Thursday, March 03, 2005

Wilgoren has an article worth reading, otherwise the Times is the Daily Yawn today

I'm not really impressed or outraged by anything in this morning's New York Times. The word to describe today's paper is "pedistrian."

Anytime the Times front pages one of their own polls, there's a problem. (And I'm sure if time were given to exploring the poll, many problems with it would be found. But we've done that in the past so hopefully community members know better than to take a poll at face value.)

Alan Greenspan's still treated like the Lord Jesus in all Times' coverage. A shoddy career that now finds him reliving the eighties is ignored by Edmun L. Andrews (or by the article bearing Andrews byline). Greenspan's luster faded long ago but you won't get that from the Times today. Nor will you get any sort of perspective on his "call to action." (Here's a hint, the payroll tax was sold, by Greenspan, in the eighties, as just the thing to "save" social security. The paper sees no need to examine Greenspan's record. Today it comes off like many balding, male singer-songwriters still writing & singing songs of "I just fell in love for the very first time." Translation, no perspective, no sense of history. It's sad.)

Warren Hoge's "United States Drops Anti-Abortion Demand at U.N. Equality Form" is a sort of printed yawn on what should be an important topic.

"BBC Gets New Lease on Life, but Government Calls for Overhaul" bears Alan Cowell's name, but whomever's responsible appears to have no strong grip on the realities in England these days. Lord Hutton's review was questionable in England when it was issued. Recent revelations (which come to think of it, the Times hasn't really reported on) have led to a strong sense that the Hutton review is an embarrassment. (Hint to the Times, Tony Blair's charges pre-war look more and more precarious. Though the paper ignores Clare Short, they also ignore the furor over Blair's attorney general's finding on the legality of war. And the stir that's greeted the attorney general issuing a finding on Prince Charles' wedding has served to underscore the fact that there's no strong legal reason preventing the release of the attorney general's findings in the run up to the war.) One would hate to think that the Times has an axe to grind with the BBC but then after mocking the BBC's findings re: Jessica Lynch in print, the Times hasn't really done a strong job of pointing out to readers that the BBC was right.

"World Briefing" tells you that Bill Gates can't use the title "sir" but he got an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England. Also lists others who've received the "honor" in the past. Wonder what the founding fathers would say? Funny how the ones arguing "original intent!" over and over (re: the framers) never seem interested in touching that issue.

Jodi Wilgoren actually has another strong article. It's the strongest thing in the paper and would probably be the strongest or among the strongest even if this was a solid edition (which it's not).

We'll link to it: "White Supremacit's Relatives Are Questioned in Killings:"

The police released composite sketches Wednesday night of two men they want to question in connection with this week's execution-style slayings of a federal judge's mother and husband, in an investigation that has included interviews with relatives, friends and sympathizers of a white-supremacist imprisoned for soliciting the judge's assassination.
The authorities would not say where or when the two men, one in his mid-20's and the other age 50 to 60, were seen or whether they were suspects or witnesses. The younger man, described as 5-foot-8 to 6 feet with a medium build, is shown in the sketch to have narrow eyes, heavy brows, a flat nose and close-cropped strawberry-blond hair; the elder, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet with hazel eyes, has a large build and was last seen wearing a black watch cap, dark green coveralls and a grayish/green coat, the police said.
The police refused to discuss whether the two men might be connected to the hate groups that have been a prime focus of the investigation. The mother and brother of Matthew Hale, the man convicted last year of plotting the murder of the judge, Joan Humphrey Lefkow, said Wednesday that federal agents had asked them whether Mr. Hale might have communicated something from prison in code. In addition, a white-supremacist radio host who said in 2003 that it would be illegal but not wrong to kill Judge Lefkow, said Wednesday that federal agents had also questioned him about his whereabouts at the time of the Monday killings.

Jeff Gerth would already be screaming for a knoose. Wilgoren is very clear in her article about what is known and what isn't. It really is a strong article. Yes, this is the third time we've had praise for Wilgoren's writing in seven days, but (my opinion) she's earned it.

Eric Lipton's "Offical Leaving Security Dept. Shifts to Advising Contractors" calls for front paging and also calls for a longer article than what's offered. It's so scanty (which is probably not Lipton's fault) that it might as well be in national briefs: "Asa Hutchinson leaves Homeland Security to go to work for a private law firm representing contractors."

American company (California based -- despite the Bully Boy's falsehoods in the debate when he tried to infer it was a foreign company) Chiron will be allowed another attempt at manufacturing the flu vaccine. We learn that in an article by Andrew Pollack and Lawrence K. Altman. You have to wade through to paragraph eight to find the CDC's Dr. Jeanne M. Santoli raising some doubts: "We absolutely cannont count on Chiron being able to supply vaccine for the U.S. based on the news today, although it is good news."

No one's mentioned Philp Shenon's "Testimony at Texas Trial Focuses on Use of Donations." I'll read it later and if it's worthy of comment, we'll note it tonight. But by the time I made it to A21 of the paper, I was yawning.

Praise for Wilgoren and that's really about all.

By the way, we reached 1500 in the official count of U.S. troops in Iraq who've died.

The Times doesn't tell you that today.

But then 49 of 57 towns in Vermont calling for the "withdrawal of troops from Iraq" is reduced to a national briefing (on A21).

[Note: "Founding," not "funding!" Founding fathers! Another bone head typo from me. Thanks to Shirley for catching that. Ditto "company" and "country." Post also corrected for italics.]