Wednesday's lead New York Times editorial, "Conspiracy World – Behind every nonpartisan institution, the right sees the malevolent hand of a liberal cabal," is at least more colorful than the paper's standard editorial offering. It's a liberal hodge-podge of accusations that the right is living in a "world of conspiracy theories"-- but why are John McCain's criticisms (presumably of the State Department over Libya) mentioned in the same rant as conspiracists who think Obama was born in Kenya?
When Republicans began questioning President Obama’s birth certificate four years ago, it seemed at first like a petulant reaction to a lost election, a flush of nativist and racist anger that would diminish over time. But the preposterous charges never went away. As this election cycle shows, many in the Republican Party continue to see the president as the center of a broad and malevolent liberal conspiracy to upend the truth.
To live and seethe in that world of conspiracy theories means rejecting any form of objective reality. When unemployment numbers make the administration look good, they are obviously “cooked.” When poll numbers put Mr. Obama ahead, they are skewed. Birth certificates are forgeries. Safety-net programs are giveaways to supporters. Health insurance reform is socialism. And campaign donation disclosure is antibusiness.
The paper came to the defense of the poor Congressional Budget Office, whose numbers claiming Obama-care is a money-saver are seen as dubious by many economists.
It’s an upside-down version of life, and it is not innocuous. When desperation leads political critics of the president to discredit important nonpolitical institutions -- including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office -- the damage can be long-lasting. If voters come to mistrust the most basic functions of government, the resulting cynicism can destroy the basic compact of citizenship.
The Times defended the Labor Department's latest unemployment rate number of 7.8 percent
...No one expected Republicans to celebrate a positive trend for the country, but almost immediately the anchors on Fox News and the editors of right-wing Web sites saw something more sinister: a conspiracy, led by the Obama campaign, to manipulate the numbers to make the president look good a month before the election.
The editorial even snuck in what appeared to be an attack on Sen. John McCain's sober criticism of the State Department's response to the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, as if McCain's comments were somehow conspiratorial or out of line.
....And this trend is reinforced when people who know better, like Newt Gingrich and Senator John McCain, trash the civil servants at the State Department and the Congressional Budget Office. (Mr. Romney, to his credit, did not question the latest jobless figures.)
The muddled editorial next threw in a racial attack on the GOP's push for voter ID:
Democrats aren’t happy about the latest polls, but they aren’t suggesting Mr. Romney is manipulating them, just as they didn’t undermine the Bureau of Labor Statistics when the jobless numbers were high. Many are far more worried about a conspiracy that is verifiable and serious: the concerted effort by Republicans over the last four years to deprive minorities, poor people and other likely Democratic supporters of their voting rights.
That, of course, doesn’t seem to bother those who see “Chicago’s” evil hand everywhere. When there is real-world evidence of political collusion, the conspiracy theorists are nowhere to be found.
Times Watch can't recall the Times's aggrieved editorial on the leftist "Truthers" who thought President Bush either had prior knowledge of or a hand in the 9-11 attacks.