Tag: New York Times

Obama Fact Check rebuts NYT’s skewed article about Obama’s record

Crossposted from Daily Kos


Obama campaign responds to this hit piece in NYT: Obama in Senate: Star Power, Minor Role, by Kate Zernike and Jeff Zeleny.

The fact check rebuttal can be found here:

Fact Check on New York Times Story that Minimizes Obama’s Senate Accomplishments

March 08, 2008

Times distorts Obama’s public financing “pledge”

Cross-posted on [Kos]

Here is what Obama said with respect to public financing:

If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

Here is what the “liberal” New York Times said he said:

If he won the nomination, he would limit himself to spending only the $85 million available in public financing between the convention and Election Day as long as his Republican opponent did the same.

The Times article does not quote Obama’s actual statement, nor does it link to it. Instead, it continually mischaracterizes it.

The authors are David Kirkpatrick and Jeff Zeleny.  Kirkpatrick, you may remember, “covered” conservatives for the Times for several years.  

The slant of the article is pure McCain spin, for example, stating that Obama’s statement constituted a “pledge” to spend only the $85 million public financing if his opponent would do the same. This is not what Obama said.  Saying that he would “aggressively pursue a publicly financed general election” clearly can encompass, for example, limits on Section 527 Swift Boat type groups.  But instead, the Times characterizes these as “new conditions,” which Obama is now adding to his initial “pledge.”

On the other hand, the article whitewashes McCain’s clear violations (e.g, using the pledge as collateral for a loan) as “technicalities.”  The impression is therefore created that Obama is the one with the real problem of “reneging” on a “pledge” to support public financing.

Kirkpatrick & Zeleny absurdly state that:

The issue may be more sensitive for Mr. Obama, though, because has run in part on his record as an advocate of stricter government integrity rules, including the public financing system.

I guess they haven’t heard that one of McCain’s raisons d’etre for being the straight-talkin’ “maverick” is his supposed commitment to public financing.

Finally, the Times rolls out the usual “reform” suspects, who have not been troubled by McCain’s blatant shenanigans, but are deeply concerned about Obama: The very serious Fred Werthheimer states:

This whole idea started with Senator Obama, and we think he and whoever the Republican nominee is ought to follow through, said Fred Wertheimer, founder of the advocacy group Democracy 21.

Yes, Fred.  The “whole idea” is to have real public financing that would not permit Ari Fleischer’s quarter billion dollar smear group to relentlessly go after Obama.

Either now, or shortly after he gets the nomination, Obama should consider laying out his entire conditions for true public financing (which would include muzzling Ari’s 2008 version of the Swift Boat liars).    

“Body of War”

A Call To Action for Anyone in or near Washington DC on Friday January 11 2008

CounterPunch has a post there today that asks a Request, from Russell Mokhiber, to join him outside of the DC Offices of the New York Times.

I’m going to place the whole request below, why, because I want to make sure that whoever visits this Reads The Whole Thing, everyone of Russells words, and not just selected cuts without clicking through.

This Request Is Important

As Rome burns….

Bob Herbert of the New York Times editorialized / reported recently that

a statement prepared for the Democratic majority on the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate warns that without a significant change of course in Iraq, the long-term cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [the vast majority of which has gone to Iraq] could head into the vicinity of $3.5 trillion.

Why Am I Uncomfortable With An Editorial I Agree With?

Today the NYTimes Editorial Board publishes an editorial urging Venzuelan voters to reject Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s constitutional proposals:

Since he took office eight years ago, Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, has grabbed more and more power, exploiting his nation’s oil wealth to buy up popular support. Now there are hopeful signs that his plan to become president for life may be too blatant for the electorate to swallow.

Tomorrow, Venezuelans are scheduled to vote on a package of constitutional reforms proposed by Mr. Chávez that would grant the president control over nearly every major political institution, as well as the option to stand for re-election as many times as he wants. A few months ago, it looked like Mr. Chávez would easily get his way. A survey last week by an independent pollster found that 49 percent of Venezuelans opposed the changes and only 39 percent supported it. We hope those numbers hold.

. . . Now there are signs that more Venezuelans have decided to take a stand and vote no. This referendum is too important to miss. Opponents are calling for a massive “no” vote. For the sake of Venezuela’s battered democracy, voters should heed the call.

