The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Many Faces of the New York Times

I was pretty enthusiastic when the mainstream press showed signs of standing up to this administration-- or at least not refusing to stand up to them. But a glance at some current articles from the 'paper of record' show what a mixed journalistic bag we're still dealing with.

There's the good: In a story that's getting very little attention in the news or on the blogs, the Times looks at Bush's budget proposal and finds what looks an awful lot like a stealth attempt to kill Medicare. Budget documents show that Mr. Bush will propose a similar surcharge on premiums for Medicare’s new prescription drug benefit. In addition, the president will ask Congress to “eliminate annual indexing of income thresholds,” so that more people would eventually have to pay the higher premiums. Hey, with the economically disadvantaged fighting the wars, why shouldn't they pay for them, too? For a more detailed analysis, check this article. (The same site argues that the same budget will deny even more children coverage.)

The schizophrenic: How do you even explain this one? First line: Investigators say they believe that attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable about the inquiry. Second paragraph: Officials cautioned that no firm conclusions had been drawn and did not reveal any direct evidence of a connection. Is this all the Times learned from their policy of defending the invasion, facts be damned? This story supports Bush's most recent fear-mongering on Iran, at the same time, and only cites "investigators," for what or whom we aren't told. And the paper even admits there's no evidence! It's better than what we saw a few months ago, but not by a hell of a lot.

The derisive: "Edwards Details His Healthcare Proposal," and so does journalist of highly dubious merit David Broder. The piece, which isn't an editorial, includes such detailed descriptions as "expensive," "a pastiche," "tax. . .taxes. . .taxpayers'. . .tax. . .job-killing tax," and references to both "Bill Clinton's failed 1994 health care plan," and "Mrs. Clinton's 1994 plan." Maybe much of the press still pines for the days when all they had to do was spread rumors about the former president and papers would fly off the shelves.

And the same-old same-old: Borrowing Bush's standard "some people say..." tactic, this professional, just-the-facts reporter asserts that Democrats are looking for "a package to finance future Social Security benefits, possibly combined with a curb on some benefits." SocSec's alleged insolvency is a standard right-wing talking point for demolishing (or, to use their term, "saving") the program. The CBO has made no secret of the fact that the program will pay for itself at current benefit levels for several decades-- and, conveniently enough, not one Democrat who holds the author's alleged view is cited, much less any evidence that Democrats as a whole share it. Pitiful.