Much has been written about the New York Times’ pro-homosexual agenda. On any given day, about three-fourths of the people deciding what’s on the front page of the venerable newspaper are homosexuals – thanks to publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who opened up the newsroom to gays and even offered their “partners” benefits, after succeeding his father at the Times’ helm in 1992.
That’s not much of a shock, given the paper’s leftist stance on issues.
But did you know that liberal homosexuals for years have helped decide what goes on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, commonly cited as a bastion of conservatism?
Readers first got a peek into the Journal’s gay closet in 1996, when a page one features editor penned a first-person account of his battle with AIDS. David Sanford, who contracted the disease during an anonymous “sexual encounter” at a Manhattan bathhouse, shared his improving medical progress, in full detail, under a regimen of new drugs called protease inhibitors – the so-called “AIDS cocktail.”
Most remarkable wasn’t that the Journal let him write a first-person essay on the news pages. Or that it ran a large graphic charting the monthly levels of Sanford’s T4 white-blood-cell count from 1989 to 1996.
Rather, it was that the otherwise serious paper made Sanford’s essay its lead story on page one that day. His boss, John Brecher, OK’d it. Brecher, a former Miami Herald editor, replaced James B. Stewart as the Journal’s prestigious page-one editor in 1992. Just two months before Sanford’s AIDS tale came out, Stewart spoke at the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Convention luncheon in Miami. Topic: Covering the subject of AIDS. (Not long after, the Journal ran a page-one feature eulogizing a young gay man who died of AIDS. His claim to fame? Appearing on an MTV show.)
Sanford also had the OK of Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, a Yale University and Los Angeles Times alumnus, who hires gay journalists to look “progressive,” according to staffers.
Sanford, one-time managing editor of the New Republic, hasn’t succumbed to AIDS and still works for the Journal. But some of his colleagues with AIDS have not been so lucky.
“I wasn’t afraid that the Wall Street Journal would fire me for being HIV positive,” Sanford wrote in his long piece. “The company had been good to employees with serious medical conditions, including the two people I knew of who had died of AIDS.”
The Journal also employs prominent lesbians, such as reporter Kara Swisher, who last year got into trouble for writing glowingly about Internet firms that financially back a Web site founded by her “wife.” Swisher is another of Steiger’s hires.
Journal editors were so proud of Sanford’s personal medical report that they sent it to Columbia University for review by Pulitzer Prize judges. It won – along with nine other major Journal stories about treatments for AIDS, a sexually transmitted disease that affects a tiny fraction of the population and provides a limited market for drug companies.
North and South Korea
But wait a minute. Isn’t the Journal’s editor, Robert Bartley, a Reagan conservative?
Yes, and this is how the myth of the conservative Wall Street Journal survives. Bartley may have “editor” as his title, but he has virtually no say in news coverage nor role in setting the news agenda at the paper. That falls to Steiger. Bartley controls the opinion side of the paper – the editorial pages – and is otherwise a figurehead for the paper.
In fact, Bartley and Steiger work in separate parts of the Journal’s Manhattan building (temporarily vacated because of damage suffered from the World Trade Center attacks). At most papers, editorial and news editors work together in the same newsroom. Yet Bartley and his crew of conservative, free-market editorial writers are in one department, and Steiger and his crew of supposedly “objective” news reporters are in another.
And they despise each other.
According to former Journal staffers, Steiger’s reporters commonly refer to Bartley’s writers as “Nazis” or, more charitably, “kookie right-wingers,” and won’t have anything to do with them. The two departments are so separate that former Journal Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine, a Clinton Democrat and one-time managing editor, didn’t even have security access to the editorial-page offices.
Fact is, the Journal’s news and editorial departments are as politically polarized as North and South Korea. The result is “schizophrenic” coverage, said University of Texas journalism professor Marvin Olasky.
That became plain during the last administration. The news side was guardedly pro-Clinton, while the editorial side was rabidly anti-Clinton.
News scoops about Clinton corruption and personal abuses cowered like neglected children on the Journal’s editorial pages.
The Journal was the first to tell Juanita Broaddrick’s story of being raped by Bill Clinton. It got an exclusive interview with her in January 1999. It was hard news.
