New York Times and Blumenthal

Leaving out how one feels about Richard Blumenthal possibly misreprenting his military record, I just can’t see how this is good journalism on the part of the Times:

The New York Times, in a statement sent my way, is now defending its decision to run a shorter version of an explosive video of Richard Blumenthal in 2008 falsely claiming service in Vietnam — even though a longer version shows he accurately represented his service during the same speech.

When The Times first broke the story Monday night, it included a clip of Blumenthal claiming he “served in Vietnam.” But today the Associated Press unearthed a longer video showing that he earlier described himself as “someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps.”

Greg Sargent has it right:

Even if you don’t believe the longer video is exculpatory in any way, as The Times says, there’s no conceivable reason for leaving out the fuller context and letting readers make the call for themselves. It seems obvious that when dealing with a story this explosive, you would want to err on the side of more context, rather than less.

I don’t like the way the Times is handling this. It reminds me a lot of their story about John McCain and that foxy lobbyist in 2008. Again, it’s too much of a hit piece focusing on topics that aren’t that closely related to any important governmental issues.

Update. And this anti-Blumental piece from noted white supremacist William Saletan is simply bizarre. It actually argues that since “Blumenthal denounced `exploitive, poorly managed or even fraudulent fundraisers’ who raise money in the name of veterans”, he should be judged more harshly for his misrepresentations. How does that even begin to make sense?






75 replies
  1. 1
    Poopyman says:

    I agree, but I can’t figure out why they’d put this out on an election day when Blumenthal isn’t even in the running. I doubt the story was gaining too much traction on its own merits, but it has certainly become useful in pointing out the Times’ nasty tactics.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    How does that even begin to make sense.

    Shut the fuck up, that’s how.

  3. 3
    Midnight Marauder says:

    I don’t like the way the Times is handling this. It reminds me a lot of their story about John McCain and that foxy lobbyist in 2008. Again, it’s too much of a hit piece focusing on topics that aren’t that closely related to any important governmental issues.

    I’ve lost a great deal of respect for the NYT in their handling of this issue, especially now that the criticism is turning back on them for the haphazardly constructed initial article. And look at this comment from their spokesperson, Diane McNulty, claiming that the longer video does nothing to change the story:

    The New York Times in its reporting uncovered Mr. Blumenthal’s long and well established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service, which he acknowledged in an interview with The Times. Mr. Blumenthal needs to be candid with his constituents about whether he went to Vietnam or not, since his official military records clearly indicate he did not.
    __
    The video doesn’t change our story. Saying that he served “during Vietnam” doesn’t indicate one way or the other whether he went to Vietnam.

    I mean, that is just fucking pathetic, any way you look at it. It doesn’t change whether he went to Vietnam? He needs to be candid with his constituents? Good thing he says explicitly in that video that he didn’t go to Vietnam.

    I just want to watch the entire Village burn to the ground right now.

  4. 4
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Yeah, the NYTimes basically committed some crappy journalism, and now they’re going to the mattresses, instead of just doing the obvious: admitting that they fucked up.

    In other news, Americans are losing faith in their institutions.

  5. 5
    mai naem says:

    Who knows? Blumenthal’s always been one of the AGs around the country to get onto any pro-consumer lawsuit. You can be assured he’s got his bunch of enemies lined up.

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Thank you for posting the NYT’s response; Doug should add it to his story.

    If Diane McNulty is not already an RNC operative, she should consider becoming one as she does not even bother with a pretense of objectivity. This is like the Paterson bombshell that wasn’t quite the bombshell they initially claimed, except in this case their smear was crafted from even flimsier stuff.

  7. 7
    Mike Kay says:

    but they yanked all the teeth outta the McCain-fucking-young-bouncy-lobbyist story and they held it back until the gop primaries were over. Then they only released the mutilated article because the reporters started leaking their material to other outlets, otherwise the Times editors would have kept it buried, so as not to embarrass everyone’s favorite Maverick.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    @mai naem: Wall Street wants that seat, and lord knows the NYT is all about doing Wall Street’s bidding.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    @Mike Kay:

    I don’t see how it’s good journalism to have an article that says things like “his staffers thought he was sleeping with her” (that’s a shorter version of about three paragraphs of that story).

