The Impudent Times

TomPaine.com goes to anti-Bush author David Corn for an article called "The Timid Times." In it, he claims the New York Times isn't really anti-Bush, and could be much harder on the President. He is progressively wrong on nearly every point he makes.

The Times and other papers occasionally publish graphic photos of wounded and dead Iraqis, but not enough to represent accurately and fully the daily tragedies occurring in Iraq... Everyday there are bodies—often headless bodies bearing signs of torture and mutilation. The paper generally does not put photographs of such atrocities in front of its readers. But imagine if it did, with regularly placed detailed photos of civilian casualties in Iraq on the front page. White House officials and others, no doubt, would complain about the demoralizing impact on U.S. public opinion regarding the war in Iraq.

I'm sure Mr. Corn isn't suggesting that U.S. soldiers decapitate, torture and mutilate civilians, is he? I actually agree with Mr. Corn on this issue, show Americans what terrorists do to innocent civilians. The reason the New York Times won't do it is two-fold; readers will quit buying the gory paper and it would actually solidify support against the heinous terrorists...

Or what if the Times—as it did with the victims of 9/11—printed profiles of every U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, placing one a day on the front page?

Plenty are already doing exactly that, why should they copy it?

It often treads lightly when the president or the vice president says something untrue. Two weeks ago, Dick Cheney claimed in an interview that there were 250,000 Iraqi soldiers "now in uniform, equipped, trained, in the fight." That was a whopper. In February, the Pentagon noted that the number of Iraqi battalions ready to fight on their own was zero.

Cheney did not say they were "ready to fight on their own," he said they are in uniform and in the fight. Those are two different things. Newly trained police officers in the United States are not put on the streets on their own after going to the police academy. Why would this be any different?

Yes, it did publish an article revealing that the National Security Agency, as directed by Bush, was intercepting phone calls of Americans to overseas destinations without obtaining warrants-if those Americans were suspected of being terrorists or were talking to people suspected of being terrorists. But the paper sat on the piece for about a year. Had the Times run the story when it had first learned of this arguably illegal wiretapping program, it would have appeared before the 2004 presidential election. The ensuing hullabaloo could have influenced the election results.

The American public is too smart to fall for it. They supported the spying program despite the push by the Times against it. They realized this was the same spying program conducted by Carter and Clinton without uproar from the New York Times. The same program that the New York Times reported as legal in 1982. Dropping a red herring October surprise was what ended Dan Rather's career and perhaps won Bush the election. I agree with Corn here too, it's too bad the Times didn't try it.

There is also the matter of the Times’ coverage of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to consider. How does that fit into the conservative theory that the Times is a hotbed of anti-Bushites? In the year and a half prior to the invasion of Iraq, the paper consistently published stories that hyped the WMD threat. Though the paper's editorial page was a loud voice against the invasion of Iraq, its front-page often carried stories—which all turned out to be wrong—that created a favorable context for Bush's march to war.

Yes, the matter of WMDs that "all turned out to be wrong." The 500 chemical warheads recently found apparently don't count, considering that Saddam told the world that they had all been destroyed per the UN mandate (even the old ones.)

Perhaps it is too much to expect logic or consistency from the Times-bashers. They are looking for a target. And there are not many flag-burners running around these days. The Times has hardly declared war on this administration. Only someone who didn't read the newspapers could believe it has.

There are plenty of flag burners running around these days. Only a delusional progressive fool would think the Times has not declared war on the Bush administration.