The New York Times and the Bush White House each has a well-entrenched
political reputation -- the Times as a bastion of old-school, East
Coast, New York Style liberalism, and the Bush White House as the
standard bearer of a powerful resurgent conservatism represented
chiefly by the middle of the United States.
Whether these reputations are deserved or not, they are certainly the
conventional wisdom. As such, The New York Times and the current
administration are often on opposite ends of the issues of the day,
and this is true for both foreign and domestic policies.
Having said that, it's rare for the White House to come forward and
say, in so many words, the New York Times reported it wrong...or is
misguided...or hasn't got a clue what it's talking about. The
administration has little to gain by directly antagonizing a poswerful
media institution such as The Times.
Nor does it have to...there are plenty of conservative pundits and
watchdog groups who are more than happy to take The Times (and the
rest of the media) to task if they feel that reporting is unfair,
misleading, or not representative of the true voice of the American
Here are a few examples where the New York Times and the White House
or the conservative establishment were at odds on matters of foreign
policy. The excerpts are from articles, websites, or transcripts of
TV programs -- I provided links when available, but some of the
excerpts are from subscription databases, and there is no direct link
Here is the material:
[ weapons of mass destruction ]
Are Trailers Found in Iraq Linked to Bioweapons Program?
Chris Plante, Andrea Koppel
7 June 2003
..."The New York Times" is reporting some intelligence experts are
disputing claims that trailers found in Iraq are linked to the
production of bioweapons.
...KOPPEL: We know, Chris, from "The New York Times" piece today, that
the sources that Judith Miller and her colleagues spoke with, American
and British analysts, intelligence analysts, were saying that they
felt that this was not -- that they were not used, these labs were not
used to produce bioweapons. But the president pretty much said that
they were. So, which is it?
...PLANTE: Well, I spoke to a senior CIA official, just a short time
ago, as a matter of fact. They stand by their story. They say that
anyone who criticizes the intelligence on this simply hasn't had
access to all the intelligence.
...They insist that they had intelligence from one of the people
involved in the design of these mobile laboratories, before the war
began. And that man was asked to identify these laboratories from
photographs after the photographs were made available. And they did it
like a police line up, showing him a series of vehicles, which
included, but not exclusively, the mobile biological weapons labs.
They insist that he picked them easily out of the line up.
...They're convinced that they're right. They're sticking by their
story and they disagree with "The New York Times" conclusions.
[ military strategy in Iraq ]
Talking Points: Slanting The War Coverage
Bill O'Reilly, David Christian, Chuck Nash
25 March 2003
Fox News: The O'Reilly Factor
...If you read "The New York Times," you'd think America was losing
this war. We'll tell you about that.
...O'REILLY: You know, the problem here is that we don't want another
Vietnam situation, where you get the poor guys over there, and they're
not allowed to fight, and they can't go into the Ho Chi Min trail and
they can't go chasing them into Cambodia, and they can't use the bombs
strategically to knock out the supply routes of North Vietnamese.
Look, you're right. It's all under control now. Our casualties have
been minimal. Their casualties have not. But they don't care. And for
every one American that dies, you know, the rest of the country is
like this, like "The New York Times." Do any of you three disagree
with me that "The New York Times" reported this war in a negative way?
Do any of you three disagree?
...NASH: I agree with you. And, Bill, they started doing that, it was
almost as if they were batting the pigeon back over the net, back and
forth between the editorial page and front page.
...O'REILLY: That's exactly what it is. And it's a disgrace. You know,
most of the people fear the "Times," because they'll come after me and
they'll say something nasty. I don't care. I want the American people
to know. I'm just pointing this out to see how deeply this is
ingrained. Whatever we do, no matter how good we are, or how many
no-combat zones there are, the people like "The New York Times," al
Jazeera - now I'm not putting the "Times" in al Jazeera's category,
but you're not going to get the accurate picture, it's always going to
be negative toward us. I'm wondering whether we should reassess this,
Mr. Brookes. That maybe we should reassess this a little bit.
[ this is a domestic issue, but it seemed worth including anyway --
same-sex unions ]
New York Times eyed for bias ; 'Equal treatment' of same-sex unions
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
20 August 2002
...The New York Times' decision to publish accounts of same-sex unions
was heralded as historic, courageous and a "watershed moment" by Joan
M. Garry of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a
media monitoring group that has already begun a yearlong "Equality
Project" to promote the idea elsewhere in the press.
