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Interesting Idea …

November 26, 2002 Politics-General 34 Comments

Ya know what I’d like to see? How about one of these days, some political candidate run a spoof attack ad on themselves. Hear me out … I think it would really neutralize any negative ad attacks on them down the road. Just let it run every so often, constantly serving as a parody ad to make people laugh at the idea of negative campaign ads. God as my witness, that’s gonna win somebody a race someday!
I’m kinda thinking a nice, biting ad … dark, grainy pictures, commenting about how Candidate X hates puppies. Cut to some slow motion B&W footage of the candidate walking along the street, eyeing a puppy along the way in an evil sorta way. Close it with some line like: “Greg Wythe has a problem with puppies … Texas has a problem with Greg Wythe. {pause} Paid for by the Greg Wythe for ______ Campaign.”

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Currently there are "34 comments" on this Article:

  1. Man, some day I gotta tell you about what I woulda done if I could have been put in charge of the Sanchez and Brown campaigns last year…

  2. Ulysses says:

    Surely you saw this from Mickey Kaus?
    “Jack Shafer points out the strained quality of the most recent NYT front-pager on the Augusta National Golf Club controversy (“CBS Staying Silent in Debate On Women Joining Augusta”), which might as well have been headlined “CBS Fails to Pay Attention to New York Times Crusade.” Shafer — echoing Sridhar Pappu — thinks NYT Executive Editor Howell Raines is replaying (as a Guilty Southern White Boy should) the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. The Times, Shafer suggests, latched onto “a story that it could conveniently exploit for months to the smug satisfaction of its liberal readers.” …
    Plus, doesn’t the alleged justification for Monday’s non-story story resonate with Raines’ defense of his paper’s recent anti-war barrage, in which he declared:
    “If there’s an absence of debate in the country, if Congress is not standing up to the administration in an adversarial way, that’s a news story.”
    Raines is on the verge of a breakthrough reconceptualization of “news” here, in which “news” comes to mean the failure of any powerful individual or institution to do what Howell Raines wants them to do. (As the Times reports about CBS, “The network appears to be resisting the argument …”) … P.S.: I concede there’s a lot of useful info on the dynamics of the TV-sports business buried in the jump of Alessandra Stanley and Bill Carter’s piece. It’s … a sophisticated exegesis of a sociological phenomenon! … P.P.S: Is Stanley’s new beat being Howell’s Roving Hitwoman? …P.P.P.S.: If the NYT makes a huge fuss about Augusta’s refusal to admit women and it turns out that nobody cares (“Readers Stay Silent in Debate on Women Joining Augusta”) doesn’t that have the effect of ratifying the practices of same-sex private clubs? … 12:47 P.M.”
    But it’s all just conservatives seeing what they want to see, right?

  3. Ulysses says:

    And this from Andrew Sullivan:
    TIMES WATCH: “In a measure of additional concern for Democrats, Al Gore, who is the best-known Democrat who might run for president in 2004, is viewed unfavorably today by a ratio of almost two to one…. Just 19 percent said they held a favorable view of the former vice president, compared with 43 percent who had an unfavorable view.” – New York Times today. Almost?
    Damn those conservative conspiracy theorists!!!

  4. gregwythe says:

    First things first … anyone who wishes to quote Andy Sullivan on the issue of NYT bashing need be wary of his own bitterness from being cut loose from his NYT Mag gig.
    Second things second … there’s a difference between being anti-authoritarian and just flat out liberal. Do you really think the Clintonistas were crowing about their positive profiles in the Times in 1993/94? I mean seriously, if the biggest issues you can point to are a country club spat and a poll whish ALSO shows Bush’s re-elect number at … what was it 40ish% … I’d hardly conclude that it smacks of a clear, blatant, unquestionable liberal bias. Show me how their consulting with members of the party they’re trying to help by sending them strategy memos, and I’ll be a little more convinced.
    Third things third … tell me how anything the Times does is any less ethical than what the Fox News or the Washington Times does. And don’t try and tell me they’re open about their bias. I’ll need quotes to back that up.

  5. gregwythe says:

    ‘course … there’s also this handy little article to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, by the very standards Sully uses, the Washington Times is guilty of a liberal bias.