I agree with this editorial. But the fact that it is run in what I believe is our most important Media institution does not sit well with me. I am not sure that my feeling is right. In fact, I know that if the editorial merely described Chavez’s actions without urging a specific vote on the referenum, I would not feel this way. It is the urging of citizens of another country how to vote that bothers me.

Is that a meaningful distinction? I honestly do not know. My reaction is at the gut level. What do you folks think?  

Corporate Media Follies: The New York Times and Ron Silver

Since Judith Miller was let loose to wander and watch the aspens turn, Sheryl Gay Stolberg has become the New York Times’s official Bush Administration sycophant. In an embarrassing front page article, she lets us know that Bush will spend his last year in office doing the warm fuzzies.

As President Bush looks toward his final year in office, with Democrats controlling Congress and his major domestic initiatives dead on Capitol Hill, he is shifting his agenda to what aides call “kitchen table issues” – small ideas that affect ordinary people’s lives and do not take an act of Congress to put in place.

Over the past few months, Mr. Bush has sounded more like the national Mr. Fix-It than the man who began his second term with a sweeping domestic policy agenda of overhauling Social Security, remaking the tax code and revamping immigration law.

Isn’t that sweet? She tells us it’s kind of like what President Clinton did, omitting the part about President Clinton actually getting things done. She says Bush went to Maryland to announce protections for a couple of types of fish, he asked lenders to help homeowners refinance, he gave the FDA new powers to recall foods, and he had the military open more air space, to enable faster domestic air travel. What a guy!

With a Mideast peace conference planned for the coming week and a war in Iraq to prosecute, Mr. Bush is, of course, deeply engaged in the most pressing foreign policy matters of the day.

That’s nice. Because his refusal to engage in any Mideast peace process, upon first taking office, is part of the reason the violence and land-grabs exploded, in the last several years, while both sides elected their most extreme governments ever. And then there’s that pesky war. Good thing the man’s still on top of things! But, still, he has this domestic agenda, as an attempt to make nicey-nice with the public!

Stolberg then blithers for several paragraphs, quoting Republicans talking about Bush remaining relevant, sprinting to the finish, and being aggressive. There’s also another comparison to the way President Clinton used smaller initiatives to help people.

“People in Washington laughed when Mr. Clinton would talk about car seats or school uniforms,” said John Podesta, Mr. Clinton’s former chief of staff. “But I don’t think the public laughed.”

Nor does the public appear to be laughing at Mr. Bush.

You have to love that last sentence. No, people aren’t laughing at Bush; they’re too busy loathing him. You see, President Clinton pursued smaller issues because he cared about people, not because he was trying to distract people from a disastrous war, war crimes, domestic spying, the complete politicization of government, a flagging economy, and every other level of presidential failure possible.


Wishful thinking would be the kindest way to characterize it

Today Bob Herbert takes his whack at the “Ronald Reagan didn’t use racist tactics” piñata. He scores a  direct hit:

To see Reagan’s appearance at the Neshoba County Fair in its proper context, it has to be placed between the murders of the civil rights workers that preceded it and the acknowledgment by the Republican strategist Lee Atwater that the use of code words like “states’ rights” in place of blatantly bigoted rhetoric was crucial to the success of the G.O.P.’s Southern strategy. That acknowledgment came in the very first year of the Reagan presidency.

Ronald Reagan was an absolute master at the use of symbolism. It was one of the primary keys to his political success.

The suggestion that the Gipper didn’t know exactly what message he was telegraphing in Neshoba County in 1980 is woefully wrong-headed. Wishful thinking would be the kindest way to characterize it.

Thank you Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman. Shame on you David Brooks.

NYTimes Does Not Understand What Poor Harry Reid Is Going Through

If only the NYTimes Editorial Board could have had Major Danby explain to them how HAAAARD it is on poor Harry Reid. They never would have written this:

Abdicate and Capitulate

It is extraordinary how President Bush has streamlined the Senate confirmation process. As we have seen most recently with the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general, about all that is left of “advice and consent” is the “consent” part.

. . . In less than seven years, Mr. Bush has managed to boil that list down to its least common denominator: the president should get his choices. At first, Mr. Bush was abetted by a slavish Republican majority that balked at only one major appointment – Harriet Miers for Supreme Court justice, and then only because of doubts that she was far enough to the right.

