NY Times Sees ‘Austerity,’ "Poor May Be Hit Particularly Hard’ by ‘Painful and Stupid’ Sequestration
The perils and victims of the round of the mandatory federal spending cuts known as sequestration led the New York Times' weekend coverage, with the 2.4% cut in annual federal spending that went into effect starting Friday labeled "austerity" and ushered in with headlines warning that "Poor May Be Hit Particularly Hard." Also: those who still approve of Congress tend to be "Obama haters," according to a news story.
Predictably, it was pro-Obama White House reporter Jackie Calmes' lead story in the Sunday edition that forecast the "new round of austerity" and predicted less economic growth as a result: "Cuts To Achieve Goal For Deficit, But Toll Is High – $4 Trillion In 10 Years – No 'Grand Bargain,' and a Drag on Jobs and Economic Growth."
Basking in the campaign-like trappings of Obama's White House press conference, reporter Jackie Calmes repeated in Wednesday's New York Times, the president's horror stories on the purportedly deep impact of mandatory budget cuts, known as the "sequester," that are scheduled to hit March 1: "Obama Tries to Turn Up Pressure on Republicans as Cutbacks Near." The cuts amount to an estimated $85 billion this year out of a $3,600 billion dollar budget, but Calmes pushed the pain of Obama having to deal with recalcitrant Republicans:
"Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery," she wrote. "But so far, Republicans were declining to engage."
NYTimes Videocast Hits Disrespectful, ‘Peevish’ Romney’s ‘Serious Gaffe’ on Libya — But Contradicted By Own Editors
The second 2012 presidential debate hosted by Candy Crowley got the full court press from the New York Times, with live fact-checking online and a 40-minute TimesCast wrap-up, that found Times reporters wrongly defending Obama and bashing Mitt Romney on a fiery exchange on Libya. Times journalists were highly supportive of Barack Obama's performance and critical of the "peevish" Mitt Romney, who "was arguably showing disrespect for the president," as Jackie Calmes insisted.
Times journalists also falsely insisted that President Obama had called the Benghazi attacks "an act of terror" in a Rose Garden speech the day after, and that Mitt Romney had made a "serious gaffe" when he suggested Obama had not. Yet in fact, as two other Times journalists softly pointed out later in the videocast, Obama was only speaking generally when he said in his Rose Garden speech that "no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation." Of the Benghazi assault, Managing Editor Richard Berke admitted that Obama "didn't say 'it was a terrorist attack.' It was more of a vague quote."
On Wednesday, New York Times political reporters Jackie Calmes (pictured) and John Harwood offered a pre-debate fact-check which predictably leaned in Obama's favor (and blamed former President Bush): "A Closer Look at Assertions the 2 Sides Have Made on Economic Issues."
New York Times White House correspondent Jackie Calmes off lead in Wednesday's edition on Obama's struggle with the federal deficit, "Test for Obama As Deficit Stays Over $1 Trillion." Credit Calmes for the premise and the Times for the prominent placement, but as usual, Calmes waved the blame away from Obama and again clung to the dubious idea that ObamaCare would actually reduce the deficit.
"Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery," she wrote:
The New York Times is milking its latest poll, showing some good news for Obama, to maximum effect. Sunday's front-page featured a poll story from one of the paper's top Obama boosters, White House correspondent Jackie Calmes (pictured): "Challenged on Medicare, G.O.P. Loses Ground." Text box: "Polls Show Favor for Obama on Issue of Party Trust." Calmes writes from Orlando:
New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes filed from Charlotte on Saturday after the Democratic National Convention had passed, "Democrats Face a Juggling Act Over Jobs."
Surprisingly, Obama loyalist Calmes discerned political problems in the president's anti-business rhetoric. More predictably, she defended Obama's anti-entrepreneurship remark "you didn't build that," accusing the GOP of taking it out of context, even though the context does not save Obama from the charge of showing hostility to enterprise and individual initiative.
