FOR REALISM AND DIVERSITY IN LIBERAL JOURNALISM AND AT THE NEW YORK TIMES
This Week’s Stories
(Also See This Week’s Essay on Liberal Journalism! Click Here)
Mrs. Clinton and the Federal Election Commission
“Clinton Senate Campaign Will Pay Fine,” an article in the January 6 New York Times, covers the decision of Mrs. Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign to pay a $35,000 penalty for underreporting the amount it spent to produce a Hollywood gala that raised more than $1 million. The piece — a paltry 125 words — brushes over the fact that the campaign deliberately underreported almost three-quarters of a million dollars to the FEC. The article says matter-of-factly that Clinton officials “acknowledged that (the campaign) failed to report roughly $721,895 it had spent on producing the event.” The article appears not in the National News section, but the Metro Briefing section.
The reader of “Clinton Senate Campaign Will Pay Fine” will not come away with a genuine understanding of the true magnitude of the Clinton campaign’s deception.
At the time of the Hollywood fundraiser, Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, Rick Lazio, had challenged Mrs. Clinton to refuse to accept soft money. Mrs. Clinton was heavily dependent on soft money — large checks from wealthy donors — however, and she agreed to refuse soft money only reluctantly. But agree she did, and this left her with a dramatic need for something she didn’t have. So if her campaign had been honest about the full cost of the gala, it would have had to pay over $700,000 of hard money at the time it needed the money the most.
Former Clinton political adviser Dick Morris wrote about the affair in “How Hillary Gained,” which ran in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on April 28, 2005. Morris poses a question “Clinton Senate Campaign Will Pay Fine” doesn’t. “Did Hillary know? (Peter) Paul and (Aaron) Tonken say she did and it seems obvious that she must have: Hillary followed every dime in her campaign, personally calling donors for most of it. How could she possibly not have known of a decision that saved her $800,000?”
For a more a fuller understanding of the issue than that given by “Clinton Senate Campaign Will Pay Fine” see “A Clinton Fund-Raising Group Is Fined for Understating Gifts,” by Josh Gerstein, which ran in The New York Sun on January 5, 2006. The article is 1,215 words.
Mrs. Clinton and the Abramoff Scandal: News Not Fit to Print
In its reporting over the seven days through January 7, the Times only mentions Mrs. Clinton in connection with the Abramoff scandal in an article on January 6, headlined “Lobbyist’s Downfall Leads to Charities’ Windfall.” The story discusses the charitable organizations which were the beneficiaries of Abramoff’s contributions. Only halfway through does the piece come to Mrs. Clinton’s involvement, saying plaintively that “Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, is giving $2,000 to New York charities that have not been publicly identified.”
For real information on Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the Abramoff affair one can consult “Hillary Clinton Caught with Abramoff Cash,” which ran at Newsmax.com on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006. The article begins:
“Unlike many in her party, 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been silent about the influence peddling scandal erupting around lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose plea bargain with the Justice Department is said to have more than a few on Capitol Hill quaking in their boots.
Now we know why.
Turns out, Mrs. Clinton is among the dozens of Democrats who accepted Mr. Abramoff’s tainted contributions.
Clinton spokeswoman Ann Lewis told The Buffalo News on Thursday that ‘after examining our records we found two contributions for $1,000 from tribes which have been clients of Jack Abramoff in the past’.”
The full Newsmax piece is available at http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/1/5/125414.shtml
The Two Minutes Rage
Nobody knows more about the tactics of the Left than British novelist George Orwell. In his classic “1984,” he describes the Two Minutes Hate. In the Two Minutes Hate, citizens are shown telescreen clips of repugnant images and terrible sounds. Although the Two Minutes Hate varies in content from day to day, it always features the face of Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein is the Enemy of the People. Goldstein was “the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party’s purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was …. hatching his conspiracies.” A former Leftist, Orwell knew about the need of the activist and the Statist for an enemy. In asserting an enemy (and positing himself as the savior) the Statist plays on the individual’s fears and persuades him to do something he otherwise would not do — surrender his rights to a centralized government. Orwell’s aversion to the fear tactic was in no small way responsible for his rejection of the Left. The New York Times has its Emmanuel Goldstein, although its imaging rarely rises to the level of overt hate-baiting. Rather, it practices what might be called “indirect fearmongering”, or the inculcating of fear indirectly, through labeling, insinuation, suggestion and euphemism.
This week’s example of the Two Minutes Rage is taken from “The Sago Mine Disaster,” an editorial in the January 5, 2006 Times. The piece plays wonderfully to the “Heartless Capitalist” template. It says:
“The mine, with more than 270 safety citations in the last two years, is the latest example of how workers’ risks are balanced against company profits in an industry with pervasive political clout and patronage inroads in government regulatory agencies. Many of the Sago citations were serious enough to potentially set off accidental explosions and shaft collapses, and more than a dozen involved violations that mine operators knew about but failed to correct…” The piece goes on to say “miners balking at risky conditions down below can quickly forfeit their livelihood if they have no union protection.”