The Democrats, however, also deserve a large measure of blame. They did almost nothing while they were in the minority to demand better nominees than Mr. Bush was sending up. And now that they have attained the majority, they are not doing any better.

On Thursday, the Senate voted by 53 to 40 to confirm Mr. Mukasey even though he would not answer a simple question: does he think waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning used to extract information from a prisoner, is torture and therefore illegal?

Democrats offer excuses for their sorry record, starting with their razor-thin majority. But it is often said that any vote in the Senate requires more than 60 votes – enough to overcome a filibuster. So why did Mr. Mukasey get by with only 53 votes? Given the success the Republicans have had in blocking action when the Democrats cannot muster 60 votes, the main culprit appears to be the Democratic leadership, which seems uninterested in or incapable of standing up to Mr. Bush.

Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who turned the tide for this nomination, said that if the Senate did not approve Mr. Mukasey, the president would get by with an interim appointment who would be under the sway of “the extreme ideology of Vice President Dick Cheney.” He argued that Mr. Mukasey could be counted on to reverse the politicization of the Justice Department that occurred under Alberto Gonzales, and that Mr. Mukasey’s reticence about calling waterboarding illegal might well become moot, because the Senate was considering a law making clear that it is illegal.

That is precisely the sort of cozy rationalization that Mr. Schumer and his colleagues have used so many times to back down from a confrontation with Mr. Bush. The truth is, Mr. Mukasey is already in the grip of that “extreme ideology.” If he were not, he could have answered the question about waterboarding.

. . . The rationales that accompanied the vote in favor of Mr. Mukasey were not reassuring. The promise of a law banning waterboarding is no comfort. It is unnecessary, and even if it passes, Mr. Bush seems certain to veto it. In fact, it would play into the administration’s hands by allowing it to argue that torture is not currently illegal.

The claim that Mr. Mukasey will depoliticize the Justice Department loses its allure when you consider that he would not commit himself to enforcing Congressional subpoenas in the United States attorneys scandal.

All of this leaves us wondering whether Mr. Schumer and other Democratic leaders were more focused on the 2008 elections than on doing their constitutional duty. Certainly, being made to look weak on terrorism might make it harder for them to expand their majority.

. . .

Shame on the NYTimes for not understanding the tribulations of our Dem leadership. If only Danby were there to explain it.

The Risk of Science and Race

The New York Times has an article that lays out the risk very clearly, it is the EXPECTATION that more research in genetics will indeed prove innate differences in the races in physical and mental attributes. And if there is one thing we can know about the history of science, scientists will find what they look for. Consider this:

“Regardless of any such genetic variation, it is our moral duty to treat all as equal before God and before the law,” Perry Clark, 44, wrote on a New York Times blog. It is not necessary, argued Dr. Clark, a retired neonatologist in Leawood, Kan., who is white, to maintain the pretense that inborn racial differences do not exist.“When was the last time a nonblack sprinter won the Olympic 100 meters?” he asked.

“To say that such differences aren’t real,” Dr. Clark later said in an interview, “is to stick your head in the sand and go blah blah blah blah blah until the band marches by.”

First, to answer the good doctor's question, Alan Welles of Scotland won the Olympic gold medal in 1980. Prior to that, Valery Borzov of the then-Soviet Union won the 100 meters in the 1972 Olympics. Prior to that, Armin Hary of Germany won the 100 meter dash in 1960. 1956? White American Bobby Joe Morrow. To wit, from 1956 to 1980, white men won 4 of 7 100 meter dash Olympic gold medals. Presumably, for the good doctor, all these genetic changes occurred since 1980. MORE.  

The Three-fer

It’s only been three years since the New York Times publicly apologized for promoting Bush Administration fairy tales about Iraqi WMD, and still the Grey Lady continues to carry heavy water for the Bush Administration, this time regurgitating Neocon lies claims that the target of the Israeli bombing strike in Syria was a nuclear facility.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 – Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of officials, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

See how easy it is to make a news story seem credible?  Just quote some unnamed Administration officials with access to reports they can’t otherwise talk about, and Voila!

Instant nukes, ready for framing!

Of course, you might expect professional (or at least competent) journalists to make some attempt to corroborate these bombastic reports, especially considering the Times’ embarrassing track record when it comes to the topic of WMD in Middle Eastern countries. Right?


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