It takes extreme chutzpah for a newspaper to rewrite an already published story in order to favor a politician. Most professional news organizations try at least to appear to be fair and objective in reporting the facts. If everyone believes that you sometimes lie they will have little incentive to believe anything you say.
But, that is what the venerable, no longer credible news source called the New York Times did this week.
Last week President Obama held a press briefing for presumably sympathetic reporters. Among them were Timesmen Peter Baker and Gardiner Harris. Baker is a notably competent professional journalist.
In their first online version of the story about the briefing, Baker and Harris wrote this:
In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments.
Other journalists who were present at the meeting reported the same information. It provoked a media storm because Obama had made it appear that when he wanted to get a feel for the mood of the country he turned on the cable news. Say what? As it happened Obama did not say which cable news channel he watches.
Dare we ask about the competence of the people who work for the president? Did any of them think about informing him about what was going on in the country he presumably leads? Doesn’t he have any pollsters on the payroll?
To be fair, Charles Krauthammer suggested that Obama could not have possibly have meant what he was saying. According to CK, Obama was being sarcastic.
Frankly, I have my doubts. The most favorable spin says that Obama had simply tuned out the nation, did not care what happened to the people, was not invested in a war against Islamist terrorists, and, when called upon to justify himself, he just said whatever came to mind. If he thought he was making a joke, no one laughed. And, if no one laughs, it is not a joke.
By now Obama knows that the media sycophants believe that every word he pronounces is gospel, so why should he bother formulating a cogent explanation.
It has seemed perfectly clear, to all sentient observers that the president expressed no feeling about the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino because he had none. He felt no anguish at seeing citizens of his nation gunned down by Muslim terrorists at a Christmas party. (One suspects that he was most worried about his political fortunes, and resented the fact that it was happening on his watch.) And he felt no sympathy for the Parisian victims of the terror attack at Bataclan. He had already shown how much he felt for Parisian victims of Islamist terrorists by being the only world leader who boycotted the French march against terrorist at the beginning of the year.
That, dare I say, is the truth. And there are times when even a superior fabulist like Barack Obama cannot hide the truth.
Every one of his multiple attempts to show that he feels something and that he is invested in fighting Islamist terror shows the same attitude. Our president has no feeling about the war on terror because he does not believe in it. Worse yet, he is running scared. He is like the deer in the headlights, terrified into paralysis. When seeing such horrors, the president and his administration have only been able to get angry about Islamophobia.
In any event, several hours after the Baker/Harris story appeared online, the Times editors changed it. In particular they edited out he passage quoted above, because, after all, it makes Obama look bad.
Anything that makes Obama look bad makes the Times, his major propaganda organ look bad too. For those who had ever had any doubt, when it comes to Obama, the New York Times believes that its higher purpose transcends its responsibility to report the news. It wants to influence and to direct opinion… by making opinion stories look like news.
Once the Times deleted the offending passage, the Twitterverse erupted in howls of derision. So much so that the Times, in the person of Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller—presumably the editor in charge of this story-- felt obliged to respond.
Bumiller replied that the Times had cut the offending sentences for space considerations. Publication in print often requires stricter editing because print imposes more space limitations than website. It was not very persuasive. In fact, the Times, after deleting the offending text, managed to add a paragraph with twice as many words.
The Federalist explains:
The section that was removed contained 66 words. The section that was added in its place contained 116 words. If the New York Times was indeed “trimming for space” in that particular revision, it will need to explain why its revision to that section added 50 words.
If that is not enough fun for one day, consider this: over a period of several hours the Times changed the headline… not once, not twice, but numerous times. Each revision made Obama look better and stronger. And each change made him a more fearless warrior against increasingly unhinged Republicans. Keep in mind, the Obama administration cannot bring itself to fight Islamist terrorism because it is fighting the true war against Islamophobes and racists… that is, against Republicans.
The Federalist recounts the ways the title was changed:
The original headline when the story was first published was “Obama Visiting National Counterterrorism Center.” Less than two hours later, the headline was “Obama, at Counterterrorism Center, Offers Assurances On Safety.” Then the headline was changed to “Frustrated by Republican Critics, Obama Defends Muted Response to Attacks.” Two hours later, the headline was once again revised to “Under Fire From G.O.P., Obama Defends Response to Terror Attacks.” The most recent headline revision, which accompanied the deletion of the passage where Obama admitted he didn’t understand the American public’s anxiety about terrorism, now reads, “Assailed by G.O.P., Obama Defends His Response To Terror Attacks.”
This shows media bias on the march. The bias is so flagrant, so obvious and so appalling that the newspaper of record does not even bother to hide it any more. Worse yet, Times readers probably do not care.
On recalls the words of Noam Chomsky—no right wing extremist, he—that at least with the Wall Street Journal you can trust the facts. True enough, the Times does publish some excellent journalism. And yet, the newspaper’s reputation is tainted by its inability to report fairly and objectively about one Barack Obama.
As long as its readers do not respond with their wallets it will continue doing what it has often done when covering Democrats—act more like the PR arm of the administration than a fair and balanced source of the news.