It's enlightening to see what topics New York Times editors find disturbing and newsworthy and which ones they shrug off or ignore.

New York's new senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, is a Democrat who is nonetheless under strong suspicions at the liberal Times for her support of gun rights and her previous representation of a white conservative district. On Friday's front page, she came under fire via a stash of old ammo in a story by Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski. "As New Lawyer, Senator Defended Big Tobacco." Gillibrand is in trouble for defending Big Tobacco as a lawyer representing Philip Morris back in 1996.

The Philip Morris Company did not like to talk about what went on inside its lab in Cologne, Germany, where researchers secretly conducted experiments exploring the effects of cigarette smoking.

So when the Justice Department tried to get its hands on that research in 1996 to prove that tobacco industry executives had lied about the dangers of smoking, the company moved to fend off the effort with the help of a highly regarded young lawyer named Kirsten Rutnik.

Ms. Rutnik, who now goes by her married name, Gillibrand, threw herself into the work. She traveled to Germany at least twice, interviewing the lab's top scientists, whose research showed a connection between smoking and cancer but was kept far from public view.



On March 9, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on one of Barack Obama's latest nominees. This time it was to assess the suitability of Tony West, Obama's nominee for the assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Division. Things went "smoothly" according to the San Jose Mercury News, also publishing a nice bio of West. The Washington Post merely mentioned the hearing was "notable." Similarly the East Bay Express simply makes mention of the hearing having occurred. Apparently there was nothing of interest in West’s nomination.

Curiously enough, though, not one of these brief reports mention that Tony West was "American Taliban" terrorist John Walker Lindh's defense lawyer. Another key bit of info left out of these announcements was that Tony West raised $65 million for Obama's presidential campaign. Money well spent if it gets a cushy government job, I suppose.