  6. Ulysses says:

    I’m fully aware of Andrew Sullivan’s history with the Times and take that into account. Of course, his history has nothing to do with the verifiable falsehoods the Times. But go on and continue to deny it. It’s just that everyone else in the country already knows it.
    I’ll just throw a few out there:
    Let’s start with Mickey Kaus again:
    kausfiles A mostly political Weblog.
    Krugman: “I Didn’t Know”
    The NYT columnist grudgingly admits error — to readers of his Web site, anyway.
    By Mickey Kaus
    Updated Monday, August 5, 2002, at 2:09 AM PT
    Are all the Post editors on vacation? WaPo falls for a paradigmatic bogus interest-group poll story. In “Fighting Hunger Emerges As Nonpartisan Issue,” Helen Rumbelow reports:
    A poll of 1,000 likely voters found that 93 percent said “fighting the hunger problem” was important when deciding who to choose in House or Senate elections ….
    Hmmm. If you were told there was “the hunger problem,” wouldn’t you think fighting it was important too? It’s not as if voters spontaneously came up with “the hunger problem” when asked what was important. The Alliance to End Hunger, which commissioned the poll, wasn’t about to take chances like that! Rather, “fighting the hunger problem” was included on a list of “a dozen leading issues” the poll respondents were fed, according to the group’s Adobe Acrobat explanation. Who’s going to say it’s not important? … In another shocking finding from the poll:
    Almost three-quarters of likely voters (72.9 %) say the 6 million children around the world who die annually from hunger-related illness is a convincing argument to do more.
    The rest say, “Screw ‘em!” … Isn’t the news here that an astonishing 27.1 percent say they don’t think “the 6 million children around the world who die from hunger-related illness is a convincing argument to do more?” … How could the pollsters have failed to stack the question more effectively? There’s the scandal! … P.S.: WaPo quotes Bill Knapp, identified as “a media strategist for the last three Democratic presidential campaigns,” saying that hunger is a “sleeper issue.” What the Post doesn’t say is that Knapp was one of the three politicos hired by the Alliance to End Hunger to conduct the poll. (In fact, WaPo suggests otherwise by identifying Republican Jim McLaughlin as the person “who conducted the poll.” Then Knapp is quoted as if he were just a disinterested Democrat contacted by the Post.) … Update: Eric Umansky of “Today’s Papers” gagged on the WaPo story too, including the missing Knapp i.d. … 3:40 A.M.
    Rhinos, 1, Krugman, 0: Will Paul Krugman’s next NYT column acknowledge the serious fact mistake in his July 16 column on George W. Bush’s Texas Rangers investment? The mistake was pointed out in a letter to the NYT, dated 7/22 but printed last Friday. Krugman admitted the mistake yesterday, in weaselly best-defense-is-a-good-offense fashion, on his own Web site. But how many Times readers read Krugman’s Web site? Don’t NYT columnists print corrections of their errors in the same space where the errors were made?
    Here are the sordid details (helpful boldface reader-aids added by kf):
    Krugman originally wrote that Bush,
    “who put up 1.8 percent of the Rangers syndicate’s original capital, was entitled to about $2.3 million from that sale. But his partners voluntarily gave up some of their share, and Mr. Bush received 12 percent of the proceeds ? $14.9 million. So a group of businessmen, presumably with some interest in government decisions, gave a sitting governor a $12 million gift. Shouldn’t that have raised a few eyebrows?”
    In their letter, Bush’s Ranger partners Tom Bernstein and Roland Betts say:
    “In 1989, when we bought the team, Mr. Bush became the co-general partner with Edward Rose. At that time, the two general partners were granted a 15 percent share (Mr. Bush received 10 percent and Mr. Rose, 5 percent) in the investment, after each investor got back his investment plus interest. This is a standard limited-partnership structure. At the time, Mr. Bush was a private citizen, not governor of Texas.”
    Krugman’s defense? Ignorance:
    “[Bernstein and Betts] assert something I didn’t know: that he was granted a 12 percent share of the profits …when the deal was initialized, rather than in 1998, when the franchise was sold.”
    Krugman then a) says he’d like to see the contract; b) suggests that such a contract was unusual; c) suggests that this “peculiarity” is “why we’re only hearing about it now;” and d) argues that Bush’s Rangers exploits still amount to “crony capitalism.”
    A few points;
    1) We’re not “only hearing about it now.” Here’s a paragraph from an August 16, 1998 article in the Houston Chronicle:
    Bush, who is considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000, borrowed money to invest $ 606,000 in the Texas Rangers. Rangers President Tom Schieffer said that Bush earned a return of $ 2.7 million on that investment when the team was sold. The deal also included a bonus for Bush. Once the other owners’ original investments were paid off with interest, Bush’s ownership share jumped from 1.8 percent to 11.8 percent. Schieffer said that resulted in a bonus payment to Bush at the sale closing in June of $ 12.2 million. So Bush walked away with $ 14.9 million.
    2) What’s more, Krugman either knows or should know we’re not “only hearing about it now” — he’s written that this very same Houston Chronicle article “should be required reading for anyone trying to understand the Bush administration.” He apparently didn’t read it very carefully himself, however. Nor does he seem to have gone back and reread it, in light of the Bernstein/Betts letter, before assuming, on his Web site, that it didn’t say (back in 1998) what it says (that Bush’s extra 10 percent was part of the original deal).
    3) On the issue of whether Bush’s deal was “standard” or “peculiar,” the required-reading Chronicle article notes:
    Schieffer said that Bush, as one of two general partners of the team, got the bonus payment for having put together the original team of investors in 1989. “The person who puts the deal together always receives some sort of additional compensation,” Schieffer said.
    I don’t know very much about business, but that sounds right to me. Also, doesn’t the partner who is actually doing the managing work (as opposed to simply putting up money) get a bit of extra “sweat equity”? Dana Milbank’s Washington Post piece on Bush’s tenure as a Rangers’ managing partner makes it clear he did a great deal of work, even if it wasn’t work he would have gotten if his name wasn’t Bush.
    4) Wouldn’t it be the honorable thing for Krugman to tell us where he got his apparently erroneous info? Was it just a misreading of the Houston Chronicle? A too-accurate reading of Harper’s?
    5) Krugman’s surviving charge against Bush — “crony capitalism” — seems fair. But in his July 16 column (under the factual misapprehension he now grudgingly confesses) Krugman was clearly insinuating something more, namely that Bush’s partners gave him $12 million that he hadn’t earned and wasn’t owed in order to curry favor with him because he was by then a “sitting governor.” Krugman should be man enough to admit this innuendo was bogus.
    P.S.: And how about Krugman’s greasy non-climbdown climbdown — “Was any of this illegal? Probably not.” Was Krugman bought by Enron? Probably not! … Is Krugman getting so sloppy because he’s churning out two columns a week, which is at least one too many? Probably! Which suggests the compelling hack’s argument for why Krugman should answer Bernstein and Betts in the NYT: If he plays it right, he can milk a whole column out of it! … Update: Numerous business-like (and seemingly non-partisan) kf readers e-mail to say that it’s indeed normal business practice to reward a general partner like Bush with an extra chunk of profits, in part because a general partner typically bears greater risk for losses. Samples:
    “I currently own 15% of a company in which I’ve never invested a dime of my own money. My equity stake in the company is/was based on my business contacts when the company started (it couldn’t have got off the ground without them) and the revenue I’ve generated since the inception of the company (sweat).”
    “[I]n addition to structuring both public and private partnerships, I have testified about them in arbitrations and state and federal courts). …The general partner is liable for all the financial obligations of the partnership beyond the stated obligations of the limited partners, so GWB assumed a position of some risk, especially if he could not get the property for the ballpark or get the park constructed on time and reasonably close to budget. … In almost all limited partnerships the general partner receives some sort of promotion, including, for example, acquisition and management fees, salaries and some sort of increased profit participation based on the partnership achieving state financial goals. In this case, I believe that GWB’s profit increased by 10% upon the limited partners receiving their capital contributions back plus an agreed upon interest return. In my experience, GWB’s promotion was fair and clearly within standard industry terms.”
    OTOH: Krugman’s posted reminiscences (here and here) of economist Rudi Dornbusch, who died recently, are full of illuminating inside-the-profession detail. I heard Dornbusch talk a few times on various Washington occasions — he was a warm, smart and funny man. Now I know why he was also important. 1:30 A.M.

  7. Ulysses says:

    part 2
    NEW YORK TIMES: ASHCROFT BLEW IT
    Next, Saturday’s New York Times (June 1, 2002) reported that
    A top secret report warned the director of the FBI in the months before September 11 that the bureau faced significant terrorist threats from Middle Eastern groups like Al Qaeda but lacked enough resources to meet the threat … [V]irtually every major FBI field office [was] undermanned in evaluating and dealing with the threat posed by groups like Al Qaeda …
    The Times added: “On Sept. 10, Mr. Ashcroft rejected a proposed $58 million increase in financing for the bureau’s counterterrorism programs.”
    There are at least three critical facts the Times ignored:
    First, if funding for the FBI and its field operations were inadequate “in the months before September 11,” the budget and management decisions that created this situation would have been made by then-attorney general, and current Florida gubernatorial candidate, Janet Reno. Ashcroft had nothing to do with them. Yet, Reno’s name doesn’t appear in the story.
    Second, as for Ashcroft’s purported Sept. 10 decision against the $58 million funding increase, how could that possibly have had any consequence since the terrorist attacks occurred the next day ? on Sept. 11th?
    Third, if Ashcroft had approved the increase on, say, August 10 or July 10 ? “in the months before Sept. 11 ? “that wouldn’t have mattered, either. Ashcroft can only make funding requests. Congress appropriates funds. There’s no indication of any kind that prior to Sept. 11 Congress would have acted, let alone approved, a $58 million increase. In fact, as late as Sept. 10, Daschle was still playing politics with the Pentagon’s appropriations, claiming that increased defense spending would drain money from the (nonexistent) Social Security trust fund.

