The New York Times has had some remarkable coverage about Senator Feingold's censure resolution. Remarkable in its naivete and lack of balance.
Today's Times featured an editorial entitled, "Time for Facts, Not Resolutions," suggesting that:
Just how exactly does the New York Times editorial board propose that Democrats conduct investigations as a minority party? Do we Democrats just ask the Republicans to hold hearings, subpoena government officials and documents, and expect them to "fulfill their sworn duty to investigate?" Tried that. Didn't work.
"[T]he censure proposal is a bad idea. Members of Congress don't need to take extraordinary measures like that now. They need to fulfill their sworn duty to investigate the executive branch's misdeeds and failings."
On January 20th, relegated to a basement room, I conducted my own hearing on the NSA warrantless wiretapping. I invited bipartisan participation, bringing in witnesses to discuss the legal arguments for and against the NSA domestic spying. The New York Times says:
Well, I had the hearing on January 20th, what did the New York Times have to say about that? Nothing. No coverage. Did the Republicans "fulfill their sworn duty to investigate" as a result? Nope. Tried that. Didn't work.
"We'd be applauding Mr. Feingold if he'd proposed creating a bipartisan panel to determine whether the domestic spying operation that Mr. Bush has acknowledged violates the 1978 surveillance law."
I do appreciate the New York Times' favorable view of someone who "proposed creating a bipartisan panel." Maybe I feel that way because I have already done that, in December, in response to the administration's alleged acts of wrongdoing - lying about the decision to go to war; manipulating intelligence; facilitating and countenancing torture; using confidential information to out a CIA agent in political retaliation against her husband; flagrant violations of federal wiretap laws. In December, last year, I introduced a bill, House Resolution 635, which calls for the creation of a special bipartisan committee to investigate the activities of the Bush Administration leading up to war.
When I introduced this resolution December 22nd, it was accompanied by a 182-page report, with 1,000 footnotes, documenting compelling reasons to investigate the White House. Oh, and I also introduced resolutions censuring both Bush and Cheney. Imagine my pleasure when the New York Times finally took notice two-and-a-half months later.
Well, sort of.
Actually the story was about how Feingold's resolution was going to be a boon for the Republicans. It was an interesting piece of "balanced" reporting to be sure.
Essentially, we are told, that we have just handed the November elections to the Republicans. Who do we go to for this information?
Paul Weyrich - a veteran conservative organizer, Rush Limbaugh, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, Republican spokesman Brian Jones, and National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Carl Forti.
Perhaps more alarming is the transparent manner in which New York Times journalist, David D. Kirkpatrick volunteers as his sources in this article: "Paul Weyrich ... declared last month in an e-mail" or "The Republican National Committee sent the editorial out to its e-mail list of 15 million supporters" or "Rush Limbaugh told listeners on his syndicated radio program" or "The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, a conservative standard-bearer" or "Conservative Web sites and talk radio programs have lavished attention on the impeachment resolutions" or "for three days the Republican Party has sent radio hosts news bulletins."
Perhaps Kirkpatrick's "sources" may have explained to him I have done a bit of work. He mentions that I have "proposed an initial inquiry into a censure or impeachment of Mr. Bush over the war." He continues, "[s]o far, the Conyers proposal has attracted support from about two dozen of the chamber's 201 Democrats." About two dozen? An inquiry into censure or impeachment?
This flippant account of what must count for research is preposterous. There were actually 32 Members of Congress on my resolution. Maybe that's about two dozen. Or maybe that's more than 15% of the Democrats in Congress and a number that's growing every week. Maybe the author could have signed up for my email, or even called me or my staff if he wanted to know the facts. Or he could have gone to Congress.gov to find out who has signed up as a cosponsor.
Maybe it is "Time for Facts." Just don't go to the New York Times looking for them.