To wrap up our list of the Best of NQ's worst quotes of the year, a look now at the more recent winners in the Dubya era. For reasons which shall become obvious (length), we'll go backwards in this post. 2005's Quote of the Year (Mary Mapes on her strange philosophy of journalism) is here.
Dan Rather's Gloom, 2004: "What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy it may be, for some, the only job they can find." — Dan Rather teasing a report on the CBS Evening News on March 31, the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq.
One of the central political issues facing the American People over the past few years, and certain to be one in the next few, is the issue over whether or not governments are required to recognize same-sex relationships in the same manner that marriages are recognized. Ground-zero in that debate, and one of the places where that discussion has joined arm-in-arm with the debate over judicial activism, is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In November of 2003, in the case of Goodridge v. Massachusetts, the Commonwealth's Supreme Judicial Court ruled on a 4-3 vote that the state constitution required that the institution of marriage be extended to same-sex relationships. I'm not aware of any public opinion surveys which show a majority of the people of Massachusetts agreeing with or supporting that decision, but it is now the law in Massachusetts anyway.
One of the entities which has been strongly supportive of that decision, however, is the Boston Globe. The largest media entity in New England, it is referred to in some circles as the "all-gay, all-the-time Boston Globe" because it is clearly an entity with an agenda. Unfortunately for the news consumers in New England, that agenda isn't confined to the editorial pages. I've mentioned it before, a couple of times, on front-page stories that don't warrant the front-page on any news judgement other than mainstreaming same-sex marriage.
According to the worldview of the mainstream press, there are really two kinds of people in the world - normal people who hold normal views, and conservatives, who hold abnormal views. There's a front-page story in Today's Boston Globe that demonstrates this, yet again. The news story ("State to push abstinence in schools") addresses a plan proposed by the Romney administration to utilize federal funds for an abstinence-only plan in certain schools where there are believed to be higher levels of sexual activity. <1--break-->
The Romney administration plans to introduce a new abstinence education program in Massachusetts schools beginning next month, the state's most aggressive effort yet to use a controversial method of teaching Bay State teenagers about sex.
Right off the bat, first sentence, we find out that the method is controversial. And reading the piece, you discover that it's controversial because...well, apparently, because it's being pushed by conservatives.
Like abortion and gay rights, sex education -- and abstinence specifically -- is an important social issue to conservatives around the country, whom Romney would have to court if he runs for president in 2008. But the administration's decision promises to revive a fight in Massachusetts over how to teach sex education.
If there's a fight over "how to teach sex education," who are the participants? Conservatives are mentioned. No one else. Apparently the other side is non-ideological. Ladies and gentleman, this is a textbook example of lying by telling a piece of the truth. Is it debatable that, to the extent there is a "fight...over how to teach sex education" in this country, it was started not by the conservatives, who were happy not to have it in the schools, but by liberals? But there aren't any liberals, not in the Boston Globe's world-view.
And there's more. The funds would be used, according to Romney's spokesman, "in addition to comprehensive sex education programs already in place," but the article appears, after running the quote, to ignore it completely.
One of two things must be happening at The Boston Globe:
It must really be gnawing at the editorial writers at The Globe that the GOP has controlled the governor's mansion in Massachusetts, nearly the bluest of all blue states, for over a decade, and they just couldn't take it any more.
The Editorial Board has raised the standards of conduct for presidential aspirants to dizzying heights.
Dave Huber explains at Oh, That Liberal Media that the Boston Globe erred in its headline in an AP story with the words "Teacher Under Investigation for Alleged Liberalism":
The school superintendent whose district includes Mount Anthony Union High School has labeled "inappropriate" and "irresponsible" an English teacher's use of liberal statements in a vocabulary quiz.
"I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes," said one question on a quiz written by English and social studies teacher Bret Chenkin.
The American media are giving President Bush low marks and mixed reviews regarding his just ended trip to China. Here are some of today’s headlines:
Bush’s China Visit Fails To Narrow Differences (Reuters via Boston Globe)
China Mostly Aloof to U.S. Priorities (Chicago Tribune)
U.S., China Seem to be Worlds Apart (Newsday)
Bush Skirts Rights Issue (LA Times)
CBS’s “Early Show” this morning began its segment on this issue: “The president is getting mixed reviews for his Asia trip after little was accomplished in his meetings with China.”