  10. 10
    Bill Section 147 says:

    Blumenthal gets caught bending the story and at least admits he is responsible for what he said. Not a full, “Gawd I am such a Liar…are you happy now?” apology but at least he fessed up to bending the story.

    NYT gets caught bending the story and admits that story bending isn’t important because well…I mean…Blumenthal did some bending and even if the NYT omitted a lot of stuff he did say, he did say something that wasn’t true in the ten seconds we presented and so he’s a liar.

    Sadly the Righties that complain that this SOP for the NYT will suddenly use the liberal NYT to make their non-point.

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if members of both parties could just get together for once and call out the crap we have for Corporate Media? Oh wait. When they actually do that nobody reports it.

  11. 11
    Derek says:

    The New York Times is a shitty newspaper.

  12. 12

    How does that even begin to make sense?

    He’s a Democrat, what was your question again?

  13. 13
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @mai naem: Ding, ding, ding! The economic elite is attacking the candidate that threatens them… Blumenthal shoud turn the attack around, turn it into an asset in an anti-elite, anti-establishment climate.

  14. 14
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Odd that this story seems to be driving the news cycle. My default assumption is always that politicians are liars, so catching a candidate for office in a state three time zones away from me in a fib about his war record wouldn’t normally register with me. By contrast, a sitting Congressman just resigned because his entire life was a lie, and that story is a distant second. Odd that.

    I don’t have a particularly strong opinion about Blumenthal (unlike our hero Chris Matthews, who went all Jonathan Edwards on Blumenthal again today) but surely the NYT has better things to do?

  15. 15
    LT says:

    Much more:

    2. Jean Risley, the woman from the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the source of the Times quote about Blumenthal claiming to have been spat upon, says she was misquoted and that Blumenthal never made false claims to her about Vietnam. She appeared at Blumenthal’s event yesterday.

    More damning, from Connecticut media personnel:

    So I asked reporters, anchors and columnists to tell me (a) whether they could remember Blumenthal ever claiming to have served in Vietnam and (b) whether they had been under the impression for whatever reason, that Blumenthal had served in Vietnam. Here are the answers so far.

    Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, who may have covered Blumenthal more often than anybody else, referred me to his quote in an NPR national story: “Every time he talked about his military record, he was quite clear that he had been a military reservist and never came close to suggesting he was in Vietnam.”

    Greg Hladky of the Hartford Advocate, formerly of the New Haven Register and Bridgeport Post, right up there with Paz in Blumenthal coverage: “Never personally heard [Blumenthal] say he was in Vietnam. I knew he had been the the Marine Corps Reserve, talked about that briefly during interview for a profile I did recently, and he never mentioned being in Nam.”

  16. 16
    LT says:

    Fuck. No space lines allowed in blockquotes, apparenlty. And I’m not allowed to edit my own comment. Damn!

  17. 17
    Nick says:

    Told ya so (about the media)

  18. 18
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.): better things than brake the knees of an enemy of the economic elite?

    The New York Times serves a clientele, their job is to do their bidding

  19. 19
    Derek says:

    @LT:

    I’m told you can put two underscores on each blank line and it’ll show up correctly in your blockquote. Since I’ve never tried it, I’m going to now:

    So I asked reporters, anchors and columnists to tell me (a) whether they could remember Blumenthal ever claiming to have served in Vietnam and (b) whether they had been under the impression for whatever reason, that Blumenthal had served in Vietnam. Here are the answers so far.
    __
    Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, who may have covered Blumenthal more often than anybody else, referred me to his quote in an NPR national story: “Every time he talked about his military record, he was quite clear that he had been a military reservist and never came close to suggesting he was in Vietnam.”
    __
    Greg Hladky of the Hartford Advocate, formerly of the New Haven Register and Bridgeport Post, right up there with Paz in Blumenthal coverage: “Never personally heard [Blumenthal] say he was in Vietnam. I knew he had been the the Marine Corps Reserve, talked about that briefly during interview for a profile I did recently, and he never mentioned being in Nam.”

    EDIT: Sweet, it works.

    The message board I usually frequent is blocked again at work so BJ is my main timewaster now. And I’ve been waiting to try that out!

  20. 20
    Warren Terra says:

    @Mike Kay
    The Times chose to insinuate about a sexual relationship, with no more than workplace suppositions to back them, while downplaying the damning and easily proven financial relationship.

