George Will rips the NY Times over Joe Ricketts reporting

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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On this Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week,” Washington Post columnist George Will criticized a New York Times story for attempting to frame Joe Ricketts, the founder and former chairman of TD Ameritrade, as a villain for fielding — and rejecting — a proposal for a high-budget advertising campaign that would have tied President Barack Obama to his controversial former preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

“He repudiated it the instant he saw it,” Will said. “His group is called ‘End Spending.’ That’s what he’s interested in. Not the social issues, nothing else. He asked through some of his people for someone to produce a plan, but what they got was a plan that ignored what he’s interested in, and went after Rev. Wright and all this other stuff. Ricketts took one look at it and said ‘no.’”

According to Will, the story was distorted to make Ricketts look like the villain.

“Now, The New York Times — that didn’t fit their narrative: ‘Billionaire behaving responsibly,’” Will continued. ”So they said, ‘He’s studying it. They have commissioned this.’  They’ve neglected the whole fact, which was that this is a small story with a nice ending, which is a responsible affluent man [saying] no.”

Conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham said the situation was a warning shot to conservatives. She likened the New York Times piece to a story originally reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel, which detailed the treatment of Frank VanderSloot, who was named by the Obama campaign website on the “Keeping the GOP” honest portion.

“There is something else going on here, though,” Ingraham said. “We’ve seen, a couple of weeks ago, evidence now the Obama campaign has an enemies list, where Mr. [Frank] VanderSloot, you know, [a] very wealthy man, [got] involved in politics. He was being demonized for various social issues and so forth. This is another individual — Joe Ricketts, TD Ameritrade billionaire, who does ‘Ending Spending,’ as George said — it’s an economic, they focus on economic issues.”

That message, according to Ingraham, was that wealthy conservatives need to remain on the sidelines in this election.

“This, to me, was a shot across the bow that if you are a … wealthy person in the United States, [and] you happen to be conservative, [and] you’re going to get involved in this election, then we are going to watch everything that you do, and [if] you sort of step over the line, you talk about past associations with President Obama — anything like that, we will try to destroy you,” Ingraham said. “As far as I know, he didn’t even see this proposal, I believe, George. The idea that he was considering it was a total false narrative put forward by The New York Times to send a message to other people, don’t you dare get involved in this election, in any type of, quote, ‘controversial way.’”

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Jeff Poor