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.
To a lover in the thrall of blissful delirium, there is nothing that doesn't relate to his beloved. Frank Rich is the morose mirror image. Not a leaf falls but that it reminds him of Iraq and the perfidy of the Bush administration. The ostensible topic of Rich's sub-req NY Times column of this morning was Time magazine's solipsistic choice of "you" as person of the year. What this has to do with Iraq might not be apparent to you. But you're not Frank Rich.
Let's see how Rich managed to make the connection with some annotated excerpts:
"Like Time today, Life in the late 1960s was a middle-of-the-road publishing fixture sent into an identity crisis by the cultural revolution that coincided with a calamitous war."
As bad as Vietnam was for us, it was much worse for the millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians who were killed by the dictators who took over once we pulled out.
During a presidential news conference on Wednesday, members of the media made it very clear to President Bush that they do not support increasing troop levels in Iraq. Although no such plan has been officially announced, several print and television reporters appeared to be launching a preemptive strike against the idea and in support of a quick withdrawal. During the hour long question and answer session, a "New York Times" reporter made comparisons to Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam. CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod asked how much longer the President will continue to defy the polls, and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell tried to trap Bush into a game of criticizing Donald Rumsfeld. Early in the news conference, Reuters reporter Caren Bohan commenced the media attack on any plan that would increase troop strength in Iraq:
Caren Bohan: "If you conclude that a surge in troop levels in Iraq is needed, would you overrule your military commanders if they felt it was not a good idea?"
Bush: "That’s a dangerous hypothetical question. I am not condemning you, you are allowed to ask what you want. Let, let me wait and gather all the recommendations from Bob Gates, from our military, from diplomats on the ground. I’m interested in the Iraqis point of view, and then I will report back to you as to whether or not I support a surge or not. Nice try."
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.
Could multiculturalism be on its way out at the New York Times? Yesterday, one columnist extolled classically Western Hellenic values over those of historical Judaism. Today, another columnist flatly asserts that freedom is "a distinctive product of Western civilization."
In the subscription-required God's Gift, Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson criticizes the Bush administration for formulating its Iraq policy on the "erroneous assumption . . . that freedom is a natural part of the human condition."
Continued Patterson: "A basic flaw in the approach of the president and his neoliberal (a k a neoconservative) advisers was their failure to distinguish Western beliefs about freedom from those critical features of it that non-Western peoples were likely to embrace."
The New York Times ran a small blog burst on Hillary Clinton after she made a "surprise visit" to Hunter College yesterday morning. The bloggy kiss up features a soggy picture of a somber looking Mrs. Clinton who appears to be transfixed in deep thought behind a lonely podium.
As if the staged picture isn’t stomach churning enough, the staff blogger breathlessly penned the following in describing the rock star's visit.
Several of the students clutched copies of the 10th anniversary edition, released last week, of Mrs. Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village.” Mrs. Clinton patiently obliged, signing the books – as well as a baseball, a statistics textbook and even scraps of looseleaf paper. She did not make any public comments about her political aspirations.
In his "Best of the Web Today" column on Opinion Journal, James Taranto noticed the New York Times recently reported a story on the eagerness in Iraq to see Saddam Hussein executed, but reporter Kirk Semple's piece transmitted that all-too-familiar tendency to identify with the convicts, and not the ones they caused to suffer:
From a New York Times story on Iraqi execution methods, set to be used on convicted murderer Saddam Hussein:
The victims are led up a set of steel stairs to a platform, about 15 feet above the ground, and nooses fashioned from one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick hemp ropes are slipped over their necks. The executioners are different each time, drawn from among employees of the Justice Ministry who volunteer for the job. Many have lost relatives or friends in insurgent attacks, officials said.
The New York Times' "Immigrants' Families Figuring Out What to Do After Federal Raids" clearly sees illegal immigrants as sympathetic victims, putting the wet-eyed focus not on the criminal acts that resulted in the raids by immigration authorities, but how the raids have made immigrants afraid to venture out in public.
Julie Preston's Saturday story is set off with a four-day-old AP photo of a weeping mother who "held her 3-month-old son on Tuesday as her husband was held at a Swift meat plant in Greeley, Colo."
And the winner of this year’s Media Research Center award for the worst quote of 2006 is...you! Well, only if “you” are Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the liberal activist who is also publisher of the New York Times. Sulzberger “won” for his May 21 commencement address in which he declared abortion and gay marriage were “fundamental human rights” and decried how America was “fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land.”
For our 19th annual Best Notable Quotables issue, the Media Research Center asked a panel of 58 distinguished media observers (top radio hosts, columnists, editorial page writers, etc.) to select their choices for the most outrageous quotes of the year in 16 different categories (such as the “Good Morning Morons” category, or the “Cranky Dinosaur Award for Trashing New Media”).
"Put down the candles and step slowly away from the menorah." Reading her pay-per-view New York Times column of today, that's what I felt like shouting at Jennifer Michael Hecht. Hecht manages to turn the Festival of Light into a celebration of the rejection of traditional Judaism - and an odd bow in the direction of colonialism and cultural imperialism.
