Friday, January 28, 2005

The Times appears opposed to covering any voices who want the troops home now

Is the New York Times just opposed to covering any voices that want the troops home now?
Citizen activists and parents who have lost children (we're speaking of Americans in both cases -- until John F. Burns' article yesterday, the Times has pretty much ignored Iraqis not placed in power) have long been ignored by the paper.

But if you visit BuzzFlash, you may be aware that paid ads can be "silenced." From the BuzzFlash mailbag:

We had planned for the new Not In Our Name statement of conscience to run on Friday, January 21, in The New York Times. We had a contract and a confirmation number. This ad was to be our answer to the inauguration, and it was timed to appear in the middle of the inauguration news coverage.
The ad did not run. The advertising department were themselves deeply surprised by this, and have not been able to explain what happened. In fact, we were told that, to their knowledge, this had never happened before. At the same time, the Times lead editorial said that this should be a time of legitimacy and acceptance for the President -- and that this was especially something that the opposition has to come to terms with.
It is unacceptable that we do not yet know why something that "has never happened before" happened -- a full page paid ad, accepted and slotted in, did not run. This is especially so when the content of the ad, the need to resist the course that this administration has set, is so important to the people of this country and the world.

The Times apparently was uncomfortable with running a paid ad (one they'd accepted) during their inauguration love fest. Which left the voices against the war silenced except for snarky attacks by Michael Janofksy in last Friday's paper (see
And, of course, Amy Goodman and others have pointed out the New York Times' problems reporting voices speaking out against the war (see

But what happens when members of Congress speak out?

If you read the San Francisco Chronicle, you were informed of U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey's resolution yesterday. Other papers have covered it as well. Ted Kennedy spoke out against the war yesterday. Representatives and a US Senator? Surely this is front page news?

Not in the Times. Online, they lump the two together and "cover" it by running an Associated Press article on the matter: "Some in Congress Talk of Iraq Withdrawal." From that article:

Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, a longtime critic of the president's Iraq policies, introduced a House resolution this week calling for the president to withdraw U.S. troops immediately. "We've gone as far as we can with this and we're sacrificing our troops every day,'' Woolsey said.
The resolution has the support of 24 other House Democrats, and Woolsey wants the debate to reach the House floor. Recently, she and 15 other House Democrats sent the president letters imploring him to bring home troops immediately.
This week, others joined in the drumbeat.
"A political process has begun, admittedly fragile, and it's time for the United States to leave,'' Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., declared.
Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., called for a more gradual pullback, with the majority of American forces returning home in phases by the end of the year. "A timetable for withdrawal would be that light at the end of the tunnel for our military,'' Meehan said.
On Thursday, Kennedy argued that the U.S. military must start leaving Iraq because its "indefinite presence is fanning the flames of conflict.''
"It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin,'' he said.

Others are joining in? Surely, it's news. (NPR thinks so, I heard coverage of the issue in the first hour of Morning Edition this morning.)

And it should be noted that Democracy Now!, Pacifica's Free Speech News, Air America's Unfiltered, The Randi Rhodes Show, The Majority Report and The Mike Malloy Show have all covered this. (I'm sure AAR's Morning Sedition and The Al Franken Show have covered it as well, but I haven't caught either show this week.)

[The paper is very late arriving today. When it is delivered, I'll check to see if the AP story makes the print edition or is only available online.]

It certainly seems like news, doesn't it? A move in Congress, a call for a withdrawal? It's news everywhere but in the Times which can't spare a reporter for this story apparently. (Guess it's still a matter of "emphasis" for the Times -- see "Amy Goodman warned us about 'The Lies of the Times.'")

Having refused to the run the Not in Our Name ad when originally agreed to (the ad was delayed until the Sunday edition), one might think the paper would care about the impression they were making to readers who didn't just depend upon the New York Times for their news coverage. People who seek out news (including independent media) are fully aware that the Times has sat on this story (and voices speaking out against the war). But if you read the paper today, you might scratch your head and wonder what this little Associated Press article is about? Can't be too important, right? It's not on the front page, it has no byline and it's not a story the paper assigned their own reporters to cover.

The AP article notes:

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, say it's not the right time even to talk of pulling out, let alone do it. They stick to the party line that the United States can't consider withdrawing until an Iraqi security force is able to protect the fledgling democratic government on its own.

The New York Times' actions also say it's not the right time to talk of pulling out (let alone do it) when they silence these voices. Someone needs to examine this (we won't hold our breath waiting for Daniel Okrent -- who turned in another op-ed Sunday based on "what I want to write about" as opposed to writing about what readers were asking about). [For a discussion of Okrent's continual dismissal of readers' concern see "First of all there's the continuing daily mistakes . . ." For a discussion of Okrent's inability to serve readers see "Daniel Okrent, Step Down."]

I want to be really clear here, I don't think that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq is a position that only means something if members of the US Congress advocate it. I think the Times should have been covering this issue. (See December 22nd's "About the Times and that Mea Culpa" which offers yet another example of how the paper silences debate on this issue -- Kirk Johnson writing an article researched by five Times reporters in five cities across the country and not one person quoted advocated "bring the troops home now" despite the fact that the sentiment is a popular one -- polls have reported that close to a third of Americans support that position.)

Okay, the print edition finally arrived. Three quick scans demonstrate that the AP article is only available online. (If you see it in print, please e-mail me at I could be missing it but I don't think so, I've gone through three times now looking for just that story.)

Get it? Print readers still won't know about Congressional voices advocating the withdrawal of troops. This is coverage? This is reporting?

Exactly why is the New York Times so opposed to covering the news?