  8. Ulysses says:

    part 3
    9/13/00 5:00 p.m.
    Rats at the New York Times
    The poorest journalistic performance of the campaign season.
    The New York Times is on a roll: Yesterday, the paper splashed on the front page a Rick Berke “scoop” about the word “rats” appearing in a Bush health-care ad, an item that had been reported by Fox News two weeks earlier. Today, the Times runs a misleading editorial on the story. It all may represent the poorest journalistic performance of the campaign season.
    After Fox spotted the word “rats” ? appearing for 1/30th of a second ? as the word “bureaucrats” flashes around the screen in the ad, it alerted the Times to its amusing discovery. The Times ignored it. It wasn’t until the word “rats” was noticed by a Democrat, and brought to the attention of the paper by the Gore campaign, that the Times pounced.
    This should be called the “John Boehner principle of sourcing,” after the taped conversation between Boehner and other Republican leaders in 1997 that the Times ran after a Democratic activist recorded it and a Democratic congressman passed it on to the paper: If it comes from a Democratic source, it’s news.
    In some editions of the paper, the Berke story made no reference of the Fox item. He apparently doesn’t do Nexis searches. In other editions, the Fox reference does appear very low in the story, considering that the Fox report would seem to explode a couple of the premises of the story: that the word “rats” was discovered by an eagle-eyed Democrat, and that the Bush campaign was trying to sneak its “subliminal message” by everyone (if that were the case, wouldn’t the Fox report have set off panic in a Bush campaign caught red-handed?).
    Then there’s the way Berke characterizes the word “rats” in the reference to Fox: “The commercial’s embedded message also attracted the notice of Fox News.” But he hasn’t established in his story that the word is an “embedded message” at all!
    The only evidence Berke musters is based on innuendo: comments from other ad makers that something like this couldn’t possibly be an innocent mistake. But Berke makes little effort to track down the truth, to find out what the vetting process is for ads at the Republican National Committee (my understanding is that it is fairly chaotic, which certainly isn’t beyond the realm of imagination). So, in sum, Berke’s reporting was late, tendentious, and altogether crappy.
    Today’s editorial is even worse. It starts off with the assumption that rats was a deliberate tactic that “backfire[d].” It refers to “the insertion of the word RATS,” when it wasn’t “inserted,” it was a fragment of the word “bureaucrats.” But the Times doesn’t even mention the word “bureaucrats” until the last paragraph of its piece.
    This is frankly misleading. The Times doesn’t mention that the “C” is apparently partially visible when the ad is viewed on an editor’s screen ? so was the intent really to tar Gore with the word “crats”? I’m told that in a newer version of the ad, in which the phrase “federal HMO” flashes across the screen, the letters “ral” partially appear just like “rats.” All of which suggests this is a mistake.
    Which, of course, is what the ad’s maker, Alex Castellanos, maintains. The Times will have none of it. Castellanos, the editorial maintains, “has not kept his story straight.” He told Berke the appearance of the word was “purely accidental,” but then yesterday said that the ad employs “a visual drumbeat designed to make you look at the word bureaucrats.” This is in no way a contradiction, but the Times editorial writers are either too stupid or too dishonest to acknowledge it.
    What Castellanos is saying is that the word “bureaucrats” flashes across the screen in different sizes, in different places, to underline its significance, and it’s through that flashing that a partial fragment of the word appears: “rats.” What about that is so hard to understand?
    In fact, there is an attempt in the ad to associate Gore with a negative word: the word is “bureaucrats.” That’s why it is repeated, and flashes on the screen. The notion that a 1/30th-of-a-second appearance of the word “rats” would somehow be more damaging than the drumbeat of “bureaucrat” is utterly ridiculous. Just like the nation’s “newspaper of record.”

  9. Ulysses says:

    part 4
    7/10/00 3:15 p.m.
    Honesty Is Not the Best Policy
    The New York Times is at it again.
    The New York Times has been running an endless series called “How Race is Lived in America.” It is clearly aimed at a Pulitzer Prize. And, like most Pulitzer-hunting, zillion-word, angst-ridden multi-article strolls through liberal guilt, it tends to extrapolate a great deal of meaning from some fairly discrete anecdotes. In other words, the New York Times went out to find racial problems in America and ? surprise! ? it found them.
    The premise of the series is? well, the premise is largely lost on me. I often end up asking “Why am I reading this?” when I have to wade through tens of thousands of words about the racial anxieties of chicken pluckers and white suburban hip-hopsters. The Times claims to be interested in moving beyond political debates and getting to the heart of racial experiences, hence “how race is lived in America.”
    The more fundamental premise, it seems to me ? other than Pulitzer-craving ? is that the Times fully subscribes to the prevailing hoohah about how America needs a more “honest dialogue” about race. Everyone who has stepped foot on a campus, or been forced into a fluorescent-lighted reprogramming chamber in a corporate conference room has heard about this much needed dialogue. The idea is that somehow Americans don’t know there are differences between the races. If only we could have a conversation where we spoke our minds, everything would be cleared up. This is hard work.
    “Honest dialogue will not be easy at first. We will have to get past defensiveness and fear and political correctness and other barriers to honesty,” warned president Clinton in 1997 launching his year-long conversation about pigment differences. “Emotions may be rubbed raw, but we must begin” (presumably this is just one of the many things Bill Clinton desires to have rubbed raw). This seems to be the point of the Times series: to give air to continuing gripes. For example, yesterday’s (over 7,500 word) installment was titled, “Why Harlem Drug Cops Don’t Discuss Race.” About 600 words into the piece we get our answer. “Cops do not discuss race,” writes Michael Winerip of the Times, “It’s too risky. They need to get along.” Alas we get another 7,000 words anyway.
    But guess what? Normal people everywhere tend not to discuss race, and I am not sure exactly why so many concerned liberals want to change that. After all, isn’t the mantra to “get past our differences”? Well how are we going to do that if we are constantly harping on them. Besides, the idea that we are waiting for, or even just beginning, a racial conversation is nuts. There is not a college course in the humanities which does not overly dwell on race. I doubt if there isn’t a grade or high-school American history or civics textbook which doesn’t concentrate on racial discussions. There are hundreds of black politicians who’ve made racial “conversations” their modus vivendi. There are many white politicians who’ve made their careers over their willingness to “discuss race frankly.” Indeed, that was the whole point of Bill Bradley’s presidential bid. And, if there is a network news show that goes a whole week without discussing race, I’d be shocked.
    Meanwhile, Americans are dealing with racial tensions in an intelligent manner, which is to say ignoring them. There’s a reason why millions of families have a “no politics or religion at the dinner table” rule. Because people don’t want their emotions rubbed raw. The editors of the Times harp on racial considerations because it satisfies their own ivory tower guilt. But the average person realizes that if you want to get along with your fellow white or black man then you might want to discuss sports or the weather rather than longstanding racial grievances. For the Times, zeroing on what divides people seems like responsible journalism, for normal people it’s nuts.
    For example, I get along profoundly well with my Catholic girlfriend (mostly because I’m very good at following orders). We agree on almost everything (Dershowitz bad, Jameson’s whiskey good, etc). What exactly is to be gained by an “honest dialogue” on religion? After an endless food-fight, screaming things like “Transubstantiate this!” and “Uh oh, you better duck! I don’t think this chewed its cud!” would we really be better off?
    In America, most people have worked out a similar rule about racial conversations: Avoid them if you can, and keep them light and brief if you can’t. Any honest conversation about race would have to include a vast number of things neither side wants to bring up. Of course, the assumption from people like Clinton ? despite all his talk about moving past political correctness ? is that white people need to hear how racist they are. Actually, that’s not quite right. Clinton’s assumption is that he is brave for telling race peddlers what they want to hear (and therefore deserves all the raw-rubbing he can get). But the assumption from his amen choir is that whites still need a good talking to. And many whites probably do. But no conversation can be one-way. At some point the view that most of the problems with the African-American community are cultural and cannot be remedied by more legislation will have to be aired. Are African-American leaders willing to listen to a full-venting of that perspective without screaming “racism” and storming out? I sincerely doubt it.
    As an aide in the Nixon administration, Pat Moynihan proposed that the federal government should adopt a policy of “benign neglect” when it came to race. His alternative was to concentrate on poverty of all races, which would disproportionately help blacks. Moynihan was denounced as a racist by civil-rights leaders and demagogues alike. The funny thing is that this is precisely the policy that pretty much everyone has in their everyday lives.
    This exposes the dark side of things like “How Race is Lived in America.” Race and racism is not central to the lives of most Americans, contrary to what the racialists claim. And it shouldn’t be. But, if you want to find it in every aspect of American life, you’re going to be successful. If a doctor keeps asking you questions, eventually he’s going to find something wrong. If you keep asking someone “what’s wrong?” they’re going to dredge up an answer. While race is certainly more serious than height, the New York Times could just as easily have gone around America and found instances where tall people do better than short people. So what? Or more precisely, therefore what?
    No, the only really revealing expose about race I’d like to see from the Times is “How Race is Lived at the New York Times.” Let’s find out how a rich, white newspaper deals with what it considers the North Star of American life.

