Double Standards at the New York Times


The New York Times, which claims to draw a clear distinction between its news articles and its commentary articles, dropped any pretense of such a distinction in its minimalist “coverage” of yesterday’s dramatic effort by Rep. Dennis Kucinich to force the House to consider the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a small 230-word piece on Kucinich’s privilege motion, and the subsequent vote to send his H Res. 333, now called H. Res. 799, to the House Judiciary Committee, after it has been consigned to limbo for over 6 months by the House leadership, the Times succeeded in dissing both Kucinich and the notion of impeaching the vice president.

As the anonymous Times reporter wrote in the lead of this hit piece:

It is hard to know which effort has longer odds, the bid by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, to become president of the United State, or his bid to unseat Vice President Dick Cheney by impeaching him.

The rest of the article, which made no attempt to lay out Kucinich’s blistering expose of the vice president’s criminal role in presenting false evidence to the Congress and American people to justify an invasion of Iraq, and his condemnation of the vice president for the international crime of threatening war against Iran, is spent describing how House Democratic leaders and Republicans sparred over Kucinich’s bill, with Republicans helping to defeat a Democratic effort to table it, and with Democrats then pushing it off the floor and over to the Judiciary Committee.

The Times has clearly decided that despite its editorial positions blasting the criminal actions and blatant abuses of power of this administration, there should be no impeachment hearings on either Bush or Cheney. That might be okay as an editorial position, but the nation’s leading newspaper, at least by reputation, has also decided it will buttress that position by either ignoring the growing nationwide impeachment movement, which it has been doing now for two years, or by using its news pages to undermine and ridicule impeachment efforts. That is not okay for a publication that hypocritically pretends that its news articles are fair and balanced.

Instead of assigning a team of crack reporters to investigate the vice president’s ongoing crimes–for example his recent effort to drag the US into a war with Iran by going behind the State Department and pressing Israel to attack Iran, so that Iran would retaliate and the U.S. would be forced to come to Israel’s aid (a treasonous act by Cheney that was reported in Newsweek magazine)–or the president’s crimes (such as his role in obstructing the investigation of the Valerie Plame outiing, or his direct role in authorizing severe torture of captives), the Times is using its reportorial resources to squelch a mass movement for impeachment.

The paper is also joining the rest of the corporate media in yet another shameless effort to deny the American people a genuine political campaign of ideas, deciding well ahead of the primaries which candidates are worthy of coverage, and which ideas and issues are acceptable for public debate. Kucinich, who has been the most consistent and principled opponent of the Iraq War and the drive to attack Iran, the most knowledgeable and consistent proponent of genuine health care reform, the most solid defender of the Constitution and the most ardent defender of working Americans and of the poor among the list of Democratic candidates, is simply not covered by the Times, and is now written off in a suppposed news article as being unelectable!

What a pathetic display of bias, and what an insult to readers.

At least it helps me to understand why the paper has never reviewed Barbara Olshansky’s and my book on “The Case for Impeachment,” or in fact any of the excellent books on that topic that have been published over the past two years.

Impeachment, for the Times, is a non-story, suitable apparently only for sophomoric ridicule.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at:


CounterPunch contributor DAVE LINDORFF is a producer along with MARK MITTEN on a forthcoming feature-length documentary film on the life of Ted Hall and his wife of 51 years, Joan Hall. A Participant Film, “A Compassionate Spy” is directed by STEVE JAMES and will be released in theaters this coming summer. Lindorff has finished a book on Ted Hall titled “A Spy for No Country,” to be published this Fall by Prometheus Press.