Sunday, December 11, 2005

NYT: Putting the Timid in the New York Timid

It's good to be an "intellectual" conservative and "examined" by the New York Times. Anne E. Kornblut's "He Says Yes to Legalized Torture" proves that.

The one being awarded the hearts & flowers is Charles Krauthammer. Reading the article, you'll note that his positions are never critiqued. His endorsement of torture stands with approval since the Times fails to question that endorsement. His reasoning is never examined.

It's accepted as normal despite the fact that in intellectual circles, real ones, and outside them, this is an issue that's hotly contested.

But no need to get messy. Just smooth everything over. Offer that he started at The New Republic in the 1980s with the implied notion that he began by working at a liberal publication. The Times especially likes to push that lie. And maybe it's time for those actively on the left to *stop* promoting The New Republic?

You can read Robert Parry, you can read Bob Somerby, you can read any number of histories or criticisms and you'll see right away that the rag most famous this year for the attack on Arundhati Roy isn't left, isn't liberal and isn't anything to sing the praises of.

But because we haven't actively disputed the false claim loudly enough for the Times, they once again try to slide that one past the casual reader. (Who won't know better more than likely. So few read The New Republic.)

What else do you get?

Well, let's talk about what you'd get if this were a profile on Katrina vanden Heuvel. If this were a profile on KvH, you'd get various conservatives weighing in on KvH. Do you get the left weighing on Krauthammer? No, you don't. All the people quoted, and it's a lot, are from the right.

The Times endorses torture and allows the right to have their own little conversation in this lengthy article. There's no need to provide balance, let alone perspective.

A conservative "intellectual" said it and it's judged (when judged at all) by the right-wing.

That's a cute little set up. I'm sure there are a lot of future subjects of profiles in the paper that would be interested in knowing how they could get such a sweetheart deal for themselves.

The truth is, they can't. Not if they're of the left. Even if they're of the center, they risk a wayward voice being asked to critique them. But if they're of the right, part of the gas bag circuit and seen as "intellectual," they can have this kid gloves treatment.

Attacks are reserved for Molly Ivins (the first wife of the paper that refused to fade into obscurity when she left the paper). Attacks are reserved for Seymour Hersh and Noam Chomsky.

But Krauthmer gets hearts and flowers. Why, they even note his clinical practice. They fail to note that he used his license to diagnose (on TV) Al Gore as mentally ill. They fail to note anything resembling reality.

How they think this passes for news or reporting is beyond me. But they front page it on the Week in Review and maybe they'll get a shout out or a nod from The Weekly Standard? Or maybe, at the very least, those mean boys won't say as nasty things about them as they have in the past.

Putting the timid in the New York Timid this morning, Anne E. Kornblut.

We're on a break from The Third Estate Sunday Review and I'm hunting through the inbox (private address) for Isaiah and Martha's contributions. (Isaiah's comic, Martha's update on
the topics for today's The Laura Flanders Show.) I'm not seeing either but there are a ton of e-mails. Unless I missed something, the film Fallujah was not on Saturday's Flanders (a lively discussion of the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and the lack of governmental response may have bumped it or it may have been intended for Sunday to begin with). So look for that tonight and, hopefully, in a bit, we'll have something more to note. Things are going up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Jim asked that I note that. Currently it's Ava & my TV commentary but more is due to go up. I'll accept the blame for the delay there. An e-mail came in that required (or I felt deserved) a long and searching response. Hopefully, on the other end it was appreciated. Responding meant putting everyone working on The Third Estate Sunday Review in a holding pattern. (Which wasn't my intent, I meant for them to go on without me.) Ava and I had worked on our commentary while a feature was being worked on so we had that completed. It's up. We need to work on some other pieces now and they will be up throughout the morning. If the delay puts anyone out, I accept the blame for the delay. If the delay causes anyone to curse, please note, I honestly thought I'd actually get some sleep this weekend. An all nighter on Friday and now an all nighter on Saturday hasn't resulted in more than three hours sleep for me on either day. So if you're cursing, chuckle over that.

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[Note: Thanks to Jim who pointed out as soon as I rejoined the Third Estate that I used "start" when I meant "stop."]