York: Journalists More Interested in Denying Conservatives a Victory Than Exposing Jones
Published: 9/9/2009 8:30 AM ET
In his column in Tuesday's Washington Examiner, Byron York, who in a Friday blog post recounted "The Van Jones (non) feeding frenzy," asked: "Why did the press ignore the Van Jones scandal?" The chief political correspondent for the paper answered: "The question may not be so much who they are, as who they hate, or at least who they intensely dislike." York pointed out:
The first words of the [New York] Times' story on Jones' resignation were, "In a victory for Republicans and the Obama administration's conservative critics...." One news anchor suggested Jones was "the Republican right's first scalp." Other coverage called the Jones affair a victory for Glenn Beck, Fox News, right-wing blogs, and even Sarah Palin, who played no role in the matter. If you throw in Rush Limbaugh, you have all the bogey-people of the conservative world. To some on the left, including some journalists, denying them a victory was a top priority, no matter what Van Jones had said and done.On the up side: "There was a day, not too long ago, when the Times and other influential news organizations could kill a story - could deny the bad guys a win - simply by ignoring it. Sometimes they still try. But it just won't work anymore."
York began his September 8 column by recalling how the New York Times suppressed another storyline unpleasant to Barack Obama:
March 13, 2008, ABC News broke the story that Barack Obama's longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had made a number of incendiary statements from the pulpit of Obama's church in Chicago. The most inflammatory of those remarks was Wright's notorious "God damn America" sermon. The news set off a media firestorm. "God damn America" was in the papers, magazines, the Internet, television, radio. It was everywhere, except one place: the news pages of America's most powerful newspaper, the New York Times. In the days, weeks, and months following the ABC report, the Times' news pages repeatedly failed to inform its readers that Wright had ever uttered those infamous words.
The quote did find its way into a few columns and a (pro-Obama) editorial. But in the news pages - the ones which report "All the news that's fit to print" - months went by with no word of "God damn America." It was not until Sept. 24, 2008, six months after the story originally broke, that an article in the Times - it was about anti-Obama political ads - reported Wright's notorious words. For half a year, the paper's editors simply ignored a key portion of one of the biggest stories of the presidential campaign.
Now, the Times has failed to report another story, this time one that led to the resignation of a White House official much loved by many on the left, "green jobs" czar Van Jones....
Full rundown of the lack of Jones coverage and what the networks covered instead.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center