Monday, July 01, 2013

New York Times publishes Politico-style smear job targeting Hillary Clinton right on its front page

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As far as political reporting goes, the transformation of The New York Times into another Politico -- gossipy, with a right-wing bent, regurgitating Republican talking points and otherwise kowtowing to the right-leaning Beltway establishment -- is almost complete.

Okay, okay, the Times has had problems for some time now. Remember when it was regurgitating the Bush-Cheney lies about Iraq, cheerleading the country into a disastrous war? Well, it may not be The Washington Post, which editorially has fully embraced the center-right, but the Times continues to get worse on the political reporting front.

And the connection to Politico is clearer than you might think. 

One of the Times's newest reporters, holding the lofty position of national political correspondent, is none other than Jonathan Martin, who had been at Politico for almost seven years and who was one of the key figures at that mostly wretched place.

And yesterday the Times published -- on Page A1 -- a piece by Martin that is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to find at... Politico.

Entitled "Republicans Paint Clinton as Old News for 2016 Presidential Election" for the web version, the piece acts as a vehicle for the latest Republican line of attack on Hillary: her time is done, she's a thing of the past, she's way too old.

And just to make that clear, Martin hands the first three paragraphs to three leading Republicans, quoting each one: Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The next two paragraphs reiterate this "theme," telling us what "Republican strategists and presidential hopefuls" are going to say about Hillary and stating, citing "Republican leaders," that Hillary is "vulnerable to appearing a has-been." 

Does the article then at least give us the other side? Maybe quote some Democrats leaders? Maybe something about how Hillary was both a senator and secretary state after being first lady for eight years, and before that in Arkansas, and all that after a long and successful career in law? Maybe something about how her age doesn't really have anything to do with it, about how her extensive experience actually means she's qualified to be president, about how there would be nothing odd about her becoming president at her age and with all that experience behind her, about how others have run for president and won at similar ages and also with a lot of experience behind them, like, say, Ronald Reagan?

Or about how this line of attack on her is ageism and sexism wrapped in one, because men certainly aren't treated this way? Or about how Republicans are clearly terrified of a Hillary candidacy and are desperate to bring her down, and are getting out early to smear her, and about how their Benghazi lies didn't work and so now they've just moved onto something else, and that when this fails, because Hillary has a ton of appeal, including to young people, they're just find some other line of attack.

No. The sixth paragraph is made up entirely of a long quote from... Karl Rove. Indeed, a different perspective isn't provided until the ninth paragraph, where Nancy Pelosi has a brief turn. But, really, who's paying attention at that point? And even if you are, the rest of the article goes on to discuss, in praiseworthy terms, how Republicans like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Ron Paul, all quoted, are trying to win over younger voters. And then there's still more from Rove!

Did I mention that this was a front-page article in the country's leading newspaper?

It's a terrible piece of reporting, and a completely biased one at that, from the Times's new celebrity reporter, endorsed with a place of prominence.

No, I'm not surprised by it, just disappointed.

And reminded, once more, that the right's whole "liberal media" claim is a complete lie.

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  • The Washington Post has perfected the front page editorial. I guess the New York Times is just trying to catch up.

    Note that women live longer than men. Reagan was older than she would be. McCain would have been 4 years older.

    I think the real concern is these centrist pundits (can't really call them reporters) don't like the fact that Clinton might be an actual liberal.

    As for young people liking Marco Rubio: that's just silly. The Republicans love this kind of nonsense. Remember how women were just going to swoon for the young and handsome Dan Quayle?

    When I listen to mainstream Republicans talk, I am often impressed. Both Santorum and Ryan talk a good game when it comes to helping the working man. But we all know what they are really about. Regardless, you people will not just vote for young candidates any more than I will vote for old ones.

    By Anonymous Frank Moraes, at 12:46 PM  

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