  10. Ulysses says:

    part 5
    Monday morning, during my ritual reading of the New York Times, I jumped to attention when I spotted the headline, “Calls for Slavery Restitution Getting Louder.” Wow, I thought, the Times is going to have to talk about the Horowitz ad. Oh, I knew the Times had already run a front-page story on the controversy over David Horowitz’s anti-reparations ad, but that was more than two weeks after the original story broke ? well after venues like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The New Republic, USA Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the New York Daily News, and a host of other local papers and opinion outlets had printed Op-Ed’s and/or covered the story. It was clear that the Times had put off coverage and discussion of the Horowitz controversy for as long as it conceivably could. And besides, the story that had finally made it into the Times had focused on the campus free-speech issue. Now, with this new article, I was just itching to see how the Times would finally assess the role of the Horowitz ad in the reparations debate itself.
    As I nervously made my way through the article, my eyes kept skipping ahead to find the inevitable Horowitz reference…. the reference that never came. I rolled my eyes and turned the page. Just another New York Times moment.
    Somewhere inside, although it embarrasses me to say so, I still believe in the New York Times ? a reflex from years of reverence past. And although it may no longer be a fair paper, the Times is still, in important ways, a great paper. That is why I keep wanting to believe. And that is why I keep on getting fooled.
    What I’m looking for is a newspaper that will actually cover the biggest story in this country today: our ongoing debates over race, feminism, the family, and homosexuality ? our “culture war.” But the New York Times doesn’t want to cover the culture war; it wants to fight it.
    The Times story on reparations, written by Tamar Lewin, claims that the movement for reparations has been “gaining steam” in the past year. Now how can anyone assess the momentum gained by the reparations movement in the past year without calculating the effect of the earthquake set off by the Horowitz ad? Somehow Ms. Lewin saw fit to record that last month, the Philadelphia Inquirer published two full-page editorials urging the creation of a national reparations commission. Those editorials wouldn’t fill up a thimble beside the oceans of ink spilled over the Horowitz ad. Even excluding discussions of the free-speech implications of the Horowitz controversy, nowhere has there been more ? or more important ? public discussion of the reparations debate during this past year than in connection with the Horowitz ad. Yes, Lewin does briefly quote black conservative Walter Williams in opposition to reparations. But isn’t it obvious that David Horowitz is the most important opponent of slave reparations in the United States today?
    Not that Lewin didn’t get a quote from a white opponent of slave reparations. She questioned Clinton domestic-policy adviser Stuart Eizenstat on the issue. But as both Eizenstat and Lewin frame the debate, the choice is not between individual responsibility, and the affirmative action mentality embodied by the call for slave reparations. No, the “choice” is between two ways of making up for slavery ? either reparations or “affirmative government action in general.” This is what passes for debate over racial issues in the pages of today’s New York Times. Shall we have reparations, or a combination of affirmative action and increased government spending?
    I for one have always felt that the Horowitz ad, while on the whole well reasoned and correct, has its weaknesses. Nor have I hesitated to say so. For example, it troubles me, as many others, that in his ad, Horowitz treats welfare payments as a form of reparations for slavery. Welfare payments are and should be race-blind, even if they go disproportionately to African Americans. For this reason, to speak of welfare as a form of reparations for slavery seems to me both ill conceived and uncalled for. But here is President Clinton’s domestic-policy adviser treating “affirmative government action in general” as a form of reparations for slavery. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the people who jumped on Horowitz for his welfare remarks to come after Eizenstat.
    Lewin’s article makes a stab at looking like fair coverage of the reparations controversy, when in fact it’s a puff piece for the reparations movement itself. The thrust of the article is to tout the movement’s recent successes. This requires that discussion of the massive setback represented by the Horowitz controversy be entirely suppressed. Lewin’s piece ends with unchallenged quotes by reparations advocates equating their efforts with the original quest of the civil rights movement for integration. Yet this is the central point of principle challenged by Horowitz, who equates reparations, not with the struggle for integration, but with the insistence on preferential treatment by race. So by removing any reference to Horowitz, not only has any realistic assessment of the movement’s prospects been rendered impossible, the fundamental point of principled contention in the debate been entirely removed.
    At one level, it’s easy enough to explain the liberal bias on controversial social issues now dominant at the Times. It’s all part of a deliberate decision to make the Times a vehicle for (rather than a record of) social change, a policy instituted by the Times’s new publisher, Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. Pinch was a sixties anti-war activist who famously declared that in a confrontation between an American and a North Vietnamese soldier he’d want to see the American get shot. After all, “It’s the other guy’s country.”
    In a little noted appearance last year at his alma mater, Tufts University, Sulzberger Jr. harked back to his activist days at college and emphasized how important it was to apply those values in the “real world” today. Questioned about liberal bias at his paper, Sulzberger denied all, claiming that “skepticism,” rather than liberalism, reigns at the Times. Besides, said Pinch, good copy editors are careful to take out any biased statements that liberal reporters might let creep into their stories.
    So skepticism and good copyediting keep the New York Times bias free. I do hope those young folks at Tufts take Mr. Sulzberger’s advice about questioning the powerful to heart, because that answer answers nothing. Of course when it comes to studies that raise questions about, say, day care, New York Times reporters are skeptical to a fault. But when it comes to any study offered up by, say, feminists, the skepticism of New York Times reporters swiftly evaporates. For two examples, consider the famously mistaken study by the American Association of University Women claiming that our schools “shortchange girls,” or that infamous bit of junk science that claimed to establish bias against female faculty members called the “MIT Study on the Status of Women.” Each study was touted by front-page headlines in the New York Times, yet each was exposed as groundless and deeply biased in brilliant articles by University of Alaska professor Judith Kleinfeld. Yet the Times never bothered to consult skeptics like Kleinfeld before going to press, any more than Tamar Lewin went to David Horowitz for her piece on reparations. And how can copy editors edit out bias in stories where the real bias is in the sources never consulted, the questions never asked, the issues never raised?
    But problem isn’t just some executive decision made by Pinch Sulzberger. Sulzberger stands for a generation of reporters who understand their work in a fundamentally different way than reporters before them. For these reporters, the meaningful aspect of their work is the chance that it gives them to “make a difference” in the world. These reporters ? and I mean reporters at daily papers and television news outlets, not simply reporters in magazines of opinion ? do not hold as their ideal the relatively modest goal of facilitating public debate. No, for these reporters, the goal is nothing less than bringing about “progressive” social change.
    Overtly, and particularly when it comes to party politics, these reporters maintain at least the pretense of fairness. They will even sometimes believe themselves to be fair. But when it comes to cultural issues, these reporters consciously understand themselves to be warriors for “racial justice,” feminism, and gay rights, even when ? indeed, precisely because ? the nation has in no way reached a consensus on such questions.
    As I said last week, this is fundamentally a question of religion. In the absence of traditional religion, the secular elite cannot be satisfied with the classically liberal task of facilitating open, honest, and informed public debate. That goal, however noble, cannot supply the ground and meaning of a reporter’s life. Only transforming the world to make it “socially just” can do that. And if achieving “social justice” means allowing the public to see only half of a two-sided argument, so be it. This is not your father’s justice.
    Of course, you can fool all of the people only some of the time. The new generation of leftist reporters at the Times has indeed done much to bring about social change, but at significant cost to the paper’s credibility ? so significant that the new generation has facilitated a bit of social change not bargained for. The very existence of outlets such as National Review Online owes much to the perception by the public that the mainstream press is no longer telling them the truth. Increasingly, liberals lament the rise of the conservative counter-media and the cultural fragmentation it reflects. Yet they have brought it on themselves. Having excluded half of the argument, the argument has reformed itself in other venues. And however much a part of me still loves, admires, and wants to believe in the New York Times, my ritual daily reading now yields little besides the leeching away of the last good measure of my trust in that once great paper.