Yet, the Chinese media were much more positive about Bush’s trip. For example, People’s Daily Online offered the following headline, “Media: Bush's China visit sends "positive signal" to China-US relations.” It conveniently gave a recap of opinions being expressed by other newspapers and websites with links:
Published just hours apart, but by journalists separated by thousands of miles and a huge cultural divide, articles at the Boston Globe and al-Jazeera concerning the voting just finished in Iraq had striking similarities in their views. In fact, the tenor of both reports was quite negative.
The key points raised in the al-Jazeera article were:
“In what the American President George W. Bush claims to be another milestone on Iraq’s road to democracy, Iraqi headed to polling stations today to give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposed draft constitution, expected to further divide the country into three mini-states.”
An article in today’s New York Times depicted a grim picture of the future of America’s newspaper industry. Stung by declining circulation rates, most of the nation’s major dailies are laying people off:
“Such rethinking is sweeping newsrooms across the country as the industry faces a wave of job cuts, among them 700 announced since May at The New York Times Company, including its business operations and the various media properties it owns, and 14 at The Hartford Courant. Most recently cuts have been announced at The Boston Globe (a division of the Times Company), The San Jose Mercury News, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and Newsday, and over the last few years The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have also moved to eliminate jobs.
“Industrywide, ad revenue is flat, costs are up and circulation is eroding.”
The article went on to discuss how ad revenues at the major newspapers have stopped growing as major retailers have refocused their marketing dollars into other channels such as cable television and, of course, the Internet:
As the Goodridge case worked its way through the court system over the past several years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became ground zero in the struggle over "gay marriage." And the Boston Globe, the largest newspaper in New England, certainly chose sides. Referred to by some as the "all-gay, all the time" Boston Globe, the Globe has consistently found ways to put stories on the front page that focus on "gay" issues, whether they're legitimate front-page news or not (most often, not). Back in August, for example, the Globe ran a front-page story on the fact that the pair of swans in Boston's famed Public Garden were both males. ("Some same-sex marriage advocates hoped the swans' celebrity would not be diminished by the revelation of their same-sex status.")
Some in the media have blamed the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina on global warming. NBC's Robert Bazell warned on Monday's NBC Nightly News, in a story carried repeatedly on MSNBC, that "many scientists say we can expect such storms more often as global warming increases sea temperatures around the world." In a Monday posting on Time.com Jeffrey Kluger forwarded that "to hear a lot of people tell it, we have only ourselves -- and our global-warming ways -- to blame." Kluger conceded that "hurricanes were around a long, long time before human beings began chopping down rainforests and fouling the atmosphere," but he concluded that in the future global warming "could make even Katrina look mild." Former Washington Post and Boston Globe reporter Ross Gelbspan, in a Tuesday Boston Globe op-ed, charged: "The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming." In contrast, the New York Times remarkably reported Tuesday: "Because hurricanes form over warm ocean water, it is easy to assume that the recent rise in their number and ferocity is because of global warming. But that is not the case, scientists say."
“Free universal healthcare has long been the crowning achievement of this socialist state,” Boston Globe reporter Indira A.R. Lakshmanan touted from Havana in a front page story last Thursday. In the August 25 article headlined, “As Cuba loans doctors abroad, some patients object at home,” Lakshmanan relayed all the cliches, promoted by the left, about the wonders of Cuban health care, without any regard to the accuracy of the figures or the quality of the health care workers. But before that, Lakshmanan blamed the U.S., not Cuba’s communism, for the terrible state of its economy as she described it as “crippled by the U.S. embargo in place since 1963.” The Globe reporter championed how, thanks to “one of the best doctor-patient ratios in the world,” the “small country has made significant contributions to reducing infant mortality rates and serving disaster victims worldwide.” Lakshmanan trumpeted how “advocates of the Cuban system point out that all Cubans are entitled to free healthcare and medicine, while more than 44 million American residents -- nearly one of six people -- have no health insurance.”
The Boston Globe this morning leads with a large picture, first column, above the fold, of a group of candle-holding protestors in a "vigil" to show solidarity with Cindy Sheehan. It's a lovely shot, taken on a beach at sundown, and the people look like nice people. It is also framed in such a way that the crowd looks like it might have been much bigger than it actually was.