  21. 21
    Martin says:

    If everyone plays their cards right here, Blumenthal will come out on top. He’ll come off looking like the target of a local media hit-job, his opponent will look craven for jumping on board, and I don’t see how being a conscientious objector is going to hurt him in CT.

    There’s 6 months for this story to play out yet.

  22. 22
    LT says:

    @Derek:

    So I asked reporters, anchors and columnists to tell me (a) whether they could remember Blumenthal ever claiming to have served in Vietnam and (b) whether they had been under the impression for whatever reason, that Blumenthal had served in Vietnam. Here are the answers so far.
    __
    Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, who may have covered Blumenthal more often than anybody else, referred me to his quote in an NPR national story: “Every time he talked about his military record, he was quite clear that he had been a military reservist and never came close to suggesting he was in Vietnam.”
    __
    Greg Hladky of the Hartford Advocate, formerly of the New Haven Register and Bridgeport Post, right up there with Paz in Blumenthal coverage: “Never personally heard [Blumenthal] say he was in Vietnam. I knew he had been the the Marine Corps Reserve, talked about that briefly during interview for a profile I did recently, and he never mentioned being in Nam.”

    *Well I’ll be damned. Thank you.

  23. 23
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Martin: Exactly. Also, he has a chance to appear as being anti-establishment, having been attacked by the establishment newspaper

  24. 24
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Martin:

    If everyone plays their cards right here, Blumenthal will come out on top. He’ll come off looking like the target of a local media hit-job, his opponent will look craven for jumping on board, and I don’t see how being a conscientious objector is going to hurt him in CT.
    __
    There’s 6 months for this story to play out yet.

    The best thing that could have happened for Blumenthal is him being able to paint this entire episode as a combination of being smeared by a political opponent so desperate to climb back up in the polls, she corroborated with an out-of-state newspaper for a malicious hit piece. And having the NYT come out and say “The video doesn’t change our story,” when, in fact, it most certainly changes their story, is just all-universe levels of tone-deaf stupidity.

    I would be completely unsurprised if Blumenthal comes out of this ordeal with minimal damage, if he suffers any at all.

  25. 25
    kay says:

    @Nick:

    You did. I just think it’s odd. It reminds me of the Elliot Spitzer affair. He was also a really aggressive prosecutor who went after moneyed interests. I know, I know, he was also a hypocrite, and he did the deed, so he had to be run out of town to express our moral outrage, but I didn’t want him to go.

  26. 26
    wrb says:

    The Times, even now comes out with this:

    The New York Times in its reporting uncovered Mr. Blumenthal’s long and well established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service

    Yet an apparently respected Conn. journalist had written this

    1a. In that regard, let me ask you this: Is there one reporter among the dozens who have covered Blumenthal for two decades who has ever heard him say he served in Vietnam? Or who was somehow under the impression that Blumenthal served in Vietnam? It was news to me that he had ever claimed that. But if the Times is correct in arguing that Blumenthal has a pattern of somehow, in public, generating the impression that he served in Vietnam, I assume some reporters have heard him do it. So consider this an online poll. Mark Pazniokas. Chris Keating. Jon Lender. Daniela Altimari. Kevin Rennie. Dennis House. Brian Lockhart. Ted Mann. Tom Monahan. Geg Hladky. Duby McDowell (Ret.). Ketih Phaneuf. Sue Haig Susan Haigh. All of the others. Can any of you remember hearing Blumenthal ever say he served in Vietnam? Did you think he had served there? Because the Times would have us believe that these misrepresentations were habitual and that “idea that [Blumenthal] served in Vietnam has become …an accepted part of his public biography. True? If you feel like answering, email Colin@wnpr.org.

    Seems that they are insinuating that something is a widely accepted truth when it may not be.

    I fear the Times is completely full of shit here.

  27. 27
    Steve says:

    The super-lefty-liberal New York Times sure sold out us liberals on this one, didn’t it?

    I agree with DougJ that the story about McCain and the lobbyist was similarly crappy, though, and I felt that way at the time even though I can’t stand McCain.

    Also, the piece where the NYT disclosed the SWIFT program for tracking terrorist financing, while in a different vein, also showed pretty crappy editorial judgment in my view, and I think the public editor basically ended up saying so.