And what would The Two Minutes Rage be without reference to the present-day Emmanuel Goldstein — the Bush administration:
“Whether or not that was a factor in the Sago mine’s history, the Bush administration’s cramming of important posts in the Department of the Interior with biased operatives from the coal, oil and gas industry is not reassuring about general safety in the mines.”
“The Sago Mine Disaster” concludes with:
“The Sago mine disaster is far more than a story of cruel miscommunication. The dozen dead miners deserve to be memorialized with fresh scrutiny of the state of mine safety regulation and a resurrection of political leadership willing to look beyond Big Coal to the interests of those who risk their lives in the mines.”
As is standard in Times’ editorial opinion, “The Sago Mine Disaster” doesn’t mention information which would cause the reader to doubt the “Heartless Capitalist” stereotype. The reader would be far less likely to accept the imagery were she told that the Times never condemns the “heartless” practices of liberal and pro-Sulzberger businesses, including the non-union businesses of Democratic Party leadership personalities, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
And further imagine the effect if the Times were to tell readers that in the spring of 2005 the newspaper, facing a $4 million gap in its employee health and benefits plan, asked unionized members to give up a 3 percent pay hike — while Arthur Sulzberger’s pay as publisher rose from $2.7 million in 2003 to $2.82 million in 2004.
Preserving The Historical Record: Preventing The Times from Re-Inventing Mrs. Clinton
Every week The Raging Lady will present historical quotations to ensure that the record of Mrs. Clinton remains intact. The quotations will come from observers of every political stripe. Mrs. Clinton intends to run for the Presidency in 2008, and we expect The New York Times will attempt to rewrite her history in order to clear her path. Mr. Sulzberger is an activist publisher, and no one doubts his willingness to use his newspaper to further the fortunes of liberal Democrat leadership personalities. Historian Hannah Arendt wrote that in a conflict between law and power, it is seldom the law which emerges as the victor. We might modify this thought by saying that in a conflict between truth and power, it is seldom the truth which will emerge as victor. The purpose of this section is to show that, as powerful as he is — and as dedicated to the liberal leadership as he is — Arthur Sulzberger still doesn’t get to use history to serve his agendas.
This week’s quotation is from Frank Rich, and is found in “The Vietnamization of Bush’s Vacation,” The New York Times, August 28, 2005:
“If there’s a moment that could stand for the Democrats’ irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.”
Carrying the Water for Mrs. Clinton: Times’ Imaging of Mrs. Clinton in 2000
From time to time The Raging Lady will revisit New York Times coverage of the 2000 election, in which the Times-endorsed Mrs. Clinton won her first term in the Senate. Individuals in a democracy cannot be coerced into voting for a specific candidate. But the Establishment media images events and personalities and political parties for people, and this imaging can incline them to vote in a certain way. The New York Times during the 2000 election “simplified” the actors and issues so that the individual would be predisposed to vote for Mrs. Clinton.
This week we look at The Times and Mrs. Clinton from the December 1999-early January 2000 period.
In December 1999 Mrs. Clinton had not formally announced her candidacy for the Senate, but observers from one end of the country to the other knew she intended to enter the race. New York Times coverage in December 1999 established a theme that would figure prominently throughout her run — that accusations against opposition candidates brought by Clinton loyalists holding federal positions were to be regarded as free from political motive.
In late December the Department of Housing and Urban Development, headed by Andrew Cuomo, a Clinton loyalist, took a program for the poor away from the mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, who was Mrs. Clinton’s presumptive challenger. The Times’ reporting angled the event according to the charges of the accuser, rather than any possible suspicious political motives or the remarkable timing of his action. While on its editorial page the editors recognized that the action was political, they concluded the decision ought to stand: “…now that (Mr. Cuomo) has acted,” went a piece on December 23, “he must follow through on his pledge to put the decision on distributing federal money into the hands of a nonpolitical entity in the city.”
A letter on December 28 to Mr. Cuomo by Republican Senator Julian Bond, the chair of the Senate subcommittee that oversees appropriations for HUD, asked that Cuomo explain why he was taking control of the federal funds. In his letter Mr. Bond pointed out, among other things, that during its regular review process HUD had not found the kind of problems that would lead to the radical course now being taken. The Bond letter was something voters would be interested in. Unfortunately, the Times did not report the story. In June, Mr. Cuomo would indicate to Mr. Gore his desire to be considered for the vice presidential slot.