We Miss Communism - November 3, 2003 - TimesWatch.org

Times Watch for November 3, 2003

We Miss Communism

Were things better for Russians under authoritarian Communist regimes? That's what Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise claims in an interview promoting her new PBS-Frontline special, "Rich in Russia" (reported by Tavernise and produced in association with the Times).

Interviewed by Frontline's Sara Miles, Tavernise says: "For the vast majority of Russians, life is worse than it was in Soviet times. But I don't think most people would choose to go back, though they remember the past with great fondness. They miss feeling like a great superpower, and they've had to swallow this bitter pill of being weak."

For the rest of the interview with Tavernise, click here.

Communism | Documentary | Frontline | Russia | Soviet Union | Sabrina Tavernise

Gephardt "Evolves" Into an Abortion-Lover

Saturday's Page One features a glowing story by Rachel Swarns on how Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt has "evolved" into a gay-rights supporter and abortion-lover, thanks to his gay-activist daughter Chrissy.

In "Daughter Spurs Shift in Gephardt's View on Gays," Swarns gushes: "Mr. Gephardt's decision to turn the spotlight on his daughter underscores his own evolution in 27 years in Congress. In the early 1980's, he opposed abortion, school busing and federally financed legal services for gay men and lesbians. Over the years, he has changed those positions and today is hailed by gay and lesbian rights groups for sponsoring legislation against hate crimes and discrimination and for being the first presidential hopeful to give a gay relative such a prominent and public platform."

Swarns' description of Gephardt's "evolution" fits the common liberal practice of praising a politician who moves from right to left for having "evolved" or "grown in office."

The photo accompanying Swarns' profile is from the Gephardt family's most recent Christmas card, featuring Chrissy and her partner Amy Loder. Thanks to the Times, Christmas indeed came early for the Gephardt campaign.

For the rest of Swarns' profile of Gephardt's gay daughter, click here.

Campaign 2004 | Gay Rights | Dick Gephardt | Rachel Swarns

Just Die Already

Abby Goodnough's Sunday story about Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman in a vegetative state, is a fairly balanced story which belatedly brings up criticism (previously unseen in the Times) regarding the behavior of Terri's husband: "Only after his mother's death did Mr. Schiavo tell his in-laws that on several occasions, his wife had said she would not want to be kept alive artificially. The timing of the revelation-after he won the malpractice money and after he began seeing Jodi Centonze, with whom he would eventually have a child-made [Terri's family] deeply suspicious." But the headline makes Terri Schiavo sound more like an inconvenience than a living person: "With His Wife in Limbo, Husband Can't Move On." (Note: The online edition of this story carries a different headline than the hard copy.)

For the rest of Goodnough's story on Terri Schiavo, click here.

Florida | Abby Goodnough | Headlines | Right-to-Die | Terri Schiavo

Republicans in the Hood

Jeffrey Gettleman throws out the term "conservative" seven times in his Sunday piece on the campaign for Louisiana governor, using the word to describe the South in general, Republican candidate Bobby Jindal and Democrat Kathleen Blanco. Then he indulges in some guilt-by-association with a dubious attempt to compare Indian-American Republican Bobby Jindal's appeal to that of white supremacist David Duke: "With barbecues, rallies and visits to schools, Mr. Jindal has blazed a trail through rural areas, trumpeting his conservative views and winning the support of the same, mostly white parishes that 12 years ago sent David Duke, a former Klansman, into a runoff for governor."

Gettleman has used similar tactics in the past, as when he hooked supporters of Alabama's "Ten Commandments" Judge Roy Moore to the state's former segregationist governor, George Wallace.

For the rest of Gettleman on Bobby Jindal, click here.

Campaign 2003 | Jeffrey Gettleman | Bobby Jindal | Labeling Bias | Louisiana