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White House vs. New York Times

Seems like the Bush White House is willing to take the heat on Iraq, Guantanamo, Katrina, the bailout and a whole host of goings-on that it may or may not have been the culprit.

But when it gets blamed on the housing meltdown, especially coming from the New York Times, the gloves are off.

The White House issued a blistering 500-word rebuttal accusing the self-styled Paper of Record of "gross negligence." The statement, released by White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, called the hit piece relying "on hindsight with blinders on and one eye closed.

The White House accused the Times of framing a hypothesis - "It's Bush's fault" - and going about proving it by ignoring any countervailing evidence:

There are many more reporting failures in this story -- failure to consider the impact of monetary policy; ignoring the regional nature of housing markets; and ignoring the Bush Administration's historic proposal to overhaul the nation's regulatory system, for example. But then a review of these issues would wave complicated the reporters' myopic point of view that only Bush Administration policies could possibly be responsible for the housing and finance crises.

White House counsel Ed Gillespie was more glib, telling Fox News: "They've had to mortgage their building in Manhattan to help make ends meet, and they've been reduced to junk-bond status. I don't know if the New York Times' shoddy reporting is the result of being in junk-bond status, or if their junk-bond status is what's resulting in their shoddy reporting."

The Times, meanwhile, offered a terse response with a plug to boot. Said Executive Editor Bill Keller:

The piece that has driven the White House spokesmen to such a show of apoplexy was based on on-the-record interviews with dozens of current and former officials of the current administration. It is part of an ongoing series that examines in depth the accountability of numerous players in the economic meltdown, including Congress, rating agencies, brokerage houses and the Fed. The series is available in full on our Web site,