NYT: No Free Speech at Ground Zero Because Left-Wing Museum Had to Move?

January 16th, 2006 2:16 PM

A Saturday New York Times editorial, “A Home for the Drawing Center,” celebrates the fact that a left-wing museum, originally to be located at Ground Zero, has found a new home in Manhattan, and accuses opponents of the project of opposing free speech.

“The Drawing Center, of course, was once part of other plans to rebuild Lower Manhattan. It was going to inhabit a planned cultural center at ground zero, until, in a memorable spasm of apparently unscripted patriotism, Gov. George Pataki made it impossible for the center to remain. If nothing else, the battle over culture at ground zero made it perfectly clear that Governor Pataki favors free speech, but only if it takes place in another part of town.”

The Times doesn’t mention that its heroine Sen. Hillary Clinton has joined Pataki in opposing the plan.

“The real question is what ground zero has lost by losing the Drawing Center. The answer depends on many things, especially the perplexing fate of the memorial design and the character of the inchoate memorial museum. At best, ground zero has lost the ability to stand for freedom of speech, that most American principle. At worst, it risks becoming a deeply fragmented place, divided between mourning and shopping.”

This isn’t the first Times editorial to hail the Drawing Center while attacking its opponents as anti-free speech -- or worse.

On July 29, the paper hit out at Debra Burlingame for leading a fundraising boycott of the left-wing cultural center at Ground Zero. The Times didn’t bother noting that Burlingame is a family member of a 9-11 victim (her brother was a pilot on the plane that was flown into the Pentagon).

“It is a campaign about political purity -- about how people remember 9/11 and about how we choose to read its aftermath, including the Iraq war. On their Web site, www.takebackthememorial.org, critics of the cultural plan at ground zero offer a resolution called Campaign America. It says that ground zero must contain no facilities 'that house controversial debate, dialogue, artistic impressions, or exhibits referring to extraneous historical events.' This, to us, sounds un-American."  

Burlingame had the audacity, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, to question what left-wing activists had in mind for the Ground Zero space, including the Drawing Center:

"The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona."

For more examples of liberal bias in the New York Times, visit TimesWatch.