Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Karl Rove, the New York Times ...and the BULGE. --UPDATE!!!

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As the Bulge again begins to breathe life, controversy continues regarding the New York Times' "killing" or "spiking" of a Bulge story. While I still have some serious issues with the Times' account of the incident, I can't say that I fully believe that the killing of their story was responsible for the re-election of President Bush. That's a big "What If..." in my opinion.

Nevertheless, I felt it important to write a letter to the Times' Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, commenting on what the Times DID cover on the Bulge INSTEAD of the "spiked" story. My letter was a shorter version of my previous post (below) and can be read at: Daniel Okrent's Web Journal (it is also posted in the comments section below). To his credit, Mr. Okrent has responded to my letter in a very straightforward manner, which I'm sure readers will appreciate.

"I've said most of what I have to say about this matter. But if I haven't made it clear before, I should make it clear here: having now had the opportunity to read the story that was spiked, I believe it should have been published. It probably wouldn't have satisfied those who are convinced the bulge was evidence of a communications device, but it would have gone some ways toward clarifying a matter of public controversy.
Yours sincerely,
Dan Okrent"

Fair enough.

There is a second facet to the Times' "spiked" story which also received feedback from Mr. Okrent... the report that Karl Rove placed a call to the Times. Allegedly, this was the real reason this story was "killed". The Newsrack Blog covered this report and received the following comment from Mr. Okrent:

"If this is true, it's because "Bushwired" has much better sources than I do. I have never heard this, nor do I believe it.
Yours sincerely,
Daniel Okrent"

Because Bush Wired is the source of this information, perhaps I should clarify what I know of this Rove angle again. In late October 2004, after the Times' report was "spiked", I received several reports of the incident at Bush Wired. The reports ranged from simple information on the "spiked" story, to a laundry list of complaints against the Times' editors. One report mentioned a "near mutiny" in the Times newsroom and that people at the Times were "aghast" over the Bulge story's untimely death. All reports correctly identified both the authors of the story and the date the story was killed, several weeks before this information was otherwise made public. As these reports turned out to be correct, I feel these sources are somewhat credible. Because of the timing and accuracy of these sources, I can only ASSUME that they are within the Times itself. I promised NOT to reprint or post the original e-mails from these sources, and I will keep my word. Additionally, I have not heard anything more from these sources since early November.

Three of these reports mentioned that Karl Rove called the Times, and subsequently the story was killed. I have no way to independently verify this information, but I decided to simply post what I was told, based on the previous accuracy of the sources. Its very possible that my sources have an "axe to grind" with the Times, and the Rove angle should be taken with a grain of salt. Thats ALL I know. To be fair. lets say that the Rove call is a REPORT from several unnamed sources, and at this point, NOT 100% fact... but quite interesting nonetheless. I should also remind readers of the Brad Menfil saga early on in this twisted story.

As always, make up your own mind!

Bush wired


Blogger icone said...

Text of the Letter sent to Daniel Okrent / New york times:

Mr. Daniel Okrent / New York Times,

Hello. My name is Chris Shaw, I am the "editor" of Bush Wired, one of the original blogs devoted to discussion of the Bush Bulge Mystery.


We have been following this intriguing "Bulge Phenomenon" for many months in detail, and have also covered some of the issues arising from the Times' "killed" or "spiked" story since we learned of the incident in late October. Bush Wired first reported on the Times' killing of this story on November 2nd, election day.

While, of course, the New York Times is free to publish whatever it wishes, we raise the question of what the Times published about the Bulge INSTEAD of the killed story. This is what troubles me about your account of the incident. I find it very odd that the Times would "spike" a story containing serious, previously unreported (in the mainstream media) information, which raised some important and timely questions. These questions need to be asked regardless of what the Bulge really is (because nobody truly knows), and regardless of "election timing".

INSTEAD of covering all the known facts on the Bulge, the Times published a light-hearted story (Bumiller 11/8) which never mentioned the enhanced photos of Dr. Nelson, although the times clearly had this information and photos in-hand. Bumiller's story simply proclaims that the presidential tailor Georges de Paris is "off the hook" for the Bulge (as it wasn't a wrinkle) and that he THOUGHT it may have been a bulletproof vest. Oddly, this story was largely re-reported from a story in The Hill (11/4) which also stated that de Paris was not responsible for the Bulge... but cited Dr. Nelson's enhanced photos as "proof" that the Bulge was an object, and not a tailoring issue. The Hill then stated that this object was a bulletproof vest citing de Paris' speculation and unnamed sources. Questionable reporting at best, especially considering that de Paris' admittedly offered the wrinkle excuse at the behest of the Bush Administration.

I think everyone can agree that the Bulge is an OBJECT and not a wrinkle at this point. I feel the press and media have a certain duty to ask serious questions about this object, whatever it may be. The only person to ask Bush a hard question about the Bulge was Good Morning America's Charles Gibson. When asked directly, Bush told Gibson that the Bulge was simply an ill fitted shirt (which Bush apparently wore to all 3 debates). Coincidentally, Bush made this statement two days before your pre-election story was "spiked". Your "spiked" story and Nelson's photos only proved that Bush was not being honest, and that Bush boldly lied to Gibson on-record a few days before the election. Thats news to me, whether the Bulge is a prompter, a back brace, a Secret Service device, an ipod, or any of the other colorful theories floating around in cyberspace.

Why did the White House and the President himself go on-record, at first denying that the Bulge existed, and then outright lying about its existence? What is it? People still want an answer, and thats why this odd story continues to live.

I, for one, am very disappointed in the Times coverage of this story, I expected more from such a great paper. "All the News that's fit to Print"?... Apparently not.

We will be happy to post any comments, criticism, or rebuttals from you, or the Times, at Bush Wired. We strive to fairly cover all sides of this issue.

Chris Shaw - Editor
Bush Wired

1:39 PM  
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