Where to begin?
America’s “paper of record,” the one that offers us “All the news that’s fit to print,” has seen fit to print a lot of sheer rubbish these days.
The tradition that gave us Judith Miller’s war-mongering reporting — lie-based “reporting” that played a significant part in leading us into the Bush/Obama wars — continues to spin significantly to the right on so many critical issues.
Today, we’ll offer three examples, two from other bloggers and one from your truly.
Falsely reporting on the Argentine economy
From Dean Baker at Beat the Press:
NYT readers must have been stunned to see the second paragraph of an article on the prospects for shale oil in Argentina refer to “the country’s long-stagnant economy.”
According to data from the IMF, Argentina’s economy grew at almost an 8 percent annual rate from 2003 to 2008, following a severe recession in 1998-2002. The world economic crisis brought its economy to a standstill in 2009, but it grew by 9.2 percent last year and is projected to grow 6.0 percent this year. This is stagnant?
The Andrew Breitbart media manipulation scam
Brad Friedman at The Brad Blog has been doing an excellent job of debunking neocon media huckster Bretibart, the front man for the scammers who brought down ACORN and painted Shirley Sherrod as a virulent African American racist.
When the Times ran a smarmy profile of Breitbart 27 June, Friedman was quick to debunk. Here’s the introduction to his latest Times-skewering:
While we wait for the New York Times to hopefully correct last week’s puff-profile on Rightwing scam-artist Andrew Breitbart, in regard to their demonstrably inaccurate statements about what occurred in his and James O’Keefe’s phony “pimp” hoax videos, I just noticed that the paper, which already corrected another point in the same piece, seems to be purposefully covering for Breitbart’s own original lie in their corrected text of the article.
At this point, they seem to be going out of their way to avoid calling Breitbart a liar, even if it means, impossibly, attempting to cover up for the very lie the paper states, he originally told them!
As we noted last week, the Times issued a correction to Jeremy W. Peters’ softball story, where he had originally reported that, in Breitbart’s selective clip from a speech by then USDA official Shirley Sherrod, audience members (according to Breitbart, but inexcusably never fact-checked by the paper before publication) “applauded” when she discussed her initial reticence in helping out a white farmer decades earlier.
In fact, as Media Matters first detailed on the day Peters’ NYTimes article was published — and as easily apparent to anybody who bothered to view the selective clip that Breitbart published at his websites under the inaccurate headline “NAACP Awards Racism” — the audience at the speech did not “applaud”.
And, finally, esnl weighs in on another spin
The Roman Polanski case has become a cliche, invoked by the right on a regular basis to deplore variously the corruption of the French, the Hollywood Babylon stereotype, and, in the most virulent case, allegations of Jewish depravity.
Since the arrest of former IMF boss Dominque Strauss-Kahn, the Polanski case has been hauled out on a regular basis, invoking the full range of stereotypes, and always in flagrant disregard of facts already on the record.
The latest example comes from a column on the Strauss-Kahn case by Joe Nocera in today’s Times:
The man she says raped her — wealthy, famous and powerful — is on an airplane about to depart for his native land. This is the same country that, for decades, helped shield Roman Polanski from being prosecuted for statutory rape in the United States. The man in the current case appears to have left the hotel where the rape allegedly occurred in some haste. He even forgets to take one of his cellphones.
Here is our response, posted as a comment to the article here:
France did not shield Roman Polanski from prosecution. Polanski plead guilty and served the state prison sentence agreed [by judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and the young woman and her family]. He fled after the judge, acting in violation of the state judicial canons, reneged on the agreement after receiving criticism from the wives of fellow members of the Hillcrest Country Club.
The judicial breech of ethics was the reason the Swiss refused to extradite him.
The facts of the case were laid on in Marina Zenovich’s documentary, Roman Polanski, Wanted and Desired, and in my own accounts based on my coverage of the case as the only reporter then covering the Santa Monica court on a daily basis. My own accounts are here. http://richardbrenneman.wordpress.com/category/roman-polanski/
I would add that the prosecutor in the Polanski case, Roger Gunson, agreed that the judge acted improperly.
In every case in today’s examples, the real facts were readily accessible. Perhaps the Times should change it’s motto to “All the news we see fit to print — and spin.”