  11. Ulysses says:

    part 6
    Since the release of last week’s research findings on the dangers of day care for kindergarteners, the media have been busy emphasizing the limitations of scientific research. These are the same folks who used to scoff at the tobacco industry’s claim that the relationship between smoking and cancer was merely an unexplained coincidence. Now we’re told that a clear correlation between time in day care and behavioral problems in school can be dismissed until all the causal arrows are drawn. Are we willing to wait that long?
    The limitations of empirical scientific research on child rearing are legion, but the media to date has spun them in one direction only. Striking a pose of above-the-fray scientific detachment, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg had a piece in last Sunday’s “Week in Review” that could have been titled, “A Thousand Reasons Not To Pay Any Attention To Studies That Knock Day Care.” The silly old public, we were told, ignores the many qualifications on research findings, and looks instead for a superficial bottom line. But real scientists, Stolberg said, recognize what research does not establish, as well as what it does.
    Stolberg has a point. Given the limitations of science, the effects of day care are unlikely to be precisely as the recent study suggests. They’re almost certain to be worse. So far, we’ve only learned about the harms of day care that can be easily measured. But what’s easily measurable and what’s real are two different things.
    Fifteen years ago, Jay Belsky, the principal investigator of the new day-care study, unleashed the wrath of America’s feminists for daring to publish research suggesting that children placed in day care for more than 20 hours a week were at risk of insecure attachment to their mothers. “Insecure attachment” is a technical term for a significant disturbance of relation between mother and child, as indicated by some very particular empirical psychological tests. Those tests of maternal-infant attachment are probably the best scientific instruments we have for making sense of a child’s rich and complex emotional world. But truth to tell, they are very rough instruments indeed.
    A child who tests out as “insecurely attached” to his mother has definitely got a problem. But the designation of “secure attachment” in no way assures that a particular child isn’t facing lots of inner turmoil. Plenty of messed-up little dudes and dudettes register a technical designation of “securely attached.” The best observational tests on preschoolers reliably pick out only the most serious problems. That means when a study points to the obvious negative effects of day care on a few easily identifiable problem children, others are likely to be suffering in ways that are harder to verify, but nonetheless real. That’s one of the limitations of science that our detached and scientific corps of feminist journalists has so far failed to point out.
    Stolberg’s story in the Times points to the fact that even though 17 percent of children spending large amounts of time in day care experienced behavioral problems, “83 percent of them did just fine.” This argument was repeated later that day by reporters like Cokie Roberts and Gwen Ifill. But Belsky’s research did not establish that 83 percent of children spending most of the week in day care are doing “just fine.” He merely established that 17 percent of them have a tendency to bullying and disruptive behavior.
    Chances are, if a significant percentage of children in day care evidence clear behavioral problems, or show up as insecurely attached to their mothers, then there are plenty of other children in less obvious, but still significant, trouble. If some kids are responding to chronic separation from their mothers with anger, surely others are feeling depressed. Low-level depression is a lot harder to find and verify observationally than obvious classroom bullying, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
    Meanwhile, the press has offered up a whole series of one-sided rationalizations for dismissing Belsky’s findings. We’re told that it’s unrealistic to expect women to stay home with their children when a third of America’s families will fall below the poverty line unless the mother works. Well then, how about at least calling on upper-middle-class women to spend more time with their kids? Or how about supporting pro-marriage initiatives that might prevent single mothers from having to choose between day care and destitution? Funny, but none of these ideas has yet occurred to the phalanx of feminist journalists lined up in opposition to Belsky.
    Belsky himself, careful scientist that he is, makes it clear that his research establishes only correlation, not cause. The press jumped all over that one, turning somersaults trying to come up with a way to explain the findings that would not indict day care. No one dared connect the dots on the most obvious explanation. Isn’t it apparent when kids packed off to day care for a huge chunk of the work week begin to exhibit “cruelty,” “explosive behavior,” and “demands for a lot of attention” that they are angry and bereft at the loss of their mother?
    But here’s the catch. This will be almost impossible to prove. Modern molecular biology may finally have been able to identify the genetic changes in the lung caused by smoking, but empirical psychology simply has no equivalent of electron microscopes and DNA research. The sort of in-depth interviewing that it would take to make sense of a child’s subjective reaction to separation from his mother could never be operationalized in a testable way, at least not to the satisfaction of all the contending parties in this dispute. Of course smoking was causing cancer long before we were able to prove it. Something’s hurting those kids. And it isn’t too difficult to see what it is. Do we really want to wait around for a scientific smoking gun that will never come?
    But there’s something obvious that may be the best evidence of all about the harmful effects of day care. The one thing every journalist is quick to acknowledge is that working mothers already feel extremely guilty about leaving their children. The existence of this free-floating mass of working-mother guilt is why the very existence of studies like Belsky’s are supposed to constitute a cruel and gratuitous attack on women. Feminists talk about this working-mother guilt as though it’s been artificially imposed by “society.” But the guilt derives from the process of mothering itself, and it tells us something tremendously important about what’s been going wrong with America’s mothering.
    I don’t mean to suggest that the mere existence of maternal guilt proves that a woman is a bad mother. On the contrary, a certain level of guilt is a necessary part of being a good mother ? or a good person. Someone who is “conscientious,” says the dictionary, is “obedient or loyal to conscience; habitually governed by a sense of duty; scrupulous.” Of course everyone should be conscientious about their duties to others, but especially in this age of social atomization, it’s mothers, above anyone else, who understand the burdens and glories of being obligated to another human being. A conscientious mother ? mother loyal to her conscience ? inevitably knows and struggles with a certain level of guilt. Such a mother is good. Many of us have forgotten the inescapable necessity of some reasonable sense of guilt to any human flourishing. Mothers cannot forget.
    But the excruciating sense of guilt that we’re told now dogs working mothers is something else again. Something like that cannot be caused by superficial “social messages” like the Belsky study. That sort of guilt can only come from a deep internal sense that the unique and loving connection with a child is being interrupted too frequently. An ability to face and understand the meaning of this guilt is far and away the most subtle, important, and powerful diagnostic test of mothering that we have. Do we still have the strength ? as individuals, and as a society ? to remain loyal to this call of conscience?

