Times Watch for October 21, 2003
Mr. Dee Dee Myers Slams Anti-Clinton Book
The liberal loyalists at the Times know how to reward their friends and punish their foes. Eric Alterman's book "What Liberal Media?" received two glowing notices in the paper of record. But when it comes to books with conservative appeal, it's less love-in than pile-on.
Last month Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani called Nigel Hamilton's anti-Clinton biography "Bill Clinton: An American Journey" a "sleazy new low," among other less-than-kind remarks. Now Times correspondent Todd Purdum gets a crack at Hamilton's tome for the Sunday book review, writing: "It is almost completely a reheated buffet of previously published material from the already groaning steam table of Clinton scholarship, scandalmongering and supposition.[Hamilton] utterly abandons the biographer's most important arts-judgment, discernment, discretion, synthesis-in favor of a more (and more)-is-more approach that takes Clinton from birth through his election to the White House. Subtlety is absent and exclamation points abound"
The credit line to the harshly negative review notes that Purdum, "a Washington correspondent for The Times, covered the Clinton White House." But it could have gone on to say, "and is the husband of former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers." (The two married in 1997, after Myers had quit her White House job.) Having already clobbered the book in September, did the Times really need to call on the spouse of a Democratic political operative to pile on?
For the rest of the review by Mr. Dee Dee Myers, click here.
Eric Alterman | Book Review | Bill Clinton | Nigel Hamilton | Dee Dee Myers | Todd Purdum
Bush Jr. - No Senior Appeal?
Sunday's front-page piece by Robin Toner squeezes data out of an old Times/CBS News poll to show that "Bush's Popularity With Older Voters Is Seen As Slipping"-although a graphic accompanying the story shows this "age gap" was larger as recently as last fall.
Toner, who often writes about Medicare for the Times, then shifts her story to Republican desire to make good with seniors by passing a Medicare drug benefit plan. Via labeling, Toner lets us know who the good guys and bad guys are in this fight. While the liberal Alliance for Retired Americans is simply "an advocacy group aligned with the A.F.L.-C.I.O," Toner feels the need to smack a warning label on the United Seniors Association, "a conservative group often aligned with the drug industry." Meanwhile, "Emily's List" is not a fundraising group for liberal female candidates but simply a "Democratic fund-raising group."
For the rest of Robin Toner's story on Bush Jr.'s senior problem, click here.
George W. Bush | Drugs | Labeling Bias | Medicare | Robin Toner
The Times Gets a Facelift
After a century of font accumulation, the Times is streamlining its front-page headlines: "In place of a miscellany of headline typefaces that have accumulated in its columns over the last century, the newspaper is settling on a single family, Cheltenham, in roman and italic versions and various light and bold weights." The leftward slant of the paper's actual content, however, is expected to remain unchanged.
For more on the Times new look, click here.