Times Watch for July 20, 2004
William F. Buckley "Offensive," Al Sharpton Not?
Last Sunday, magazine Q&A writer Deborah Solomon said goodbye to retiring National Review founder William F. Buckley by asking him, among other things:
"You have made so many offensive comments over the years. Do you regret any of them?
"You seem indifferent to suffering. Have you ever suffered yourself?"
This week she interviews left-wing activist Al Sharpton, who has made a career out of offensive comments. But she ignores them, and in fact invites Sharpton to criticize another personality for being racist-Bill Cosby: "I wonder how you feel about Bill Cosby's recent comment that too many African-Americans speak ungrammatical English and fail to rear their children properly. Does that strike you as racist?"
It certainly takes some chutzpah to ask Sharpton (he of "white interloper" fame) if someone else is using racist language. (Sharpton actually agreed with Cosby, apparently putting him to the right of Times reporter Solomon.)
For the rest of Solomon's interview with Sharpton, click here.
" Racism | Al Sharpton | Deborah Solomon
With Reporters Bound to Baghdad, War Reporting Suffers
Reporter Ian Fisher speaks candidly about the shortcomings of reporting from Iraq, mostly resulting from the wobbly security situation, and admits we haven't been given a full picture of what's going on in that country.
In his Sunday Week in Review story, "Reporting, And Surviving, Iraq's Dangers," Fisher says of the improving security situation: "From the perspective of Western journalists, and the people who watch or read them, this new calm may begin to answer another question: While the danger was extreme, and we were trying to improvise around it, how well did we do at covering the news? How true and complete a picture did we get, when we ourselves were confined largely to hotels and walled-off houses?"
Trapped in Baghdad, Fisher admits, "We have also had to rely more on colleagues, especially from the wire services, which have Arab and Iraqi staffs. We have had to watch Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya more. We scan Islamic Web sites, for unfiltered and unprovable claims of responsibility for bombings and beheadings, for reports of tension between the groups who vie for power in Iraq. So far, still largely hunkered down in Baghdad, we just don't know how successful this experiment in war journalism has been."
Of course, these limitations haven't stopped the Times from making negative pronouncements about the state of the country overall.
For the rest of Fisher from Baghdad, click here.
" Ian Fisher | Iraq War | Journalism
Another Bumiller Scoop: Bush Won't Take Long Vacation
Dog days on the White House beat? Last week, White House correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller made waves with a front-page rumor about Cheney leaving the ticket. Bumiller's Monday story "When a Campaign Intrudes on Vacation" has another news flash: Bush won't be taking another long vacation this election year.
She writes: "But this year, the 2004 campaign has ruined Mr. Bush's Texas vacation. Or put another way, if Mr. Bush doesn't give up a lot of his summer holiday, the fear at the White House is that he could be on a permanent one after the first of the year."
Is it really surprising Bush would choose to campaign during the summer before an election?
Then she wonders if Bush is being pushed by Michael Moore: "As with all decisions at the White House, politics was paramount. In a summer when Michael Moore's film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' is attacking Mr. Bush for spending 42 percent of his first eight months in office on vacation instead of worrying about Al Qaeda (Mr. Moore's calculation came from The Washington Post), the image of Mr. Bush lazing away August on his 1,600 acres was not one that Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, particularly relished".Mr. Bush did not vacation at the ranch until the following August in a 27-day idyll that was attacked by the Democrats. Later it became a symbol of what critics said was the administration's sleepiness before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which occurred less than two weeks after the president returned from Texas."
For the rest of Bumiller on Bush's summer schedule, click here.
" Elisabeth Bumiller | George W. Bush | Campaign 2004 | Michael Moore