With a huge assist from the New York Times' Patricia Cohen, feminist author Susan Faludi revealed apparently incapable of connecting to the 9-11 tragedy in human terms in Thursday's Arts section story "Towers Fell, and Attitudes Were Rebuilt," in which Faludi cast heroic acts after 9-11 as an anti-woman lurch back to "prefeminist thinking."
"The terrifying and wrenching photographs from September 2001 on display at the New-York Historical Society are suspended from clips in neat rows like laundry hanging on a line. Among them is a black-and-white picture of a life-size cardboard cutout of John Wayne in his prime, with a placard hanging from his neck that reads: 'This is no time for cowboys.'
"'That could be the cover of my book,' Susan Faludi said. She was visiting the Historical Society's exhibition of photographs and artifacts from the World Trade Center attacks and talking about her work 'The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America,' out next week from Metropolitan Books."
Over at Times Watch, I've been pretty hard on New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt -- finding most of the biweekly columns from the paper's inside watchdog to suffer from either an excess of corporate loyalty or to be simply pointless (when he's not sniping at the paper from the left).
So it was particularly surprising when Hoyt actually unbuckled his company badge to tackle an issue raised by conservatives -- the inflammatory MoveOn.org ad -- in his Sunday Week in Review column. Hoyt did some actual reporting and got a belated admission of error that the paper's actual news reporters were unable to uncover: It was a mistake to grant MoveOn.org a deep discount for its infantile attack ad against Gen. David Petraeus that appeared the very day he testified before Congress.
"For nearly two weeks, The New York Times has been defending a political advertisement that critics say was an unfair shot at the American commander in Iraq.
On Sunday, law professor Jeffrey Rosen reviewed for the New York Times the new book "Until Proven Innocent -- Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," by Stuart Taylor & KC Johnson, which, among bringing other injustices surrounding the case to light, also excoriates the mainstream press's shoddy coverage, much of which presumed the guilt of the three white lacrosse players.
Rosen called the book "riveting," but devoted just two sentences to the frequent passages that rip apart the Times's shoddy coverage of the case, taking particular aim at reporter Duff Wilson and columnist Selena Roberts.
New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye reviewed the third in a series of "betrayal" themed ads from the radical leftists at MoveOn.org, the group recently notorious for its infantile "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad in the Times that embarrassed even many Democrats.
The New York Times evidently didn't do much vetting on the adolescent, infamous, and deeply discounted anti-war ad from MoveOn.org that appeared in the front section of Monday's paper.
The ad, headlined "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?", cited the Times' own reporting in defense of its argument that Petraeus is a liar.
"Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That's because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, death by car bombs don't count."
Huh? Not even the Times anti-war editorial page has gone that far. Here's an excerpt from an article by Times reporter Michael Gordon from September 8, two days before the MoveOn.org ad appeared, that directly contradicts MoveOn.org's claims. As Gordon makes clear, types of deaths may be classified differently, but they are all counted.
"Sixty years after a Congressional panel grilled 10 uncooperative writers, directors and producers about their supposed Communist connections, Hollywood still quarrels over the heroes and villains of its Red Scare."
Notice how the phrase "Red Scare" comes without quotation marks, as if that liberal term is the objective view.
"The propriety of giving Elia Kazan -- one who 'named names' -- an honorary Oscar in 1999 remains a contentious subject. And only five years ago Stanley Kramer's widow bitterly battled the makers of a television documentary that depicted her late husband using the blacklist to deny his former partner Carl Foreman a producer's credit on 'High Noon.'
Not even CBS anchor Katie Couric is sufficiently liberal to satisfy New York Times drama critic turned political commentator Frank Rich, who in his latest epic Sunday column accused the CBS anchor, who recently went to Iraq, of "drinking the…Kool-Aid" regarding Bush's optimistic pronouncements on the war. (Screen shot is of Rich on the September 7 Late Show with David Letterman plugging the paperback edition of his book, 'The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America.'
Following the lefty line, Rich also referred to two scholars from the left-of-center Brookings Institution as "Pentagon junketeers" for daring to suggest things are improving on the ground in Iraq.