But it was buried on the back pages alongside editorials and columns, apparently too radioactive for Steiger’s pages – or too damaging to Clinton, coming as it did in the middle of his Senate impeachment trial.
Micah Morrison, an editorial page writer, broke news about Whitewater and Filegate. None of it made the Journal’s news pages.
“Editorial page writers like Micah Morrison consistently have broken news the rest of the national media has been forced to follow,” Journal publisher Peter Kann boasted in a 1997 letter to readers, apparently oblivious that the “rest of the national media” included his own front page.
In fact, Steiger’s reporters routinely shunned solid information dug up by Bartley’s crew.
For example, at the bottom of a Jan. 30, 1997, news piece about Clinton’s IRS chief Margaret Milner Richardson stepping down, Journal reporters David Wessel and Jacob Schlesinger finally got around to writing that “the IRS has been hit by the accusation that it is targeting Clinton antagonists,” such as the conservative Heritage Foundation and National Rifle Association. They ended their story by quoting a former IRS official who argued that there probably were just as many audits of liberal organizations under Clinton.
But the reporters completely ignored what their own paper had found out just the day before. Journal editorial writers had called liberal organizations and quoted them saying that they had not been audited.
The Journal’s liberal Washington bureau chief Al Hunt, and his hand-picked successor Allan Murray, both Clinton apologists, assigned other Clinton apologists to the Clinton scandal-news beat.
One notable punch-puller was Viveca Novak, who right from the start dismissed Whitewater as “a dead-end,” despite the investigation convicting more than a dozen Clinton cronies. She also tapped liberal Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe to pooh-pooh the legal merits of Paula Jones’ sexual-harassment lawsuit against Clinton – one that led to a nearly seven-figure settlement and his impeachment for lying to a judge about a material witness in the case.
Novak, now with Time, got her start writing for liberal Common Cause Magazine.
Meanwhile, Bartley, the editor, kept defending his pages’ coverage of Whitewater. “It’s news, stupid,” he kept telling critics (among them his own news reporters).
“The question is not why we’re covering it on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal,” he said. “The real question is why the mainstream press isn’t covering it far more extensively than it has.”
The man directing the Journal’s political coverage from 1983 to 1993 was Hunt. He stepped aside as Washington bureau chief to write a column and co-host CNN’s “Capital Gang.” But he remains in the Journal’s bureau as executive Washington editor.
Hunt is known throughout the capital as a “knee-jerk liberal” and an unabashed advocate for Democrats and their causes. In fact, he and his wife – CNN “Inside Politics” anchor Judy Woodruff – have had Hillary Clinton over to their Washington home for dinner.
The Hunts met while covering Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976.
Walt Riker, a veteran of Washington politics and press affairs, says that the Journal’s bureau is filled with a “bunch of Hunt clones – all knee-jerk liberals.”
As former Sen. Bob Dole’s press secretary, Riker had many interviews with Hunt’s staffers, who he said “openly derided the editorial writers” of the Journal in New York. (In fact, one conservative writer, John Fund, is so uncomfortable in the bureau that he works out of the offices of Americans for Tax Reform whenever he’s in Washington.)
Riker says the reporters in the Journal’s Washington bureau cleverly knitted their anti-Republican bias into stories about Dole and other Republicans.
“They know all the facts,” Riker said. “But you give them the interview, and it comes out all skewed and wrong in the story.”
Here’s yet another example of the Journal’s schizo coverage: On the same day in 1994, reporting on the same subject – the Clinton budget – the Washington bureau produced a page-one story under the headline, “Exercise in Restraint,” while the editorial department concluded Clinton wanted to “Spend Like an Egyptian.”
The Journal is also at odds with itself in its coverage of business and finance, its bread and butter.
That’s right. The news pages of the Journal, contrary to popular belief, are decidedly anti-business and skeptical of markets, while Bartley’s pages are staunchly pro-business and in awe of markets.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Kent MacDougall, a closet Marxist who left the Journal only to brag about planting leftist propaganda in his page one news stories for years.