  12. Ulysses says:

    part 7
    Here was a headline about North Korea: ?North Korea Incurs U.S. Penalty for Missile Parts Sales to Yemen: Setback to Ties Is Favored by Bush Hard-liners.?
    ?Setback to ties,? favored by ?Bush hard-liners.?

  13. Ulysses says:

    part 8
    CONVICTS VERSUS COLLEGIANS [Roger Clegg]
    The New York Times today reports a study prepared by the Justice Policy Institute??a Washington-based research and advocacy group that supports alternatives to incarceration??that finds that the number of black men in jail or prison has quintupled in the last 20 years, and that there are now more blacks behind bars than in college.
    If you read further, however, you will learn (1) that this factoid is misleading since prisoners generally encompass a broader age range than students, (2) that although the rise in black prisoners is frequently blamed on the ?War on Drugs,? Justice Department figures indicate that ?50 percent of the growth in inmate populations at state prisons was for violent crimes, and that only 20 percent was for drug crimes,? and (3) that during this same 20-year period the number of Americans of all races in jail or prison quadrupled, which helps put the black quintupling into perspective.
    In all events, the NAACP?s comment on the study was predictable, and obtuse: ?It is indeed a sad statement about our nation that it appears to be easier for governments to invest precious public dollars into the incarceration of African-American men than it is for them to invest in higher education.? Huh? The American government is to blame for decisions by some of its citizens to commit crimes? It hurts the black community to put criminals in jail?even though blacks are disproportionately the victims of crime? If the government gave more money to colleges then crime rates would go down? There is a tension between law enforcement and education? No, the fact is that relatively high crime rates and relatively poor academic performance among blacks are both traceable to social pathologies (7 in 10 blacks are born out of wedlock) and attitudes (studying hard is acting white) that must be addressed by African Americans themselves–but the NAACP doesn?t like to talk about that.

  14. Ulysses says:

    part 9
    Times correction:
    A front-page article on Aug. 16 and one on Aug. 17 reported on divisions among Republicans over President Bush’s high-profile planning for a possible war with Iraq. The articles cited comments by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and by Brent Scowcroft, the first President Bush’s national security adviser, among others.
    The Aug. 16 article described Mr. Kissinger’s expressed concerns about the need for building an international coalition before waging war and his doubts about the Bush administration’s plan to make “regime change” the center pole of its policy. But it should have made a clearer distinction between his views and those of Mr. Scowcroft and other Republicans with more categorical objections to a military attack. The second article listed Mr. Kissinger incorrectly among Republicans who were warning outright against a war.
    Republicans are in fact divided, both over the way Mr. Bush is preparing for the possibility of war and over whether the United States should attack Iraq. Mr. Scowcroft wrote in a recent opinion article that he opposes an attack because it could undermine or destroy a global antiterror campaign and might also set off attacks by Iraq against Israel or lead to a wider regional war.
    The Times’s Aug. 16 article was based in part on a syndicated opinion article published by Mr. Kissinger on Aug. 12 in The Washington Post and other newspapers. In it, he said that a war was justifiable. But he said that Mr. Bush must first do more diplomatic consultation and political preparation for military action, and that before ordering an attack the administration should try to force an inspection routine on Iraq.
    Most centrally, Mr. Kissinger said that removing Mr. Hussein from power ? Mr. Bush’s justification for war ? was not an appropriate goal. He said an attack on Iraq should be directed toward a more limited aim, eradicating weapons of mass destruction.

  15. Ulysses says:

    part 10
    RAINES WATCH: From the Washington Post:
    “Report Warns Iraq Could Produce Nuclear Weapons
    LONDON, Sept. 9–Iraq could produce a nuclear weapon “in a matter of months” if supplied fissile materials from an outside source, according to a report released here today. Saddam Hussein’s government also has an extensive biological weapons capability, a smaller chemical weapons stockpile and a small supply of missiles to deliver them, the report concluded.”
    From the Raines Times:
    “London Group Says Iraq Lacks Nuclear Material for Bomb
    LONDON, Sept. 9 ? Saddam Hussein has substantial stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and the capacity to expand production of them on short notice, but Iraq will be unable to build a nuclear weapon for years unless it obtains radioactive material on the black market, a leading security affairs research organization said today.”

  16. Ulysses says:

    part 11
    Here is a story
    from today’s New
    York Times Magazine, about how Sen. Pete Domenici finds inspiration for some
    of his legislative work from a family tragedy. You won’t see the
    sub-headline on the electronic version of the story, but you should know
    that this is what it says: “Pete Domenici is a social and fiscal
    conservative. So how did he become the Senate’s leading advocate for the
    mentally ill?” Excuse me, but how does the second sentence logically follow
    from the first — unless you assume that conservatives instinctively don’t
    give a rat’s ass about the mentally ill? The bias here is so blatant that
    you really have to marvel that not one of the educated men and women who
    edit the Times Magazine caught it. Hell, they probably put this issue to bed
    thinking themselves broad-minded for condescending to see some good in the
    heart of a right-wing politician.

