The Times should change its slogan from “All the news that’s fit to print” to “All that fits our agenda.”
Like Diogenes looking for an honest man, Stuart Taylor is seeking an honest newspaper covering the current presidential race.
The title of Taylor’s latest article in non-partisan National Journal is candid, correct, commendable, courageous and compelling: “The media can no longer be trusted to provide accurate and fair campaign reporting and analysis.”
I think it has been some time since “media” could be “trusted to provide accurate and fair campaign reporting and analysis,” but the campaign reporting and analysis of “media” with respect to the 2008 presidential campaign plumbed new depths of inaccuracy and unfairness.
A comparison of the media treatment of the two rookies, United States Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. of Illinois, who is part black, and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who is all woman, shows blatant bias in favor of Obama and against Obama.
Note: Taylor is NOT a Palinite.
Taylor: “I was deeply dismayed by the 72-year-old McCain's reckless choice of the inexperienced and untested Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. But I am also deeply skeptical when I see front-page headlines like ‘As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood’ (Washington Post, September 14), or ‘Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes’ (New York Times, same day). Such loaded language is a badge not of a newsroom committed to impartial investigation but of an ideological echo chamber.”
Deep dismay notwithstanding, Taylor fully acknowledged “a double standard driven by liberal bias at most major news organizations.”
But for that media bias, Obama’s connection to Rev. Jeremiah A. “God damn America” Wright, Jr. would have been the big news in March 2007, Obama’s presidential campaign would have fizzled faster than that of his vice presidential choice, Senator Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. of Delaware, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would have won the 2008 Democrat presidential campaign easily, and Palin would not have been McCain’s vice presidential choice and Obama’s successor as the sensation of the campaign.
Do you doubt that?
Just review what the media swiftly reported about Palin after McCain announced that she was his choice. False charges were deemed newsworthy, including the utterly vile one that Palin’s baby son actually is her grandson.
Taylor noted that even Associated Press and ABC News were spreading falsehoods that would benefit Obama if believed.
“In Sarah Palin's first big media interview, on September 11, Charlie Gibson of ABC News asked: ‘You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a holy war?’ Palin responded: ‘You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.’ Gibson pressed: ‘Exact words.’
“Viewers had no way of knowing that, in fact, Gibson was distorting Palin's meaning by leaving out critical context and thus making an unremarkable exhortation to prayer sound like a declaration of holy war. Palin had not said that the war was a task from God. She had urged her listeners to ‘pray’ that it was a task from God. A September 3 Associated Press report by Gene Johnson distorted Palin's meaning in exactly the same way.”
Taylor, an independent centrist who actually is a great journalist, offered this acute appraisal of the current condition of the mainstream media: ”We still have many great journalists, but I no longer trust the major newspapers or television networks to provide consistently accurate and fair reporting and analysis of all the charges and countercharges. This in an era when the noise produced by highly partisan TV hosts and blogs creates a crying need for at least one newspaper that we can count on to play it straight.”
Occasional accurate and fair reporting and analysis would be an improvement with some of the mainstream media!
Taylor: “…many in the media have been one-sided, sometimes adding to Obama's distortions rather than acting as impartial reporters of fact and referees of the mud fights.”
Right. There are many in the media so desirous of having Obama become America’s first black president that Bill Clinton was condemned for playing the race card for pointing out the truth—that Rev. Jesse Jackson had won South Carolina’s Democrat presidential campaign twice before—but cut Obama plenty of slack for saying that some were uncomfortable that he didn’t look like “other presidents” on dollar presidents.
Note to Obama: You aren’t a president of the United States, like Washington, Lincoln, Jackson and Grant, and NO president of the Harvard Law Review has been put on any American currency.
Taylor, formerly a legal commentator for The New York Times, did not overlook his former employer's deplorable "journalism."