The New York Times is determined to minimize any political traction Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gets for his leadership after 9-11. Marc Santora's Monday "Political Memo," "In Campaign Year, Invoking 9/11 Raises New Debates," suggested Giuliani is misleading voters by breaking some kind of promise not to talk about his leadership as mayor of New York City after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"During a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, Rudolph W. Giuliani asserted, 'The reality is that I'm not running on what I did on Sept. 11.'
"Two days later, a crowd of nearly 1,000 filed into a ballroom here for a 9/11 Remembrance Luncheon. Graphic images of the exploding towers, dust-covered survivors and even a series of photos that showed someone leaping from a tower were flashed on two giant screens flanking the stage where Mr. Giuliani was about to speak.
"'America must never forget the lessons of Sept. 11,' Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, later told the crowd.
"Perry Moore has the sinewy physique and golden looks of a California surfer, but get him talking about comics, and he can out-geek the biggest fanatic. He also has the fervor of an activist when discussing the dearth -- and occasional shoddy treatment -- of gay superheroes in mainstream comic books."
Now there's a vital cause we can all rally behind!
"It is an issue close to the heart of Mr. Moore, who is gay, and he has funneled his passion into a young-adult novel. 'Hero,' published in hardback last week by Hyperion Teen, tells the story of Thom Creed, coping not only with high school, sexual orientation and a strained home life, but also with his own budding superpowers. In telling Thom's story, Mr. Moore, like some of the costumed champions he admires, hopes to right some wrongs.
New York Times reporter Gretel Kovach reported on the tragic shooting death in Dallas of Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, the keyboard player for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, in "Musician Is Killed For Banging On a Door." But unwittingly or not, that headline (killed for banging on a door -- talk about harsh Texas justice!) suggested the shooting was an overreaction, and Kovach's article further politicized the issue from the second sentence on.
A Texas rock musician was shot to death here early Monday by a neighbor who fired through a closed door, thinking he was scaring off a burglar.
The incident occurred just three days after a new law took effect strengthening the right of Texans to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property.
"It is time for the United States to stop treating every American Muslim as somehow suspect, leaders of the faith said at their largest annual convention, which ended here on Monday….The image problems were among the topics most discussed by many of the 30,000 attendees. A fresh example cited was an open letter from two Republican House members, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan and Sue Myrick of North Carolina, that attacked the Justice Department for sending envoys to the convention because, the lawmakers said, the Islamic Society of North America was a group of 'radical jihadists.'"
Reporter Steven Lee Myers's "White House Memo" for Monday's New York Times, "A Familiar Strategy to Help Stay the Course," portrayed the president as deluded in his Iraq optimism and chiding him for not acknowledging anti-war sentiment.
"President Bush's Iraq strategy faces a crisis of faith these days -- from the American public. And he is confronting it the way he has previous crises: with a relentless campaign to persuade people to see things his way….Mr. Bush, back at the Prairie Chapel Ranch, went on to record a radio address that showed neither doubt nor any intention of reducing the American commitment in Iraq. On Tuesday, he will make another speech in Reno, Nev., arguing that a hasty withdrawal of troops would prove disastrous for the Middle East and for American security."
President Bush's speech before a gathering of the Veterans of Foreign Wars drew attention with his provocative comparison to Vietnam, in which Bush reminded Americans that the U.S. pullout from Vietnam led to millions being killed in Asia. The media jumped on Bush for alleged hypocrisy in comparing the situation in Iraq with Vietnam, even though the liberal press itself has long invoked the failure of Vietnam when discussing Iraq.
New York Times Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker's Thursday "News Analysis," "Historians Question Bush's Read of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq," continued in that slanted vein, finding sources to criticize Bush's outlook in his speech at the VFW convention in Kansas City, but none to defend it, and again wondering why America hasn't seen any big tax increases as a show of "national sacrifice" for the war effort.
The New York Times front-page "News Analysis" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg delved into President Bush's dissatisfaction with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his failure to bring Sunnis and Shiites together politically -- and strangely finds Bush "already facing skepticism" about the troop surge in Iraq (um, didn't that surge start some months ago?)
