Perhaps the Times should rethink its policy on commencement speeches,given thatevery time a Times staffer gets up in front of a collegeaudience he or sheseems to spout left-wing rhetoric that contradicts the paper's increasingly disbelieved claims of objective reporting.
The most recent controversy involvedTimes Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse , who returned to her alma mater Harvard in June and delivered these pearls of wisdom: "Our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."(Greenhouse also marched in an abortion-rights rally in 1989.)
Controversy ensued when National Public Radio received audio of Greenhouse's speech, but she apparently suffered no loss of reputation in-house. That's no surprise, given that the paper's publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was just as stridently left-wing in a talk he delivered last May at the State University of New York at New Paltz: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. You weren't supposed to be graduating in an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life, the right of gays to marry or the rights of women to choose....where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain. You weren't. But you are and I am sorry for that.'"
And finally, here are the opening remarks by former foreign correspondent Chris Hedges when he spoke to graduating students at Rockford College in Rockford, Ill. in May 2003: "Thank you very much. I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq, although blood will continue to spill, theirs and ours; be prepared for this. For we are embarking on an occupation that if history is any guide will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security. But this will come later, our empire expands and in all this we become pariahs, tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. Isolation always impairs judgment, and we are very isolated now. We have forfeited the good will, the empathy the world felt for us after 9-11, we have folded in on ourselves. We have severely weakened the delicate international coalitions and alliances that are vital in maintaining and promoting peace, and we are part now of a dubious troika in the war against terror with Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon, two leaders who do not shrink in Palestine or Chechnya from carrying out acts of gratuitous and senseless violence."