What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 4, 2005

NYT Killed Exposé About Bush Cheating During the Debates

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was one of the first to be offered the Bulgegate photos that later ran at salon.com but declined to use them)

You remember those photos of the bulge in Bush't jacket during the debates -- the ones that where explained away as a "badly tailored suit" -- well, it turns out that the New York Times had a story all ready that would expose Bush for the immoral lying cheat that he is, but they spiked it.

According to FAIR:

On Thursday, just three days after that first exposé, the paper was set to run a second, perhaps more explosive piece, exposing how George W. Bush had worn an electronic cueing device in his ear and probably cheated during the presidential debates.

The so-called Bulgegate story had been getting tremendous attention on the Internet. Stories about it had also run in many mainstream papers, including the New York Times (10/9/04, 10/18/04) and Washington Post (10/9/04), but most of these had been light-hearted. Indeed, the issue had even made it into the comedy circuit, including the monologues of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jon Stewart and a set of strips by cartoonist Garry Trudeau.

That the story hadn’t gotten more serious treatment in the mainstream press was largely thanks to a well-organized media effort by the Bush White House and the Bush/Cheney campaign to label those who attempted to investigate the bulge as "conspiracy buffs" (Washington Post, 10/9/04). In an era of pinched budgets and an equally pinched notion of the role of the Fourth Estate, the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter—perhaps for fear of earning a "conspiracy buff" label for the candidate himself—may also have made reporters skittish. Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones magazine, told Mother Jones (online edition, 10/30/04) he had called a number of contacts at leading news organizations across the country, and was told that unless the Kerry campaign raised the issue, they couldn’t pursue it.

The Times’ effort to get to the bottom of the matter through a serious investigation seemed to be a striking exception. That investigation, however, despite extensive reporting over several weeks by three Times reporters, never ran. Now, like the mythic weapons of mass destruction that were the raison d’etre for the Iraq War, the Times is thus far claiming that the Bush Bulgegate story never existed in the first place.


In fact, several sources, including a journalist at the Times, have told Extra! that the paper put a good deal of effort into this important story about presidential competence and integrity; they claim that a story was written, edited and scheduled to run on several different days, before senior editors finally axed it at the last minute on Wednesday evening, October 27. A Times journalist, who said that Times staffers were "pretty upset" about the killing of the story, claims the senior editors felt Thursday was "too close" to the election to run such a piece. Emails from the Times to the NASA scientist corroborate these sources’ accounts.


As Extra! went to press, New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent posted a message on his website (12/21/04) confirming that his paper had, in fact, killed a story about the device under George W. Bush’s suit.


The article also says:

At that point, Dr. Robert M. Nelson, a 30-year Jet Propulsion Laboratory veteran who works on photo imaging for NASA’s various space probes and currently is part of a photo enhancement team for the Cassini Saturn space probe, entered the picture. Nelson recounts that after seeing the Salon story on the bulge, professional curiosity prompted him to apply his skills at photo enhancement to a digital image he took from a videotape of the first debate. He says that when he saw the results of his efforts, which clearly revealed a significant T-shaped object in the middle of Bush’s back and a wire running up and over his shoulder, he realized it was an important story.

After first offering it unsuccessfully to his local paper, the Pasadena Star-News, and then, with equal lack of success, to the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, where he had gone to college, he offered it to the Los Angeles Times. (In all his media contacts, Nelson says, he offered the use of his enhanced photos free of charge.) "About three weeks before the election, I gave the photos to the L.A. Times’ Eric Slater, who shopped them around the paper," recalls Nelson. "After four days, in which they never got back to me, I went to the New York Times."

Full story HERE

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"In an era of pinched budgets and an equally pinched notion of the role of the Fourth Estate, the fact that the Kerry camp was offering no comment on the matter — perhaps for fear of earning a "conspiracy buff" label for the candidate himself — may also have made reporters skittish."

>>> My guess is that the Kerry team (and perhaps the NYT) didn't want to call Bush on it because they hoped he would do it for debates two and three!!!
After seeing the next two debates, I am sure Bush was wearing a device in the first -- his inexperience in listening and talking at the same time would explain his absolutely miserable performance in the first debate. If Bush had had two more debates like the first, Kerry would be president today.