Actor Forest Whitaker stars in "The Last King of Scotland," the acclaimed biopic about Uganda's bloodthirsty dictator Idi Amin, who is thought to have killed over 300,000 of his countrymen during a reign that was cruel even by the standards of African dictatorships. New York Times' Africa correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman went to Kampala for the red carpet opening and made Sunday's front page with "A Film Star in Kampala, Conjuring Amin's Ghost."
"Mr. Whitaker said it was enormously helpful to walk through the actual places Amin haunted and meet actual people he victimized.
The New York Times generally keeps conservative blogs at arms length, treating them with either how-dare-you criticism, pat-on-the-head condescension or, most notoriously, accusations of CIA stoogery. But
when it comes to liberal bloggers like the ones covering the Lewis
Libby trial, The Times embraces them as they struggle side by side with
the MSM, as shown in Scott Shane's front page story today, "For Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder." (By contrast, Shane has written two condescendingpieces on conservative bloggers.)
is one group blog covering the trial of Libby, the former top aide to
Vice President Dick Cheney accused of lying to prosecutors during the
investigation of who leaked CIA worker Valerie Plame's name to the
a convoluted trial in which everyone, government officials and
journalists alike, seems to have a faulty memory -- no surprise, since
it involves who may or may not have said what to whom in the summer of
2003. Tom Maguire, a must-read on all matters Plame-related who knows
the ins and outs better than virtually any journalist, wonders if the
Times is watching the same trial he is.
Are Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to blame for left-wing vulgarity from the likes of blogger Amanda "%$@#" Marcotte, late of John Edwards presidential campaign blog? That's the argument from Time senior writer and columnist Joe Klein, now writing at Time's Swampland blog.
a newcomer to this blogging business, I've been interested in the
Edwards dust-up. As readers know, I've been critical of the tone of the
left-wing blogosphere in the past. But I think that Yglesias raises an
important point here
and anyone reading the comments section of any Swampland post knows
that troglyditic right-wing cavedwellers fester there, in a vomitously
vile manner, too.
The New York Times political blog "The Caucus" and editor Kate Phillips seemed to sympathize with two bloggers, Andrea Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, who recently quit the John Edwards campaign after coming under fire for bigoted, irresponsible, and vulgar statements they'd written on their own blogs in the past.
Chris Hedges, who served at the Times as a reporter and Middle East bureau chief for a total of 15 years, appeared last Thursday on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," hosted by Stephen Colbert, to discuss his new book, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America."
You may remember Hedges for being booed off a college commencement stage in the middle of an anti-war rant in May 2003.
Here's a selection of the transcript from the second half of the interview with host Stephen Colbert, who kept up his act as conservative Christian straightman, setting up the dour Hedges to make cracks at Christianity:
"The Dixie Chicks’ big win at the Grammy Awards on Sunday exposed ideological tensions between the music industry’s Nashville establishment and the broader, more diverse membership of the Recording Academy, which chooses the Grammy winners, according to voters and music executives interviewed afterward.
Their sympathetic peers in the entertainment industry awarded The Dixie Chicks five Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony, including Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's petulant response to critics who disapproved of singer Natalie Maines' remark onstage in London in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Maines is from Texas.)
The Monday story showed the Times once again portraying the Dixie Chicks as free-speech martyrs, while managing to avoid mentioning the scads of free, flattering publicity in the wake of the incident and subsequent fiery comments by Maines that alienated much of her previous fanbase.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' inflammatory new campaign bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan will be retained by the campaign after making public apologies for past postings that were controversial, to put it mildly. In a surprise, the New York Times played the story on Friday's front page, albeit under the mild headline "Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways").
Marcotte is notorious for a January 7 post on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, one she later eliminated after it became an issue after her hiring: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."
"Six years ago, Brian Lavelle moved out of the city of Cleveland to the nearby suburb of Lakewood for what he thought would be a better life. Back then, Lavelle, 38, was a forklift operator in a steel mill making $14 an hour. He had a house, a car and was saving for his retirement. Then, three years ago, the steel mill closed and Lavelle found that the life he dreamed of was just that, a dream. The suburbs, he quickly learned, are a tough place to live if you're poor. For starters, there isn't much of a safety net in his community. Food pantries, job-retraining centers and low-cost health clinics are hard to come by.
