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 Magazine Watch

Tuesday July 4, 2000 (Vol. 2; No. 27)

GOP’s Hard-line Abortion Stance; Gore Sell Out on Taxes?; Miami Dogma; James Dale: Gay or Straight?

1. All three magazines featured stories on the landmark Supreme Court decisions over abortion and the Boy Scouts. However, Newsweek believes that a "hard line" label applies only to the Republican pro-life platform and not the Supreme Court ruling overturning partial birth abortion bans in thirty states.

2. U.S. News continued the media crusade against tax cuts by hitting Al Gore from the left in a piece that described how he has doubled his original tax cut proposal. "On another front, Gore’s fiscal discipline may have slipped recently as estimates of the federal surplus have risen."

3. U.S. News offered a refreshingly balanced report on the sad state of the Cuban economy upon Elian’s return citing ordinary Cubans’ criticism of "the government’s reluctance to provide more freedom and opportunity." However, Time decided to engage in further moral equivalency by claiming a private school in Miami run by a "right wing" Cuban exile leader is just as "dogmatic" as any school found in Castro’s communist Cuba.

4. Time revealed just how far out of the mainstream its own values are in heaping praise on James Dale, the homosexual plaintiff in the Supreme Court ruling allowing the Boy Scouts to exclude homosexuals.

On the covers of this week’s newsmagazines: Time features a special issue covering life on the Mississippi River; Newsweek has "The War Over the Supreme Court"; U.S. News and World Report has a cover story on lost cities.


All three magazines reported on the landmark Supreme Court decisions of the previous week and how the Court figures into the machinations of Campaign 2000. Stuart Taylor in Newsweek applied a derogatory label to the GOP’s pro-life platform in an article detailing the reactions from both Gore and Bush to the Court decision nullifying the Nebraska partial birth abortion ban. "Gore’s warning was an exaggeration, to say the least. In fact, six of the nine current justices have supported fairly broad abortion rights. Still, Bush chose to downplay the decision, wary of being dragged into an abortion brawl that could put him on the wrong side of public opinion, sending moderate voters–especially women–fleeing. But he couldn’t avoid the matter entirely: Bush issued a terse statement saying he would ‘fight for a ban on partial-birth abortion.’ Later in the week he cut a deal to keep the GOP’s hard-line anti-abortion plank in the party’s platform." It is interesting that a platform expressing a commitment to preserving the lives of unborn children is "hard-line," but a court decision allowing a procedure that doctors admit is never medically necessary and kills a fully-formed human child is not worthy of any negative connotation.


In other Campaign 2000 news, U.S. News’ Kenneth Walsh hit Al Gore from the left on tax cuts claiming his "fiscal discipline" was slipping. Walsh noted, "On another front, Gore's fiscal discipline may have slipped recently as estimates of the federal surplus have risen. He recently proposed a $500 billion tax cut over 10 years, doubling his previous proposal, after deriding Bush's $1.3 trillion, 10-year tax cut as risky. But Gore was a strong deficit hawk early in the Clinton administration when the White House was sharply divided over economic policy."


The other major story of the week was Elian’s return to Cuba. Time could not resist one last parting shot at the Cuban exiles in Miami (more on that later). However Linda Robinson, writing an excellent piece in U.S. News, offered a refreshingly balanced piece on the harsh economic conditions in Cuba in which Elian will now grow up in and, bucking what has become a media trend, did not blame the state of Cuba’s economy solely on the American trade embargo. "But with the Elian drama over, Cubans are left facing their problems. Their No. 1 complaint is economic hardship, and many blame not just the 38-year-old economic embargo but also the government's reluctance to provide more freedom and opportunity. Ten years after the Soviet bloc collapsed, sending their economy into a nosedive, Cubans still scramble daily to make ends meet. Desperate for capital, Castro has allowed a few tentative market reforms. But his goal is to shore up socialism, not unleash full-fledged capitalism." Robinson went on to describe the harsh repressive measures that await anyone who dares criticize the Castro regime. "Yet opponents, and even loyal freethinkers, are still treated harshly. An academic who gave a speech on declining economic production to an Army gathering was hauled before a committee that threatened to strip him of party membership. He successfully argued that his research was factually based, but he was forced to work for a year as a garbage-man. Dissidents are often jailed on vague charges like ‘dangerousness.’"

Now contrast that piece by Robinson with this from Tim Padgett of Time. In his article on Elian’s return to Cuba, he dismissed criticism of the Castro regime by engaging in another round of stunning moral equivalence. "Elian and his family will spend the next three weeks in a seaside Havana house....ostensibly to let Elian get caught up in school so he can enter the second grade in September. But critics in the U.S. warn that the quarantine is meant to deprogram Elian. (If so, he’ll be used to it: the private school he attended in Miami, owned by a right-wing Cuban-exile leader, was just as dogmatic). Last week he used the luxurious house as a romper room..."


Finally, just another example of just how far out of the mainstream Time is these days. In its "Winners & Losers" column, former Eagle Scout turned homosexual activist James Dale was placed in the "Loser" column following the Supreme Court’s Boy Scouts decision. This is what the caption under his name read, "Gay eagle scout loses in high court. To us, you seemed the definition of ‘morally straight.’" Only in Time would a highly respected organization that has been in existence for nearly a hundred years-teaching values such as self-reliance, hard work, discipline and faith in God- not be considered "morally straight."

-- Paul Smith




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