Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times.
Bush's $2.57 Trillion Budget "Austere"
The Times has already latched onto its preferred adjective to describe Bush's $2.57 trillion budget plan: Austere.
Tuesday's front-page story by Edmund Andrews and David Rosenbaum covering the details of Bush's federal budget plan insists: "By any measure, the new budget is austere. It calls for deep cuts next year in almost every category of domestic spending outside the mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are based on laws adopted in previous years."
For a reality check regarding those "deep cuts," look no further than one page over, where White House reporter ElisabethBumiller
emphasizes: "Some conservative critics pointed out that Mr. Bush's budget did not cut military or domestic security spending, and that the net cuts in his domestic budget were only $2 billion to $3 billion out of a total of $389 billion in programs."
Yet even Bumiller herself uses the word "austere" to describe the budget, in another report in Tuesday's paper, co-written by Anne Kornblut: "While drawing up an austere budget for the rest of the government, the Bush administration has been moving to scale down its own operations, paring positions in the West Wing and openly encouraging employees from the first term to consider moving on."
Bumiller made similar arguments about last year's Bushbudget
, fretting that it "calls for no big new domestic programs and in fact forces him to cut so deeply that even his Republican allies in Congress called it politically impractical and said restorations were inevitable."
(The headline to another Tuesday story, from reporter Robert Pear, also emphasizes supposedly deep budget cuts: "Subject to Bush's Knife: Aid for Food and Heating.")
To review: In Times-speak, a 0.5%-to-0.8% reduction in domestic spending is "deep," while a government budget laying out some $9,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. is "austere."
For the rest of Andrews and Rosenbaum on Bush's "austere" $2.57 trillion budget, click here
For Bumiller and Kornblut's take on the "austere" $2.57 trillion budget, click here
Frank Rich Cries McCarthyism
Arts editor and columnist Frank Rich gets yet another column out of the Janet Jacksonwardrobe malfunction
, and commemorates the anniversary of the occasion (this year's Super Bowl) in a predictable piece headlined "The Year Of Living Indecently."
Ever-nuanced, Rich waits until the third sentence to equate public outcry on the issue with McCarthyism: "On the first anniversary of the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction that shook the world, it's clear that just one was big enough to wreak havoc. The ensuing Washington indecency crusade has unleashed a wave of self-censorship on American television unrivaled since the McCarthy era, with everyone from the dying D-Day heroes in 'Saving Private Ryan' to cuddly animated animals on daytime television getting the ax."
Apparently ignoring what's actually available on broadcast TV and cable, Rich writes: "This repressive cultural environment was officially ratified on Nov. 2, when Ms. Jackson's breast pulled off its greatest coup of all: the re-election of President Bush. Or so it was decreed by the media horde that retroactively declared 'moral values' the campaign's decisive issue and the Super Bowl the blue states' Waterlooï¿½.Inane as it may seem that Ms. Spellings is conducting a witch hunt against Buster or that James Dobson has taken aim at SpongeBob SquarePants, there's a method to their seeming idiocy: the cartoon surrogates are deliberately chosen to camouflage the harshness of their assault on nonanimated, flesh-and-blood people. This, too, has its antecedent in the McCarthy era."
For the rest of Rich, click here
Ohio's Gay Marriage Ban and Other "Nutty Provisions"
Randy Cohen's "The Ethicist" column for the Times Sunday Magazine this week tackles a question from a graduating law student in Ohio who finds the state's recent constitution amendment banning gay marriage to be "discriminatory and immoral." Cohen seems to agree, comparing the Ohio amendment to various obsolete "nutty provisions" found in state constitutions -- and indirectly compares the gay marriage issue to slavery.
Cohen opines: "If Lincoln could vow to defend the U.S. Constitution when it included the odious three-fifths clause as well as an article that forbade the emancipation of fugitive slaves, then surely you can take a similar vow to uphold your state's Constitution. By doing so, you and Lincoln (a phrase I suspect you have little occasion to use) are not endorsing every distasteful feature of these Constitutionsï¿½.It is not unusual for a state Constitution to include nutty provisions. Last November, the citizens of Alabama amended theirs 'to provide for the promotion of shrimp and seafood,' but I don't imagine a Birmingham lawyer would be disbarred for declining the shrimp salad and ordering chicken for lunch. Maine voters defeated an amendment to ban bearbaiting (presumably placed on the ballot by those meddlesome bears)."
For Cohen's column in full, click here
"Exclusionary Politics" by Social Conservatives
The opening to Saturday's front-page Arts section story from Julie Salamon, "A Child Learns a Harsh Lesson in Politics," hits at the "exclusionary politics" practiced by conservatives in the fuss over an episode of a PBS children's show featuring two lesbian mothers: "For adults, the fuss over a PBS children's television show featuring an animated bunny -- and real lesbian mothers -- was nothing new. But for Emma Riesner, 11, who was supposed to be a star of the now-controversial episode of 'Postcards From Buster,' what began as a participatory social studies lesson has become a harsh lesson in exclusionary politics."
In the story, which comes complete with a flattering photograph of the happy family, Salamon discusses Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' complaint against the show in a letter to PBS and then attempts to refute a Bush statement on children's well-being: "Vermont, where civil unions are allowed, turned out to be one kind of community. Washington, where PBS raises money, and where Ms. Spellings just took office, is another. Ms. Spellings, who had been President Bush's domestic policy adviser, made her feelings about the episode clear in a letter to PBS, saying it was inappropriate for young children. A few days earlier, the president, questioned in an interview with The New York Times about gay adoption, said, 'Studies have shown that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman.' Experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples fare any worse than those raised in more traditional households. Still, with federal money at stake, and grumblings from conservative groups about the association of cartoon characters -- including SpongeBob Square Pants -- with possibly pro-homosexual attitudes, PBS pulled the show."
Read the full story from Salamon here