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny again spun in a Democrat direction in his coverage of the fierce arguments over non-binding resolutions regarding Bush's troop increase in Iraq. On Thursday, Zeleny claimed: "Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who led the bipartisan resolution against the president’s troop buildup plan, went to the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the letter only two days after siding with Republican leaders on a vote that blocked the debate."
Democratic presidential candidate (for now, anyway) Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware got headlines for all the wrong reasons yesterday when he referred to Sen. Barack Obama, who's also running for president, as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" in an interview with the New York Observer.
"Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops!" read the headline over Adam Nagourney's Thursday story in the New York Times. Credit the Times for putting it on the front page, and to Nagourney for bringing up Biden's equally strange comment last summer that aired on C-Span: “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”
Fox News "Special Report" anchor Brit Hume led off his "Political Grapevine" segment Monday night by citing a piece that appeared that day on Times Watch, on the paper's double standard regarding the expressing of personal opinions on television. Here's Hume:
"A New York Times reporter has been rebuked by his superiors after voicing the hope that the U.S. can accomplish its goals in Iraq. Here's what Times chief military correspondent Michael Gordon said on the Charlie Rose show earlier this month, quote:
'As a purely personal view, I think it's worth it, one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we've never really tried to win. We've simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it's done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something,' end quote. Times Public Editor Byron Calame writes that Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman said Gordon quote, 'stepped over the line' and quote, 'went too far.'
"Timeswatch.com points out that last summer Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar appeared on the Rose show, and criticized Bush administration practice of sending bombs to the Middle East, saying the policy, quote, 'erodes and erodes and erodes America's reputation.' MacFarquhar received no reprimand for his comments."
Skip the boring bulk of Public Editor Byron Calame's latest innocuous, inside-baseball column and skip straight to the brief shirt-tail, "Drawing a Line."
Apparently some liberal Times readers complained that Times military reporter Michael Gordon had the bad taste to go on the PBS talk show"Charlie Rose" January 8 and say he wanted the United States to win the war in Iraq.
For the second time in less than three months, the New York Times is forced to correct basic facts in a story regarding Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" about U.S. troops being "stuck in Iraq." (TimesWatch pointed out the repeat flub yesterday.)
The Times has appended a thorough correction to political reporter Adam Nagourney's Thursday article.
Why is it so hard for the New York Times to obtain the basic facts of Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke"?
Political reporter Adam Nagourney, like Kate Zernike before him, spins Kerry's November gaffe about U.S. troops "stuck in Iraq" at a political rally in California to make them seem less harmful, in Thursday's "Kerry Will Not Enter Presidential Race."
"But Mr. Kerry’s hopes were probably most damaged by what he said was a botched joke he told while campaigning on behalf of Congressional candidates in the final week of the 2006 election campaigns.
Based on what Times Watch has read, “Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi,” the documentary on Christian evangelicals airing on HBO tonight (Pelosi being the daughter of you-know-who) seems more respectful than the contemptuous anti-Christian commentary it's generated, including a paragraph Thursday from television critic Alessandra Stanley.
Kate Zernike's front-page profile of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (featuring a large picture of Pelosi shaking Bush's hand at last night's State of the Union address) opened with a celebration of Pelosi's femaleness and ends with "poignant commentary" by the left's new favorite Bush fighter, Democrat Sen. James Webb of Virginia.
"The first two words of the evening on Tuesday were evidence of how much has changed here: 'Madam Speaker,” boomed Congressional escorts, 'the president of the United States.'"
"The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration’s increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.
This week the New York Times took every opportunity to mislead on the nature of the terrorist-surveillance program, triggered by Wednesday's announcement by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would have jurisdiction over the program that eavesdrops on international calls of people in the U.S. suspected of terrorist ties.
Jonathan Miles' biweekly column on specialty drinks unearths yet more proof of global warming -- his "hot toddy" arrived cold.
"By proposing to add polar bears to the list of 'threatened' species last month, the Bush administration seemed to finally acknowledge that global warming is taking a toll. With rising sea temperatures shrinking the polar ice cap, 'the polar bears’ habitat,' said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, 'may literally be melting,'' he argues in the Sunday Styles section.