Hanukkah celebrates "a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion." Syrian-Greeks had colonialized Israel, overturned the Temple, and turned Jews away from their religion. A small band of faithful Jews defeated the Greek army, drove them from the Israel, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.
According to Hecht, that was . . .a bad thing. In her view, "progressive, modern Jews" should actually consider the Syrian-Greeks the heroes of the story, and those who fought against them to restore traditional Judaism the villians.
I seriously didn’t know what to expect when I saw the New York Times profile on a Muslim woman who has joined the United States Army. Despite my expectations, or lack thereof, I had a pretty good feeling that it would be filled with the typical bombastic innuendo and mischaracterizations of the United States military that I have come to expect from a newspaper that that I admittedly loath to read.
Thus I was not surprised to see the following at the beginning of the From Head Scarf to Army Cap, Making a New Life article.
It helped, Ms. Hamdan thought, that there were so many similarities between Islam and the Army.
"One of his last jokes involved a son sending a prostitute over to his widowed father, in his 90s, still a self-proclaimed ladies’ man. She tells him she is his birthday present and will give him super sex.
'I’ll take the soup,' he says."
It took a few days, but someone at the Times finally figured out that the "joke" wasn't funny. So it gave it yet another try on a December 13 correction:
"The Cost of an Overheated Planet" dominates the front page of the Tuesday Business section, accompanied by a cliched graphic of a Planet Earth with a giant thermometer stuck into it.
Reporter Steve Lohr is no less certain that global warming exists, as he celebrates the head of an energy company who favors federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions.
"The iconic culprit in global warming is the coal-fired power plant. It burns the dirtiest, most carbon-laden of fuels, and its smokestacks belch millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas.
That great American ambassador and lovely lady Jeane Kirkpatrick has left us, but her passing also causes us to remember her strategic sense and moral clarity. She came to national prominence in Reaganite circles in 1979 with her marvelous Commentary magazine essay on “Dictatorship and Double Standards.” It argued that traditional authoritarian autocracies were both more susceptible to liberalization and more amenable to American interests than totalitarian dictatorships of the left, which came into power with disturbing frequency in the late 1970s, with America as their stated enemy.
She easily explained how the Carter administration and the liberal press romantically saw in the revolutionary left a shared commitment to modernity over tradition, science over religion, an educated bureaucracy over private hierarchies, and futuristic and universal goals over appeals to an archaic and ordered past.
Saturday's New York Times obituary for Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Ronald Reagan's envoy to the United Nations, was written by Tim Weiner and draws on Weiner's background as the paper's liberal defense reporter during the 1990s.
Weiner takes a mostly positive look at Kirkpatrick's life and influence at the U.N., but can't resist inserting his own liberal foreign policy slant.
"At the United Nations, she defended Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. She argued for El Salvador's right-wing junta and against Nicaragua’s left-wing ruling council, the Sandinistas."
Well, at least he didn't blame it on Bush. In his column of yesterday, Market Watch's Jon Friedman tells us not to rule out this explanation of CBS Evening News's disappointing third-place finish under Katie Couric's baton:
"America wasn't truly ready for the first solo woman evening-news anchor, let alone someone smart and attractive with pretensions to sounding puckish and hip."
Oh, please. Does Friedman really believe that? From Maureen Dowd [love her or hate her] to Oprah to Katie herself back in her 'Today' days, millions of Americans are comfortable getting their news and views from women opinion-leaders. Katie hasn't flopped because of her sex. She's been unsuccessful because she's done nothing to distinguish herself from her liberal media competitors - with the exception of letting her show's precious few minutes of hard news be crowded out by the awkward "Free Speech" segment.
At first I thought I might have stumbled across a document of some historical interest - an internal memo from the central planning committee of the Soviet Union ordering the apparatchiks to find a way to increase spending in a certain sector of the economy.
Turns out it was just an editorial from today's New York Times. Consumption by the middle-class isn't high enough to suit the Gray Lady's taste, or as it puts it: "There is no question that spending by the middle class has been weaker in the current economic expansion than in previous recoveries."
What really has the Times exercised is this: "In 2005, the top 20 percent of households made 39 percent of all consumer expenditures." Oh, the horror! How dare the most productive members of society, the ones who are creating most of the jobs for the other 80%, spend the most?
"Augusto Pinochet, 91, Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile, Dies" reads the headline to Jonathan Kandell's front-page obituary for the Chilean ruler in the New York Times Monday. A related editorial calls Pinochet "The Dextrous Dictator" (perhaps a play on words, as the Latin root of dextrous is dexter, meaning "on the right side," hardy har har).
Here's the lead of Kandell's obituary for Pinochet today:
"Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption, died yesterday at the Military Hospital of Santiago."
Was it a planned one-two punch? On Saturday, New York Times columnist Frank Rich declared that "we have lost in Iraq." Today, in The Time Is Now, his Times colleague Bob Herbert flatly calls for surrender. No conditions, no time-table. As Herbert starkly puts it: "it is time to pull the troops out of harm’s way."
Herbert says "it is wrong to continue sending fresh bodies after those already lost." He raises the "moral question" of justifying "the lives that will be lost between now and the final day of our departure." But Herbert ignores another looming moral question: the lives that will be lost if we hastily retreat.