...Others dispute the idea.
..."This is not an abstract news decision. We disagree with the New
York Times because it is serving a radical social political agenda,"
said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council. "And I don't think
they consulted any pro-family group in the process."
The Media Research Center is a conservative watchdog group that makes
a point of uncovering what it considers to be anti-conservative,
anti-Bush bias in mainstream media.
Here's their take on NY Times coverage of the war in Iraq:
The Hometown Paper Sulks
September 1, 2004
...Tuesday morning, it was another utterly misleading headline.
President Bush told NBC?s Matt Lauer that ?can?t win it,? suggesting
right there that the enemy couldn?t be vanquished in the next four
years, but eventually we?ll be successful. The Times headline? ?Bush
Cites Doubt America Can Win War on Terror.?
The Times is such a central focus for conservative criticism, that the
Media Research Center has even established a special organization
solely devoted to critiquing the newspaper. The organization is
called Times Watch:
Welcome to Times Watch, a project of the Media Research Center,
dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of
the New York Times.
...Complaints about the Times? liberal bias have grown stronger since
the 2001 promotion of Howell Raines from editorial page editor to
executive editor. As even Newsweek reported: ?A hard-charging editor?s
crusading style is coloring the Gray Lady?s reputation.... [the] Times
is being criticized for ginning up controversies as much as reporting
them out? (Seth Mnookin, December 6, 2002).
...By documenting and exposing the Times liberal bias, Times Watch is
committed to compelling the paper to provide balanced reporting, or
risk forfeiting its standing as the ?newspaper of record.?
Gall Over Youths In Guantanamo
...Carlotta Gall talks to three Afghan youths released from Guantanamo
Bay, but while even the liberal London Guardian quoted the boys about
how much they liked Guantanamo and Americans, Gall ignored those
positive views and focused on concerns about their captivity.
Will Bush Now Tone Down the Rhetoric?
...David Sanger is unusually generous toward Bush in the afterglow of
victory, but soon reverts to form: "One of the biggest questions
hanging over his second term is whether he will tone down the rhetoric
and actions that play so badly abroad."
Times' "Explosive" Scoop: Bombshell or Politically Motivated Dud?
...The Times trumpets two front-page stories blaming the Bush
administration for letting almost 400 tons of powerful explosives
disappear under its nose in Iraq. Grim news -- but is it true? An NBC
News report suggests maybe not.
Bullying, Brazen Bush
...Tuesday's front page is dominated by the latest in the Times'
series on the Bush presidency record, this time with a focus on
foreign policy. "Challenging Rest of the World With a New Order," by
reporters Roger Cohen, David Sanger and Steven Weisman, begins with an
anecdote from a Mexican diplomat to demonstrate how Bush rubs other
countries the wrong way
...Under a subhead that reads: "A World Alienated," the Times argues:
"But the complaint often heard around the world is that from the
outset the Bush administration's dismissive attitude set a pattern of
take-it-or-leave-it policies that needlessly alienated friends. The
Iraq war accelerated that process. Then, the acknowledgment that there
were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and no proven links
between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda cemented the view in Paris, Berlin
and elsewhere that Mr. Bush governed from ideology first, facts
...Despite the Times' myriad attempts to mislead on the issue, the
9/11 commission found ample ties between Hussein and Al Qaeda.
...The reporters also wonder why Bush hasn't apologized for the war,
even though the intelligence agencies of virtually every country
"knew" Hussein had weapons of mass destruction: "Even Mr. Blair had to
apologize for the intelligence about unconventional weapons in Iraq,
something Mr. Bush has resisted."
Times Watch has an extensive topics list that you can use to explore
many other policy areas, and their take on disagreements between the
New York Times and the current administration. The list is at:
and includes entries on:
and a host of other foreign policy topics.
I trust this information fully answers your question, and I hope the
examples I provided are on-target for what you needed.
However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need. If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.
All the best,
search strategy -- searched the Media Center and Times Watch websites,
along with several newspaper databases for stories about the current
administration and the New York Times.