    And then there’s Judy Miller. The fucked-up thing is, even with all this, the NYT is STILL the best paper out there…

  28. 28
    wrb says:

    Ah… I see that LT had already linked to Colin McEnroe

  29. 29
    CT Voter says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I found that response bizarre as well. Particularly this section:

    Mr. Blumenthal needs to be candid with his constituents

    Doesn’t that sound like something an opposing campaign would say? Why is the spokesperson talking about what Blumenthal needs to do when the question was about the reporting of the NY Times?

    It’s bizarre.

  30. 30
    jwb says:

    @Steve: “the NYT is STILL the best paper out there…” If they continue doing this for much longer, they won’t be.

  31. 31
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @wrb:

    I fear the Times is completely full of shit here.

    There is no need to fear this. It is most certainly the truth.

    And DougJ, I think it would be a nice move to add the NYT spokesperson’s response to the charges the paper is now facing as an update to this post. It certainly helps provide a greater sense of perspective on an issue that is definitely not going away any time soon.

  32. 32
    Steve says:

    @jwb: Maybe not, but can you tell me who is next in line to claim the title? The Quibbler?

  33. 33
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @Martin:

    He’ll come off looking like the target of a local media hit-job

    It comes as an enormous surprise to righties but the NYT is not particularly loved by lefties, so playing that card might indeed work for Blumenthal.

  34. 34
    Derek says:

    @Steve:

    The fucked-up thing is, even with all this, the NYT is STILL the best paper out there.

    I wouldn’t go that far.

  35. 35
    jwb says:

    @Steve: McClatchy?

  36. 36

    @Derek:

    During MJ there is always an ad for “the weekender” the weekend subscription to the NYT. There is one guy who says “the best journalists in the world work for the NYT and there is no disputing that” I swear I about spit my tea all over the comforter every time I hear it.

  37. 37
    tammanycall says:

    Work’s been nuts today, so if you’ve already posted this, I apologize, but if not: Linda McMahon Campaign Unsuccessfully Scrubs Evidence of its Role in NYT’s Richard Blumenthal Story.

  38. 38
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Midnight Marauder: And on top of the ACORN story, which was bad enough, and then Clark Hoyt’s absolutely, stunningly moronic response to the issue.

  39. 39

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Wanted to edit to add the best journalists in the world work for the BBC. Period.

  40. 40
    gnomedad says:

    there’s no conceivable reason for leaving out the fuller context and letting readers make the call for themselves.

    Then you have Fox News, for whom this is their raison d’etre.

  41. 41
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Midnight Marauder: While I agree that the NYT committed serious malpractice by not using the longer video, I disagree with the idea that Blumenthal’s preface makes any difference. Saying “[I] served in the military during the Vietnam era”, then following it with “[I] served in Vietnam” leaves the impression that the first assertion was merely a humble understatement of the second assertion. That is, since the “in Vietnam” assertion is by far the stronger of the two, most listeners would take it as the definitive meaning of the two assertions.

    I mean, if someone says, “I was in the U.S. during 9/11”, then a few minutes later says, “I was in Manhattan during 9/11”, do you really think it’s plausible to conclude that she meant only to express that she was in the country then?

  42. 42
    demo woman says:

    After all Blumenthal joined the elitist group of Marine Corps and went to Parris Island for boot camp. Isn’t that just like a day on the beach. The NYTimes piece was a hit job and justice would be for the reporters to spend a week with that elitist group.

  43. 43
    kay says:

    At the very least, can they clear up whether they misquoted that woman?
    That’s bizarre all by itself.
    Why would she pour her heart out to the NYTimes reporter on this big betrayal and then appear with the candidate following release of the story, to rebut the story?
    Will they give her op ed space? I think she deserves a chance to explain what the hell is up with her. She comes off looking like a crazy person.

  44. 44
    jwb says:

    @AhabTRuler: Hoyt knows where his paycheck comes from and where he can tsk-tsk the paper and where it’s his job to take one for the paper.

  45. 45
    Steve says:

    @jwb: Is McClatchy a newspaper, though, or a publishing company? I don’t really understand what they are. I agree that they do great journalism.

