CONFIRMED! KARL ROVE met with NY TIMES Editor before Bulge story was "killed" !!!
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The other day I decided to bring the Bush Bulge mystery back "on-topic" and focus on the many unanswered questions in this odd conundrum instead of criticism of the media for not reporting this important story... that is, until I read this juicy tidbit of information passed on by the Newsrack Blog :
According to New Yorker Magazine's, Nicholas Lemann, in a non-Bulge related column, KARL ROVE met with the New York Times' executive editor BILL KELLER for cocktails on October 22nd, 2004. This meeting was 3 days before the Times' "spiked" story on the bulge was originally set to run in the Times, and 5 days before the story was ultimately killed by Keller. [While this story isn't exactly new, it ran about 2 weeks ago, its taken this long to "connect the dots" and notice the extremely suspicious timing in regards to the Bulge story's demise at the Times.]
It has long been alleged that Rove placed a call or some sort of "pressure" on the Times' editors to "kill" the Bulge story before the Nov. 2nd elections. In fariness, Times Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, responding to BushWired's allegations of Rovian interference regarding the Bulge story, stated, "I have never heard this, nor do I believe it."
Perhaps its time to start believing!
Details of this conversation are clearly outlined in the New Yorker article titled "FEAR AND FAVOR - Why is everyone mad at the mainstream media?" (see the full article HERE) . While the revelations are not Bulge-specific they certainly show how Rove and the Bush Team operates, applying pressure to the press, and how the press responds to such pressure.
The article states that Keller actually asked Rove what he thought of the Times' coverage... resulting in a litany of complaints and allegations from Rove. The column goes on to say:
" Keller took his time describing the conversation, to suggest that he wasn’t dismissing the criticisms [Rove's] out of hand. “Your initial reaction, especially in someone as ferocious as Rove, is to drop into a defensive crouch,” he said. “But I try not to do that. I listened, with a fair measure of skepticism, because a lot of it is calculated. But there was some genuineness to it. He went through a long litany of complaints. I do think he was channelling a feeling about the New York Times that’s out there in the land, that we should be concerned about, or at least aware of.”
Was Keller, or the Times concerned enough to "spike" an important pre-election story on the Bulge? Do the previous allegations of Rove calling the Times to apply "pressure" carry more weight now that we know of this meeting? To steal a line from Newsrack blog... "Daniel Okrent's disbelief notwithstanding, Lemann's piece suggests that Keller would have been pretty receptive to such a phone call."
I agree, and again, the sources that first broke this story to BushWired have turned out to be correct. Rove did, in fact, have contact with NYT Executive Editor shortly before the Bulge story was "killed".
There is no recent statement from Mr. Keller on these revelations, but lets look again at a statement from Keller that ran in the Times on November 1st (Full story HERE) ... AFTER the Bulge story was killed, and AFTER his meeting with Rove.
"I can't say categorically you should not publish an article damaging to a candidate in the last days before an election,'' he said. "If you learned a day or two before the election that a candidate had lied about some essential qualification for the job - his health or criminal record - and there's no real doubt and you've given the candidate a chance to respond and the response doesn't cast doubt on the story, do you publish it? Yes. Voters certainly have a right to know that.''
- New York Times Executive Editor, Bill Keller.
Maybe voters don't have the right to know... Something smells VERY ROTTON at the Times.
More updates to follow, including some new info on THIS PHOTO which has been the subject of some recent discussion.