“The New York Times did a huge (3,120-word) front-page story on February 21 implying that McCain had had a sexual affair with a female lobbyist while doing her political favors. But the article lacked strong evidence either that there had been a sexual affair or that McCain had crossed legal or ethical lines to do favors. Would The Times have printed the same story had the senator been Barack Obama or John Kerry? I doubt it.”I would not count on The Times to publish such a story about Obama even if it had strong evidence.
”The Times also rushed to assert, in a front-page story on September 2 questioning how carefully McCain vetted Palin's background, that she ‘was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede.’ This turned out to be erroneous. (Her husband had previously been a member.)”
In the name of truth in advertising, The Times should change its slogan from “All the news that’s fit to print” to “All that fits our agenda.”
Taylor focused on both McCain's sex education ad criticizing Obama and the reaction to it by The New York Times.
“…McCain deserves much of the criticism he has received for his distortions about Obama. But not all of it. Take the ad on which the most-bitter media complaints – ‘blizzard of lies’ and the like -- have focused. It asserts that Obama's ‘one accomplishment’ in the area of education was ‘legislation to teach “comprehensive sex education” to kindergarteners.’
“But the bill was not Obama's (he was not a sponsor), was not an accomplishment (it never passed), and would not have been his ‘only’ accomplishment even if it had passed. More important, it called for extending only ‘age appropriate’ sex ed from sixth grade down to kindergarten. There is no reason to doubt Obama's explanation that he wanted kindergartners to be taught only the dangers of inappropriate touching.
“But a Times editorial overstated the case in saying that ‘the kindergarten ad flat-out lies’ and that ‘at most, kindergartners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators.’ In fact, whatever Obama's intention, the bill itself was designed ‘to mandate that issues like contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases be included in sex-education classes for children below sixth grade, and as early as kindergarten,’ as Byron York demonstrates in a detailed National Review Online article.”
With due respect to Taylor (and due credit to former President Clinton), it depends upon how one defines “legislation.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionarydefines “legislation” as “a matter of business for or under consideration by a legislative body,” so the bill was “legislation” even though it did not pass. Obama accomplished something by voting for the bill instead of voting present (as he often did), even though the bill (thankfully) did not pass: taking a position in favor on it.
York did NOT charge that Obama’s politically helpful explanation for his vote was a lie, but if it was not a lie, then Obama voted carelessly (and that's not sometthing a presidential candidate should do).
York: “Obama’s explanation for his vote [that he voted for it because of his concern over inappropriate touching] has been accepted by nearly all commentators. And perhaps that is indeed why he voted for Senate Bill 99, although we don’t know for sure. But we do know that the bill itself was much more than that. The fact is, the bill’s intention was to mandate sex education, especially concerning contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, for children before the sixth grade and as early as kindergarten. Obama’s defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is.”
”I looked at the legislation in question, Illinois Senate Bill 99, and also at what its sponsors said about it when it was introduced in 2003. And I talked with the one sponsor (of five) who would respond to my questions. From my story:
‘What, specifically, was the bill designed to do? It appears to have had three major purposes:
*The first, as [Sen. Carol] Ronen indicated, was to mandate that information presented in sex-ed classes be “factual,” “medically accurate,” and “objective."
*The second purpose was to increase the number of children receiving sex education. Illinois’ existing law required the teaching of sex education and AIDS prevention in grades six through twelve. The old law read:
Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS.
Senate Bill 99 struck out grade six, changing it to kindergarten, in addition to making a few other changes in wording. It read:Each class or course in comprehensive sex education in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.
“*The bill’s third purpose was to remove value-laden language in the old law. For example, the old law contained passages like this:
Course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.
Course material and instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage…
[Classes] shall emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy [and] sexually transmitted diseases…
“The proposed bill eliminated all those passages and replaced them with wording like this:
Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Course material and instruction shall present the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV…”
The bill tells us plenty about Obama.
Taylor duly noted a silver lining in the liberal media bias cloud: “some evidence that media venting about McCain's ads may be helping McCain."
It is fitting that such blatant bias be counterproductive!
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.