New York Times: Disputing now what it reported earlier

Today The New York Times has a story saying President Trump made a “widely disputed allegation”  that President Barack Obama ordered the wire tapping of his campaign.

It also reports that Obama and his former aides have called the accusation completely false.

“Mr. Trump’s demand for a congressional investigation appears to be based, at least in part, on unproved claims by Breitbart News and conservative talk radio hosts that secret warrants were issued authorizing the tapping of the phones of Mr. Trump and his aides at Trump Tower in New York,” the newspaper reports.

This same newspaper reported on Jan. 19, prior to Trump’s inauguration, that law enforcement and intelligence agencies were examining “intercepted communications” and financial transactions that were part of an investigation of contacts between Trump and his associates with Russian officials. The Trump associates included his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to Times sources.

“The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit,” the paper reported. “The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.”

What could possibly have caused Trump to believe his campaign was being wire tapped?
The earlier Times account goes on to relate:

Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.

Numerous news outlets, including The New York Times, have reported on the F.B.I. investigations into Mr. Trump’s advisers. BBC and then McClatchy revealed the existence of a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government.

Paul Manafort at GOP convention (NY Times pix)

Paul Manafort at GOP convention (NY Times pix)

President signs orders telling officials to enforce immigration laws

Why is it necessary for a president to issue an executive order telling public officials to enforce the laws passed by Congress?

That’s apparently what it has come to. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump has signed orders that mean almost everybody living in the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation and new arrivals will no longer be subject to the current catch and release practice.

“The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” WSJ quotes an enforcement memo as saying. “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”

The New York Times reports that the orders end the Obama administration policy that required Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to immediately deport only those newly arriving illegal immigrants who were apprehended within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country no more than 14 days. “Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, and located anywhere in the nation,” NYT relates.

The orders also tell the federal immigration agencies to revive a program that used local police to help with immigration enforcement, a program called 287g that was scaled down under Obama, NYT says.

According to Channel 3, the 287g program under Sheriff Doug Gillespie only turned over to immigration those suspects that had an outstanding warrant or an immigration detainer.

But it would be up to current Sheriff Joe Lombardo to determine the level of cooperation.

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

What is the meaning of the newspaper motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print?

Put on your pressman’s newspaper hat and pretend that you are the editor. What would you do?

On a Tuesday afternoon major news organizations were reporting that both President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on an “unsubstantiated” report that Russia had collected “compromising and salacious personal information” on Trump. The document even contained verifiable errors.

The New York Times was reporting Tuesday afternoon, “The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims. But intelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and informed that the agencies were actively investigating it.”

BuzzFeed posted the 35-page document that reportedly was compiled by a person who claiming to be a former British intelligence official, while noting, “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”

What is the difference between this and a rumor?

The salacious aspect included claims Trump hired prostitutes at Russian hotels. The compromising aspect involved efforts to financially entice and entangle him for the purposes of blackmail. The Kremlin denied it.

For some reason the Las Vegas morning newspaper decided to not print anything about this report, but it did post online at 9:38 p.m., well before what should be its print deadline, an AP account that included a Trump tweet calling the whole account: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

The New York Times has a motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print. It’s editors saw fit to print, but for some reason the editors at the Las Vegas newspaper did not. Or did they simply fumble the ball?

As usual Trump went on a Twitter rampage. Here are the latest posts as they appear on his feed:


Whether the salacious stuff is worthy of reporting is a good question for an ethic debate, but Trump’s strained ties with the intelligence community should not be ignored.

According to the AP account:

The report had been circulating in Washington for months. In October, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote the FBI asking the bureau to publicly disclose what it knew about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Reid was aware of the dossier before he wrote the letter, according to a person knowledgeable about the subject who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Trump just held a press conference. Here is a clip on this topic:


Koch brothers repay Reid by spending millions to capture his Senate seat for GOP

Be careful against whom you declare war. They might fight back and win.

For years Harry Reid has been obsessively ranting and mewling about the wealthy Koch brothers, Charles and David, for deigning to spend their own money to express their free speech rights. He even has a webpage on his official Senate website devoted to lambasting the brothers Koch. According to the 17 points on the page, the Kochs want to pollute the air, foul the water, dismantle Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, minimum wage laws and public education.

