Nicholas Confessore

Nicholas Confessore is a reporter for The New York Times. Previously he was an American Prospect senior correspondent and an editor of The Washington Monthly.

Recent Articles

And You Thought Tim Russert Was Tough

Back in September, subscribers to Red Herring magazine's e-mail bulletin "The Red Eye" received a missive they probably weren't expecting. "Tony Perkins here with a special invitation," began the message. "As most Red Herring readers know, I've stuck my neck out early in the next presidential campaign by personally backing my friend Governor George W. Bush." Perkins, the magazine's founder and editor in chief, went on to invite readers to join "'Technology and Entertainment Entrepreneurs for George Bush,' a national grass-roots effort" that--the aforementioned description notwithstanding--already included such tech industry heavies as Floyd Kvamme, John Chambers, Jim Barksdale, Gregory Slayton, Michael Dell, and Tim Draper. Perkins also invited readers to attend a September 30 fundraiser or become "a really big Fish"--get it?--by "committing to raise $5,000." After a number of subscribers complained of being spammed with a partisan fundraising appeal, Perkins...

Weak Week

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was fired from ABC's This Week at the behest of the liberal media conspiracy. That, at any rate, is the contention of conservative columnist Mona Charen, who writes that "most chat shows have ratios of liberals to conservatives in the neighborhood of 3 to 2" and "the number of liberal producers to conservatives is probably 20 to 1." This must be what they call New Math. Until recently, This Week featured Kristol, George Will, George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts, and Sam Donaldson as its regular round table. In Charen's world view, Roberts, Donaldson, and Stephanopoulos formed part of a "liberal/centrist troika" whose slings and arrows Kristol and Will bravely endured each week. But even if, by some warped political logic, one accepts that Sam and Cokie are "liberals," they are hardly to liberalism--or even to centrism--what Kristol and Will are to conservatism. Like all political chat shows, This Week...

Citing the Right

Considering last year's frenzied coverage of Monicagate and then the sniping coverage of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, one might wonder what has happened to the Great Liberal Media Conspiracy. If the myth is not yet buried, here's another nail for the coffin: A study released in June by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and the Institute for Public Accuracy--two nonpartisan watchdog groups--found that, once again, conservative think tanks have led the field in media influence during the past year. The venerable Brookings Institution, a more or less centrist outfit, is still the overall leader in media citations. But the next three are the Cato Institute (strongly libertarian), the Heritage Foundation (strongly conservative), and the American Enterprise Institute (center-right). The top four account for about 40 percent of all cites. Overall, right-leaning think tanks accounted for 46 percent of cites, centrist think tanks for 45...

Conspiracies for Fools for Scandal

The New York Times is known for its scrupulous approach to assigning book reviews, frequently disqualifying reviewers who have even the most tenuous personal or professional links to a book's author or authors. It was surprising, then, when the Times assigned Neil Lewis, a well-regarded political reporter at the paper's D.C. bureau, to review Joe Conason and Gene Lyons's The Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton . The problem is that a running theme of The Hunting of the President is the unprofessionalism of the national press, including and especially the Times , during the Clinton years. The book is particularly critical of reporters' constant distortion and exaggeration of evidence in eager pursuit of a latter-day Watergate, and many newspapers' ongoing reluctance to admit or retract substantial errors of fact. Lewis's own reporting--he has occasionally filed on Whitewater--comes under criticism not just in The Hunting of the President...

Hacked to Death:

Generally speaking, newspaper column writing is today a moribund art form. Gone are the days when crusty reporters would ascend to the ranks of the thrice-weekly (or even daily) columnists only after years of dues paying, bringing with them the shoe-leather skills, wit, and wisdom of a career spent in the trenches. More and more often, a "columnist" is someone who never leaves his or her office, rarely actually picks up the phone, and ekes out 750 words a week. And if there is one particularly offensive category of modern columnist, it is the syndicated ideological hack -- the non-journalist, usually a political refugee of one kind or another, who spends his or her time lobbing propaganda grenades at the opposition. In almost every way, shape, and form, The Boston Globe 's Jeff Jacoby is the apotheosis of the ideological hack. A lawyer by training and an angry conservative by temperament, Jacoby began his career with stints on a congressional campaign, as an assistant...

Pages