April 13, 2020

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES A LIBERAL NEWSPAPER? OF COURSE IT IS: Times editor Dean Baquet admits that his paper is staffed by Democratic Party operatives with bylines — and airbrushes:  In a column headlined, “The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why,” former BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith asks Baquet:

I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that? 

Baquet replied:

Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.

I’m pretty sure the 2020 Trump campaign won’t have the same veto power on Times articles.

It’s always nice to see major legacy media figures drop the mask of objectivity, usually inadvertently. Baquet’s admission today is reminiscent of CBS’s Scott Pelley’s 2017 interview with blogger and prolific tweeter Mike Cernovich, where to paraphrase Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis, Pelley lost a fight rigged in his favor:

Scott Pelley: How would you describe what you do?

Mike Cernovich: I’m a lawyer, author, documenter, filmmaker, and journalist.

Scott Pelley: And how would you describe your website?

Mike Cernovich: Edgy, controversial content that goes against the dominant narrative.

Scott Pelley: What’s the dominant narrative?

Mike Cernovich: The dominant narrative is that there are good guys and there are bad guys. The good guys are liberals. Everybody on the right is a bad guy. Let’s find a way to make everybody look bad. Let’s tie marginal figures who have no actual influence to anybody we cannot overwrite. That’s the narrative.

Scott Pelley: That’s not a narrative I’m familiar with. Who’s narrative is that?

In 2008, Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Ben Rhodes, who until January was Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” Katie Couric, whom Pelley succeeded as Evening News host, read a poem on her broadcast to shill for the passing of Obamacare, and after leaving CBS had a Rathergate-like moment of her own, attempting to marginalize gun owners.

But back to the transcript of Pelley and Cernovich, where eventually, the hunter is captured by his prey:

Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.

Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –

Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.

Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.

Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?

Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.

Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign?

To ask the question is to answer it. In a post headlined “‘Shamefully Stupid’: CBS’s Scott Pelley Loses a Fight Rigged in His Favor,” Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis adds in response, “Pelley has no answer for those six words — ‘Why would you trust the campaign’ — as his entire profession goes berserk with literal-minded fact checks for every tweet from President Trump. Pelley also seems to forget the fakery that Clinton World attempted hours before its pneumonia statement — with the candidate smiling and waving outside her daughter’s apartment, greeting a little girl, and assuring reporters everything was a-okay.”

UPDATE: NY Times Editor Admits Editing Article on Biden Sexual Assault Allegation After Campaign Complained:

Baquet failed to muster a coherent response beyond noting that the standard for reporting on such allegations is “very subjective.” He explained that the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in 2018, which included testimony from a woman, Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school, constituted a “hot story” that required a “different news judgement.”

Kavanaugh vehemently denied Ford’s allegation, and the Times did not interview anyone who recalled Ford telling them about the alleged incident at the time. Baquet, in the interview with Smith, cited the importance of “contemporaneous” conversations in determining the credibility and newsworthiness of sexual assault allegations. Like he said, the standard is “very subjective.”

Baquet also defended the Times‘s decision to immediately publish Julie Swetnick’s allegations against Kavanaugh. Swetnick, a client of former attorney and convicted felon Michael Avenatti, accused Kavanaugh of gang rape at frat parties. She turned out to be about as credible as her attorney. But the Times chose not to spend two weeks investigating her claims, Baquet said, because Kavanaugh “was already in a public forum in a large way” and had become “the biggest political story in the country.” Apparently the same can not be said of Joe Biden or the 2020 presidential election.

As Matt Whitlock of the National Republican Senatorial Committee tweets, Baquet’s admission today “should be a major media scandal, but many of the major media watch dogs have ignored it entirely because it didn’t happen on Fox News.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Harsh, but fair.

Will you still have a song to sing, when the Razor Boy comes and takes your fancy narrative away?

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