Balanced Campaign Coverage? Times Batting 0-for-'04 -- January 6, 2004 -- TimesWatch.org
Times Watch for
January 6, 2004
Balanced Campaign Coverage?
Times Batting 0-for-'04
As the calendar rolls over and Campaign 2004 begins in earnest, page A19 of Tuesday's Times offers a fairly clear-cut (and definitely ominous) preview of what the upcoming presidential campaign might look like from the paper's skewed perspective.
On the left side of the page, reporters Edward Wyatt and David Halbfinger present "Clark and Kerry Offering Plans to Help Middle Class." Although both candidates lambaste Bush's tax policy, no Republican spokesman is given space to defend Bush.
Right beside that is Richard Stevenson's offering, "Bush Pushes Education as Election Year Opens." It follows Bush to an inner-city school in St. Louis, and unlike the Democratic story includes criticism of Bush's education plan from Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt and is salted with snarky comments about Bush attending a St. Louis
Also note that in the headline to the Democratic story ("Clark and Kerry Offering Plans to Help Middle Class"), their tax plans are shown as helpful. Meanwhile, Bush is portrayed as cynically "pushing" education in an election year ("Bush Pushes Education as Election Year Opens"). As if education never "helped" anyone.
The teaser headlines are even more skewed. While the Democratic plans are shown as appealing to everyday folks ("Gearing proposals to appeal to everyday Americans"), Bush's education ideas are couched in Democratic criticism ("Defending programs that Democrats say he
For Wyatt and Halbfinger on the Democratic tax plans,
For Stevenson's take on Bush's education "push," click
Bush | Campaign 2004 |
Democrats | David
Halbfinger | Richard
Stevenson | Edward Wyatt
Times Touts Another Marvelous Marxist
The Times profiles another Marxist that's certainly not in the red. Dinitia Smith talks to well-off Marxist critic Terry Eagleton for Saturday's edition. While her take is not quite as reverent as Sarah Lyall's encomium to
Eric Hobswbawm, it's amazingly uncritical of an ideology that resulted in so much death and misery for so many for so long: "He is unrepentant in his defense of Marxism, which, he writes, offers the blueprint for a moral society. For Marx, 'questions of good and bad had been falsely abstracted from their social contexts, and had to be restored to them again,' he writes."
Smith notes but makes nothing of the hypocrisy of a convinced Marxist doing quite well for himself in a cruel capitalist society: "Nowadays Mr. Eagleton lives the life of an academic superstar, jetting about the world from one academic conference to another. He has an apartment in Manchester as well as his home in Dublin and an 18th-century rectory near Londonderry, in Northern Ireland." This despite Eagleton's closing advice to Times readers: "Get out of NATO. Get rid of capitalism. Put the economy back into public ownership." Smith has a fat target (what would become of Eagleton's three houses?) but she doesn't even take a swing.
Later she takes notes: "Mr. Eagleton suggests that some of his Marxism may spring from his childhood as the son of a factory worker of Irish descent in Salford, England, near Manchester. The family was poor, the air clogged with industrial effluvia. Two brothers died in infancy." (Pollution and public health
were worse in
Communist-controlled Eastern Europe, but one imagines that point doesn't concern
Eagleton in his place on National Review Online: "It is impossible to imagine that the New York Times would fawn over a contemporary philosopher of fascism, but the gray lady has done the moral equivalent"on Marxist "cultural critic" Terry Eagleton, a malevolent, if eloquent, half-wit."
Smith lets Eagleton defend against what she calls "the familiar litany of crimes" (yawn!) that Marxists are accused of: "'If you want the most trenchant account of Stalinism you have to go to Marxism, not liberalism,' he said. 'Stalinism wasn't, from our point of view, radical enough. Long before Tiananmen Square the mainstream Marxists were saying the Soviet system is a travesty." To this Stuttaford says: "Yes, some Marxists did "renounce" the Soviet model, but this was nothing more than the protestations of a few rats attempting to justify their departure from a sinking ship."
For more of the Times on the Marxist critic Eagleton,
| Terry Eagleton | Dinitia
Smith | Soviet Union
The "Conservative" Medicare Drug Bill?
True to form, Medicare reporter Robert Pear surveys the political landscape and spies no liberals afoot. A Tuesday story by Pear
again calls the liberal activist group Families USA (which favors Canadian-style socialized medicine) a "consumer group."
Then Pear insists the new Medicare prescription drug bill, which the government estimates will cost at least $400 billion, was in fact authored by conservatives: "Republicans say the Democrats are sore losers, angry at losing control of the Medicare program. For the first time in years, the 'liberal intelligentsia' was excluded from the process of writing a Medicare law, a House Republican said. The law was written mainly by conservatives and centrists."
For the rest of Pear's fruitless search for liberals,
| Labeling Bias | Medicare
| Robert Pear