Thursday, March 26, 2009

TimesWatch Tracker

Amazing Omissions in Times Interview of Barney Frank
A Times writer manages to talk to Barney Frank about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and an SNL skit without bringing up a single challenging question.

Free-Market Radical From Czech Republic "Embarrasses" EU Again
Once again, the Times chides a Czech Republic leader's infuriating embrace of free-market principles.

Striving to Paint a More Positive Picture of a Cop-Killer
Lovelle Mixon killed four Oakland police officers -- but was he also a victim of the California penal system?

Recent articles from

NY Times’ Latest Service at Altar of Obama
By Don Feder Wednesday March 25, 2009
In a mainstream media with a mad crush on the messiah in the White House, none can come close to matching the adoration of The New York Times.

Times Radiates Optimism on Regulation of Executive Pay
By Don Feder Monday March 23, 2009
When it comes to forging new frontiers of statism and savaging the free market, The New York Times has a ho-hum, what's-the-big-deal attitude.

What The Times and AP Won’t Tell You About The UN’s Gay Rights Resolution
By Don Feder Friday March 20, 2009
By uncritically publishing an Associated Press report on the Obama administration's decision to support a United Nations statement on "gay rights," The New York Times once again told only part of the story -- the part that suited its purposes.

Jerry Newcombe, WAFT Ft Lauderdale
Don Feder discusses New York Times columnist Frank Rich's assertion that social conservatism is dying on Vocal Point with Jerry Newcombe on WAFG in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. [audio:] Click above to play or you can download the MP3.

Hamilton A Judical “Moderate,” According To NY Times
By Don Feder Wednesday March 18, 2009
An article in yesterday's New York Times hails District Court Judge David F. Hamilton -- likely to be Obama's first nominee for the U.S. Appeals Court -- as a "moderate."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Roberts Tosses Softballs to Michelle Obama; Hostile to Laura Bush

Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts conducted a two part, almost 11 minute interview with Michelle Obama which aired on Friday that avoided tough questions and consisted almost entirely of softballs. This included reading e-mails from the audience, such as "What does she [the First Lady] do for relaxation in the evening, away from the public?" and also "...How can she stay so positive about the economy?"

This is quite a contrast to some of the queries Laura Bush had to deal with when she was First Lady. On October 22, 2007, the very same Roberts quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Mrs. Bush: "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs." She also informed Mrs. Bush of the assertion by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that America "should export hope instead of fear." See an October 23, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more:

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, ]

The 2007 interview with the President's wife was part of a trip that Roberts took with Mrs. Bush to the Middle East. The First Lady was on a tour through the area to promote breast cancer awareness. In a follow up interview with a Middle East woman who had suffered from the affliction, Roberts skeptically asked: "Does it help with Mrs. Bush and the United States coming here?...Or is it seen as, 'Okay, the Americans are, again, trying to force something on us?'"

Roberts showed no such skepticism with the issue that Mrs. Obama is currently championing: more government support for military members and their families. Speaking of an event in North Carolina, the ABC host enthused: "The First Lady was greeted by Fort Bragg like a rock star."

Now, certainly, helping military families is a laudable goal. But, even on this issue, there are actual tough questions that Roberts could have asked. For instance, CNN reported the following on March 10:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

Currently, veterans' private insurance is charged only when they receive health care from the VA for medical issues that are not related to service injuries, like getting the flu.


Considering that Mrs. Obama says she wants to make military families a top priority, wouldn't this be a relevant issue to bring up? The only query that was vaguely challenging was when Roberts speculated: "Your husband has really had to hit the ground running with all the issues that are facing our country right now. One criticism has been, too much, too fast."

Another example of the difference between the questions to Democratic and Republican first ladies occurred on the November 30, 2005 GMA. Reporter Jessica Yellin exploited a segment supposedly on White House Christmas cards to grill Laura Bush. She quizzed, "Have you ever met with a mother whose own loss has made you question, even for a moment, whether the U.S. should be in Iraq?" See A December 1, 2005 CyberAlert posting for more:

Certainly, Michelle Obama received no such hard hitting challenges from Good Morning America.

