Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NYT: State of the press, pretty sorry

Bully Boy gives a speech and the New York Times can't stop drooling. (I hope that's drool.) The paper, of course, had an early version of the speech. They began their pre-coverage last week. They give more attention to the State of the Union speech than they ever give to the . . . state of the union, but then they wouldn't be the live-by-the-official-sources-die-by-the-official-sources New York Times if they didn't.

Is any of the coverage necessary? Not really. It's an attempt for reporters to play psychic and toss out their tiny bits of knowledge (if they have more than tiny bits, as we've learned many times over, it's saved for their own books -- they learned the Bob Woodward lesson well). It's a text version of the Sunday Chat & Chews where pompous reporters avoid reporting to strike the so-worldy, so-wise pose. Although in fairness to the Sunday Chat & Chews, it should be noted that by the time Sunday rolls around, the press will have begun poking serious holes in many points and psuedo points the Bully Boy made.

But today it's fawn over Bully Boy -- not just with articles, mind you, but by reproducing the speech in one full page and one half page of transcription. Since the reporters already do such a bang-up job of transcribing unquestioningly, the official transcript seems more than a bit redundant.

"Context" is offered by David E. Sanger, or that's what they've labeled it.

If you want any sort of a critique, go to Alessandra Stanley's "On Camera, Tough Times for President Are Evident." That's the state of "news" today, it takes a TV critic to provide analysis. That's not a slap at Stanley, that's just noting a very sad fact. As always, expect to see some slams from all directions at Stanley.

These are impressions she's writing. She's a TV critic. (That's not an insult to her or the form.)
If you're unhappy with her evaluations (also known as opinions), be more unhappy that they have to import a TV critic into the "hard news" section regularly to offer anything beyond their he-said/she-said.

State of the Press? Pretty damn awful. Again, no slap to Stanley or TV criticism, but it says something really sad about the state of the press that only a TV critic can examine. (Tom Shayles frequently finds himself in the same circumstances at the Washington Post.)

Brandon's e-mailed an article that honestly confuses me. I've got the national edition and it's quite different to the closest approximate that the paper chooses to print. In the print version Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Alito's Presence Is Reminder Of Bush's Political Muscle" appears to cover similar ground (A18). Online, Stolberg teams with Anne E. Kornblut for "Antiwar Protester Arrested Before Speech, but Her Presence Looms Large." I think the print version contains three additional paragraphs. We'll note the section on Cindy Sheehan, the only thing resembling news in the paper's "hard news" coverage of the State of the Union speech:

But a Democratic congresswoman turned the tables on Mr. Bush by inviting a guest of her own: Cindy Sheehan, the antiwar protester who has dogged Mr. Bush from his Texas ranch to the White House.
Ms. Sheehan's presence loomed large in the House chamber, though she was not there. Capitol Police arrested her before the speech began, ejecting her from the gallery after they discovered her wearing an antiwar T-shirt. A police spokeswoman said Ms. Sheehan was charged with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor.
The episode sent the Capitol into a tizzy, and the congresswoman who invited Ms. Sheehan, Representative Lynn Woolsey of California, insisted she was not trying to make Mr. Bush uncomfortable. "I didn't see this as a political statement at all," Ms. Woolsey said.

The print version of it is this:

But a Democrat, Representative Lynn Woolsey of California, tried to run the tables on Mr. Bush on Tuesday by inviting Cindy Sheehan, the antiwar protester whose son died in Iraq and who garnered attention last year by demonstrating outside Mr. Bush's ranch in Texas.
The invitation sent the Capitol into a tizzy [C.I. note: It doesn't take much, does it?], and, as the speech was just beginning, a spokesman for Ms. Woolsey said Capitol police had detained Ms. Sheehan and refused her entry to the chamber. Ms. Woolsey, a staunch opponent of the war and a friend of Ms. Sheehan's, said she did not intend to make Mr. Bush uncomfortable.
"I didn't see this as a political statement at all," she said, adding, "The president invites his guests and members of Congress invite theirs, and I'm proud Cindy is my guest."

Not the guest last night, apparently. Bully Boy can't take Cindy Sheehan outside his ranch, she can't take her as one of thousands of faces at a speech. Apparently, he still runs scared from Sheehan. With good reason, she's the reality of what his illegal war has cost the country. And there's a story in that. The paper thinks there's two stories in it (online and in print) but they fail to address any real issues in either.

Democracy Now! today:

Amy Goodman in a special broadcast from Doha, Qatar

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