  46. 46

    @Tonal Crow:

    I think everyone has to put the entire mess into this context. My husband served in the Marine Corps during the “Vietnam era” I think for about a couple of months when he joined up. He is therefore entitled to join Vietnam Veterans of America even though he never went to Vietnam and he was actively recruited by the organization (which he steadfastly refused to do “I was never there, why would I give people the impression that I was”). THAT is the reason that there is a splinter group known as “In Country Vietnam Veterans of America” Basically anyone who was in the military during the Vietnam era can call themselves a “Vietnam Vet” despite the fact they never left US shores. By that level of qualification I can call myself a “Falklands War Vet” and a “Gulf War Vet” despite the fact that I stayed in the UK during both wars.

  47. 47
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I mean, if someone says, “I was in the U.S. during 9/11”, then a few minutes later says, “I was in Manhattan during 9/11”, do you really think it’s plausible to conclude that she meant only to express that she was in the country then?

    Well, if that person came out, as of two months ago, and unequivocally stated the equivalent of “Although I did not serve in Vietnam,” then I think you might have a point. I believe Steve Benen described this madness best when he said:

    If, however, Blumenthal was trying to create a fictional service record, he didn’t try very hard.

    And I struggle to see how you can say in one sentence that you “agree that the NYT committed serious malpractice” by not using the longer excerpt of the video, but then turn around and say that Blumenthal’s initial prefacing makes no difference. Then why are you okay with classifying the NYT’s actions as “serious malpractice” if it doesn’t change the implication one way or the other? That logic does not seem to coherently mesh together.

  48. 48
    AhabTRuler says:

    @jwb: I don’t disagree, but I think it is quite sad. I have mentioned before that he is social with members of my immediate family, although I cannot recall meeting him myself (although I certainly must have at least once). He came out of Knight-Ridder’s Washington Bureau, where he won his Pulitzer. Although it has since been bought by McClatchy, the reputation for good, solid reporting from the bureau has remained, so it’s a shame to see a good reporter go down.

    ETA: McClatchy is a newspaper chain, and today is the result of the merger with KR.

  49. 49
    jwb says:

    @Steve: They own a bunch of newspapers, and as far as I can tell their site conglomerates the best of their work. I believe they are trying to reorganize as a branded national news organization with local outlets.

  50. 50
    jwb says:

    @AhabTRuler: IIRC, he’s due to step down in the next couple of months, so with luck he can go back to being a good reporter.

  51. 51
    Neutron Flux says:

    @Nick: Correct, I remember you predicted this several times, and wondering if would prove out.

    Interesting.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    @jwb: If Judy Miller and Jayson Blair didn’t take down the NYT, nothing journalistic will.

  53. 53
    Derek says:

    The Christian Science Monitor is a good paper. Though, they don’t publish an actual dead-tree daily edition anymore. Just the website and a weekly edition.

  54. 54
    Cacti says:

    Good to know that the NYT will credulously catapult whatever propaganda the right hands them, and then unflinchingly stand by their stenography story no matter how many holes are poked in it.

    Way to go librul media!

  55. 55
    Napoleon says:

    @jwb:

    Huh, weird, when they were Knight Ridder, one of their flagship papers was the Akron Beacon Journal (or the BJ). Why aren’t they on the list?

  56. 56
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Midnight Marauder: On NYT’s malpractice, it’s simple: they hid something that some people think exculpates Blumenthal, or that at least mitigates his transgression. I think it doesn’t, but I can still respect someone who argues some degree of mitigation. It’s a matter of giving us all the evidence, versus tilting the evidence to favor a particular viewpoint.

    This story stinks of the NYT’s “reporting” in the leadup to Iraq. Shame!

  57. 57
    jwb says:

    @Martin: There, I think you are wrong. Every time something like this happens and they don’t own up to it, it takes them down a notch.

  58. 58
    jl says:

    @LT:

    From the McEnroe column:

    “There was one “smoking gun” — the Norwalk clip.”

    If that is true, if they guy mispoke one line in one speech after accurately stating the facts a few minutes earlier, this is a real mess up by the NY Times.

  59. 59
    Cacti says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Yep.

    It’s the journalistic equivalent of putting a thumb on the scale.

  60. 60
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    On NYT’s malpractice, it’s simple: they hid something that some people think exculpates Blumenthal, or that at least mitigates his transgression. I think it doesn’t, but I can still respect someone who argues some degree of mitigation. It’s a matter of giving us all the evidence, versus tilting the evidence to favor a particular viewpoint.

    I can respect that, even if I think your argument against Blumenthal is kind of weak.