NYT’s Calmes Elevates Liberal ‘Fact-Checking’: GOP ‘Falsehoods’ Have ‘Reached a Level Not Typically Seen’
White House reporter Jackie Calmes talked to Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod for a strong hit of Republican Convention bashing in her Friday New York Times story "Obama Team Sharpens Attacks on Rivals' Character." Calmes cited liberal media analysis to bolster her contention that even "independent fact-checkers" think the Republicans are lying.
As the Obama campaign heads into its convention next week, Democrats see openings both to fill in unpopular details of Mitt Romney’s agenda left unsaid by Republicans in Tampa this week and to raise new questions about Mr. Romney’s character after widespread criticism of misstatements by him and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan.
New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes trailed the Obama campaign to the University of Virginia, "In College Town, Obama Jokes at G.O.P.’s Expense," where the president tried to convince adoring college students to vote by portraying Mitt Romney as a threat to their college loans.
Typically, Calmes praised Obama's "thoughtful" answer to a question he received during a website Q&A session, and became the latest Times reporter to defend Obama from Romney's charge that he gutted work requirements for welfare recipients.(Short answer: Obama did. Here's a longer answer, courtesy of journalist Mickey Kaus.)
NYT: Obama Makes Strong Pitch for ‘Women’s Rights’ in Colo., While Romney Left Twisting in the ‘Wind’ in Iowa
On Thursday Jackie Calmes (pictured) and Trip Gabriel, two of the New York Times's more slanted campaign reporters, teamed up to cover Obama's campaign trip to Colorado and Romney's trip to Iowa: "Obama Assails Romney on Women’s Health Care." Covering Obama in Denver, the Times credited the president's popularity among women, while the Romney coverage from Iowa emphasized a controversy in that state, underlined by an accompanying photo caption: "Mitt Romney, visiting Iowa, kept quiet about his opposition to tax credits for wind power."
GOP ‘Hijacked the News Cycle’ to Exploit Obama’s ‘Six Words’ on Private Sector ‘Doing Fine,’ Says NYT’s Calmes
Late in the 2008 campaign, Republican presidential candidate John McCain was whacked in a front-page story in the New York Times for saying the "fundamentals of our economy are strong." But after President Obama said on Friday that "the private sector is doing fine" (he walked the statement back hours later) Times reporter Jackie Calmes conjured up some spin on Obama's behalf.
The slant was evident even in the headline, "Six Words From Obama, and a Barrage in Return From Republicans," which carried the strong presumption that the GOP was unfairly jumping on a minor gaffe.
With good reason, presidents have long been said to hold the power of the bully pulpit. But when President Obama sought to wield it on Friday, by calling a White House news conference to showcase his concern for the economy and Republicans’ refusal to work with him, he was the one who ended up getting pummeled.
By late afternoon, Mr. Obama was forced to clarify one line from his morning session with reporters -- “the private sector is doing fine” -- after Congressional Republicans and his presidential rival, Mitt Romney, had seized on the comment to criticize Mr. Obama as out-of-touch and detached from the millions of Americans who cannot find jobs or have given up looking.
“Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That’s the reason I had the press conference,” Mr. Obama said in clarifying his earlier remark when asked about Mr. Romney’s criticism during an Oval Office appearance with the president of the Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino III.
But for the day at least, the damage was done, as Republicans hijacked the news cycle with their barrage against Mr. Obama’s six words in a professorial 29-minute exchange. While the metaphor of the bully pulpit originated with President Theodore Roosevelt about a century ago and generally remains apt, it does not allow for a 21st-century media environment of constant cable television chatter, blogging and instant Internet videos that empower a president’s opponents to bully back.
Calmes felt the need to explain what Obama really meant.
Mr. Obama’s point at his news conference was that for more than two years, monthly jobs reports have shown growth in the private sector, but continuing cutbacks in the public sector as state and local governments slash jobs in their struggle to balance their budgets; the public sector -- not the private sector -- most needs additional government help.
Calmes actually provided "context" to bolster Obama's argument for him.
Mr. Obama’s comment, in context, was: “We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government -- oftentimes, cuts initiated by governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”
Republicans hope they can turn Mr. Obama’s “doing fine” line into the sort of bumper-sticker comment that would damage him with swing voters much like his 2008 rival, Senator John McCain, was hurt when he said “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.” Mr. McCain, however, spoke in September 2008 as the financial system was already imploding, and his comment underscored his well-known and self-acknowledged unfamiliarity with economic policy.
