July 27, 2017

NY Times Reporter: Lower Body Count and Higher Spending Are Contradictory

When the establishment press isn’t criticizing center-right outlets as fact-challenged and not objective, it’s dismissing them as irrelevant and unimportant. If that’s really the case, that would lead one to wonder why a seasoned New York Times reporter was bothering to look at a story published at Breitbart.com, let alone tweeting his breathtaking ignorance about the content of that report’s first two sentences.

The headline and first two sentences of Chriss W. Street’s Tuesday story at Breitbart read as follows:

Number of Registered Lobbyists Falls 14% in 2017

The number of federally registered political lobbyists has fallen by 14 percent thus far in 2017 from the 2016 total.

However, based on data provided by the non-partisan OpenSecrets.org, spending by lobbyists is on track to rise by about 3 percent in 2017.

Amazingly, Times reporter Nicholas Confessore found something terribly wrong with this, and said so in the following Wednesday morning tweet (HT Twitchy):

NYTconfessoreLobbyistTweet072617

There is nothing in Smith’s second sentence which contradicts the first. It is quite possible for the number of lobbyists to go down and the spending by the ones who remain to go up. That Confessore is so absolutely sure that there is a contradiction reflects badly on him, the Times, and Confessore’s alma mater of Princeton. It appears that majoring in Politics at that Ivy League school and 19 years as a journalist hasn’t required much in the way of math knowledge.

NewsBusters has chronicled a long history of Confessore’s bias and ignorance. Here are just a few lowlights:

  • In January 2016, as the size of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees, though known for many months, finally became a controversy as a result of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders’ bitter attacks on them, Confessore suddenly decided to criticize them — but at the same time claimed, speaking for her pre-candidacy declaration supporters, that raking in $250,000 for 40-minute speeches “is the most innocent way you can make money as a former government official.” Words fail.
  • In August 2015, Confessore’s formulated a fever-swamp conspiracy theory that Rush Limbaugh (whose name he pronounced “Lim-bow,” as if we’re supposed to believe, after over 25 years of Rush being in the talk-radio national spotlight, he didn’t know better) had somehow convinced Fox News to kiss and make up with Donald Trump after the then-presidential candidate’s infamous dust-up with then-evening show host Megyn Kelly.
  • Confessore co-authored a 2013 piece alleging that Tea Party and conservative groups who had their applications for not-for-profit status held up for years by badgering Internal Revenue Service officials who asked impertinent questions and erected artificial approval barriers had somehow “tested rules on politics” and “tested political limits.” An Ohio Tea Party correction described the dispatch as “laughable,” and insisted that “we were told the rules and we followed them to the “T”. We didn’t challenge them or try to change them.” By that time, even the Obama administration’s IRS had agreed that its politically motivated questions were wrong. But Confessore and co-author Michael Luo wouldn’t let go, even after the truth was acknowledged.

To his credit, Confessore, at least thus far, hasn’t deleted his tweet and tried to pretend it never happened (though one can’t rule out the possibility that he’ll wait a few weeks or months to delete it while hoping no one notices).

To his detriment, though he could have stayed away from Twitter and left his level of ignorance a mystery, he decided to go on it and demonstrate just how deep it is.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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