  61. 61
    jwb says:

    @Tonal Crow: “It’s a matter of giving us all the evidence, versus tilting the evidence to favor a particular viewpoint.”

    Especially when there was really no good reason not to give all the evidence. I actually expect that Hoyt will tsk-tsk them on this aspect of the reporting of the story.

  62. 62
    Cacti says:

    So, when will the librul NYT do a story on the labor practices of the WWF/WWE and why so many of its former employees die young?

    I’ll be waiting.

  63. 63
    Cacti says:

    Speaking of the NYT/Blumenthal fiasco…

    Does anyone else feel like Karl Rove’s finger prints are all over this one? Attacking someone’s military service was Turdblossom’s specialty.

  64. 64
    jwb says:

    @Cacti: No, I’m pretty sure it’s the same people who got Spitzer.

  65. 65
    LT says:

    @jl:

    @LT:
    From the McEnroe column:
    “There was one “smoking gun”—the Norwalk clip.”
    If that is true, if they guy mispoke one line in one speech after accurately stating the facts a few minutes earlier, this is a real mess up by the NY Times.

    Until others are found, I don’t know how anyone can logically and fairly go anywhere else. With the reporters and marines standng behind him especially.

  66. 66
    Steve says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Basically anyone who was in the military during the Vietnam era can call themselves a “Vietnam Vet” despite the fact they never left US shores. By that level of qualification I can call myself a “Falklands War Vet” and a “Gulf War Vet” despite the fact that I stayed in the UK during both wars.

    I’ve been told by many people, including my father who served in the early 60s, that the convention is to call yourself a “Vietnam-era vet” if you didn’t actually go. There’s no law against calling yourself a Vietnam vet if you like, of course, but I think most people who actually served during that period would consider it slimy.

  67. 67

    Oh crie eye eye,

    In country there was just a bit of difference between being in the shit and playing support. There is also a rather large disparity in numbers.

  68. 68
    stuckinred says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: no they can’t, they are ERA vets, period.

    Now, I want everyone to get over it and stop all this swearing.

  69. 69
    stuckinred says:

    @Chuck Butcher: And, as I am sure you know, like every other war there were far more support troops (including me) than grunts. The only difference is that “in country” there was the chance of the odd angry 122, mortar or mine. In the big one most people were no where near being “In Harms Way”.

  70. 70
    am says:

    Blumenthal’s allies should be making a point that his service in Vietnam was more that George W Bush, Dick Cheney, New Gingrich, and Rudolph Giuliani combined.

    This is so stupid I have to suspend lurking to speak out about it.

  71. 71
    someguy says:

    Oh dear God, can’t we just drop this goddamn Republican swiftboating? It’s bad enough when we turn on our own, we don’t need to be carrying Linda fucking McMahon’s water for her.

    Linda fucking pro wrestling wife McMahon… Jeebus. Sacrosanct though pro wrasslin no doubt is around these parts, do we really want to do this to the guy? What’s next – Joe Lieberman strips off his mask and turns out to actually be Jesse Helms?

  72. 72
    Tom Q says:

    I know most people would cite Judith Miller as the Times’ nadir, for the damage it caused, but I’d say the original Jeff Gerth Whitewater article was the beginning of the end for the paper. And this Blumenthal article is very similar to that one: dripping with innuendo, taking the flimsiest of evidence and presuming the absolute worst from it. Yet I knew many intelligent people who for years insisted there clearly had to be SOMETHING to Whitewater — the Times imprimatur was enough to plant that seed in their minds.

    As for getting the Times to pull back on this — fuggedaboudit. As Gene Lyons wrote of Whitewater, “The Times would rather see a president impeached than print a retraction”.

  73. 73
    Morbo says:

    And here come the Linda McMahon banner ads, awesome.

  74. 74
    Gary says:

    NYT is absolutely correct – as usual. There’s nothing exculpatory here. “I served in the Marine Corps during Viet Nam” suggests he was in Viet Nam (most jarheads were) and he later in the same speech explicitly says he was in Viet Nam. Blumenthal’s intent to deceive is clear. If you don’t understand how making a false claim of serving in Viet Nam is exploitive of real war veterans you sniff some ammonia or something – you’re asleep or brain dead.

  75. 75
    bob h says:

    And a followup Times article relies on the testimony of “friend” Christopher Shays, hardly a disinterested observer.

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