There was no honeymoon for Boris Johnson, the new Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in the New York Times. The same old hostility greeted him, and his push to make good on the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, known as Brexit: "After a lifetime of joking and blustering and maneuvering his way into jobs and then sabotaging himself with poor preparation and deceitful behavior, Mr. Johnson, 55, seems determined to prove he can put aside his court-jesterish ways and rise to the occasion."
The New York Times has developed a very strange niche beat: Gather up tweets mocking a British conservative (a reliable source of mirth for the liberal media Twitterati), and then shape it into a “news” story for the enjoyment of its own liberal readership. The latest subject of mockery culled from online British “wits” was former Conservative Party British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is releasing an autobiography in a few months. Richard Perez-Pena, the paper’s London-based International News Editor, stooped to gather up mean tweets for Saturday’s “Before Book Is Published, British Mock The Author.” Stop the presses!
Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh believes that because the center-right media and blogosphere pushed back against the vaccine vendetta campaign against Republicans and conservatives, the establishment press is sharply backing away from trying to capitalize on it, especially because both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been shown to have played to the anti-vaxxer crowd during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.
Additionally, the New York Times, which smelled blood and ran a hit piece ("Measles Outbreak Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field") on Page A1 in its Tuesday print edition, had to issue a major three-point correction to it the very next day. That correction to the story by reporters Jeremy Peters and Richard Pérez-Peña, and Rush's reaction to it, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; paragraph breaks added by me):
Eagerly clawing around for a wedge issue with which to split the Republican Party, the New York Times used the controversy over mandatory vaccinations to smear the GOP as opposed to "modern science" and "established science" in "Measles Proves Delicate Issue to G.O.P. Field," a front-page story Tuesday.
Did the New York Times learn nothing about rushing to judgement and presumption of innocence from its Duke lacrosse “rape” hoax debacle?
More than any other media outlet, in 2006 the Times trumpeted black stripper's Crystal Mangum's rape accusations against three white Duke lacrosse players, accusations that quickly fell apart in a mass of contradictions and shifting stories.
Yet even as the case fell apart and other liberal media outlets backed away, the Times issued a now-notorious, error-riddled 5,000-word lead story by Duff Wilson, concluding that there was enough evidence against the players for Michael Nifong, the soon-to-be-disgraced-and-jailed local prosecutor, to bring the case to trial.
Does the New York Times fear a Chris Christie presidential run?
On Thursday reporters Michael Shear (pictured above) and Richard Perez-Pena issued the New Jersey governor a pre-emptive reality check in response to his speech at the Reagan Presidential Library: “Not All Buy Christie’s Assertions of Bipartisanship – New Jersey Governor’s Critics Say Acrimonious Dealings Accompany Accomplishments.” But the Times provided a lopsided portrait, either by leaving out the offensive things Christie’s opponents have said about him, or actually quoting Democrats insulting Christie as if that somehow proves Christie is offensive.
I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:
- Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
- Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.
So how is the press covering these situations?
It took well over a year, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has gotten his way.
Covering the story for the New York Times, Richard Perez-Pena seemed to alternate between shock and "Awww." His biggest journalistic distortion was understating the degree to which Christie needed -- and got -- Democratic Party help to pass legislation which, in Pena's words, "will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights."
The shock and "Awww" at the Times extends to the difference between the item's browser window title ("N.J. Legislature Moves to Cut Benefits for Public Workers") and the article title, which readers will see after the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Saturday, New York Times metro reporter Richard Perez-Pena treated as a serious breach of decorum a relatively mild metaphor New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie used in front of reporters in “This Time, Christie’s Tough Talk Draws a Wave of Criticism From Democrats.” The text box: “The governor uses violent imagery while talking to reporters about a state senator.” Yet the Times has almost completely ignored much harsher and explicit “violent imagery” used by Democratic politicians against Republicans.
Using harsh terms to attack his critics has been a regular feature of Gov. Chris Christie’s 15 months in office, and Democratic officials, wary of his and the voters’ wrath, have usually offered only a muted response.
But this week, when Mr. Christie, a Republican, used violent imagery in talking about a Democratic lawmaker -- a widowed grandmother, to boot -- Democrats saw an opening, criticizing him en masse and demanding an apology.
On the front page of Thursday's New York Times, reporter Richard Perez-Pena again goes after Republican Gov. Chris Christie, making waves for his town hall appearances going after teachers unions and public pension plans, “Christie’s Talk Is Blunt, but Not Always Straight.”
The Times has escalated its anti-Christie sniping, and some of Perez-Pena’s “inaccuracies” are pretty pro forma and nit-picky for a front-page story and would probably have been passed over without comment by the Times if rendered by Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, judging by the many Obama flubs the paper dismissed.
New Jersey’s public-sector unions routinely pressure the State Legislature to give them what they fail to win in contract talks. Most government workers pay nothing for health insurance. Concessions by school employees would have prevented any cuts in school programs last year.
Statements like those are at the core of Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign to cut state spending by getting tougher on unions. They are not, however, accurate.
The lead story of the Sunday Metro section was a very long profile by Richard Perez-Pena of Wayne Barrett, former reporter for the alternative left-wing NYC weekly The Village Voice -- “The (Ex) Voice of The Village."
Barrett was previously lionized (along with fellow reporter Tom Robbins) by the Times's Jeremy Peters on January 5 after the two veteran reporters were let go by the left-wing counter-cultural weekly (Sample article title: "I'm Pro-Choice and I F***"). Neither story describes the Voice as a left-wing or liberal publication.
Matt Bai’s upcoming New York Times Sunday Magazine cover profile of Chris Christie, New Jersey's attention-getting Republican governor, has its questionable moments, but the overall tone was far more temperate than a teaser the Times used to promote it, featured on the front page of nytimes.com Thursday evening.
The segment of Bai's long story the Times chose to highlight is one that just happens to feed into the liberal complaint that President Ronald Reagan stigmatized welfare recipients as "welfare queens." (Bai's reference to "welfare queens" in the text is milder in context.)
The teaser reads: "The governor of New Jersey became the most celebrated Republican in America by tagging public-sector workers -- especially teachers -- as 21st-century welfare queens."