Stunning correction … Yesterday, the New York Times published a hit piece on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. As Conservative Review’s Chris Pandolfo wrote, it centered around the curtains in her official residence costing over $50,000. The piece set out to give the impression that the overspending was all Haley, but several paragraphs down, the reader discovered that the curtains were ordered during Obama’s administration.
Flash-forward to this afternoon, and the Times has corrected its story and headline. Here’s the correction:
An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed.
This is one of the most complete corrections the NY Times has ever done on a hit piece. But it still lacks needed transparency. Because this correction was to the digital version of the article, there were no limitations on space. There was plenty of room for the Times to attach a screenshot of the original title and image used, but it didn’t.
How bad was this? Even Jake Tapper went after the Times this morning.
Credit where due … Last Friday, former President Barack Obama strode onto the stage to attack President Donald Trump, specifically the way Trump treats the press. I wrote last week about how craven that attack was, given Obama’s record with the press. This week, an unlikely source backed up my assessment.
The Associated Press fact-checked the claim by Obama and determined: “Obama doesn’t always tell the straight story.” Here’s the meat of the AP story:
Trump may use extraordinary rhetoric to undermine trust in the press, but Obama arguably went farther — using extraordinary actions to block the flow of information to the public.
The Obama administration used the 1917 Espionage Act with unprecedented vigor, prosecuting more people under that law for leaking sensitive information to the public than all previous administrations combined. Obama’s Justice Department dug into confidential communications between news organizations and their sources as part of that effort.
The AP went on to discuss how phone records of its reporters were seized without their knowledge. The AP was a target of the administration’s spying on reporters. It’s good to see an organization like the AP stand up against the likes of CNN media critic/cheerleader Brian Stelter, who at the time tweeted, “Obama telling the truth about his media criticism versus Trump’s criticism.”
Stelter, as usual, was being the good little progressive foot soldier.
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Another surprise … In his Washington Post column, CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria argued that in the effort to silence voices on the Right, it is the Left that is threatening Democracy. Zakaria writes:
The real fear that many on the left have is not that Bannon is dull and uninteresting, but the opposite — that his ideas, some of which can reasonably be described as evoking white nationalism, will prove seductive and persuasive to too many people. Hence his detractors’ solution: Don’t give him a platform, and hope that this will make his ideas go away. But they won’t. In fact, by trying to suppress Bannon and others on the right, liberals are likely making their ideas seem more potent. Did the efforts of communist countries to muzzle capitalist ideas work?
Liberals need to be reminded of the origins of their ideology. In 1859, when governments around the world were still deeply repressive — banning books, censoring commentary and throwing people in jail for their beliefs — John Stuart Mill explained in his seminal work, “On Liberty,” that protection against governments was not enough: “There needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose . . . its own ideas and practices . . . on those who dissent from them.” This classic defense of free speech, which Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes later called the “freedom for the thought that we hate,” is under pressure in the United States — and from the left.
This is absolutely correct. Unlike his CNN counterpart Oliver Darcy, Zakaria realizes that an open discussion of ideas is important in a free and open society. It’s refreshing to see that at least one person at CNN gets that.
I’ll be out of the office on Monday. There will be no WTF MSM!? See you all on Wednesday. Let me know what you think of WTF MSM!? by sending me an email to [email protected]. Thanks and have a great weekend.
Robert Eno is the editor of the WTF MSM!? newsletter and director of retention for Blaze Media.