Though the Koch brothers this election season are largely staying out of presidential politics, they are pouring money into Nevada in an effort to help a Republican capture Reid’s Senate seat, now that he is retiring. They have reportedly spent $6 million so far backing Republican Rep. Joe Heck and attacking former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, Reid’s hand-picked successor, according to ThinkProgess, a liberal website.

According to the Las Vegas newspaper today, the Kochs and other groups are currently spending heavily in the race, mostly against Cortez Masto. The story reports Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super PAC that is part of the Koch brothers’ network, has reported spending $622,153 on media ads opposing Cortez Masto, such as the one above.

Heck and Cortez Masto (RGJ photos)

According to the latest polls, Heck and Cortez Masto are tied, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in Nevada by more than 70,000 registered voters.

An earlier story in the Las Vegas paper reported that the Kochs’ Americans For Prosperity is working on a so-called ground game to challenge Reid’s vaunted army of union volunteers who bus casino workers to the polls with pre-selected sample ballots.

In a recent news account, The New York Times quoted Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, as saying, “It would certainly be poetic justice to see Harry Reid, who for so long has waged an unhinged personal vendetta against people we care a lot about, to see his seat go to someone who supports limited government, free speech.”

The Kochs are putting their money where their mouths are.

Reid seems to think that money alone will persuade people, but there also has been believable content in the message. I’m not sure anyone believes anything Reid has to say any more. He sounds like a broken record.

What the media chooses to report reflects on the media

Trump, center, at New York Military Academy in 1964. (Via NYTimes)

It’s been told many times in many ways — the story of 70-year-old Donald Trump’s many draft deferments.

But how certain media choose to report it is rather interesting.

The top story on today’s New York Times online site and what would be considered the lede in print — upper righthand corner — is a story about Sen. John McCain chastising Trump for his remarks about the parents of U.S. Muslim soldier slain in Iraq who spoke at the Democratic convention.

The next story is a lengthy one about Trump’s four student and one medical deferments during the Vietnam War. It goes on at length about Trump’s dissembling over the years and saying he ultimately received a high number in the draft lottery. The Times’ asked Trump for a copy of the doctor’s letter to the draft board saying he had bone spurs that prompted the deferral. It was not produced, the story says.

But the proper perspective comes when the story mentions in passing that Veep Joe Biden had five student and one medical deferments. The online story dutifully provides a link to a story about this in 2008.

But it was not a Times story. It was a brief AP story. You’d think the Times would link to a Times story if there had been one.

The Washington Times had a story in 2008 noting that Biden’s deferrals were the same number as Veep Dick Cheney’s.

Trump’s draft card, according to NYTimes

As of 9 a.m. PDT the Times story had nearly 2,000 comments.

The Times posting as breaking news a story about Obama calling on Republican leaders to withdraw support for Trump.

“The question they have to ask themselves is: If you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?” Obama said at a news conference.





Don’t jest with the jesters in the media

Trump in Florida today (NYTimes pix)

Don’t try joking with the humor-impaired.

The New York Times flashed out an email this morning with the hed: “Donald J. Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially sanctioning a foreign power’s cyberspying.”

What Trump actually said was: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” while staring into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

The online hed was corrected to say: “Donald Trump Challenges Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails.” More accurate, but the lede still included the editorialization that he was sanctioning cyberspying, instead of ribbing the Democratic National Committee and Clinton for lax computer security.

Apparently in all seriousness, the Times account went on say:

Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally telling the female questioner to “be quiet — let the president talk to them.”

Now, why did the story include the fact the questioner was female? To imply that Trump was telling the little lady to mind her manners and be quiet?

Such subtleties are surely lost on the folks at the Gray Lady.

The Times reported earlier that spy agencies have said they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the purloined emails, but were uncertain whether the act was routine spying or an attempt to manipulate the presidential election.


‘Most surprising result of my career’ warrants only second graf in NYT

Roland G. Fryer Jr., a professor of economics at Harvard. (NYT photo)

Did The New York Times bury the lede?

The news of the day is about cops shooting blacks and a black man shooting cops in retaliation, but, when the Gray Lady gets its hands a study by a Harvard economics professor, it ledes with the fact that cops are more likely to use non-lethal force on blacks than whites.

The fact that there is no racial bias when it comes to shootings is relegated to the second graf.

“It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr., the author of the study and a professor of economics at Harvard, of the facts in the second graf. The study looked into more than 1,000 shootings in 10 police departments.

Also online the lede graphic element is about the use of force, while the shootings graphic is buried far below.