Top 10 Lowlights of the New York Times in 2006

Ranked by Times Watch, a project of the Media Research Center.

10. Spinning Kerry’s ‘Botched Joke’

Reporter Kate Zernike helped Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) a week before the 2006 congressional elections, in a November 2 “Political Memo,” when it briefly seemed that Kerry’s insult of American troops might hurt the Democrats. Zernike spun the story and revealed herself as perhaps the only person who didn’t listen to Kerry’s actual “botched joke.”

9. Coddling Illegal Immigrants and the Liberals Who Love Them

Collectively, the Times’ articles on the rallies this spring in support of illegal immigrants would have made for neat souvenir programs for the marchers and served as propaganda against pro-law-enforcement Republicans.

8. Howell Raines Rants Against Fox News

Howell Raines, former executive editor of the Times, released an autobiography in 2006 that continued his conservative bashing and anti-Fox News rhetoric: “Fox, by its mere existence, undercuts the argument that the public is starved for ‘fair’ news, and not just because Fox shills for the Republican Party and panders to the latest of America’s periodic religious manias.”

7. ‘Racism’ Against Democrat Harold Ford, Jr.

Apparently bitter about not having everything go the Democrats’ way on Election Day, the Times put a racism spin on one of the few GOP bright spots—Bob Corker’s win over Harold Ford, Jr., in the Tennessee Senate race. Adam Nossiter’s post-Election Day story said, “Ford was faced with overcoming the suspicions of rural whites skeptical about his race, his background and his city.”

6. Linda Greenhouse’s Liberal Harvard Admission

Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse went to Harvard in June and talked to her fellow alumni about how she broke into tears at a recent Simon & Garfunkel concert and what may have led up to her breakdown: the perfidy of the Bush Administration.

5. Respectful Hearing Granted to ‘Bush Caused 9/11’ Nuts

Conspiracy theorists who think 9/11 was an inside job on the part of the Bush Administration met in Chicago in May and got a respectful hearing from Alan Feuer. “500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet to Seek the Truth of 9/11” made Page 1 of the Metro section. The headline alone gave conspiracy-mongers the undeserved accolade of truth-seekers.

4. Putting the Blame on Israel

The war between Israel and Lebanon began when the terrorist Hezbollah militia crossed the border into Israel, killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others. Rarely did the Times suggest Hezbollah was to blame for the civilian casualties caused by Israeli air strikes. The Times deemphasized Hezbollah’s strategy of ensconcing itself in civilian areas and seemed taken aback by Israel’s insistence on counterattack.

3. Mohammad Cartoon Hypocrisy

One might expect a liberal newspaper to be solidly in defense of freedom of expression. In September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in unflattering terms. Violent protests exploded from Muslims worldwide. When the American media picked up the story in February, the Times utterly failed to rigorously defend free speech.

2. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.’s, Left-Wing Graduation Rant

Serving as keynote commencement speaker at the State University of New York at New Paltz in May, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., “apologized” to graduates for the failure of the Vietnam generation to stop the Iraq War and to sufficiently promote “fundamental human rights” such as abortion, immigration and gay marriage.

1. The Times Cripples Another Terrorist Surveillance Program

In June, the Times’ notorious tag team of intelligence reporters, Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, again revealed details of an anti-terrorist surveillance program, ignoring the concerns and personal pleas for secrecy from the White House. This one, “Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror,” involved international bank transfers by the bank consortium SWIFT.