Time Magazine journalist Mark Halperinthinks his colleagueswere guilty of "extreme pro-Obama coverage" during the 2008 campaign, and the New York Timescame in for particularly detailed criticism. Politico's Alexander Burns quoted Halperin at a Politico conference at the University of Southern Californiaon Friday:
It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."
Halperin, who maintains Time's political site "The Page," cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.
"The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies," Halperin said. "The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it case her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn't talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that's ever been written about her."
The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was "like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is," according to Halperin.
Times Watch also caught the Times' double standard, and in particular noted the slant of reporter Jodi Kantor, who co-authored the Michelle Obama profile with Michael Powell and the hostile McCain profile with David Halbfinger.
When not targeting Cindy McCain with rehashings of old negative tales, Kantor also went trolling Facebook for teenagers willing to dish on Cindy McCain's parenting skills, and evenreheated its own discredited allegations about a John McCain affair.
By contrast, Kantor lauded Michelle Obama in a June 2008 profile that portrayed criticism of Barack's wife as either hurtful or out of line. Her controversial campaign comment, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country," which suggested for many both a lack of pride in America and an unpleasant self-absorption, was dismissed by the Times as a mere "rhetorical stumble," with the implication that the media overplayed it (the Times certainly didn't).