The New York Times wasn't impressed with the Romney campaign's counterattack on Obama after the media-inflated "47% controversy," judging by the headline over Thursday's brief story by reporter Richard Oppel: "Seeking to Turn Topic To Evils of Redistribution." The online version of the story (excerpted below) included four biased additional paragraphs at the end, but the headline at least left off the implied mockery of the Romney camp for guiding reporters to an old audio clip of Obama saying "I actually believe in redistribution."
After front-page coverage of the surreptitiously recorded (and possibly edited) clip of Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income taxes, the Times was in no mood to provide Romney any counterplay. Oppel took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was "carefully clipped," implying it was misleading, before vigorously defending Obama and making liberal bleats about how America "has seen a significant redistribution of incomes over the past generation – from the poor and middle class to the rich, and especially to the very rich...."
The New York Times took pains over the weekend to emphasize the nonviolent nature of the ongoing pro-union protests in Madison, over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining for government unions and increase the amount they pay for their health care and pension plans.
From Monday’s report by Richard Oppel in Madison on Wisconsin state authorities capitulating to protester demands they be allowed to remain overnight in the Capitol:
Union leaders say one of the strengths of the demonstrations has been that despite harsh language and personal attacks directed at Mr. Walker, the protesters had been loud but nonviolent.
Yesterday was supposed to be a day of massive pro-union demonstrations nationwide designed to give Wisconsin public-sector employee moral support from hordes of their union and non-union "brothers" and "sisters" around the country.
Uh, that's not exactly what transpired.
The establishment press's fallback position in matters such as these when the protesters involved have their sympathies is to cite decent numbers where available, while otherwise referring to "large crowds," leaving it to the imaginations of readers, listeners, and viewers what that really means. Call it "creative crowd reporting." With some slip-ups, the New York Times and the Associated Press each employed this tactic yesterday.
Unfortunately for them, many local reporters did estimate crowd sizes in cities other than Wisconsin's capital of Madison, and they aren't particularly impressive (while still being suspect, as will be seen later). William Jacobsen at Legal Insurrection (HT Instapundit) compiled press reports from other cities as follows:
At the top of Monday’s CBS "Early Show" a full six minutes of coverage was devoted to Barack Obama’s world tour, while only three minutes was given to a John McCain interview. During the interview with McCain, co-host Harry Smith wondered: "You know, when you have the network anchors chasing your opponent across the Middle East it's a little hard to make news. What is your strategy to get folks to pay attention to your message over the next couple of days?" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked a similar question to Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Friday: "Can John McCain even compete next week?"
The coverage of Obama consisted of co-host Julie Chen talking to New York Times Baghdad correspondent Richard Oppel, followed by a clip of CBS correspondent Lara Logan’s interview with Obama in Afghanistan. Oppel highlighted recent news of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki supporting Obama’s troop withdrawal plan: "...he was quoted accurately. He did express a clear affinity for Obama's 16 month proposal."
Later, when interviewing McCain, Harry Smith also brought up Maliki’s comments: "But one of the other things that -- one of the other things that he [Obama] has said is that maybe the troops should be out within the next 18 months, an idea that Prime Minister Al Maliki basically agrees with. Maybe the surge, in fact, did work. Is it time for American troops to start coming home?" That statement was in response to McCain pointing out to Smith that: "We are winning the war. And Senator Obama was wrong. He railed against it. He voted against the surge. And he said it would fail. He was wrong there."