Mark Halperin is hardly what you’d call a conservative media critic and TIME magazine is about as mainstream as you can get. But at a Politico/USC conference last week, Halperin – who maintains TIME’s political site “The Page” – castigated his colleagues for “extreme pro-Obama coverage” in the past campaign and singled out two New York Times stories as prime examples.
As reported by The Politico on November 23, Halperin excoriated media manipulation of the presidential campaign, calling it “the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq War.” He termed reporting on campaign 2008, “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
To back his thesis, Halperin cited two examples – both profiles of potential first ladies in The New York Times.
Halperin observed: “The story about Cindy McCain was vicious [as we reported at boycottnyt.com on October 20]. It looked for every negative thing it could find about her and it cast her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn’t talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that’s ever been written about her.”
Halperin contrasted this with The Times’ cream-puff treatment of Mrs. Obama, which he characterized as “like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is.”
Add to this the hatchet job The Times did on Sarah Palin, its efforts to rationalize Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, and the paper repeatedly alleging that the McCain/Palin campaign was guilty of “race-baiting and xenophobia.” Little wonder that in September, a McCain spokesman charged The Times was “150%” behind the Democratic ticket.
When The New York Times’ bias is so obvious that even a member of the media establishment takes notice, that strengthens the case for boycotting a paper that tilts the political playing field and sets the agenda for the rest of the media.