"Closer to home and heart, I’d been worrying about another sort of species that -- at least this season -- seems terribly vulnerable to climate change: the hot toddy. "
The January 12 front-page story in the New York Times, "Duke Accuser Contradicts Herself," on the Duke lacrosse "rape" case, catches the case just as it's entering final meltdown phase.
NYT reporter Duff Wilson begins:
"In an interview last month with a district attorney’s investigator, the woman who has accused three Duke lacrosse players of sexual assault contradicted critical evidence and parts of her earlier accounts, dealing a new blow to a faltering case."
Bush stubbornly refuses to give up on the Iraq war, despite what New York Times reporters insists was the message delivered by the voters in November, and they're peeved at him. Congressional correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg reacts to Bush's Iraq speech last night outlining his plan for more troops in Iraq in her Thursday "news analysis," "Bush's Strategy for Iraq Risks Confrontations on Many Fronts."
"By stepping up the American military presence in Iraq, President Bush is not only inviting an epic clash with the Democrats who run Capitol Hill. He is ignoring the results of the November elections, rejecting the central thrust of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and flouting the advice of some of his own generals, as well as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq."
The inevitable comparison to Vietnam comes up halfway in.
"Warsaw's new archbishop, Stanislaw W. Wielgus, caught in Eastern Europe's widening witch hunt for former Communist secret police informers, admitted Friday that he had collaborated with the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, or Security Service, known as the S.B."
Christopher Hedges, the former NY Times reporter infamously booed off a college commencement stage in the middle of an anti-war rant in May 2003 , has a new book out with the hauntingly ambivalent title, "American Fascists -- The Christian Right and the War on America."
Contributor Rick Perlstein reviews it in the Times' Sunday book section and finds it unconvincing (although Perlstein seems to share some of Hedges' paranoia regarding conservative Christians):
"Hedges was a longtime foreign correspondent, for The New York Times and other publications. But he writes on this subject as a neophyte, and pads out his dispatches with ungrounded theorizing, unconvincing speculation and examples that fall far short of bearing out his thesis."
That's as far as the review goes about Hedges' 15-year-history at the Times.
"In an article published on afriendly op-ed page, and from the regal confines of the White House, President Bush greeted the incoming Democratic leadership of Congress on Wednesday with a message of bipartisanship.
"TP couldn't help but pick up on the distinct strain of grudging admiration that ran through the NYT's coverage of Hussein's trip to the gallows. An early edition of the paper's lead story said that although the witnesses it interviewed were enemies of the dictator, 'their accounts of the execution were redolent of respect for the way in which their former tormentor died.' The final edition version of the story omits the prior passage but says the widely broadcast videotape of the event suggested that he 'lived his final moments with unflinching dignity and courage, reinforcing the legend of himself as the Arab world's strongman.' An accompanying front-page piece about the dictator's final moments relates that he 'looked strong, confident and calm." A fitting final performance, I suppose, for a master propagandist.'"
NY Times theatre reporter Jesse Green's "Not Everybody Loves Patricia" is about actress Patricia Heaton, former co-star of "Everyone Loves Raymond" who is currently appearing in an off-Broadway play. Heaton is also nearly unique in Hollywood for being an outspoken pro-lifer, which explains the slightly mean-spirited Times headline.
Today, New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse hands over nearly all his news hole for the newly empowered Democrats to whine about the GOP's supposedly corrupt years of control of Congress.
"Republican rule on Capitol Hill drew to an exhausted end just before dawn on Dec. 9 after lawmakers dispatched a pile of bills that few had read and even fewer had helped write. Democrats say the era of such chaotic and secretive legislating came to a close as well."
Hulse lets us know that a kinder, gentler group is taking over.
It's unanimous! Times Watch guest judges Stephen Spruiell, who runs National Review Online's Media Blog, and Times critic William McGowan, author of the upcoming book Gray Lady Down, both picked as his worst quote of the year one from New York Times PublisherArthur Sulzberger Jr. (The quote also earned Quote of the Year honors from Times Watch's parent organization, the Media Research Center.) Spruiell says it was the "sheer arrogance" of Sulzberger's speech that put the paper's publisher over the top.