A transcript of the first GMA segment, which aired at 7:02am on March 13, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, we do begin with our exclusive interview with Michelle Obama. Her first television interview since becoming first lady. Now, a recent poll shows 69 percent of Americans view her favorably, which may have something to do with her ambitious agenda that she set for herself. From promoting healthy food to advocating for working parents to, perhaps, her top priority, supporting military families. And that is what she wanted to talk about. We were there yesterday, as he made her first major trip as first lady, to visit with military families at Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The first lady was greeted by Fort Bragg like a rock star. The military men and women tangibly excited by her visit.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It was fantastic! It was wonderful! I'm just glad to be an American!

ROBERTS: Even as she made her way over to come talk to me, there was one more picture to be taken. One more person to hug. And when we tried to chat, well, you can see what happened. You are quickly finding your sea legs as first lady.

MICHELLE OBAMA: You know? You know? We've talked before.

ROBERTS: Yeah, we have.

OBAMA: I'm still just trying to be me. And if I am still being genuinely me, it's easy for me to find my legs because it's just me being me here in Fort Bragg. I just happen to be the first lady now.

ROBERTS: And that's how you look at it, don't you? That's the only thing that's really changed. Look at this, though. [People cheering her from another room.] But for all the cheers, the first lady is here on serious business. This is her first official trip outside of Washington. And she chose the occasion to highlight an issue near and dear to her heart, the struggle of our nation's military families.

OBAMA: I think I have the fun part.

ROBERTS: How's that?

OBAMA: Well, you know, the things I do are universally popular and important. And it's very easy to rally a nation around military families.


OBAMA: You know? It's not a hard thing to do. People understand it, once the issue is brought to their attention. And they're ready to do whatever they can.

ROBERTS: This is your first trip outside of D.C. Why?

OBAMA: You know, this- this is an important issue for me. And it started taking shape on the campaign trail. I think I was like most Americans. Pretty oblivious to the life of military families. Sort of taking it for granted. I just assumed that if we care about our troops and we send them to war, that, naturally, we'd be taking care of their families. I don't think most of us know that many military families are moving multiple times over the course of a child's lifetime. And every time they move, the spouse has to worry about whether she can find a job at the pay rate that she left the last job. Or whether the spouse can finish his education. Will his credits transfer? And will they have access to decent and quality child care at the next facility that they're located in? And how are families living? Some of whom are young enlisted who are living right at the poverty line because the pay isn't enough. These are things that I wasn't aware that was going on.

ROBERTS: You are married to the commander in chief. And a woman says, I'm on food stamps.

OBAMA: Uh-huh.

ROBERTS: How does that make you feel when you hear that?

OBAMA: You know- It hurts. It hurts. You know, these are people who are willing to send their loved ones off to, perhaps, give their lives, the ultimate sacrifice. But, yet, they're living back at home on food stamps. It's not right. And it's not where we should be as a nation. That's why one of the things that Barack has done in this current budget is put money in there to increase the pay of military by 2.9 percent, which is only a down payment on what we need t do. But even small percentages are going to make the difference in some people's lives. So, that hurts. You know, that's the kind of thing that I don't think anyone in this nation, if they were aware, would tolerate. You know, if we're going to continue to have a strong military, we don't- we have to continue to recruit and retain families. And what we have to realize is that you're not just recruiting a soldier. You're not just trying to retain an individual troop. You're trying to retain that family. And if- when it's time to reenlist they look around and they can't find a life for themselves, you know, I can assure you that spouse will say, "Let's go. Let's call it a day. Let's pull down our tent and move on to something else." And we lose support that we desperately need as a nation.

ROBERTS: Your husband has really had to hit the ground running with all the issues that are facing our country right now. One criticism has been, too much, too fast.

OBAMA: There are also people say he's not doing enough. You know? So, I think that's part of the process. You know, we're at a time when we're going to have to try a lot of things. Some of it won't- some of them won't work. Some of them will. I think right now people understand that we're going to all have to work together and make a set of sacrifices. And they have faith, as I do, that our current commander in chief will see us through these times.

