Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times.
Cynical Over Bush's Social Security Push
White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller files anothercynical take
on the Bush administration's PR, this time over Bush's push for Social Security reform. Bumiller begins her Wednesday take: "President Bush stepped up his campaign on Tuesday to sell Americans and a skeptical Congress on the need to overhaul Social Security by painting a dire picture of a bankrupt future for millions of young workers."
She then notes: "Many Democrats and economists say that Mr. Bush is exaggerating the problem, and that Social Security could be fixed with modest tax increases and a cut in benefits. Even without changes, Mr. Bush's critics say, the system would be able to pay three-quarters of promised benefits four decades from now, when baby boomers have long retired." (Apparently, no economists could be found to suggest Social Security is in fact in trouble.)
Then Bumiller takes peculiar pains to reveal the alleged artifice of the administration's pro-reform event: "Tuesday's event, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium here, was reminiscent of an event in Mr. Bush's re-election campaign, when participants selected by the administration sat on stools near the president and made points that underscored White House policy. At the event, Sonya Stone, a chief financial officer at a financial consulting firm in Virginia and the former controller of the conservative Heritage Foundation, enthusiastically endorsed the president's position on Social Security."
Bumiller relished one participant that apparently didn't get the memo: "Another participant, Scott Ballard, an ambulance company owner from Wenatchee, Wash., did not adhere as closely to the White House talking points. When Mr. Bush asked Mr. Ballard if his younger employees ever talked about Social Security, Mr. Ballard replied, 'Not really.' He quickly added, 'But I think if some of the changes that you are proposing are implemented, I think they will talk about it a lot more.'"
For some reason, the Times rarely achieves that level of cynicism when it comes to politicaltactics
For the rest of Bumiller's story, click here
Social Security Reformers "Out of Their Gourds"?
The front page of the Times' special Mutual Funds Report section features a snotty essay by reporter John Schwartz that mocks, of all things, Bush's vision of Social Security reform, which would allow workers to invest of a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market.
In Sunday's "Learn to Swagger: Do-It-Yourself Government," (a snide reference to Bush's Texas roots), Schwartz writes: "As a reader of the Mutual Funds Report, you may well know that the Bush administration is making Social Security reform a cornerstone of domestic policy. After all, you're most likely an investor -- someone who knows a thing or two about long-term goals and risk and the importance of prudent financial management. Which is why you may think that proponents of the new system are out of their gourds. For the record, proponents of the plan state that they are not out of their gourds."
The mocking continues: "Yes, the naysayers are out in droves, pointing out uncomfortable things about the risks of personal investing and arguing that the Social Security problem is overstated; the program, they say, can be shored up with very minor tax increases and small cuts in benefits. The Bush proposal, they say, will add up to lower benefits, not greater; and, unlike the current system with its guaranteed level of payment for all retirees, the resulting program will be like the mutual funds market: a mixture of winners and losers. These critics may have the facts on their side, but if we've learned anything over the last four years, it's that facts aren't everything, and calculations that don't add up are just fuzzy math. The administration is appealing to deeper American values than prudence. This is the call of adventure. An invitation to swagger."
For the rest of Schwartz's essay on Social Security, click here
"True Diversity of Opinion" From An Anti-U.S. Film Maker?
When does a documentary on Iraq represent "true diversity of opinion"? Apparently when it's focused on someone furious over the U.S. presence in Iraq.
Dana Stevens' Wednesday review of the Iraqi documentary "About Baghdad" features this line: "Unlike last year's similarly structured documentary 'Voices of Iraq,' produced by three Americans, in which an apparent plurality of voices slowly converged into what was essentially a pro-occupation stance, 'About Baghdad,' which opens today at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in the East Village, manages to present a true diversity of opinion."
Yet "About Baghdad" is based on the return to Iraq of journalist-poet Sinan Antoon, who fled Saddam's regime a decade ago but has nothing but contempt for the American presence there now. As Antoon
wrote in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper last year: "Rivers of blood are flowing along the Tigris as America tattoos its imperial insignia into the bodies of Iraqi children, stamping their futures with its corporate logos in order to 'safeguard' it."
For the full review, click here