The New York Times and the BULGE... update!!!
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Since adding the post following up on the New York Times fiasco, I've had a literal deluge of e-mail. GREAT!!... but I also encourage readers to post a comment and share your thoughts... that's how these blogs work, y'know!
So, that being said, the New York Times' treatment (or killing) of the Bulge story is still making a bit of news itself and the entire Bulge debate appears to be coming back to life somewhat. There are several links to new news at the end of this post.
Obviously, the Times can absolutely choose what they will or will not print... its their paper! But there are a few things that bother me about the Times' account, specifically, what they published INSTEAD of the killed story. Before jumping into Rovian Conspiracies and digging out our tin-foil hats, lets look at the Times' record on the story (or visit the BULGE ARCHIVES ).
First, lets forget about what the Bulge COULD HAVE BEEN, and stick with what's known in this instance. The New York Times was one of the first major media outlets to publish a story on the Bulge (Oct. 9, 2004) picking up the topic after Salon.com carried it's first Bulge story by Dave Lindorff on Oct. 9th.
The first Times article was written by Elisabeth Bumiller. (NY TIMES ARCHIVES). Bumiller again covered the story on Oct. 18th, (International Herald Tribune), and then published one last Bulge piece after the election on Nov. 8th (NY TIMES ARCHIVES). The Times mentioned the Bulge briefly and without substance in several other articles, but Bumiller seemed to be the "lead" on the story. Bumiller's coverage of the Bulge tended to be a light-hearted look at the issue in a somewhat humorous fashion (...it was kind of funny after all), she basically re-reported the story from Salon.com and The Hill. She also reported on the ridiculous "official" statements made by White House officials. Her coverage was not seriously investigative, as her reporting was mainly based on quotes and information from other published/media sources. Nothing wrong with that, although most Bulge-watchers wished the Times (or anyone else) in the major-media would start to take the story seriously and get some real answers.
And this is what troubles me... the Times WAS INVESTIGATING! They WROTE a serious story on the Bulge that focused on the enhanced debate photos of NASA's Dr. Robert Nelson. Without going into the details of the photos (see the BULGE PHOTO GALLERY) or Dr. Nelsons analysis, lets just say that nobody has questioned the authenticity of these images, or refuted Dr. Nelsons credentials as an expert. The thing these photos show conclusively is that the Bulge is an OBJECT and NOT A WRINKLE. What is newsworthy about that? The photos PROVE that the White House and President Bush himself made numerous false statements on-record about this OBJECT (whatever it is). Why was this object on Bush's back during the debates? Why did Bush lie and call it a wrinkle? That's what everyone wanted to know! Nevertheless, the story was "killed" and these questions were never asked by the Times.
Perhaps the Times thought it best not to run this story before the election. Perhaps they thought they did not have enough information for a good story... who knows... the story was killed and we probably won't ever know exactly what it said. However, we do know the Times still thought the Bulge was worth covering.
Also odd to me is that while the Times had a story in-hand discussing new and unreported developments (in the mainstream media) on the Bulge story AND the enhanced photos, they published a very different story. The final Times Bulge article (by Bumiller, 11/8) simply proclaimed that the presidential tailor, Georges de Paris, was "off the hook" as the source of the Bulge "wrinkle", and that de Paris THOUGHT it was a bulletproof vest... hardly a "scoop", especially when you consider what wasn't reported. There was no mention of photos or the other developments (although the Times reported again that the White House denied that the Bulge was a bulletproof vest).
Stranger still, Bumiller's story was basically re-reported from a piece in The Hill that ran on Nov. 4th ( 11/4 Story ). Surprisingly, the Hill story refuted its own own earlier reporting ( 10/20 Story ) that the Bulge was a simple wrinkle... of course, by citing Dr. Nelson's enhanced photos. That's how Georges de Paris got "off the hook". I guess Bumiller (or the Times) decided to leave that juicy tidbit out of the story.
"All the News That's Fit to Print" ??? ...Well, I guess not... just some of the news, and as long as the topic isn't too touchy, even after the election. Thanks, NY Times... honestly, as a reader, I'm disappointed.
Now that the story on the Times' killing of the Bulge story ( Lindorff's story from FAIR. ) is circulating freely, Daniel Okrent (Public Editor for the Times) has issued a new statement and charged Lindorff with "distortion". Lindorff then reponds strongly to Okrent. Check it out at the FAIR website . Read the previous post (below) for further information on the Times' admission.
• What is all this about??? See the THE BULGE HISTORY.
• Tell the Times what you think!!!
---> Daniel Okrent (Public Editor): email@example.com
---> Bill Keller (Editor): firstname.lastname@example.org
• Other Media: TAKE ACTION/Press Contacts
Other developments and previous links on the Times killed story:
• --> Editor & Publisher covers the Times' killing of the Bulge story.
•--> Daniel Okrent's Web Journal Times readers respond to Okrent and the Times.
•--> Lindorff's story from COUNTERPUNCH.
•--> Lindorff's story from FAIR.
•--> Lindorff's story from the ILCA site.
•--> Newsrack Blog discusses the Bulge and the Times story.
•--> Murky Thoughts Blog on the Bulge and the Times story.
•--> A Bulge Theories site ...excellent.
•--> New York Times covers the new power of blogs vs. mainstream media.