Obama's 'Political Victory' Makes Lead Story; His 'Major Setback' Set Back on Page 13

Double standards on story placement? A story on passage of trade agreements promising "minor" economic benefits makes Thursday's lead slot and is trumpeted as a "political victory," yet when Obama's heralded jobs bill goes down to defeat, the "major setback" is buried on A13.

Double standards on story placement in the New York Times? A 'Political Victory' for the White House over trade deals that promise only 'small' economic benefits was trumpeted in the headline to Thursday's lead story, while a 'major setback' for Obama and his jobs bill was buried on Wednesday's inside pages.

The stack of headlines over Thursday's lead story by Binyamin Appelbaum and Jennifer Steinhauer trumpeted a 'Political Victory' for the White House in three trade deals involving South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, though the reporters themselves admitted 'The economic benefits are projected to be small.' The headlines: 'Trade Deals Pass Congress, Ending 5-Year Standoff – Support Is Bipartisan – Accords With 3 Nations Give Political Victory to White House.' How did the Times determine this story of "small" benefits was the most important news of the day?

Another internal contradiction was caught by James Taranto in his 'Best of the Web' column. Was the vote bipartisan or not?

"Congress passed three long-awaited free trade agreements on Wednesday, ending a political standoff that has stretched across two presidencies. The move offered a rare moment of bipartisan accord at a time when Republicans and Democrats are bitterly divided over the role that government ought to play in reviving the sputtering economy."-first paragraph news story, New York Times, Oct. 13

"The votes reflected a clear partisan divide, with many Democrats voting against the president."-fifth paragraph, same story

Meanwhile, a story on Wednesday by Robert Pear that confessed Obama suffered a 'major setback' when his latest jobs bill failed on a vote in the Senate was shoved back onto page A13. The president's proposal was greeted with huzzahs by White House reporter Jackie Calmes when it was introduced in September. Calmes warned Republicans that they 'could lose the House' if they stand in the way of it. Well, they stood in the way of it, killing it – and Obama's 'major setback' made page 13.