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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Tim Scheiderer (703) 683-5004 - Thursday, October 21, 2004

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Paper Smears Its Front Page With Bad News for Bush, Editor Worries Press Is Too Nice to the President

The Times: All the News
That Fits Our Spin

    The New York Times officially endorsed John Kerry on Sunday, but the newspaper's efforts to eject George W. Bush from the White House began months, if not years, earlier. The Times knows the stories it promotes are often recycled as ABC, CBS and NBC reports reaching tens of millions, so its agenda-driven journalism has been a huge gift to Democrats. MRC's Times Watch project has documented the bias at the New York Times all year. Recent highlights:

    ■ Page One Priorities. On October 13, the Times ran a front-page story about how Bush-backers in Texas are unhappy with the Crawford newspaper's endorsement of Kerry. Page One even included a large picture of the editor, who is "paying dearly, in lost sales and hate mail, for endorsing John Kerry." On October 19 the Times' front-page showed off the results of the paper's own "weeklong effort to tally Iraqi casualties," this time printing a photo of a coffin with an Iraqi flag. The Times final count of 208 dead included as "victims" the insurgents who attack U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

    ■ Bush's Deceitful Campaign. On October 8, Adam Nagourney and Richard Stevenson wrote a "Political Memo" accusing Bush of engaging in a deceitful campaign. After recounting "blistering attacks" the GOP had supposedly launched Kerry's way, the political reporters cried foul: "Several analysts say Mr. Bush pushed the limits of subjective interpretation and offered exaggerated or what some Democrats said were distorted accounts of Mr. Kerry's positions." ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin cited the Times article as evidence in his own memo to ABC News staffers.

Infallible Bush Despises Doubters    ■ The Intolerant President. On October 17, the New York Times Magazine ran a long profile of Bush by Ron Suskind, a liberal author who worked with ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill on an anti-Bush book earlier this year. In his Times piece, Suskind had Bush claiming he was for "privatization" of Social Security in a second term, a loaded charge that jazzed network newscasts for two days. He also portrayed Bush as a religious extremist who was intolerant of dissent. (See box.)

    ■ Preferring Kitty Kelley Over Swift Vets. After ignoring the best-selling anti-Kerry book Unfit for Command, the Times on October 10 printed a brief, shallow, 100 percent negative review, courtesy of Susannah Meadows, who covers Kerry for Newsweek. Meadows scolded how co-authors John O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi "refuse to back down, even in the face of logic or history." That same day, the Times printed Ted Widmer's favorable review of Bush-hating Kitty Kelley's thinly-sourced diatribe, The Family.

    ■ Bush Bullies the Press. On October 14, Arts section editor and columnist Frank Rich whined how the press has been cowed by a White House that "has moved from Agnew-style press baiting to outright assault." Is he really suggesting that the New York Times is holding back?

- Clay Waters and Rich Noyes



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