He sympathetically profiled a couple living in Idaho, a state they consider backward: "For them, the battle for rights and recognition is to be waged here at home, in a deeply conservative state where same-sex marriage remains, for now, an unlikely dream."
Times Watch has shown how deeply the Occupy Wall Street movement has embedded itself into the liberal psyche of New York Times reporters, who can’t help clogging their stories with flattering references to the lefty sit-in. The protesters may be dispersed, but the dream lives on in Times stories on such seemingly unlikely subjects as a revival of an Arthur Miller play and the sinking of the Titanic (marking the second Titanic anniversary story from the Times containing a “99%” percent reference).
New York Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood wedged in some praise for the Occupy Wall Street movement in a story on the revival of the Arthur Miller play “Death of a Salesman” in Sunday Arts & Leisure section, “‘Salesman’ Comes Calling, Right on Time.” Isherwood thinks it comes at just the right moment, a corrective to the “ethos of the banker-gods and C.E.O.’s set the overriding cultural tone for much of the last 30 years.” (He’s talking about the Reagan era.)
Sunday’s New York Times's National section led off with Kirk Johnson's “Inundated With News, Many Find It Difficult To Keep Up on Libya,” which dug up some novel excuses for the public’s resistance to Obama’s war in Libya (a Gallup poll shows only 47% approve of the bombing strikes): Information “overload,” “compassion fatigue,” and the NCAA basketball tournament.
Denver Bureau Chief Johnson, whose reporting has a pro-Democratic slant, blamed the findings in part on “compassion fatigue.” That itself is a leading description -- would the Times have ever suggested Bush’s involvement in Iraq was borne out of “compassion” for innocent Iraqis?
In the case of a war waged by Obama, the Times ignores other reasons why the public could be skeptical: Fears of mission creep, questions about exit strategies, and concerns about the wisdom of choosing sides in a civil war. Instead, Johnson faults information overload. The inference? The public would be showing more support Obama’s war if they weren’t so distracted by the Japan earthquake and the NCAA basketball tournament.
One doesn’t often see the New York Times reporting on laws and regulations that hurt business, so when you do you can assume there’s a liberal twist in the tale. From Bozeman, Mont., Denver bureau chief Kirk Johnson notified readers on the front of Sunday’s National section that “A Boon to the Economy Faces Repeal in Montana.” The “repeal” involves repealing the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana laws.
Questions about who really benefits from medical marijuana are now gripping Montana. In the Legislature, a resurgent Republican majority elected last fall is leading a drive to repeal the six-year-old voter-approved statute permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which opponents argue is promoting recreational use and crime.
Johnson’s previous reporting has not shown much sympathy toward conservatives or business, but he managed to make a fine free-market argument when it came to a predominantly liberal/libertarian priority like medical marijuana:
Former professor Ward Churchill, who infamously likened some 9-11 victims to Nazis in an essay written on September 12, 2001, won a civil trial on a technicality yesterday, winning $1 in damages for having been unjustly dismissed from his teaching position at the University of Colorado.
In a Friday New York Times story from Denver, Kirk Johnson and Katharine Seelye team up to cover the trial of Churchill, who was fired for plagiarism in his scholarly work as a consequence of scrutiny after public attention was focused on his essay calling the "technocratic corps" murdered in the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" who had it coming.
The verdict by the panel of four women and two men -- none of whom wished to be interviewed by reporters, court officials said -- seemed unlikely to resolve the larger debate surrounding Mr. Churchill that was engendered by the case. Is Mr. Churchill, as his supporters contend, a torchbearer for the right to hold unpopular political views? Or is he unpatriotic or -- as his harshest critics contend -- an outright collaborator with the nation's enemies at a time of war?
The jury seemed at least partly undecided on what to think about the man at the center of the fight, whose essay made him a polarizing national figure.
The Times is far too kind. We can safely assume that someone who applauds the death of American citizens for the crime of being American citizens is by definition "unpatriotic." Churchill's statements were only "polarizing" in the sense that he and a few fellow left-wing extremists believed them, while the rest of the country was suitably disgusted.
Uncovering secret moderation among Western conservative yokels in the age of Obama is becoming a specialty of the New York Times's Western-based reporter Kirk Johnson. On Inauguration Day, Johnson wrote in condescending fashion about the "orderly phalanx marching behind Mr. McCain" in Oklahoma, which had the bad taste to give McCain his largest margin of victory in any state.
This Saturday, he profiled Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. in the negatively headlined "G.O.P. Governor Challenges Utah's Conservative Verities." The text box reads: "The governor breaks with conservative orthodoxy and is still popular." Basically, Johnson sees the death of conservatism in the repeal of Utah's one-of-a-kind liquor laws. Until last week, the state required patrons to purchase a membership in a bar's "private club" before they could have a drink.
Among Utah Republicans, who hold every statewide elected office and more than two-thirds of the State Legislature, Hamlet-like quests for purpose and direction are hardly the norm.
But the norms are dead for Republicans here, something that was in plain view this week as lawmakers overhauled the state's formerly untouchable liquor law at the urging of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
The debate was about scrapping the state's one-of-a-kind system of regulating bars and restaurants in a bid to boost the economy. But bound up in it was a profound, ongoing dialog, led by Mr. Huntsman, about what the Republican Party should be about and who should lead it.