The New York Times is milking its latest poll, showing some good news for Obama, to maximum effect. Sunday's front-page featured a poll story from one of the paper's top Obama boosters, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes (pictured): "Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground." Text box: "Polls Show Favor for Obama on Issue of Party Trust." Calmes writes from Orlando:
New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes filed from Charlotte on Saturday after the Democratic National Convention had passed, "Democrats Face a Juggling Act Over Jobs."
Surprisingly, Obama loyalist Calmes discerned political problems in the president's anti-business rhetoric. More predictably, she defended Obama's anti-entrepreneurship remark "you didn't build that," accusing the GOP of taking it out of context, even though the context does not save Obama from the charge of showing hostility to enterprise and individual initiative.
When the New York Times sends reporters to compare and contrast the Romney and Obama campaign styles, little surprise who comes off looking best. The banner headline on the front of Monday's special Campaign 2012 section set the scene: "Two Campaigns With Styles as Similar as Red and Blue."
Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro trailed the Republica candidate in Iowa and found that while "Earnest and Efficient, Romney Spares the Subtlety." (Because electoral campaigns are typically known for subtlety.)
No matter what campaign tactic Mitt Romney chooses, it's the wrong one. A July 12 New York Times headline reads: "Romney Faces Calls to Deliver Counterpunch." Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker began their front-page "campaign memo" relaying concerns from the GOP that he is not counterattacking Obama:
Mitt Romney and his team of advisers built a reputation during the Republican primaries as tough street fighters skilled in the tactics of political warfare. They quietly took pride in tearing apart Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of their rivals.
On Monday, New York Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Sarah Wheaton made much of a left-wing protest of Mitt Romney fundraising in the well-heeled Hamptons, "Romney Mines the Hamptons for Campaign Cash." The text box: "Protesters gather outside events in sprawling homes."
President Obama hauled in $15 million in Hollywood at a fundraiser on George Clooney's Hollywood estate on May10. Yet searches of Nexis and nytimes.com indicate the Times didn't even cover the fundraiser in its print edition, limiting event coverage to a noncritical blog post.
The front of Thursday's New York Times Home section (!) features a large story targeting Mitt Romney that makes the paper's notorious front-page investigation into Ann Romney's troubling horse habit look as significant as Watergate by comparison.
Political reporter Michael Barbaro invaded the Home section and devoted a staggering 1,800-word investigation to the fact that Romney's liberal neighbors in La Jolla, California don't approve of his presence or his politics: "The Candidate Next Door." The text box: "On a cul-de-sac in La Jolla, residents are not happy about their new neighbor's renovation plans – or his entourage."
When even a panel of liberal journalists thinks the New York Times has gone too far with its Romney-bashing, you know the paper's descending to uncomfortable subterranean depths of bias. With the lone exception of Jodi Kantor, herself a New York Times reporter, the members of today's Now with Alex Wagner panned the Times for its Home section front-pager about Romney's La Jolla, California, home, "The Candidate Next Door." The story was written by political writer Michael Barbaro in a section that usually has to do interior decorating and other apolitical domestic fare.
"Can I call bull on this?" Nation magazine contributor Ari Melber asked. "What they've done here is taken a campaign reporter who covers the campaign with a really thin, silly story, and then put it in the home section." [audio available here; video update coming shortly]
The presidential campaign has just begun in earnest, but New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro already thinks the Mitt Romney campaign is getting too nasty. Barbaro's previous reporting doesn't betray much concern for Republican electoral prospects, but he was very concerned with the tone of the Romney campaign in Thursday's story.
(By contrast, the Times doesn't seem to mind Obama's concerted campaign to paint Mitt Romney as what the Times's own Helene Cooper helpfully termed "a right-wing extremist.")
The conservative blogosphere has been making mirth out of an entry from Barack Obama's first autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," in which he briefly mentions eating dog as a child in Indonesia.
It also functions as a counter to another shaggy political anecdote, widely propagated throughout the liberal media, about Mitt Romney strapping his pet dog to a crate on the top of his station wagon for a long-ago family vacation. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is particularly obsessed with the non-story, mentioning it a few dozen times in her column since the story came to light in the summer of 2007.
Yet Obama's youthful foray into dog eating, first highlighted by Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher on April 17, has yet to be mentioned in print by the New York Times (according to nytimes.com and Nexis searches) and was dismissed in one brief paragraph in an online "Diner's Journal" blog entry on April 19:
It was Mitt Romney's turn in the barrel for the New York Times's recurring front-page political profile feature, "The Long Run." Walmart-hostile reporter Michael Barbaro did the honors Saturday, scouring the former Massachusetts' governor's former associates and rivals in the Boston statehouse and devoting nearly 2,000 words to the same "sometimes awkward style and aloof manner" criticism that the Times has been uncovering for the last several months: "Legislators Recall Governor Who Didn't Mingle."
Mitt Romney can’t win for losing. Wednesday’s New York Times “news analysis” by Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker posed as concerned over the “heavy new baggage” the Romney campaign had acquired by successfully going negative against Newt Gingrich in his Florida primary victory Tuesday night: “A Nasty Fight Carries Risks for the Winner.” Of course it does.
New York Times political reporter Ashley Parker made Wednesday’s front page with yet another “Isn’t Romney stiff?”-themed story, “The Retooled, Loose Romney, Guessing Voters’ Age and Ethnicity,” cowritten with Michael Barbaro.
The Times has put Romney's mannerisms under the microscope on several occasions. Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in 2004, was another rich Northern politician with a reputation for woodenness and lack of the common touch, but it certainly wasn’t a dominant theme of Times campaign coverage.