October 15, 2012
JOURNALISM: The NYT kept the Libya hearing off the front page because “It’s three weeks before the election and it’s a politicized thing…” “Is the Libya scandal as big as Watergate? The substance of it may be much worse than Watergate, and the Obama administration seems not to have heeded the old Watergate lesson that it’s the cover-up that gets you, but if Obama loses the election, that will limit the dimension of the scandal. If he wins the election — especially if it’s very close or contested in some way — Republicans may work themselves into a frenzy going after Obama. Remember that Richard Nixon was reelected after the Watergate scandal broke. The break-in was 5 months before the election, and the first stories had come out. The next 2 years were hell for Nixon, and he was drummed out of office. And Nixon had won by a landslide.”
From the comments: “Watergate didn’t have a body count.”
UPDATE: Rudy Giuliani: White House ‘trying to cover up this scandal’ in Libya until after election. “The White House … has fumbled this — whether it’s a deliberate cover-up or they’re making it look like a cover-up, they have fumbled the ball four or five times here.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Mockery for the bylined Democratic Party operatives at the Times from reader Mark Miller, who points out:
To suggest that the NY Times kept the Libya hearing off the front page because it was a politicized story is a joke. On November 4, 2000 — the Friday before election day on Tuesday, 11/7/2000 — the GWB DUI arrest in 1976 story was front page news in the NY Times. Was that a politicized story?
Here’s the link to the story. So stay tuned for more . . . journalism!
And here’s the correction/editor’s note appended to the story that makes clear that it was a front page story:
Editors’ Note: November 5, 2000, Sunday A headline yesterday on the continuation of the front-page article about Gov. George W. Bush’s presidential campaign said in some copies that he had stressed integrity ”Even as Drunken-Driving Arrest Raises Questions of Character.” That phrasing exceeded the facts of the article, and its opinionated tone was unintended. A replacement headline went astray in the production process.
My note: what I love about that correction is the last sentence. “A replacement headline went astray in the production process.” Are “replacement headlines” sort of like puppies? They just wander off by themselves? What the hell?
Mock them all you want. They deserve it. I can only imagine what last-minute surprise they’ll try to spring this time. All while pretending that they’re Responsible Journalists and Important Members of the Fourth Estate.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader writes:
Remember the great “Missing explosives from Al Qaqaa” scandal during the 2008 campaign?
3000 hits at nytimes.com. I don’t remember them avoiding that story because it had been politicized.
The election’s three weeks away, and the Dems are falling behind. So stay tuned for more . . . journalism!
MORE: Reader Craig Anderson ventures some predictions:
On your blog today (10/15/2012) you said, “Mock them all you want. They deserve it. I can only imagine what last-minute surprise they’ll try to spring this time.”
Allow me to offer a little help. Here’s what I think you can expect out of the Obama camp and / or their surrogates in the press in the last weeks:
1. Someone will claim that Romney had an affair of some kind. To make it the most salacious possible, they’ll claim it happened while he was a Mormon bishop.
2. He’ll be tied to something they’ll find in Mormon history, probably the Mountain Meadows massacre. They’ll try to smear him with some story from the past, easy to do with all the nonsense printed about the Mormons in the 1830′s – 1860′s.
3. They’ll find some way to pin Romney to some other nefarious thing while we was CEO of Bain. Think the Romney-was-responsible-for-my-wife-dying thing was outlandish, just wait a bit; they’ll come up with something to top it.
4. Something related to his time as governor, which will show that he’s actually planning to turn the country over to his church, or to Israel, or some other scheme to confiscate all the life, liberty and property of every middle class person in America.
Obama himself won’t do it, it will be the PACs, or perhaps even Harry Reid again (particularly if they want to drum up a Mormon-based smearing).
I guarantee that Obama (especially) and his team will find nothing too beneath them to dredge it out and use it for smearing.
And while we’re at it, let’s examine Obama just a little more closely. Obama didn’t initiate the attack on Libya, but he joined it (about 3 weeks late; “leading from behind” they called it; the rest of us call that “following”). He said it would be “weeks, not months”. Yet it ran on for, what, 6 – 8 months? This was a violation of the War Powers Act, which required the president to get the congress’ approval. Shouldn’t Obama have been impeached for violating the law in such an extreme way?
Well, they won’t run stories on that issue. But it’s nice to have an advance copy of the script. . . .