"It was not quite the vote of no confidence delivered by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who on Monday said Mr. Maliki should quit. But it was a striking attempt by the White House to distance itself from the Maliki government before September, when the president’s troop buildup faces an intense review on Capitol Hill.
Times Watch hasn't dealt with arts editor-liberal columnist Frank Rich in a while (especially since the Times Select pay to read program walled him and other columnists out of view).
Folks, you haven't been missing a thing. Rich's anti-Republican frippery simply lights on different targets each week. This week it's retiring Bush advisor Karl Rove ("He Got Out While the Getting Was Good").
Rich introduced the main villain, Rove, through the side character ex-Virginia Sen. George Allen and his overblown "macaca moment":
Reliably liberal New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis lauded activist-actor Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour," the latest documentary of environmental apocalypse.
"To judge from all the gas-guzzlers still fouling the air and the plastic bottles clogging the dumps, it appears that the news that we are killing ourselves and the world with our greed and garbage hasn't sunk in. That's one reason 'The 11th Hour,' an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity, is such essential viewing. It may not change your life, but it may inspire you to recycle that old slogan-button your folks pinned on their dashikis back in the day: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
Today's New York Times "Political Memo" by reporter Michael Luo, "Question of Sons' Choices Dogs Romney Campaign," reached into Michael Moore territory in relaying criticism of Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his sons' failure to serve in the military during the Iraq War.
"Mitt Romney has been asked before on the campaign trail if his sons have served in the military, and he usually has dispatched the question easily enough.
"But an awkward response last week in Iowa, in which Mr. Romney said in part that 'one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected,' forced him several days later to say he misspoke and injected a discordant note into his otherwise triumphant few days after he won the state’s Republican straw poll.
The headline to today's lead story in the New York Times by Jim Rutenberg and Steven Lee Myers on the impending resignation of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political advisor, included the subhead "A Bare-Knuckle Style of Politics."
Rove as ruthless partisan brawler was indeed a theme that permeated both Tuesday's lead story and chief political reporter Adam Nagourney's accompanying analysis.
From Rutenberg and Rove's lead:
"With his voice breaking at times, and with President Bush at his side on the South Lawn of the White House, Karl Rove said Monday that he would resign as a deputy White House chief of staff at the end of the month. The decision ends Mr. Rove's role as the president's longest-serving and closest aide, and the one who most personified the bare-knuckle brand of politics Mr. Bush favors."
The New York Times' reliably pro-illegal immigrant reporter Julia Preston, fresh from using a survey compiled by a (unlabeled) Hillary presidential pollster to make a pro-illegal immigrant argument, returned to the beat Saturday with "Farmers Call Crackdown On Illegal Workers Unfair," which located another odd angle to defend amnesty for illegals -- it will hurt agribusiness.
"Facing the prospect of major layoffs of farmworkers during harvest season, growers and lawmakers from agricultural states spoke in dire terms yesterday about new measures by the Bush administration to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants.
"'This is not just painful, this is death to the American farmer,' Maureen Torrey, who runs a family dairy and vegetable farm in Elba, N. Y., said in a telephone interview.
U.S. hostility to amnesty for illegal immigrants from Mexico is not only hurting illegals here, but crippling poor Mexicans in Mexico as well. So says the New York Times, taking its talking points from a survey performed by a pollster.
To be precise, a Democratic pollster who studies Hispanic voting trends for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- a tidbit that didn't get into reporter Julia Preston's sympathetic story on Mexican immigrants no longer sending cash home because of a hostile climate in the U.S.
The August 7 edition of National Public Radio's afternoon news show "Day to Day" featured John Burns, the respected Baghdad bureau chief for the New York Times. Burns, who had his life threatened by the Hussein regime while covering Iraq, is leaving the country to head the London bureau of the Times. Host Lex Chadwick introduced Burns as "Perhaps the most respected war reporter of our time."
