McCarthyism Resurrected: Bush/Abramoff Pics and the NYT Reaction

January 24th, 2006 6:48 AM
These pictures may be worth more than a thousand words. On Monday, White House officials acknowledged that, yes, photographs did exist of President Bush in a classic grip-and-grin with Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist at the center of a bribery and corruption scandal in the capital. But that did not mean, they said, that Mr. Bush had a personal relationship with him.

Wow. Are you reading an issue of The Nation? No - it is none other than an objective, balanced and fair-minded NYT reporter suggesting that a half-dozen pictures of President Bush with Jack Abramoff at various events and fundraisers over the past five years is somehow proof of nefarious wrongdoing.

In this piece in today's issue, the NYT takes aim at President Bush and his supposed "dealings" with Abramoff. There is no actual evidence of underhanded or covert dealings with Abramoff (the campaign contributions by Abramoff clients which went to dozens of members of Congress in both parties are already known facts), but set this implication aside.

Apart from other blatant bias that oozes from the copy, the artice works from a flawed position right out of the gate. A picture (while visceral and immediate) is not necessarily a substitute for reasoned, thorough analysis, legal process, factual findings and conclusions based on evidence.

However, it is important to take the left at their word here - if pictures of people together in any public or private situation is automatic and de facto proof that they have a deep and meaningful relationship, then what is the deal with these photos? Exactly. The tactic is similar to submitting a cute third-grade style thesis with pretty pictures as proof in the pudding, but it really holds no water when held up to true scrutiny.

The "guilt by PR shot" and the implication/ fantasy that it somehow "proves" something is an indication that the left's (one time) bane of existance - McCarthyism - has resurrected itself in the form of a donkey and an old grey lady.