MacDougall, who also wrote for the Los Angeles Times, confessed in the socialist rag, Monthly Review, in 1989 that he had used the news pages of the “the bourgeois press” to “popularize radical ideas.”
As a reporter for the Journal, he said he had “helped popularize radical ideas with lengthy, sympathetic profiles of Marxist economists,” and “made sure to seek out experts whose opinions I knew in advance would support my thesis.” At the same time, he cleverly “sought out mainstream authorities to confer recognition and respectability on radical views I sought to popularize.”
Perhaps more surprising is that his page-one editors let him get away with it.
Former page-one editor Stewart, author of “Den of Thieves,” supervised many of the investigative stories about Wall Street insider-trading scandals during the ’80s, and is largely credited with popularizing the notion that the Reagan decade was one of runaway “greed.” (He also penned the book, “Blood Sport: The President and His Adversaries,” which studiously avoided connecting the galaxy of dots involving the Clintons and Whitewater corruption.)
Journal reporters tend to be overly eager to bash business and paint executives as greedy and flint-hearted, say executives who have dealt with them. And despite their vaunted reputation, their knowledge of business and finance lacks sophistication, they say.
According to an executive with broker Raymond James & Associates, for one, Journal reporters showed a poor understanding of basic finance when he met with them last decade regarding quarterly performance rankings.
“They didn’t have a clue about markets,” he said. “They hardly knew the difference between PE (price-earnings ratio) and EPS (earnings per share).”
“They were unsophisticated,” he said, “and seemed to have little respect for markets.”
The Journal was punished in 1997 after a reporter went gunning for a Houston-based securities firm. In a 1993 story, Laura Jereski characterized MMAR Group Inc. as shady and reckless, so the firm sued for libel and won a record $223 million award (most of which was later struck down by a federal judge).
Jurors’ confidence in the Journal was reportedly high when the case began. But it quickly eroded as Jereski’s sources testified they were misquoted, and jurors found out that she had failed to read key financial documents that would have shot down a core allegation she made against the company. Jurors also heard evidence that Journal editors arrogantly ignored letters and phone calls complaining that key elements of Jereski’s story were false.
An MMAR flack contended that Jereski, who he described as a “collectivist,” juiced the story to make the company, and securities firms in general, look bad.
In 1990, the Journal ran a page-one story painting Safeway Stores Inc. as nothing short of evil for laying off workers after a leveraged buy-out and restructuring.
Reporter Susan Faludi trotted out a few extreme sob stories – such as the Safeway trucker who “blew his brains out” a year after getting a pink slip – to prove the callousness of management. Then she juxtaposed the “human costs” with the “robber baron”-style enrichment of management after Safeway’s LBO put it back on the road to profits (and allowed it to re-employ most of its employees).
Faludi won a Pulitzer for what Safeway analysts called a hatchet job.
Within just a few years of her prize, Safeway had turned around its fortunes to such a degree that it had become the industry leader and had more employees than ever.
Yet there was no follow-up story from Faludi or the Journal.
The veiled leftist agenda of the Journal’s news department is dangerous precisely because it’s not transparent, allowing critics of capitalism to hold up Journal news stories critical of capitalism as highly credible. They can argue: Why else would the “conservative” Journal print it if it weren’t the truth?
Market-bashing politicians know how to work this muddy picture to their advantage in fooling the masses into thinking they’re getting objective information about business and economics from the Journal.
Take the first 1996 presidential debate. Clinton pointed to a Journal news story about how Dole supported a loophole-closing tax hike in the ’80s in an effort to blunt Dole’s jab that Clinton signed a record tax hike. Regarding the source of his information, the Journal, Clinton noted that it’s “hardly a friend of this Democratic administration” – as if the paper’s news department is full of rock-ribbed Republicans who suddenly turned objective and threw him an honest bone to use in the debate.
A closer and broader look at the Journal, beyond its editorials, reveals that it is, in fact, not conservative. And its most influential component – news-reporting, under the pretense of objectivity – is really anti-business and pro-homosexual.
Editor’s note: This piece by Paul Sperry was featured in the May issue
of WND’s popular monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE NEWS
MAFIA.” It is available from WND’s online store.