Despite the best efforts of executive editor Bill Keller, Vice President Dick Cheney still hates the New York Times.
According to Cheney, the new biography by Stephen F. Hayes, Keller, in summer 2004, sent an e-mail pleading his paper be granted better access, noting that “understanding political figures, particularly conservatives, requires access,” adding that “[o]ur job is not to ‘support’ our leaders, not to buy in to any administration, Democrat or Republican, but our job should be to figure out what they believe and why, and how all of that shapes the policies they make. We are obliged to get past the labels and slogans. It’s unbelievably hard to do.”
Perhaps predicting Cheney’s response, the missive admitted: “I won’t pretend that reporters’ stories are never shaped by liberal bias (more accurately liberal assumptions about the world) but I think those instances are relatively rare.” By way of example, Keller contrasts the paper’s coverage of Paul Wolfowitz and that of John Ashcroft. Because Wolfowitz spent time with Keller for a long magazine piece, “a considerable number of NYT readers found themselves reassessing the man.” Ashcroft, however, would never open up and “still lives in the land of stereotype.”