A Bad Week At the New York Times

The New York Times is taking it on the chin these days. First there was the story about Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino terrorist, who, according to the Times, was an open jihadist before she received a visa to come to the United States:

Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., passed three background checks by American immigration officials as she moved to the United States from Pakistan. None uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad.

She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it.

That turned out to be wrong. Malik had expressed jihadist sympathies in emails, on a dating site and in private messages, but not on sites that are visible to the public, like Facebook. The paper’s error led to an anguished essay by the paper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, titled “Systemic Change Needed After Faulty Times Article.”

What systemic changes? Less haste and more skepticism. Also, “[t]he Times needs to fix its overuse of unnamed government sources.” True: on a daily basis, the Times acts as a spokesman for the Obama administration, even though in this instance the anonymously sourced (and wrong) information reflected badly on the administration. Perhaps that helps to explain the level of angst that the mistake occasioned.

Next came the Times’s craven re-editing of a story to avoid making Barack Obama look dumb. The New York Post editorial board had fun at its rival’s expense:

Who needs a White House press secretary when The New York Times will cover for the president, no questions asked?

That’s what the Times did Thursday, deleting from a story one of the most atrocious things President Obama has ever said.

As part of his effort to turn things around after his recent pathetic speeches on fighting terrorism, the president met with columnists from multiple outlets. …

Obama, the Times reported online, “indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments. Republicans were telling Americans that he is not doing anything when he is doing a lot, he said.”

What? The president of the United States of America didn’t realize how people felt in the wake of two terror attacks because he doesn’t watch enough news?

Pathetic as that excuse is, far worse is that the Times soon removed the passage from its online story, and kept it out of Friday’s print version. …

Clearly, someone at the Times stepped in to say, This just makes him look too bad — find something else.

The only surprise is that the offending line made it into the story in the first place.

Still, this episode opens another window on President Obama’s mind-boggling cluelessness. He was surprised to learn that Americans were upset by the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino? Evidently, without being tipped off by Fox News, Obama thought that Americans give terrorism the same low priority that he does.