NY Times’ story on Blumenthal flawed

I’d never heard of Richard Blumenthal, a Senate candidate in Connecticut, until today, when the New York Times ran a story that he had lied about serving in Vietnam.

I say that to point out that I have nothing for or against Blumenthal.

But the NYT story by Raymond Hernandez that raised the accusations had some classic biased journalism. In this case, biased against a Democrat, for a change.

What it is, though, is sloppy journalism.

Many politicians have faced questions over their decisions during the Vietnam War, and Mr. Blumenthal, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, is not alone in staying out of the war.

But what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.

Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the Times is a bastion biased reporting and all of that. I’ve read Bernard Goldberg’s books, I’ve read the Times for years. But this is simply over the top. In the middle of an alleged news story, Hernandez, without the slightest hesitation, decides to characterize Blumenthal’s actions.

He goes on to cite instances of Blumenthal having claimed to serve in Vietnam, but apparently didn’t want to let the reader come to the conclusion on his own about whether Blumenthal had been misleading. He is in essence quoting himself on whether Blumenthal’s language was untrue, and decided on his own whether “the impression left on audiences can be similar.”

This is another example of how horribly unprofessional the Times can be. Do reporters have opinions? Of course they do, they’re human. Should they or their editors allow them to put them in their news stories? Of course not. Not, that is, if they’re trying to claim some type of objectivity. If they’re the National Review Online or the Daily Kos, they’re not going to worry about creating a sheen of objectivity.

But that reporters can unblushingly write such garbage is pathetic.

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