Saturday, July 01, 2006

NY Times recursively involved in yet another story

When Howard Kurtz points out that you've taken on an idiotic editorial position, you should really hang it up. Your position is hopeless.
For the Wall Street Journal editorial page, there may be no more juicy target than the liberal press appearing to undermine the Bush administration's war on terror.

The White House and congressional Republicans, after all, have spent the past week attacking the New York Times for disclosing a secret program targeting the banking records of suspected terrorists.

The problem: The Journal itself had published a front-page story about the classified program on June 23, the same day as the Times.
I have never been able to fully reconcile the contradictions between the Wall Street Journal as a newspaper, with its smart, hard-working reporters and its trogdolytic editorial board. I know, as someone who has spent quite a few years working for finance companies, that nothing would tank the paper as quickly as the reporters taking on the same "don't trouble me with the facts" attitude that the editorial board uses every single day.

David Brooks, who is unique in his prominence and in having worked for both papers, believes that a large part of the fire-breathing response to the SWIFT story is literally that it came from the New York Times, and not, say, the Washington Times. After all, the SWIFT story had been released in pieces multiple times over the last few years, and it appeared on the front page of the WSJ and the Los Angeles Times. Still, it is the New York Times that is demonized by President Bush.

Brooks commented on the News Hour:
[...] the Times has become a symbol. If you remember, the president attacked the Times in his convention speech in the last election when we were in New York. And the Times has sort of become a symbol.

And I personally face it when I go in and interview people in the White House, the venting, the rage, and the, "How can you go to work for those people?" And I don't know what explains it, but it is a remarkable political attack.
On a political level, the White House is trying to find a demon that will resonate with the American people. They've tried gays. They've tried immigrants. Long ago, they tried Bin Ladin, but he's fat and sassy now, pumping out videos so often he should be setting up his own podcasts, and filing video shout-outs on YouTube.com

On an emotional level, the political masters are also letting Bush shout out his anger at being contradicted by the reality-based community, presumably hoping that his petulance will be mistaken for authenticity. Recall the words of the anonymous aide that Ron Suskind quoted in October 2004:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
That's how that the Bush/Cheney administrations wants to be thought of: as history's actors, as real men like Dirty Harry who are not troubled with legal niceties like the U.S. Constitution. They want to kick open the door and shoot the bad guys right between the eyes. They are naturally enraged to find stories that, instead, depict them as panty-sniffing keystone kops who have learned how to spy on Americans, but not how to stop hideous terrorist attacks in Bagdad.

3 Comments:

Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

It's ominous when you think of the concentration of power focused at one newspaper, and their idiot acolytes on the blogs baying along. Did you check out the latest hoo-hah about how the NYT Travel section is aiding al-Qaeda's attempts to assassinate President Cheney (cheers to Suskind for revealing his CIA nickname of "Edgar" as in Bergen) by doing a story on the MD Eastern Shore hideaway where he has his multi-million-dollar home? How is this different to the "kill an abortion doctor" diatribes from the "Christians"?

It would suit these fascist bastards if they could start a red-person vs. blue-person civil war. Easier to conquer when a population is divided. Look at how that worked for Slobodan Milosevic. OK, si it's not going so good right now. Especially because he's dead. But for those heady years when he was in charge of ethnic death squads, in the defence of Greater Yugoslavia, everything was apples!

Sunday, 02 July, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

well, the U.S. conservatives are sticking with what they know, and that has been a relentless demonization of the press. It has been an effective strategy for several decades now. Ultimately, though, they don't want questions, they don't want probing articles. They just want adulation and absolute obedience. You say that they want a civil war, but you mistake their goal. They want the NY Times to shut up, completely, and to refuse to publish more articles that are embarassing to the Bush administration.

I don't know how it's perceived in Australia, but it is an article of faith in many American conservatives that iy was our "press" who lost the war in Vietnam. Not the armies in the field, not the strategies used, but the American press that caused Americans to lose faith that we could ultimately win. The same thing will happen in Iraq. Right now, it's difficult, since the folks who complain that the "good news" isn't being reported there have to be filmed wearing heavy flak jackets. But once memories start to fade and we've withdrawn from Iraq, it will all be the press's fault again.

Sunday, 02 July, 2006  
Anonymous rle said...

The Administration has been ridiculed for the anonymous "reality-based community" comment, but they're right. With these jokers, we don't live in a world of facts or science. The NY Times is a bastion of radicalism because they say it is. And, unfortunately for us, the consequences of their projections are all too real.

Monday, 03 July, 2006  

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