As expected, New York Times coverage of the law passed late Friday night allowing gay marraige in New York State was heavily favorable. Sunday’s front page New York Times story provided the tick-tock on how New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo marshaled support to pass gay marriage in the Republican-controlled New York State Senate in part by convincing “super-rich Republican donors” to support him, in Michael Barbaro’s “Behind Gay Marriage, an Unlikely Mix of Forces.” It included this odd anecdote about a Democratic state senator and holdout against history:


Nobody ever expected Carl Kruger to vote yes.

New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro hyped up on Tuesday the less-than-earth-shattering news that Barbara Bush, one of President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, has made a video in support of gay marriage: “Daughter Of Bush Endorses Gay Marriages.”

Barbaro managed to compare the video Bush made for a gay rights group to such “weighty issues” as the Iraq War:

The Bush dynasty is no stranger to generational conflict: father and son differed over deposing Saddam Hussein, raising taxes and the role of the United Nations.

Now it is father and daughter who find themselves at odds over a weighty issue.

Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, the fiery leftist and Republican hater whose offensive comments about Republicans may well have cost him his seat last November, gets a fairly fond send-off in Monday's New York Times.

Reporter Michael Barbaro, previously known for his hostile coverage of Wal-Mart, called Grayson the “pugnaciously partisan, verbal-bomb-tossing, liberal folk hero of the 111th Congress,” and the headline and text box are complimentary. “Enter: Swinging. Exit: Much the Same Way.” The text box: “In or out of Congress, Alan Grayson is a man of strong views.”

Barbaro only briefly dealt with Grayson’s history of foul partisan fusillades, skipping Grayson’s campaign ad calling Republican opponent Daniel Webster “Taliban Dan” (which may have cost Grayson the election).

After relaying a few newly minted Graysonisms like calling incoming speaker of the House John Boehner a “tool of special interest,” Barbaro summarized the bombastic former lawmaker with a stream of ambivalent adjectives:

Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida’s Eighth Congressional District, is leaving office on Wednesday much as he entered it two years ago -- as the pugnaciously partisan, verbal-bomb-tossing, liberal folk hero of the 111th Congress.

Not that it's a big surprise, but it seems that the answer to "How do we spin Christmas shopping season?" at the New York Times depends on which party occupies the Oval Office in Washington.

Monday, The Times's Stephanie Clifford, with the help of two other reporters, blew the holiday sales horn. Here are the first few paragraphs of her report, entitled "Retail Sales Rebound, Beating Forecasts," with a browser window title of "Holiday Sales Return to Prerecession Level":

Americans are splurging as though it’s 2007 again.

Well fancy that: The New York Times has learned what Times Watch has been pointing out for weeks: Not even New Yorkers want a large mosque built two blocks from the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

New York City residents were previously praised by Times reporters like Sheryl Gay Stolberg as better informed and thus more tolerant of the idea of a mosque at Ground Zero than ignorant outsiders.

But a New York Times poll conducted last week showed that New Yorkers don't like the idea of building a mosque near the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks anymore than the rest of the country. In fact, New York City residents (that includes Manhattan and the outer boroughs) oppose it by a 50%-35% margin. Yes, the nationwide opposition to the construction, twice declaimed as a "nativist impulse" by the paper's main political writer Matt Bai, has infected even the tolerant, sophisticated liberals of Manhattan.

Building its story around the poll, reporters Michael Barbaro and Marjorie Connelly reported on last Friday's front page: "New Yorkers Divided Over Islamic Center, Poll Finds." (Actually New Yorkers are more than merely divided but are mostly opposed to the mosque being built near Ground Zero.)

Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll.

The front page of Monday's New York Times featured a story on how Rick Lazio, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, is gaining voter appeal from his strong opposition to the building of a mosque two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks: "Lazio Finds an Issue in Furor Over Islamic Center."

Reporter Michael Barbaro, while conceding the popular appeal of Lazio's opposition, managed by tone to suggest Lazio was somehow engaged in inappropriate politicking, confirmed by the story's text box: "Commercials that appeal to some may risk the alienation of moderates."

Mr. Lazio's relentless opposition to the project -- he again attacked the imam behind it during an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" -- is, above all, aimed at Republican primary voters, analysts say. But it risks alienating moderates who could prove crucial in a general election. And it certainly is infuriating many Muslim leaders, who say he is preying on the worst fears of voters; and provoking a backlash from some influential voices in the community of Sept. 11 emergency workers, who say he is exploiting the tragedy.

Nevertheless, Mr. Lazio is pushing ahead with the strategy, even breaking what has been, until now, something of an unwritten rule of politics in New York: never to use images of Sept. 11 in campaign advertisements.

The Times drug up an incident from 10 years ago to make Lazio into some kind of anti-Muslim campaigner:

The front page of Wednesday's New York edition of the New York Times featured the news that a controversial plan to build a mosque two bocks from Ground Zero was approved by the city's landmarks commission: "Mosque Plan Clears Hurdle In New York -- Bloomberg Pleads for Religious Tolerance."

But reporters Michael Barbaro and Javier Hernandez actually led with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's weepy speech about religious tolerance, falsely asserting that that denying permission to build a 13-story Islamic center topped by a mosque would somehow be "denying the very constitutional rights" that New York City police and firefighters died protecting.

And the Times again insinuated that opposition to the mosque is coming mostly from outsiders, while New Yorkers have gotten on with their lives and don't oppose it -- a half-truth at best, as shown by results of a poll of New Yorkers.

Times reporters were very impressed with the speech. Both Jodi Kantor and Brian Stelter linked to speech coverage on their Twitter feeds, Kantor calling it a "must-read" and Stelter calling it "worth reading."

Here's the Times's lead:

As New York City removed the final hurdle for a controversial mosque near ground zero, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg forcefully defended the project on Tuesday as a symbol of America's religious tolerance and sought to reframe a fiery national debate over the project.