"The expanding outbreak of E. coli poisonings in New York, New Jersey and several other states underscores the need for more rigorous regulation of the whole supply chain for fresh produce . . . Surely it is time to give government regulators the power and resources they need to ensure the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables." - NY Times editorial, Sickened by Fresh Produce, 12/09/06
"[Taco Bell owner] Yum Brands is feeling the financial fallout on Wall Street, as two analysts downgraded its stock, citing the potential effects of customers' food safety concerns. Shares fell $1.36 to $59.72 on Friday. The stock has fallen 5.6% in the last three sessions." - Taco Bell feels fallout from E. coli outbreak, LA Times, 12/9/06
Not an Onion article. I solemnly affirm to Scrappleface: New York Times columnist Judith Warner doesn't want social programs to be judged by how much they cost or whether they work.
Disclaimer notwithstanding, I bet you're still dubious. "Come on, Finkelstein - that can't be right. As liberal as the New York Times might be, there's no way one of its regular columnists would come right out and say that."
The particular government programs that Warner - the Times's family-issues maven - discusses in The Real Value of Public Preschool [subscription] are what she describes as "free" pre-school for three- and four-year olds. And here's what she says:
"I am finding the rhetoric in the debate over universal preschool disheartening. It’s all the usual stuff about cost-benefit and outcomes."
Pro-Muslim New York Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar covers the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's attempt at a Muslim sitcom, "Little Mosque on the Prairie," and manages to get what he considers a sad example of life imitating art almost totally wrong.
"The handsome, clean-cut young man of evidently Pakistani or Indian origin is standing in an airport line, gesticulating emphatically as he says into his cellphone, 'If Dad thinks that’s suicide, so be it,' adding after a pause, 'This is Allah’s plan for me.'
"As might be expected, a cop materializes almost instantly and drags the man off, telling him that his appointment in paradise will have to wait, even though the suicide he is referring to is of the career kind; he’s giving up the law to pursue a more spiritual occupation.
For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
The VRWC is apparently even vaster than we realized.
In a fund-raising email today David Brock, President of Media Matters, the organization that some might consider the left-wing counterpart to NewsBusters, claimed [emphasis added]:
"Media Matters has already exposed more than 6,000 instances of conservative misinformation in just two years -- and not just from right-wing news outlets such as Fox News Channel, but from sources like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times."
Brock cites two instances in which Media Matters corrected errors at the Washington Post. But might the conservative rot run deeper? Could Paul Krugman be a deep RNC mole? Christiane Amanpour a conservative agent provocateur? E.J. Dionne perhaps a catspaw for Karl Rove?
In a story on the resignation of United Nations ambassador John Bolton, reporter Helene Cooper, for the second time in three weeks, suggests (mockingly?) that defeated Sen. Lincoln Chafee, one of John Bolton's chief Republican critics, is actually a possibility to succeed Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.
Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online caught it first when the story was posted to the Times website Monday, but the story was subsequently changed both online and in print, deleting the Chafee reference.
Cavuto elicited this stunningly out-of-touch statement from Krugman about the situation for the average person and the middle class that is obviously not true (excerpt is at the end of this Hot Air clip):
Cavuto: .... You're saying that it's somehow dramatically worse now than it was 10 years, 20 years ago? Krugman: It is dramatically worse now than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
Horse manure, Paul, and here's the proof. The figures below are from the Census Bureau, and show real (inflation-adjusted) income from 1985-2005 (bottom half of data at linked page):
This was just too delicious for words…but I’ll try. As many of you are aware, most conservatives who study the economy and the markets view the New York Times’ Paul Krugman as being one of the most disingenuous pols on the landscape. Krugman has regularly been shown to flat out lie about economic data in his articles to prove his specious points, and was accused by the Times’ former ombudsman Byron Calame of regularly doing exactly that.
Well, on Tuesday, Krugman got his well-deserved comeuppance as Fox News’ Neil Cavuto called him out for such errors in transmission, and actually called Krugman a liar (must-see video available here):
Here’s what I’m saying that you’re doing: You are lying to people. That’s what I think that you’re doing.
Krugman then actually had the nerve to respond: “I haven’t heard a lie yet.” He mustn’t proofread his work. Luckily, Neil was having none of this:
The article, Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans, is just what you’d expect from hacktivist reporters who spend just as much time furthering an agenda as they do in reporting out of context and sparsely connected facts. The end result is an article that has little to do with being correct let alone honest.
Give New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credit for a couple things. First, he is as far from an armchair pundit as you can get, having been virtually everywhere and put himself on the line innumerable times. Check his bio. Second, he makes no bones about what he is proposing in Iraq in his pay-per-view column of today. "Cut and walk" isn't my gloss; it's Kristof's headline.
That said, Kristof's column reads like something that might have been written by warm 'n fuzzy Stuart Smalley, the SNL character Al Franken hilariously immortalized before deciding he had serious things to say.
Zeleny quotes Dean: "'The other party made mistakes in the past claiming that elections are mandates. Elections are not mandates. The voters of this country loaned the Democrats the power of the country for two years. Now it’s our job to earn it back again.''