Thursday, February 24, 2005
Ah, those wild-eyed Leftists
In my reading this morning, two instances of the press' and politician's depiction of the Left (or for that matter, anyone opposed to the Bush administration) slapped me in the face.
Michael Getler, the Washington Post's ombudsman, on Sunday wrote critically of the Post's running only a wire-service account of a recently declassified report
that documented, among other things, 52 intelligence warnings to leaders of the Federal Aviation Administration between April and September 2001 about activities, mostly overseas, by Osama bin Laden or the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Some of the reports specifically warned against airline hijackings and suicide operations.
By contrast, the NY Times had given it front-page coverage by one of their own reporters.
Getler notes that only a few readers complained about the Post's coverage, and then adds—
I'm with the readers on this one, even though there were not many complaints, and even if some of those were from critics of the Bush administration. [emphasis added]
What on earth does this mean? Is Getler only accepting criticism from readers who voted for George Bush? Does opposition to the Bush administration preclude one from criticizing news coverage at the Washington Post? I will write to ask, but am not expecting a response. Getler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by the way.
My dilated pupils had barely returned to homeostasis when I clicked on a link from Raw Story and read that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was in his home state Nevada reassuring the reporters of Reno that Howard Dean is "not some wild-eyed, left-wing nut."
The leader of the Senate Democrats needs some help with his diction. While he said some reasonable things about Dean, his "not some wild-eyed, left-wing nut" phrase carried the headline.
First, the Democrats need to stop talking about what they're not. Then they need to talk about what they're for. And then they need to explain that they regret that the Republican party has become the party of wild-eyed, right-wing nuts and that they'll do what they can within the bounds of reason to work with them, but that given the nature of today's Republican party they can only go so far.
That would have produced a headline such as "Reid says Republican Party has become the party of 'wild-eyed, right-wing nuts.'" Republicans everywhere would be hopping mad and demanding an apology. But as in the courtroom dramas where counsel submits an impermissible question, only to withdraw it, the point will have been made. Reid can later say something such as "Perhaps my remarks were a bit intemperate, but I stand by my point that the views of some of my colleagues have become quite extreme."
That's the stuff to give 'em.