In Covering Obama, The Times Doesn’t Probe, It Puffs
By Don Feder
Wednesday February 25, 2009

Editors of The New York Times should be drawing salaries from the White House for writing press releases camouflaged as news coverage.

Take today’s story on the president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress. Adulatory is an understatement.

We were told that Obama’s words “were often stern, but laced with optimism and humor,” also “he framed his argument with fresh urgency.” Would you say he was heroic, or merely masterful?

The paper misled readers when it claimed the president “pushed his agenda at a moment when polls show him in a commanding position.”

Obama’s approval ratings (59% in a February 21-23 Gallup Poll) are average for a president at the end of his first month in office. In fact, they’re exactly the same as public approval for Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, at the same point in their administrations.

There wasn’t even an allusion to the market’s vote of no confidence. On Nov. 4, the Dow closed at 9,625. The day Obama signed his Porkulus Package, it stood at 7,606 — the lowest point in six years.

The article reported that “Mr. Obama has already signed a $787 billion stimulus plan” — actually $1.14 trillion with interest — but forgot to mention that it’s the largest single increase in federal spending in history.

Apparently, the author of this travesty (Jeff Zeleny) never thought to ask how the presidential tooth-fairy was going to deliver on “an expansive agenda” in health care, education, infrastructure, mortgage subsidies, more bailouts, etc., while pledging to become a deficit hawk. Maybe he’s also an alchemist who can turn lead into gold.

The New York Times’ coverage of the first month of the Obama presidency is on par with its treatment of the messiah during the campaign — take everything he says at face value, ask no uncomfortable questions.

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