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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, March 31, 2003

Orwellian Moment At The NY Times

The NY Times has a piece describing how the peace movement has made a sensible decision to link peace with patriotism.

...love of country, its traditions and great leaders has emerged as a central theme in the street protests, as many left-leaning critics of the war try to wrestle patriotism from its traditional conservative grip.

...Many conservatives don't buy it.

James Q. Wilson, emeritus professor of management and public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles, said the surge in patriotic speech from the left amounted to a good marketing strategy for groups generally regarded as out of touch with mainstream America, but he doubted its effectiveness. He said patriotism, especially in a time of war, was about defending "an idea that defines the United States." That idea, he said, was freedom, and it was not one that wavered when American troops were put in harm's way.

Well, I think it is a fine idea which flatly contradicts my post here.

However, the Times also flatly contradicts reality with this statement:

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public," Roosevelt wrote in a newspaper column in 1918.

"Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else," he continued. "But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else."

The lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, could have used a little Roosevelt in her defense after criticizing President Bush during an appearance in London. She has still not recovered from the public relations backlash. But few in the broader antiwar movement have made the same misstep.

Ahh, few in the peace movement have criticized Bush? Does the Times watch the Oscars? But beyond that, on Monday AM, I saw a CNN report on the recent Columbia peace rally, made famous by Professor Degenova's comment that "I wish for a million Mogadishus". But this account of the rally suggests that a bit of criticism of Bush was also offered.

Bush and his administration also took personal blows.

Robbins called them "shameless liars and hypocrites."

Remarked Professor of Journalism and Sociology Todd Gitlin, "The Bush administration, instead of answering reporters' more difficult questions, repeats mantras--9/11, Iraq, 9/11, Iraq--a Pavlovian association on the basis of dubious claims and outright forgeries."

Katznelson stated that "the Bush administration has failed spectacularly--even if it wins this war militarily." He elaborated: "This administration abhors real politics, where outcomes might be provisional and uncertain--the hallmarks of any democracy. ... Let us not accept the erosion of real politics."

Others offered advice to the Bush administration.

"I would be careful in promising wrath, shocking and awesome, to those who dismiss and ignore legitimate election results," Associate Professor of Anthropology Rosalind Morris told the absent Bush. "People might take you seriously and respond."

I do not know what the Times is thinking, but they might want to read their own paper.

UPDATE: Dr. Dan provides the context for DeGenova's remarks. Oh, that is much better. I thought that when he said "a million Mogadishus", he was just looking for something alliterative. I'm just glad he did not come up with "a googol of Ground Zeros".

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