downplayed a heinous murder of priests and Catholic believers in Baghdad on Halloween. And so, it was left out of the entire media's narrative as they celebrated Obama's outreach. In the November 2 Washington Post, the survivors told the tale in a report by Ernesto Londono:
The worshipers heard the first shots and explosions about 20 minutes after the beginning of Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Salvation Church. Heads turned, the sermon stopped abruptly and the Rev. Wassem Sabeeh quietly began ushering parishioners into a fortified room in the rear of the church.