In December 2005, the New York Times broke the story of the National Security Agency's monitoring of communications between people in America and terror suspects overseas. Many say the revelations hurt the anti-terrorist program. Over the weekend, the House and Senate passed, by surprisingly bipartisan votes, changes to the terrorist surveillance measure that left many liberals angry at the Democratic Congress's betrayal of civil liberties.
The Times seems rather disappointed in the Democrats as well.
New York Times political blogger Kate Phillips (who tried to wish away news coverage of John Kerry's "botched joke" on the eve of the 2006 congressional election) posted on the Times' "Caucus" blog Saturday from Chicago, the site of the YearlyKos convention put on by the liberal activist campaign blog The Daily Kos.
Phillips pushed Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the founder of the politically active blog, into the center:
When leading Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney demurred on attending a Republican presidential debate hosted by the video-hosting site YouTube, some web-savvy Republicans protested. That's the background for New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye's "Allies Urge Republicans to Join YouTube Debate" Thursday.
"When the leading Republican presidential candidates started to squirm last week about attending a Sept. 17 YouTube debate, in which the public would ask questions via video, there was a surprising backlash from the world of Republican and conservative bloggers."
What's so "surprising" about bloggers wanting their party's candidates to participate in an Internet debate?
Seelye later referred to the situation as "a mess." Then there was this identification of blogger-author Andrew Sullivan
When liberals aren't taunting conservatives with death wishes, they will often, under a guise of concern, talk of how hopefully this brush with fate will give the conservative a more humane, compassionate, less restrictive outlook on life (i.e., become a Democrat).
There's an undercurrent of that in New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse's "Supreme Court Memo," "Uncertainty Now in a Golden Youth's Trajectory," on Chief Justice John Roberts' seizure. Greenhouse evidently hoped that Roberts' brush with fallibility will soften the whiz-kid conservative's heart.
In a sympathetic story, reporter Russ Buettner relayed the plight of local property owners fighting abuse of eminent domain -- the taking of private property for public use -- by local governments. Such "takings" were made infamous by Kelo vs. New London, the controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision which found that the city of New London, Conn., was within its rights to condemn private property and hand it to a development corporation under the control of the city government, a decision that enraged left and right alike.
Sunday's New York Times led with Scott Shane and David Johnston's "Mining of Data Prompted Fight Over U.S. Spying," on what the intelligence reporters characterized as a fierce Justice Department debate over the use of "data mining" in the war on terror.
"A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency's secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
In his Sunday Business section story for the New York Times, "Did McDonald's Give In to Temptation?" reporter Andrew Martin took a surprisingly moralistic look at the corporation's new menu.
One wonders what the paper's beef is with McDonald's, which after all provides safe, inexpensive food to the lower-to-middle-class section of society the Times claims to care about (and convenient bathroom facilities for the homeless, at least in Times Watch's neck of the woods). But apparently some things can't be forgiven. The source of the Times' angst? McDonald's is re-introducing its giant-size soda under a new name, "The Hugo."
"It wasn't too long ago that the only thing McDonald's seemed good at was making people fat.
The Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax refuses to fade away, no doubt to the chagrin of New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.
The Times features prominently in a comprehensive article by Rachel Smolkin in an upcoming edition of the American Journalism Review. Smolkin delivers a week-to-week dissection of the credulous media coverage given to false rape charges by a stripper against three Duke lacrosse players. Smolkin talked to former Times public editor Daniel Okrent, who was critical of his paper's coverage at the time and remains so.
Does the New York Times have a favorite Democratic candidate?
Reporter Leslie Wayne, in Iowa with the John Edwards campaign, filed the Times's latest strongly positive story Tuesday on the "populist" (not liberal!) Edwards, who the Times seems determined to make into the next John F. Kennedy or Bobby Kennedy. Wayne's latest is a glowing profile of an Edwards Iowa campaign event, which Wayne saw as pure Americana. The headline: "A Candidate Tends His Field of Dreams."
"Surrounding him were about 100 voters, all seated on outdoor chairs provided by the local Congregational church, in a scene that could not have been more picturesquely American -- democracy in action at its most intimate level. Even the music of John Mellencamp -- 'Our Country' -- helped make that point.