It’s Hard to Make a Flat Line Sound Sexy

A New York Times article (4/23/10) by Peter Baker and David Herszenhorn remarks of Barack Obama: With his poll numbers sagging, the choreographed confrontation seemed aimed at tapping the nation’s antiestablishment mood as well as muscling financial regulation legislation through Congress. While Obama’s confrontation with the financial industry was no doubt choreographed, are his poll numbers really sagging? This chart from Pollster.com, averaging out all the major national polls, reveals instead that opinion on Obama’s job performance is remarkably steady (and remarkably evenly divided, too). It’s hard to turn a line like that into exciting news, which isn’t to say […]


The Debate Over Afghanistan–Newspapers Are Full of It

In his Week in Review piece wondering if Obama’s Afghanistan policy is akin to LBJ and Vietnam, New York Times reporter Peter Baker notes that the public mood is seeping into the media: That growing disenchantment in the countryside is increasingly mirrored in Washington, where liberals in Congress are speaking out more vocally against the Afghan war and newspapers are filled with more columns questioning America’s involvement. Newspapers are filled with what now? It doesn’t feel that way to me, but surely Baker must have some evidence. Which he does: The cover of the latest Economist is headlined “Afghanistan: The […]


NYT Sotomayor ‘Analysis’ = What Republicans Are Thinking

Under the headline “Future Nominations Are at Stake in Hearing,” New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Charlie Savage suggested that Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination is a given; the real battle among partisans and legal activists is “to define the parameters of an acceptable nomination in case another seat opens up during Mr. Obama’s presidency.” Interesting, then, to see what the parameters of debate are like in this report. The Times solicits comments from five conservatives or Republicans–Rachel Brand, Fred McClure, James R. Copland, Manuel Miranda and Kenneth M. Duberstein. The Times also quoted one law professor with a liberal reputation […]


NYT: Obama Appoints ‘Swahili-Speaking’ Envoy to Sudan

The New York Times‘ Peter Baker reports today (3/18/09) that Obama has tapped “a Swahili-speaking retired Air Force officer who grew up in Africa as the son of missionaries” to be his special envoy to Sudan. Does Baker or his Times editors realize that they don’t speak Swahili in Sudan? It’s like reporting that Obama appointed a French-speaking envoy to Germany, and meaning it in a flattering way. Sure, they don’t speak French in Germany, but they’re both in Europe, right? Baker also writes: The latest crisis began March 4, when the International Criminal Court in the Hague charged Mr. […]


NYT Steadfastly Lowers the Political Discourse

Jane Kim of CJR.org (3/9/09) quotes some of the reactions to a New York Times reporter asking Barack Obama if he is “a socialist as some people have suggested”: Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post cracks that “the New York Times was THAT CLOSE to a journalistic coup!” and American Prospect‘s Ezra Klein wants to know, “Did they really think he would slip and admit that his stimulus plan was cadged from a footnote in Das Kapital?” NYT reporter Peter Baker defended the question to Greg Sargent: “We were interested in exploring how a new president defines his political philosophy, […]