Smitten by "Spitzerism"
Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times.
By: ClayWaters

Smitten by "Spitzerism"

Riding a wave of lawsuits against businesses, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is running for governor of New York in 2006 as a Democrat, and the Times Sunday Magazine delivers a one-sided story in his favor ("Spitzerism -- Is A Prosecutor's Zeal What The Democrats Need?") by Noam Scheiber, a senior editor at the liberal New Republic magazine.

The Times likesSpitzer, so it was only natural for them to go to Scheiber, who really, really likes Spitzer, to the point of applauding the idea last December of Spitzer intimidating companies into campaigndonations:

"Another interesting question: Do all the financial services firms Spitzer has hounded as attorney general get on board and pony up money, worried that there'll be hell to pay if they don't? (Or at least to try to buy themselves some much-needed goodwill?) Or do they hold all the investigations against Spitzer and hope for the best with Pataki? My guess is that, with Pataki looking iffy, and Spitzer in a potentially even more powerful position to hurt them as governor, they'll suck it up and get on the bandwagon. If that's the case, Spitzer's Wall Street crusades may turn out to have been the shrewdest political move in the history of New York politics."

Scheiber's article for the Times also makes almost unanimously pro-Spitzer points, insisting the anti-business crusader is really a populist centrist: "Since his early days as attorney general, Spitzer has practiced a brand of prosecutorial politics that is less about securing indictments of evildoers than about shining a light on structural defects in corporate institutions�.Spitzer tends to see wrongdoing as the product of both moral failing and lousy incentives. In Spitzer's mind, the reason the power plants produced too much pollution wasn't that their owners were evil; it was that neither they nor their customers were forced to pay the cost of polluting. Spitzer wasn't looking to put the utility companies out of business. He just wanted the loophole closed."

The WeeklyStandard's Matthew Continetti took a less sanguine view of Spitzer's tactics earlier this year, making points the Times ignored: "And as Spitzer's investigations grew in number, so did his critics. He was reckless, said some. He was undemocratic, said others. Those in the Reckless Camp argued that wherever Spitzer's eye turned, economic ruin followed�.Those in the Undemocratic Camp argued that Spitzer had become business's 'judge, jury, and executioner.'�.Spitzer was reforming by fiat, critics in the Undemocratic Camp said�.And there were other costs. Afraid they might become Spitzer's next target, companies began hiring former Spitzer lieutenants, donating to Spitzer's campaigns, capitulating to the attorney general's every whim. The line between Spitzer's office and Wall Street began to blur."

The Free Market Projecthas more on Spitzer's "lawsuit-happy" tactics, which are ignored in the Times' fawning article.

To comment on the Times' favorable coverage of Spitzer, go to the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.

To read more of Scheiber on Spitzer, click here.

Tilting the Senate's Ideological Playing Field

Wednesday's lead story on Bush Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, by Elisabeth Bumiller and David Kirkpatrick, tilts the labeling field by pitting Senate "conservatives" against plain old Senate "Democrats."

"Another Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, said Ms. Miers had more convincing to do with some of the conservative Republicans than she did with the panel's Democrats."

Another sentence citing concerns from the Family Research Council begins: "Many conservatives also reacted with alarm�"

Yet a paragraph about Senate Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid simply identifies him by party, not ideology: "Democrats, meanwhile, gave their own signs of indecision about the nomination."

Bumiller did the same thing in her Miers' storyTuesday, calling Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas conservative, while liberal Sen. Charles Schumer of New York was simply a Democrat with apparently no ideological leanings.

For more of the paper's lead story on the Miers' nomination, click here.

"Right-Wing" NJ Mayor a "Bombastic�Budget-Slasher"

An informal Tuesday Metro section story by Josh Benson, "Winning a Scrappy Race, and a Bit of the Limelight, Too," is a novel tale of New Jersey politics involving conservative New Jersey mayor Steve Lonegan: "Two guys -- one a legally blind right-wing mayor from a small town in New Jersey, the other a maverick political consultant who helped Jesse Ventura become governor of Minnesota -- show up at a film festival. The setting is a place where the audiences are so left-leaning that people once booed a film about a Cuban dissident because they found it too critical of Fidel Castro. Even weirder: The politicians are there as promoters of an award-winning independent movie that has been picked up for distribution next year in theaters across the country."

As if the "right-wing mayor" wasn't loaded enough, Benson goes on to describe Mayor Lonegan in incendiary terms reminiscent of media treatment of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "The story starts just weeks before the election, with the campaign of Mr. Lonegan, whose budget-slashing conservatism and bombastic style as mayor polarized the once tight-knit town of about 8,000."

For more of Benson on right-wing, bombastic mayor Steve Lonegan, click here.

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