Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Times editorial board praises Hillary's speech, two of you complain

Krista writes in that she's very upset by the New York Times editorial today endorsing Hillary Clinton's speech last week. She's stated her problems with it very well in her e-mail but doubts she has and doesn't wish to be quoted.

Keesha wrote in on the same editorial, so we'll note her remarks.

Keesha: I don't know where the editorial board lives, but it's not in the real world. They claim that the anti-abortion movement "gained traction" because of the spin on late-term abortions which shows how truly out of touch one can be. Anyone outside of NYC, say in the rest of the country, that paid attention (I volunteered at several clinics across the country) will tell you that the "traction" began long before that. And I'd point the finger firmly at the press, including NYT, which has repeatedly printed the statements of anti-abortion people without ever noting that they are against birth control or any of the more inflamed statements that they've made publicly and that are a part of the public record but that a reporter never references out of some desire to be fair and balanced. I'd also blame op-ed columnists and editors that don't check their work. I can think of one woman who's syndicated (NYT doesn't carry her column) who's been allowed to invent figues on yearly abortions for years and papers have continued to carry her lies. There was an outcry, finally, about two years ago, when she wrote about her adopting a child -- an outcry that may have resulted from the relative ease with which she found her child which led at least one printed letter to the editor to wonder if she'd engaged in baby buying purchases. Had she just stuck to inventing figures for abortion rates, she probably wouldn't be questioned because the press has allowed anyone to tell any lie about abortion and never questioned the liars once. Apparently doing so wouldn't be "fair." If NYT and their editorial board want to look for "traction," they be smart to talk to those of us on the front lines fighting the abuse hurled at women going into clinics. They'd find quickly that this number has grown and it grew long before the attacks on late-term abortion began. And let me repeat it, I blame the press for lazy reporting in their attempts to be "fair."
And we see it in this idiotic editorial today. (Gail Collins must be so proud. Can she return her citation of one of the women of the year from Ms. in 2003 now?) They rush to demonstrate how "fair" they are by stressing abstinence only education. Sex-ed should teach you about sex. Abstinence is a position families need to address on their own. On the issue of evolution, NYT has yet to urge that creationism be taught (though that day may soon be upon us). There's not a real difference. One is a belief, one is science. Sex-ed should be based on science. Personal beliefs can be taught at home and in religious halls.
Tell you what, NYT, when priests and nuns can keep their vows, I might consider agreeing with NYT that abstience education has educational merits. I'm remembering that lost in the coverage of priests and young boys was a story of a priest who paid for the abortion of a nun.
Did he not understand the concept of "abstinence?"
Or did he understand it as what it is, a morality position, and choose to reject it? D.A.R.E. hasn't worked, prohibition didn't work and studies have found that abstinence education at best delays the onset of sexual activity for a very limited time.
It's not science. It doesn't have it's place in sex-ed.
Those on or near the left who attempt to make this argument better reconcile their endorsement of it with their refusal to embrace creationism being taught because both positions reject science.
As for the position NYT's editorial board takes, considering that they are always attempting to push the Clintons to the right (and feminists as you noted last month discussing their slam of NOW during the primaries), I'll take it about as seriously as I take the majority of their weak editorials.

I really attempt to refrain from commenting on editorials and op-eds from the Times. I can avoid the tempetation in this case because I haven't read it. I avoid The Week in Review because I'm so sick of all the mistakes that make it into print. When I honestly believed the Times would correct their mistakes (yes, I was once that innocent or stupid depending on your view), it was my favorite part of the Sunday paper. Now it goes right in the trash.

Which, yes, does mean I miss Maureen Dowd's column.

My remarks on Dowd's defense of a Times writer (now deceased and unable to defend herself) led Heath to wonder if I was one of the many "devoted to Dowd." I do own Bushworld. However, I have only read two op-eds by Dowd since the election. That's not intended as a slam against Dowd. (For strong critiques of Dowd's writing, search her name on The Daily Howler.) I'm just burnt out editorials. (I read Paul Krugman because he, as well as Bob Somerby, is detailing the realities of social security.) There are Dowd devotees who are members of this site and there are people who despise her that are members. (And I'm sure there's a number in between who've never felt the need to weigh in one way or another and could care less.)

I cited Dowd's column's earlier today because I was glad that someone took it upon themselves to strongly defend a Times writer, now dead, who had her record distorted. My point in citing that defense wasn't clear (and I can understand Heath's confusion without even re-reading that entry). To clarify, the Times has a tendency to back off from the Bully Boy repeatedly. When one of their writers was attacked publicly via distortions, the response, my opinion, should have been a front page story detailing that the Bully Boy got it wrong in his attack on a dead woman followed by printing the column he was distorting as he mocked a dead woman. But the Times refuses to stand up to him even when the person in question (a Pulitzer winning journalist) gave a great deal of time to the paper and is no longer able to defend herself. They allowed her to be smeared publicly.

On that, Will e-mails that it's hope that the same fate awaits Elisbeth Bumiller in forty years. "It's hard to imagine anyone being able to distort more than Bumillie has distorted but if it happens, I hope the paper is just a big fat coward then like they were in 2004."

That might indeed be fitting since Bumiller was responsible for co-writing the article that should have strongly addressed the distortion. And it's certainly possible since outside Judith Miller, I can't think of anyone that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. or Bill Keller has sought to go to the mat for. (Which says something about their priorities.)