  17. Ulysses says:

    part 12
    Poll: Support for Iraq Action Drops
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Filed at 2:15 a.m. ET
    A look at how different political groups feel about military action to end President Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq, and what happens to that support if the United States attacks without allied backing. The source is a poll of 1,150 adults taken by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Sept. 12-16 with an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, larger for subgroups.
    Would you favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule?
    Overall — 64 percent favor, but that drops to 33 percent if the United States must act without allies.
    Republicans — 77 percent favor, dropping to 43 percent if no allies.
    Democrats — 42 percent favor; 13 percent favor if no allies.
    Independents — 65 percent favor; 38 percent favor if no allies.
    Would you favor or oppose taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Hussein’s rule, even if it meant that U.S. forces might suffer thousands of casualties?
    Overall — 48 percent favor, but that drops to 25 percent if no allies.
    Republicans — 66 percent favor; 20 percent favor if no allies.
    Democrats — 35 percent favor; 13 percent favor if no allies.
    Independents — 47 percent favor; 24 percent favor if no allies.
    THE TIMES AND POLLS: It’s gotten to the point now that I always check the actual poll when reading the New York Times’ version. This particular story is from the AP, so I’m not sure where the bias lies. But the Times headline is a complete distortion of the poll numbers. The Times’ story reads: ‘Poll: Support For Iraq Action Drops.” The poll itself shows that on the generic question of supporting military action against Iraq, those supporting it numbered 59 percent in June and 64 percent today. Those opposing it dropped from 34 percent to 21 percent. Lies, damned lies, and the New York Times!

  18. Ulysses says:

    part 13
    KRUGMAN IN HIS OWN WORDS: “Economists also did their bit to legitimize previously unthinkable levels of executive pay. During the 1980′s and 1990′s a torrent of academic papers — popularized in business magazines and incorporated into consultants’ recommendations — argued that Gordon Gekko was right: greed is good; greed works. In order to get the best performance out of executives, these papers argued, it was necessary to align their interests with those of stockholders. And the way to do that was with large grants of stock or stock options.
    It’s hard to escape the suspicion that these new intellectual justifications for soaring executive pay were as much effect as cause. I’m not suggesting that management theorists and economists were personally corrupt. It would have been a subtle, unconscious process: the ideas that were taken up by business schools, that led to nice speaking and consulting fees, tended to be the ones that ratified an existing trend, and thereby gave it legitimacy.”
    - Paul Krugman, criticizing the subtle, unconscious corruption of academic economists being paid nice speaking and consulting fees, October 20, 2002.
    “My critics seem to think that there was something odd about Enron’s willingness to pay a mere college professor that much money. But such sums are not unusual for academic economists whose expertise is relevant to current events… Remember that this was 1999: Asia was in crisis, the world was a mess. And justifiably or not, I was regarded as an authority on that mess. I invented currency crises as an academic field, way back in 1979; anyone who wants a sense of my academic credentials should look at the Handbook of International Economics, vol. 3, and check the index…
    I mention all this not as a matter of self-puffery, but to point out that I was not an unknown college professor. On the contrary, I was a hot property, very much in demand as a speaker to business audiences: I was routinely offered as much as $50,000 to speak to investment banks and consulting firms. They thought I might tell them something useful… The point is that the money Enron offered wasn’t out of line with what companies with no interest in influence-buying were offering me. You may think I was overpaid, but the market – not Enron – set those pay rates.”
    - Paul Krugman, January 21, defending his getting paid $50,000 for a two-day weekend Enron Advisory Board meeting because the market set the fees.
    “More broadly, Sullivan (and Virginia Postrel, who I did read) seem to believe that successful academics are poor mousy types who live in ivory towers, who never receive offers to be paid to talk about what they know. That’s not the way it is. Academic economists who have established international reputations in policy-relevant fields are constantly called by governments and companies, seeking their services – and yes, offering to pay for them. Think about it: how could it be otherwise? …
    By 1999, 22 years after I got my Ph.D., having published 15 scholarly monographs and around 150 professional papers, I was certainly in the circle of Those Who Get Money Calls (though I didn’t get there until around 1995). So the Enron offer didn’t come as a surprise, and it certainly didn’t corrupt me – as my articles about them surely prove.
    So where are we? Ms. Postrel says that I should have known that something was wrong because I was offered far more than someone in my position should expect; in saying this, she only shows that she doesn’t know anything either about the modern academic world, or about what corporate consultants are paid. Mr. Sullivan thinks that I misled readers by not reminding them that corporations invariably pay their boards; it would never have occurred to me that people didn’t know that. And he claims that I was an Enron crony. Maybe he should look up “crony” in the dictionary. Doesn’t being a crony mean that you (a) know people well and (b) do them favors? I didn’t, and I didn’t. What’s left here is a crazed determination to find something wrong with my behavior when I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Vast right-wing conspiracy, anyone? Or is it just green-eyed envy?”
    - Paul Krugman, lambasting critics of his $50,000 sinecure from Enron’s “advisory board” as being “green-eyed with envy,” January 23, 2002. Unlike some other Enron beneficiaries, Krugman kept his money.

  19. Ulysses says:

    part 14
    For Better or For Worse, So-Called: Good marriages tend to have beneficial effects on health while bad marriages tend to have negative effects, especially for women, reports the New York Times. Though the article doesn’t contain surprising new findings, it does mention interesting research on how marital stress is harmful to health. By and large, these findings on the relationship between marital status and health are accurately reported. Still, the reporter, Sharon Lerner, clearly has an ideological axe to grind, and uses several techniques in her story to imply that those whom she calls marriage “advocates” are untrustworthy or misguided.
    First, when writing about the overall health benefits that marriage appears to provide, she either refers to the phenomenon as the “so-called marriage benefit,” or she uses scare quotes. Yet when Lerner reports the negative effects of marriage, there are no qualifiers: “Women seem to bear the brunt of marriage’s negative health consequences,” and “…the strong negative effect on women….”
    The only time she mentions the (so-called) “marriage benefit” without a dismissive qualifier is when she’s not actually talking about marriage: “The marriage benefit probably extends also to gay couples in committed romantic relationships and to unmarried heterosexual couples who have been together for years, many researchers agree.”
    That may be true. But she offers disclaimers only when discussing the possible benefits of good marriages, about which she clearly seems to be skeptical, but never when reporting the effects of bad marriages, about which she seems to be certain. She doesn’t write, for example: “Many researchers agree that the negative effects from marital stress would also extend to cohabiting couples that fight a lot.” Or that cohabiting couples that don’t intend to marry are more likely to fight than married couples (also here). Nor does she mention the recent large-scale study that suggests that women get a mental health boost from marriage.
    Second, scholarly skeptics of the (so-called) “marriage benefit” are referred to simply as “researchers” or as “many”. For example: “Many have argued that the difference in life expectancy is actually because healthier people are more likely to marry.” And: “As with the overall `marriage benefit’, which for women is smaller than for men and possibly even nonexistent, according to some researchers women are more vulnerable to relationship-related health problems.”
    On the other hand, those scholars who are not skeptics of the (so-called) “marriage benefit” are not “many,” and they are not merely “researchers.” Instead, they are “advocates.” Sure, some “marriage advocates” may also happen to be respected researchers, such as Linda Waite. But contrary to Lerner’s suggestion, these researchers typically point to both selection effects and a marriage benefit to account for health differences between married and unmarried persons.
    Next, Lerner doesn’t even want to admit that the current weight of social science evidence clearly suggests that, overall, being married is good for your health. All she can get herself to concede is that “marriage is being packaged as a boon to health….” Not recognized, mind you, but packaged! Packaged by whom? Well, by advocates!
    Sharon Lerner previously skewered marriage promotion efforts for the Village Voice. Thus, her “objective reporting” in the New York Times should come as little surprise.
    (Research mentioned in the article is available in pdf form here and here.) Posted by Tom Sylvester, Oct 25, 2002