ROBERTS: We asked our audience to allow some questions. And one that they asked, it says, Robin, please ask Mrs. Obama, how can she stay so positive about the economy?

OBAMA: Because I believe in this nation. And I believe in my husband. Those are two things. I wouldn't want anybody but Barack Obama to be working at this time, because he is a focused, clear-thinking, rational man. And that's what we need right now. But, I got to travel around this country for two years. And people are decent. And they're ready to work. People aren't looking for a handout. You know? They just want a fair shake. And that's a good place to start as a nation, when you're trying to move to the next level as a society. So, I- you know, I've got faith in us as a nation.

ROBERTS: Mrs. Obama has not finalized her agenda as first lady. But she does know military families will play a major role in that.

OBAMA: That makes sense. They are largely forgotten, as she said. And a huge need there.
ROBERTS: We spent the majority of the time talking about that yesterday. But, we also, we'll see this later coming up. New details on how the kids are adjusting to life inside their new home. Have they popped into the Oval Office at all?

OBAMA: Oh, yeah.

ROBERTS: We always remember those iconic pictures of the Kennedy kids.

OBAMA: They've done their popping.

ROBERTS: They haven't broken anything in the house have they, yet?

OBAMA: No. We've had some guests who have broken things. But not the kids. And they know who they are.

From the Medica Research Center, A usually-daily report, edited by Brent H. Baker, CyberAlert is distributed by the Media Research Center, the leader since 1987 in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Times Watch Tracker

GOP Senator Bunning "Bit of a Screwball," May Be Mentally Unfit
More classy commentary from reporter Mark Leibovich on controversial conservative Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky: "...Mr. Bunning has shown no sign of stepping aside and delivered a string of incendiary pronouncements that have fed an impression that he is, to go with a baseball metaphor, a bit of a screwball."

"Obama Administration" vs. "The Government"
When bad news hits, does the Times shift responsibility from Barack Obama to place the blame on that more generic institution "the government"?

The Times Finds Bias in the Academy -- Against Liberals?
Patricia Cohen locates the one academic discipline where conservatives have some voice -- the economics department -- and criticizes it for lack of balance.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Iseman Calls Times "Out of Control" on False McCain Affair Story

Iseman Calls Times "Out of Control" on False McCain Affair Story

Iseman on the NYT's pursuit of false affair allegations: "I think they became so invested in this I believe that they would have had to have believed in the beginning that this was true....they just could not, for some reason, walk away."

(From Times Watch Tracker,

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Recent articles from

Times Picture Worth 1,000 Words of BiasBy Don Feder Friday February 27, 2009 The New York Times ran a picture in yesterday's paper that's a classic illustration of how to slant the news with a carefully staged photograph.

In Covering Obama, The Times Doesn’t Probe, It PuffsBy Don Feder Wednesday February 25, 2009 Editors of The New York Times should be drawing salaries from the White House for writing press releases camouflaged as news coverage.

Times Won’t Report That Suspect In Chandra Levy Murder Is An Illegal AlienBy Don Feder Monday February 23, 2009 An article in the Sunday New York Times notes that authorities are about to make an arrest in the 7-year-old murder case of former Washington intern Chandra Levy. It omitted the most important detail.

Times Glosses Over Kansas Gov’s Radical Pro-Abortion RecordBy Don Feder Thursday February 19, 2009 In a story today on President Obama's likely choice of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of Health and Human Services, The New York Times glossed over the nominee's radical pro-abortion record in two sentences: "One issue that could draw attention is her stance on abortion. A Roman Catholic who says abortion's wrong, Ms. Sebelius vetoed a bill requiring clinics to report information on why a late-term abortion was performed, drawing the condemnation of the archbishop of Kansas City, Kan."

Times Asserts Americans Want Bigger GovernmentBy Don Feder Tuesday February 17, 2009 One of The New York Times' favorite techniques for indoctrinating in the guise of news coverage is to casually assert something that advances its agenda and expect readers to take it at face value.

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