Joel Mowbray

Hell hath no fury like the Gray Lady scorned.

This weekend, the venerable New York Times ran five hit pieces on Sarah Palin: three breathless op-eds, one blistering editorial and a scathing 3,200-word front-page “news” story remarkable for dismissing even the pretense of balance. (In the interest of thoroughness, at least, the paper also trashed Todd Palin as too involved in his wife’s governorship.)

The paper of record, of course, was hardly the sole perpetrator the Palin Pile-on. It was just the nastiest.

In its sole piece of substantive reporting this weekend on Gov. Palin, the Times eschewed a “mixed bag” approach, as evidenced by the headline, “Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes.” No surprises followed.

Despite 80% of Alaskans adoring their governor, the Times managed to find the most vocal members of the other 20%. Almost to a man, the locals quoted in the ostensibly objective front-page story furthered the narrative of John McCain’s running mate as someone whose leadership is primarily marked by vindictive cronyism. While the news piece makes two fleeting mentions of her actually having supporters in her home state, both positive references are quickly coupled with critiques.

Perhaps the Times felt it offered balance by not smearing Gov. Palin in a style section story on her this weekend. That piece was—all 1,000+ words of it—dedicated to the pressing issues related to the vice presidential candidate’s fashion choices. And that was as kind as the paper got.

Compare this weekend’s coverage to the Gray Lady’s fawning profile of Barack Obama in May. With an unmistakably positive headline of “Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side,” the 5,000 word hagiography managed to bury any mention of Obama’s former financier—and now convicted felon—Tony Rezko almost 2,000 words deep. Even then, the man who at that point was on the cusp of being convicted on corruption charges was mentioned in two brief sentences—treated as nothing more than a mere footnote in Obama’s life.

After doing legitimate reporting on Rezko in June 2007, the Times largely ignored the criminal trial of one of Obama’s closest friends and associates, who helped the candidate and his wife Michelle buy their self-described “dream house.” Never mind that Obama’s name popped up in meaningful fashion several times during the proceedings.

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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