  20. Ulysses says:

    part 15
    “Economy Races Ahead at 3.1 Annual Rate in Summer,” – Associated Press headline on the AP website.
    “Economy Grows at 3.1 percent. Consumer spending on big-ticket items fuels third quarter surge.” – Washington Post.
    “Economy Grew at 3.1% in 3rd Quarter, Slower Than Expected” – New York Times.
    - 1:37:35 PM

  21. Ulysses says:

    part 16
    THEY EVEN SPIN THE MAPS: Check out this New York Times map of the Governor’s races. It looks pretty good for the Democrats. But, as a liberal reader regrets to point out, there are five – count them – five errors. Georgia is simply left white, as if there had been no gubernatorial election. And Vermont, Maryland, New Hampshire and Minnesota are all colored as “wins” for the GOP, when they should be colored as “gains.” Now most of this is obviously just sloppy, as you’d expect from the Times these days. But it’s also true that every single error makes the Democrats look as if they did better than they did. Somehow, I’m not surprised. (I’ve got a saved copy of the map if they fix it by the time you read this.)

  22. Ulysses says:

    part 17
    On the subject of the New York Times: A recent article on the snipers case had the following lead: ?The Justice Department, influenced by Attorney General John Ashcroft?s fervent support for the death penalty, is considering a plan to let Virginia . . .? Interesting wording, that: fervent support for the death penalty. For all I know, Ashcroft?s support is fervent. But would the Times ever say, for example, ?Nancy Pelosi?s fervent support for abortion on demand??

  23. Ulysses says:

    part 18
    THE JANOVSKY CORRECTION: “An article on Thursday about comments on the midterm elections made at a political forum by Karl Rove, the Bush administration’s chief political strategist, misstated the question to which he responded, “I’m more concerned about the 3,000 who died on 9/11.” The questioner had asked whether he was concerned about 200,000 people who she said marched in Washington against a war with Iraq ? not about concerns that 200,000 innocent Iraqis might die in an American-led invasion.” – the New York Times, Saturday. Here’s the original: “The audience included several dozen protesters who held signs critical of various issues, including war against Iraq. But they were largely quiet and respectful. In the question-and-answer session, a woman politely asked Mr. Rove if the administration was concerned over the possibility that 200,000 innocent Iraqis might die in an American-led invasion. Mr. Rove responded, ‘I’m more concerned about the 3,000 who died on 9/11.’” Now this was simple notebook reporting. Was reporter Michael Janovsky there? If he was, how on earth did he hear something that simply wasn’t asked? Some of these Times liberals don’t just have blinders on, they wear ear-plugs.

  24. Ulysses says:

    part 19
    KRUGMAN’S NEW LOW: If you want a good example of the sheer partisan degeneracy that now marks Paul Krugman’s New York Times columns, check out today’s. It’s about the rise of nepotism in America’s political system. It’s a worthwhile point, and one I’ve made myself on several occasions. But Krugman manages to make it an entirely partisan issue. Every example of nepotism he gives is Republican or conservative, implying a seamless connnection between family favors and his increasingly unhinged idea that America is now in the grip of a brutal plutocracy. He doesn’t mention Al Gore or Nancy Pelosi, for example, two of the most prominent Democrats whose families were already in the business. Not to mention the Browns of California. When it comes to obvious examples of liberal aristocrats – the Kennedys, the Roosevelts, the Sulzbergers – he lets them off the hook because they’re, er, liberals. The brown-nosing of Sulzberger was particularly egregious. For Krugman, it seems, non-liberal aristocrats are by definition repulsive, since all non-liberals are by definition selfish and cruel and heartless. If you don’t believe that the government should be the primary means for helping others, you’re immoral. This guy used to have a brain. Now he only seems to have bile.

  25. gregwythe says:

    I’m guessing you’ve got the day off, right?

  26. Ulysses says:

    Hee hee!!! Just having some fun with you.
    And embarassingly for the American economy, no: despite all the product you see posted here, I do not have the day off. Of course, everyone else here in the building (with a couple of exceptions) does, so that means I have no one to rap my knuckles with a ruler all day and am left to my own whimsical devices.
    And to return somewhat to the topic, I would love to see the Greg Wythe puppies ad.

  27. Ulysses says:

    By the way, finished the Judis and Teixeira book yet? Will you be offering a review?

  28. gregwythe says:

    The day I procure a digital video camcorder, that puppies ad is SO getting made. And fear not, I’m in the midst of retorting this treatise point by point (although, not being a big fan of Krugman, you’re likely off the hook for much of his sins). I’ll post it as a new post, though.
    On another topic … I think its time you got your own damn blog. You know who to call for details on getting set up. All you have to worry about is writing … and my 19-point comments that await you.

  29. gregwythe says:

    Haven’t even gotten the Judis/Teixera book yet. I did get my last 3 books from Amazon on Wednesday. One was really thin, finished it. But I’ll likely do a review of the two education books and then another one of the Wesley Clark book.
    Probably need to do another round of buffering Amazon’s stock by getting the Teixera/Judis book, the Cherny book, and maybe something else in addition to that. Probably will happen this week so I don’t get too big a backlog.
    I’m not inclined to buy into the Teixera-Judis notion based on the reviews I’ve read, so that helps motivate me to hold off on getting it.

  30. Ulysses says:

    Not much new here, but a couple of good points.

  31. Ulysses says:

    So now even MSNBC reports on it.
    (I know, I know: MSNBC is a nest of conspiracy-minded right-wingers, yadda yadda yadda….)
    “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.”

  32. Greg says:

    “But the paper?s recent penchant for shaping the national debate isn?t easily articulated by politics or policy. Retiring Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli, who dropped out of his re-election race after being dogged by scandal, believes the Times?s enmity helped force him from the race. And President Bill Clinton was ferociously hounded by Raines?s editorial page.”
    Indeed, there are none so blind as those who refuse to read the full text ;-) Actually a very good article from this member of the VRWC. Actually supports my contention that they take on authority moreso than Republicans. You wanted Republican control, so now they’re dueling with a Republican president, House, Senate, Governor, and Mayor. Spoils of success, eh?

  33. Ulysses says:

    “Indeed, there are none so blind as those who refuse to read the full text”
    That, or “The exception that proves the rule”

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