Saturday, January 22, 2005

The New York Times is still fawning over the inauguration


Let's start with the positive of this morning's New York Times.

Mix of Quake Aid and Preaching Stirs Concern by David Rohde details the efforts by one American church to prosletyze in Sri Lanka and the harm it may be causing.

Dexter Filkins attempts to figure out the Mystery in Iraq as $300 Million is Taken Abroad
("attempts" is not an insult to Filkins, details are sketchy, but better he and the Times cover it now then do their usual wait until the story's dead -- more on that later).

Also attempting to piece together an important issue is Charlie LeDuff ("Mystery Oil Slick Kills Seabirds Off California"). Stephanie Strom's "A.C.L.U. Committee Declines to Discipline Board Members" is more than worthy of a read.

And . . .

That may be about it. (And only Rhodes and Filkins appear on the front page.)

(If you see something you want highlighted, e-mail the site Luke in Australia had a story from yesterday or Thursday that he wanted highlighted and we'll mention it at the end of this entry.)

Eric Wilson's "Never Mind the Parade; What Did They Wear?" is at least labeled "style" --though why it appears in the main section of the paper . . . A more fitting title might be: "Never Mind the Protests; What Did the Bushes Wear?" since the parade and inauguration have been covered at length already.

But if Wilson fancies himself a future Women's Wear Daily reporter, he might want to invest in some eye glasses. The news here isn't that "[a]ll that was missing . . . was Star Jones Reynolds or Joan Rivers to comment on the Bushes . . ." No, the news here is that what's apparent to the naked eye is missed by Wilson. Running yet another photo of that hideous "Austrian crystal" gown in the paper with Wilson (and the Times) wasting our time on this ugly dress, the obvious apparently can't be stated: "classy" is not a dress that emphasizes your middle age belly pooch.
(Kara's term.) In Dallas made comments about that yesterday and a number of e-mails have come in echoing his sentiment that "control top panty hose are a must!" (Shirley).

I don't usually look at the pictures. That's not meant as a slap against photo-journalists, I'm just more of a text person. But when seventy e-mails come in on the "pooch," it's got to be rather obvious. This morning's edition runs yet another photo of Laura Bush who couldn't dress worth ___ four years ago and still can't. If not in hell, then in purgatory there should be a special circle reserved for butt kissers like Wilson who fawn and flatter the obviously undeserving.

As a woman of a certain age, if she's comfortable with her body, more power to Laura Bush. But Times reporters don't need to outright lie in their attempt to curry favor with the administration.

It's a fashion disaster that maybe someone will have the guts to call: "Laura Bush Lose the Pooch and We Don't Mean Barney!"

There's no reason for the nonsesne to appear in the paper yet again. But having committed to "covering" it, they need to report reality, not act as though the unsightly tummy bulge isn't there.

Other embarrassments include the seven paragraph piece of nonsense that Elisabeth Bumiller turns in on Colin Powell's new Corvette. ("If there's a Washington lesson here, it is don't put your Vette ahead of your vetting" may rank as one of Bumiller's all-time groaners, but I know that's fastly becoming a crowded list that grows more difficult to rank everyday.)

At least the photo that illustrates Bumiller's open mouthed drooling is a good one of Powell -- it caught my eye because of that fact -- he looks more relaxed than he's appeared in years (leaving the administration must agree with him). But where was Condi in Wilson's "style" discussion?
As Krista e-mails: "Oh Condi, honey, bad hair day?" Perhaps, or maybe she just decided to attend in Raisa Gorbachev drag?

Richard Bernstein's "British Major Says Looting Led to Abuse of Prisoners" is our "more later."
Filkins is attempting to piece together a story while it's still hot and I'll applaud that. As for this article? Let me be clear that Bernstein just happens to be holding the hot potato this morning. (I believe it was Alan Cowell yesterday.) The Times can't find this story because they can't get the details right. Has no one at the paper seen the photos?

This story broke in the British press back in 2003. I remember seeing the photos online at one of the British paper's web sites. (I'm remembering a red border around the screen -- is that The Daily Mirror?) "The photographs in the British case show Iraqi soldiers naked and seemingly forced to perform simulated sex acts with one another while British soldiers pretend to punch and kick them." Seemingly forced? Isn't that "caution" or has the Times just not made sure their reporters (and editors) have viewed the photos?

As I'm remembering the photos (I haven't seen them since that -- Daily Mirror? -- story in 2003), we've got at least one Iraqi strung up and in another photo a prisoner is crouched at crotch level to what is obviously a non-Arab. (The caption indicated it was a British soldier.)
Has Bernstein seen the photos? Has Cowell? Have any of the editors of the New York Times?

I don't understand how something that's been public record for over a year and a half can repeatedly be described so incorrectly in the paper?

It was The Sun, apparently, and not The Daily Mirror:

One allegedly shows a man stripped to the waist and suspended in the air by a rope attached to one of the forks of a forklift truck. Another is said to show a pair of white legs and the head of an Iraqi male. The hand of a man behind the Iraq's head appears to be forcing him to perform oral sex.

That's from 2003. And I believe this is a reprint of that story. And here's a Christian Science Monitor story from 2003. Is it too much for the Times, when reporting on the photos, get what they depict correct?

Before anyone writes in to praise the article on the global reaction to the Bully Boy's speech, yeah, it was a good story in most papers yesterday. When the Times is caught playing catch up, they really need strong writing to make up for the fact that they're (yet again?) behind the curve of a story.

Here's a story they missed as they continued to flatter Laura Bush, John Files, in the National Briefing, gets a paragraph about how "Ashcroft Won't Aid Asylum Seeker." Even after Homeland Securtiy recommends that a Guatemalan woman be given sanctuary, J-Ass refuses.
She's fleeing an abusive husband (and the Department of Homeland Security doesn't question her version of the events). Why would she be denied?

Seems there's a story there. One worthy of more than a mere paragraph.

Luke wanted to draw our attention to a story in Friday's New York Times on Barbara Boxer.
If there's something you want to highlight e-mail the site ( and if your comments on it are meant to be included on the site, please note that in your e-mail.

[Post corrected due to Shirley's catching a thread I dropped but never developed. Can't remember where I was headed with that sentence originally so I've just altered the ending. Thanks Shirley.]