Clarification of Answer by
23 Feb 2006 11:44 PST
From the materials I've looked at, there appears to be a consensus in
the academic community that, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the
media in the US stood side by side with the Bush administration in a
show of national unity. With time, however, this unity began to
dissipate, and news outlets like the New York Times returned to the
more traditional objective and even skeptical approach to
Here are a few examples of what some authors had to say:
[Iraq War and Oil]
Perspectives on 9/11
Yassin El-Ayouty, Gerald J. Galgan, Francis J. Greene, Edward Wesley
...On the level of inter-state policy, the challenges confronting the
United States in Iran and North Korea were considerable. In Iran, the
"axis of evil" approach strengthened the hands of the conservative
wing of revolutionary Islamic politics. In North Korea, it did not
deter that country from declaring that it possessed nuclear weapons
and intended to resume its plutonium-enrichment program in
contravention of its international agreements with the United States.
When Washington responded to North Korea's challenge, not with
military bluster but with calls for multilateral talks, the conviction
was strengthened among Arabs and Muslims that actual possession of
nuclear weapons was the only effective deterrent to unwarranted U.S.
...By late 2002 and early 2003, the Arab and Muslim street was trying
to figure out the U.S. fixation on war with Iraq. In a New York Times
article of January 5, 2003, entitled "A War for Oil, " Thomas Friedman
stated: "Any war we launch in Iraq will certainly be in part about
oil. To deny that is laughable." Then he went on to highlight the
variable U.S. approaches to Iraq and North Korea:
I say this possible Iraq war is partly about oil because it is
impossible to explain the Bush team's behavior otherwise. Why are they
going after Saddam Hussein with the 82nd Airborne and North Korea with
diplomatic kid gloves-when North Korea already has nuclear weapons,
the missiles to deliver them, a record of selling dangerous weapons to
anyone with cash, 100,000 U.S. troops in its missile range and a
leader who is even more cruel to his own people than Saddam? ? If we
occupy Iraq and simply install a more pro-U.S. autocrat to run the
Iraqi gas station (as we have in other Arab oil states), then this war
partly for oil would also be immoral.
[more on the Media Research Center, about whom I wrote earlier]
Journalism after September 11
Barbie Zelizer , Stuart Allan
....the Media Research Center (www.mrc.org), a self-described
educational foundation, whose members regularly condemn the US media
for a perceived ?liberal bias? or other forms of ?political skewed
reporting.? The Center took on a ?new and vital mission? in the
aftermath of September 11. ?We are training our guns on any media
outlet or any reporter interfering with America's war on terrorism or
trying to undermine the authority of President Bush, ? wrote its
founder in a fundraising letter (cited in Scherer 2002). Reports
issued by the Center claiming to document evidence of liberal bias
featured prominently in different news reports, especially where one
news organization sought to distance itself from rivals on the basis
of its appeal to patriotism. Meanwhile the media watchdog group FAIR,
a ?liberal? organization in the eyes of critics, found much of the
ensuing war coverage wanting because of this proclaimed support for
the military. Once again, the BBC's coverage was found to compare
favorably against that provided by US newscasts. ?Not only is there a
broader range of opinion, ? argued a senior analyst, ?but the BBC
'presenters' and reporters are often more professional, ask tougher
questions, and seem to have a greater level of knowledge about news
subjects than their US counterparts?...
...Certain journalists and commentators similarly took it upon
themselves to critique the news coverage. In the US, for example, Wes
Vernon (2001), writing on NewsMax.com (?America's News Page?) on
September 13, accused ?liberal media outlets? of launching ?a
full-scale spin war against President Bush.?
...The next day Phil Brennan, also writing for the online site, went even further:
While Washington scurries about looking for appropriate targets for
retaliation against America's enemies, I have a few suggestions for Mr
Bush about who he ought to put in the nation's cross hairs: Peter
Jennings, Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, the New York Times, Mary
McGrory, the Washington Post and all the other Benedict Arnolds in the
anti-American media rat pack mindlessly attacking President Bush ?
Given the fact that untold thousands of our fellow Americans have been
slain, and we are at war and must rally behind our commander in chief
at such a perilous time, any media attempts to undermine public
confidence in our President and thus hamper his ability to lead a
united nation in combat against the monsters behind the assault on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon can be viewed as an outright
betrayal of America and its people.
