Under its diminutive publisher the New York Times has become a vocal tool of the left — and now it’s made its final move to secure Obama’s reelection.
It’s been a bad month for the New York Times. The feeding frenzy it tried to stir up over Sarah Palin’s e-mails left the sharks unfed. And the “investigative” story that was supposed to prove Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to be an unethical scoundrel fell flat because its theory was unsupported by the facts.
To top it all off, the Times is — for the third time in as many years — in an open feud with New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan for what the gentleman correctly labels anti-Catholic reporting.
But none of that will change the Times’ behavior. The Times is preparing itself for a huge push to re-elect President Obama and will leave no story unpublished that could possibly help Obama or hurt his opponent, regardless of who it is.
How did the New York Times — the paper of Abe Rosenthal, R.W. “Johnny” Apple and Bill Safire — become the paper of Tom Friedman, Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd? What changed it from the liberal paper that had been most fair to Ronald Reagan to the home of angry liberalism?
What happened? Pinch happened.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. — known as “Pinch,” a diminutive of his father’s nickname, “Punch” — became the paper’s publisher in 1992 and has steadily transformed what was a newspaper into an ideological tool of the left. The final stage of that transformation will be completed in September, when Jill Abramson becomes the paper’s executive editor.
“Pinch” Sulzberger, as he demonstrated in his May 2006 graduation speech at SUNY New Paltz, is committed to a 1960s-vintage liberal ideology. He told the students, “You weren’t supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life; the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain. You weren’t. But you are. And for that I’m sorry.”
Sulzberger’s dogged misrule of the Times was first characterized by his ejection of established newsmen who had built the Times brand since World War II in favor of more ideological writers. In 1999, he took former Times executive editor Abe Rosenthal’s column away, forcing him to retire. Rosenthal was a real newsman who had built a corps of reporters with a fierce desire to seek out stories. That creed conflicted with Pinch’s vision of the paper’s future.
In 2003, Sulzberger was embarrassed into firing executive editor Howell Raines when fabulist Jayson Blair’s contrived stories were exposed. By then, as Raines later wrote in the Atlantic, the Times newsroom was so union-dominated (the Newspaper Guild’s members are so work-resistant and hard to fire) that the reporters didn’t want to travel to get stories: they sit at their desks and “report” by searching the Internet.
Sulzberger replaced Raines with Bill Keller, an established newsman. “Pinch” chose Keller over investigative reporter and Washington editor Jill Abramson, who had been campaigning for the job. But, as sources close to the Times told me then, Keller wasn’t sufficiently liberal so Sulzberger invested Abramson (elevated to managing editor) and her close friend Maureen Dowd with the power to go around Keller’s decisions.
Under Keller — really, under Pinch — the Times published several stories that damaged national security. The biggest was James Risen’s 2006 stories on the top-secret National Security Agency terrorist surveillance program. The Times held the NSA story for almost a year while Risen wrote a book about it, then published the same day the book was offered for sale. The story and the book were published despite personal appeals from President Bush. Another, about the secret cooperation of the Belgian “SWIFT” consortium in tracing terrorist financing, was equally damaging.
This was pure Pinch: eagerly publishing top-secret information not out of traitorous intent, but in willful blindness to the effects on national security just to damage George W. Bush.
Risen, who should be rotting in jail until he discloses his sources for the NSA story, is now being subpoenaed to testify in the trial of alleged leaker James Sterling. In a sworn affidavit filed last week in support of a motion to quash the subpoena, Risen testifies that his reporting of the NSA stories drew personal praise from Sulzberger.
Paragraph 8 of the affidavit says that in 2007 Risen received a personal letter from Sulzberger. It said, “Your investigative reporting has been an extraordinary asset to the paper since the day you joined us…But it has now become a central reason that our Washington report is admired by our readers — not to mention leaders around the nation and the world.” High praise for reporting that damaged national security and falsely accused the Bush administration of acting illegally.
Sulzberger wanted to take no chances in 2012. He has pushed Keller aside in favor of the even more liberal Abramson.
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