Reporting Tuesday  on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to serve Obama as secretary of defense, the Times' Jeremy Peters again  tried to imply the Republican move to filibuster Hagel, who bombed in hearings, was both uncollegial and unprecedented.
But Peters had to stretch, limiting his examples to the narrow fact that Hagel is the first secretary of defense nominee to be threatened with a filibuster (ignoring the many other Republican nominees filibustered by Democrats, as well as the Democrats' outright rejection of Republican nominee John Tower in 1989).
On his way to crowning Hagel, Peters, himself a journalist, actually dismissed conservative investigative reporting on Hagel's past inflammatory statements on Israel (and either ignored or insulted by the mainstream media) as a big nothing.
For weeks, Mr. Hagel’s nomination has been bogged down in the Senate as members of both parties scrutinized his background -- demanding answers on everything from his feelings toward Israel and Iran to the income he earned giving speeches after he left the Senate.
Opposition to his nomination, which has drawn the Obama administration into an uncomfortable fight with Senate Republicans as it tries to negotiate several other major issues with Congress, has become a galvanizing cause among many conservatives.
Independent political groups have mobilized to try to dig up anything unflattering on Mr. Hagel. Though they have not found much, the frenzy has at times resulted in Republican senators throwing out incendiary charges that have stretched the bounds of Senate collegiality, especially considering that Mr. Hagel is a former member of their ranks.
Peters didn't give his readers the change to figure out if those groups actually "have not found much," but the Free Beacon  has a pungent round-up of Hagel criticism.