Mr. Obama’s news conference also provoked Republicans to revive their charge that he is blaming Europe’s ills for slow growth here to distract from his own culpability.
“He used his old standby excuse -- headwinds -- for his failure on the economy,” said Kirsten Kukowski, press secretary for the Republican National Committee.
Yet many economists say that Europe is a big factor in the American outlook. AllianceBernstein, an asset management firm in Manhattan, wrote to clients and reporters on Friday that it had slightly lowered its forecast for economic growth this year “amid increasing international headwinds facing the U.S. economy.” And Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “the uncertainty shock from Europe is building rapidly, undercutting both U.S. and global growth.”
After Three Years, It’s Still Not His Fault: NYT’s Calmes, Krugman Lament Recovery Out of Obama’s Hands
Pity President Obama, it's not his fault; after over three years in office, he is still helpless as a newborn when it comes to changing the economy for the better. Sympathetic New York Times White House reporter Jackie Calmes teamed with Nicholas Kulish for Sunday's "Weak Economy Points To Obama’s Constraints."
The bleak jobs report on Friday predictably had heads snapping toward the White House, looking to President Obama to do something. Yet his proposed remedies only underscore how much the president, just five months before he faces voters, is at the mercy of actors in Europe, China and Congress whose political interests often conflict with his own.
It has been a common refrain at the Times to point to Europe to suggest Obama is at the mercy of forces beyond his control. Appearing on the PBS show Washington Week in February, Calmes predictably nodded along to the president's excuse that "the public thinks that he was dealt a bad hand." It's certainly not an excuse the Times handed to President Bush.
More from Calmes on Sunday:
That day, Mr. Obama continued his weekly travels around the country, prodding Congressional Republicans to pass his “to-do list” of temporary tax cuts and spending initiatives to help create jobs. The Republicans only mock him, which leaves Mr. Obama free to blame his opponents and their presidential standard-bearer, Mitt Romney. But in doing so, he telegraphs a message of powerlessness that no leader likes to convey -- least of all one who ran for office four years ago vowing to bridge Washington’s partisan gulf.
Developments overseas have not helped either. American officials have complained as Beijing began letting its currency devalue again, making its exports cheaper and those from the United States to China more costly. And administration officials, and Mr. Obama himself, have lobbied leaders in Europe for more forceful action to promote growth or at least contain the threat of financial contagion there.
Without mentioning Republicans, Mr. Obama said Congress had not passed measures he had proposed to get jobless construction workers rebuilding roads, bridges and runways; to give small businesses a tax break for new hires; and to help states pay teachers, firefighters and police officers. The steady elimination of public sector jobs has offset increased hiring in the private sector for more than two years.
By emboldening Republicans, the report on Friday that the economy added only 69,000 jobs in May seemed to dash the hopes of some in the White House for a replay of 1996. That summer, as President Bill Clinton sought re-election with the economy improving, Republicans in Congress decided that their party’s weak presidential nominee, Senator Bob Dole, was doomed. To Mr. Dole’s chagrin, they compromised with the Democratic president to notch some significant achievements and ensure their own survival.
Gene Sperling, the chief White House economic adviser, said, “There is no question that had Congress acted on the president’s proposals nine months ago to prevent teacher layoffs, put construction workers back to work and cut small-business taxes, our job situation today would be notably stronger and unemployment would be lower.” Analyses by macroeconomic firms and nonpartisan financial analysts agreed.
While Mr. Obama seeks to make Republicans the villains when it comes to the economy, he is also, more diplomatically, blaming Europe. In Minneapolis and Chicago on Friday, he cited the impact of the continent’s travails on the American economy.
Keynesian cultist and Times columnist Paul Krugman joined the chorus of lament on ABC's This Week show Sunday, as Noel Sheppard recounted on NewsBusters: "...it's terribly unfair that he's being judged on the failure of the economy to respond to policies that had been largely dictated by a hostile Congress."
Sheppard pointed out "Obama controlled the House of Representatives and enjoyed a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate."