Sunday, July 24, 2005

Is There A Lazier White House Reporter Than The NY Times' Elisabeth Bumiller?

Consider this:

"Judge Roberts was born in Buffalo and grew up in Indiana. In high school, he captained his football team, and he worked summers in a steel mill to help pay his way through college."

-- President Bush, announcing nomination of John Roberts Jr., July 19

"The president and Judge Roberts spoke in the sitting room of the White House residence for an hour on Thursday, Mr. Bartlett said, and the president asked him a number of personal questions about his upbringing in small-town Indiana."

-- Elisabeth Bumiller, reporting on the pick for the New York Times, July 20

"John Glover Roberts was born in Buffalo and grew up in Indiana, the son of an executive for the Bethlehem Steel Company and a homemaker. When Mr. Bush presented Judge Roberts in the Cross Hall on Tuesday night, he made special mention of the judge's having worked summers in steel mills, an apparent effort to give him some working-class cachet."

-- Neil Lewis, in a separate story for the Times, July 20.



"Mr. Bartlett insisted that the president's timing had nothing to do with Mr. Rove and everything to do with giving the Senate adequate time before its recess next week to meet Judge Roberts and deal with the enormous amount of paperwork and logistics such a nomination requires."

-- Bumiller, in her July 20 story

"Bush originally had planned to announce a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on July 26 or 27, just before his planned July 28 departure for a month-long vacation at his Crawford, Texas, ranch, said two administration officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named. The officials said those plans changed because Rove has become a focus of Fitzgerald's interest and of news accounts about the matter."

-- Bloomberg Business News, July 20


Conservatives like to talk about the "liberal" New York Times. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a reporter more open to White House spin than the Times' Elisabeth Bumiller.

Bumiller was the author of the laughable "White House Letters" during the 2004 presidential campaign told readers about the president's punctuality, his desire to campaign hard, and the love and support of his family. And no, the Times ran no similar weekly feature on Democratic candidate John Kerry, even as elsewhere in the paper the Times ran stories and editorials about Kerry's aloof and distant nature. (It never dawned on the Times, it seems, that if it had run a weekly insider feature as fawning as Bumiller's coverage of the president, Kerry might not have seemed so distant.)

And yet, Bumiller continues to incompetently cover the White House, repeating White House spin as if it were objective fact. You would think, after the Times single-source (read: the White House) softball coverage during the run-up to the Iraq War -- resulting in a half-page mea culpa -- that Times reporters would know to not simply print White House spin without offering a shred of independent thought.

Bumiller, week after week, proves that theory wrong.

Then again, Bumiller once offered some interest thoughts on how the White House press corps collectively handled the run-up to the Iraq War.

As quoted by the Baltimore Sun: "I think we were very deferential because … it’s live, it’s very intense, it’s frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you’re standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country’s about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time."


The Times should do Bumiller a favor. Rather than have its reporter offer scared-stiff coverage of the White House, the Times should give her the boot, and let her take her rightful place as a White House flak.


Blogger andym said...

Jayson Blair got fired for falsifying stories, right? Maybe Liz could get canned for the same reason.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Martian Anthropologist said...

I think we were all just assuming she is on the White House payroll.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's not falsifying stories. She's just a lazy reporter who can't tell spin from fact, and doesn't want to bother trying to find out.

And to think, she makes six figures to be this mediocre.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Josef-Konrad said...

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I just stumbled across it via BlogClicker.

Keep up the JABBS!

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone has to keep a routinely published check list on these reporters i.e. Miller, Bumilier, to see which ones show a track record most susceptible to truth-challenged White House spin. Media Matters and blogs like this one, help. But the public needs a more consistent reliable source.
After Judith Miller's poorly-sourced reporting on WMDs in the run-up to the Iraq War, why does she still have a job or an shred of credibility left?

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the town in Indiana a small town? Yes, it is. Did Mr. Roberts in fact work in the steel mill? Yes, he did. Does the fact that his father was an executive for the steel company change that. No.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Yes, you're right anonymous, Bumiller did a fabulous job repeating everything Dan Bartlett said. And we as Americans should be very happy with government rhetoric posing as news. What a wonderful world we live in, free of violence and war, with a booming economy, and absolutely nothing to worry about. I'm so glad that Bumiller helps us think the way the government thinks ...

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts really seem to bother the left around here.

2:13 PM  

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