"From the Great Depression, we remember the bread lines. From the oil shocks of the 1970s, we recall lines of cars snaking from gas stations. And from our current moment, we may come to remember scenes like the one at a Long Island Wal-Mart in the dawn after Thanksgiving, when 2,000 frantic shoppers trampled to death an employee who stood between them and the bargains within. It was a tragedy, yet it did not feel like an accident. All those people were there, lined up in the cold and darkness, because of sophisticated marketing forces that have produced this day now called Black Friday. They were engaging in early-morning shopping as contact sport. American business has long excelled at creating a sense of shortage amid abundance, an anxiety that one must act now or miss out. ...For decades, Americans have been effectively programmed to shop." - Economics reporter Peter Goodman, over a November 30 Week in Review story headlined "A Shopping Guernica Captures the Moment."
Dan Rather, Reporter-At-Large
"Using tools unavailable to him as a reporter - including the power of subpoena and the threat of punishment against witnesses who lie under oath - [Dan Rather] has unearthed evidence that would seem to support his assertion that CBS intended its investigation, at least in part, to quell Republican criticism of the network." - Media reporter Jacques Steinberg, November 17.
A Liberal Media Myth Lives On
"In his address, Mr. Clinton criticized Mr. Chambliss for his 2002 campaign, in which Mr. Chambliss questioned the patriotism of the incumbent Democrat, Max Cleland, a triple amputee from wounds received in the Vietnam War." - A nytimes.com posting November 19 from Robbie Brown. Cleland's patriotism was not questioned or even mentioned.
Where Did They Think Thanksgiving Dinner Came From?
"You don't have to be a huge animal lover to question why Governor Palin chose to be interviewed - while issuing a traditional seasonal pardon of a turkey - while turkeys were being executed in the background." - A November 21 posting on the Editorial Board's blog at nytimes.com referencing an pre-Thanksgiving "turkey pardon" photo-op Palin participated in while back in Alaska.
Obama's Big-Government Proposals Provide "Comfort" in Awful Economic Times
"Well I think you're seeing a very interesting comparison frankly to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. This has been called the New New Deal....I don't think it's any great surprise that we're hearing proposals come out of him that sound a lot like this, and maybe there's some comfort to it. The last time the country experienced this kind of economic situation was the Great Depression." - White House correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, appearing on MSNBC December 2 to discuss Obama's appearance before the National Governor's Association and its calls for massive infrastructure spending.
If the Communist Secret Police Say It, It Must Be True
"In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus's now famous arrogance....Now the Czech Republic is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union and there is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world's biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers. His role in the Czech Republic is largely ceremonial, but he remains a powerful force here, has devotees throughout Europe and delights in basking in the spotlight. "Oh God, Vaclav Klaus will come next," read a recent headline in the Austrian daily Die Presse, in an article anticipating the havoc he could wreak in a union of 470 million people already divided over its future direction....But Mr. Klaus's sheer will and inflammatory talk - the eminent British historian Timothy Garton Ash once called him "one of the rudest men I have ever met" - are likely to have some impact." - Reporter Dan Bilefsky in Prague in a November 25 profile of Vaclav Klaus, leader of the Czech Republic and soon to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union.
"Like some children of poor immigrants, K.K. drifted to the streets, where he became a member of the Crips gang and a champion break dancer. It was only after he was convicted of armed robbery at 18 that he discovered that he was not a citizen." - From Seth Mydans' sympathetic reporting November 30 from Phnom Penh on K.K., a teen-ager deported to Cambodia after his conviction.