...Evidently shocked by these ?anti-American elitists, ? Brennan
proceeded to encourage his readers to join him in applying pressure on
the sponsors and advertisers associated with the respective news
organizations. Let them know, he declared, that ?we will not spend one
red cent more on their products as long as they continue to subsidize
these dangerous saboteurs of public faith in the President.? For Dan
Frisa (2001), the ?leftist media? were undermining the President ?with
relish.? ?The despicable traitors have made it their mission to
undercut the authority of President Bush during America's darkest
hour, ? he wrote, ?proving themselves even more cowardly than the
terrorist murderers who are the only beneficiaries of such
contemptible conduct.? In addition to editorial writers at the New
York Times, other ?leftist media egotists? singing this ?same
treasonous song, ? according to Frisa, included: ?Canadian Peter
Jennings, democrat Dan Rather, society boy Tom Brokaw, snivelling
Howard Fineman of Newsweek, pedantic Brian Williams of MSNBC and
too-cute by half Katie Couric, among dozens of others?...
[changed attitude of NY Times reporters]
...If on September 10 someone had asked Frank Bruni, a correspondent
for the New York Times who covered the rise of George W. Bush, whether
he wanted Bush to succeed in office, Bruni would surely have given the
Westin answer: ?that is not for me to say. I stick to reporting the
news.? But by the following day, Bruni and his colleagues knew they
were no different from other Americans in hoping that the President's
leadership and decision-making were up to the historical task: the
defeat of a worldwide terrorist threat. Interviewed on the public
affairs network C-Span in March 2002 about his book on Bush, Ambling
into History, Bruni said that we wanted George W. Bush to succeed, and
that it was remarkable to see how he rose to the moment and became a
...This must have been a strange emotion, or at least strange to
concede. ?We were rooting for the President? is not normal talk from a
reporter in the Washington bureau of the New York Times. If
journalists like Bruni hoped the current President could succeed as a
leader and decision-maker, that is odd enough. They also had to commit
journalism aware of this rooting interest in a national leader, which
is far odder, for it brings journalists face to face with ultimate
questions about their political commitment. Westin mistakenly thought
that the principled thing to do was profess none whatsoever. Later he
realized he was utterly wrong under any interpretation sustainable in
the ?new? mind after September 11. Work as a journalist became a
specific way of being a patriot: an American first, a professional
after that. Just one of the new things we can observe about the press
on the day its observer-hood gave way.
[how the impact and immediacy of 9/11 influenced columnists ]
...Syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman wrote on December 7, ?When
terrorists struck on September 11, there was only one side. No editor
demanded a quote from someone saying why it was fine to fly airplanes
into buildings. No one expected reporters to take an 'objective' view
of the terrorists? (Goodman 2001). While criticizing the Fox News
Channel for slanted, jingoistic coverage, Goodman found herself
nonetheless ready to embrace the mantra of Fox news director Roger
Ailes: ?be accurate, be fair, be American.?
[ NY Times challenges success of war in Afghanistan ]
Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, Afghanistan and beyond
Mary Buckley, Rick Fawn
...Despite some successes for the USA in international diplomacy, the
war looked less successful than desired in late October and early
November. As the bombing continued, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of
Staff Richard Myers said that targets included air defence and command
and control facilities, early warning radar, airfields and other
infrastructure. But even Rumsfeld conceded that key targets were few.
As B-52s were introduced into the campaign at the end of October to
pound Taliban positions, the Taliban Foreign Minister mockingly
proposed that Bush and Blair duel with Mullah Mohammed Omar using
...At the beginning of November reports declared the bombing was 'way
behind schedule,' that coming snow would complicate the war and give
the Taliban advantage, and that people were beginning to starve in
some provinces. The New York Times wrote that the Bush administration
had 'underestimated the Taliban's resistance' and that Afghanistan was
'an especially difficult battlefield.' ...
Beyond that, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of writing that
specifically focuses on the NY Times, and its before-and-after
attitudes towards foreign policy.
I hope that provides you a good deal of additional material to work
with. But if there's anything else I can do for you, just let me
know, and I'm at your service.