In a January 16 post on the New York Times political weblog The Caucus, reporter Anne E. Kornblut speculated that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) may have been faking a phone call to avoid answering questions about Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) announcement that he had formed a presidential exploratory committee. As blogger and media critic Greg Sargent noted, Kornblut wrote: "Brushing past reporters in the Senate, Mrs. Clinton -- conspicuously talking into her cell phone; whether there was anyone on the other end of the line, or not, could not be confirmed -- went into the chamber to vote."
As Media Matters for America and others noted, in a July 16, 2006, Times article, Kornblut falsely reported that Clinton had criticized her Democratic colleagues in Congress for "wasting time" and "for taking on issues that arouse conservatives and turn out Republican voters." In fact, during the speech in question, Clinton had been criticizing the Republican-led Congress -- not her fellow Democrats. The Times ultimately published an "Editor's Note" conceding that the "opening sentence of the article and the headline were based on a misinterpretation" of Clinton's speech.
In an April 16, 2006, Times article, Kornblut equated "conservative activist" Thomas D. Kuiper's book of quotations by Clinton with other collections of quotes from the likes of President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, without noting a key distinction: No one has questioned the accuracy of the quotes attributed to Bush and Rumsfeld, which appear in official transcripts of their public appearances. After Media Matters called attention to Kornblut's misleading article, the Times ran an "Editor's Note" acknowledging several flaws in the article.
From the January 16 Caucus post, headlined "Biden and, um, Not Clinton, on Obama":
So what does Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton think of Senator Barack Obama's exploratory entry into the 2008 race? Or, for that matter, her very recent trip to Iraq?
As of Tuesday evening, she wasn't saying. Brushing past reporters in the Senate, Mrs. Clinton -- conspicuously talking into her cell phone; whether there was anyone on the other end of the line, or not, could not be confirmed -- went into the chamber to vote, then posed for an all-ladies photograph with Diane Sawyer and female senators. (Ms. Sawyer, anchor for ABC's "Good Morning America," caused a buzz of her own; some staff members mistakenly identified her as Martha Stewart.)
Senator Joe Biden, the Delaware Democrat who's already in the 2008 race (being, as he told Tim Russert, the best Joe Biden he can be), couldn't resist. "I think he's a quality guy," Mr. Biden said of Mr. Obama.