Plus: A terrorist as "renegade" and an America "deeply divided" over gay marriage.
July 16, 2006 - 9:12am
"Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. has no tolerance for illegal immigrants, either in his political life or personal life....A bipartisan irritant from a state nowhere near the Mexican border, he has outsize influence on the fate of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.... He is commonly described as 'prickly,' 'cantankerous' and 'unpleasant... .One could dismiss him as something of a cartoon , except that Mr. Sensenbrenner has been a feared and vital character in some defining political dramas, like the Clinton impeachment, the passage of the USA Patriot Act and the current legislative donnybrook over immigration, an issue that he calls his toughest in nearly four decades of public life." - From Mark Leibovich's July 11 profile of Sensenbrenner.
A Terrorist "Renegade"?
No Anti-Israel Bias Here
"Once Again, Gazans Are Displaced by Israeli Occupiers." - Headline to story by Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steven Erlanger, July 12.
Rockets "Only Occasionally" Kill Innocent Israeli Citizens
Israeli-based Greg Myre, July 9.
Bush Politicizing Terror?
"Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at University of Richmond in Virginia who tracks terrorism cases, said the modest evidence disclosed so far in some recent cases in relation to the ability of the suspects to deliver on their threats has caused him to wonder if politics might be a factor." - Eric Lipton, July 9.
- Reporter Amanda Hartocollis, July 7.
Reality Check: 45 of 50 states have laws or amendments prohibiting gay couples from obtaining marriage licenses.
Boo Hoo: Marriage Ruling "A Shocking Insult to Gay Rights Groups"
"Yesterday's court ruling against gay marriage was more than a legal rebuke, then - it came as a shocking insult to gay rights groups. Leaders said they were stunned by both the rejection and the decision's language, which they saw as expressing more concern for the children of heterosexual couples than for the children of gay couples. They also took exception to the ruling's description of homosexuality as a preference rather than an orientation." - From chief New York political reporter Patrick Healy's July 7 "news analysis."
Anger Over Spy Scuttling Just Cynical "Red Meat" for GOP Base
"One of the more cynical members of my staff observed that a lot of the denunciations of the 'Times' since the story published were from microphones at Republican Party fund-raisers. You know, that beating up on the 'New York Times' is red meat for a certain portion of the base." - Times Executive Editor Bill Keller on the Charlie Rose show, July 6.
Frank Rich, Out of Control
"No sooner were the flag burners hustled offstage than a new traitor was unveiled for the Fourth: the press. Public enemy No. 1 is The New York Times, which was accused of a 'disgraceful' compromise of national security (by President Bush) and treason (by Representative Peter King of New York and the Coulter amen chorus)....It was a solid piece of journalism. But if you want to learn the truly dirty secrets of how our government prosecutes this war, the story of how it vilified The Times is more damning than anything in the article that caused the uproar....The assault on a free press during our own wartime should be recognized for what it is: another desperate ploy by officials trying to hide their own lethal mistakes in the shadows. It's the antithesis of everything we celebrate with the blazing lights of Independence Day." - From Frank Rich's July 2 column.
Columnist Nicholas Kristof Fights Docile, Gullible Fox News
"More broadly, the one thing worse than a press that is 'out of control' is one that is under control. Anybody who has lived in a Communist country knows that. Just consider what would happen if the news media as a whole were as docile to the administration as Fox News or The Wall Street Journal editorial page. When I was covering the war in Iraq, we reporters would sometimes tune to Fox News and watch, mystified, as it purported to describe how Iraqis loved Americans. Such coverage (backed by delusional Journal editorials baffling to anyone who was actually in Iraq) misled conservatives about Iraq from the beginning. In retrospect, the real victims of Fox News weren't the liberals it attacked but the conservatives who believed it." - Columnist Nicholas Kristof, July 4.
So Much for Our "Secret" Terrorist Surveillance Scoop
"I'm not claiming I know the mind of every terrorist, but I am claiming to know exactly what President Bush and his senior aides have said. And when you have senior Treasury Department officials going before Congress, publicly talking about how they are tracing and cutting off money to terrorists, weeks and weeks before our story ran. 'USA Today,' the biggest circulation in the country, the lead story on their front page four days before our story ran was the terrorists know their money is being traced, and they are moving it into - outside of the banking system into unconventional means. It is by no means a secret." - Times reporter Eric Lichtblau on the July 2 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources.
Hey, Our Big Scoop? Old News
Reporter Eric Lichtblau discussing his bank spy scoop on the OnPoint radio show hosted by Anthony Brooks, June 29.
Blame Lying Military for Lack of Press Coverage of War Heroes
"There are other reasons, too, of course. Wars are often unpopular clashes fraught with moral ambiguity, and while the news media are often attracted to heroism, they also like to challenge myth building . The military's attempt to turn Pfc. Jessica Lynch into a hero after the invasion of Iraq unraveled when it emerged that she had not emptied her rifle at advancing Iraqi soldiers, as first reported. The initial accounts of Cpl. Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan in April 2004 came undone when it was disclosed that the corporal, a former N.F.L. star, had been killed by members of his own unit. Military abuses now have a longer shelf life than acts of derring-do." - Craig Smith, June 18.
No War Heroes, But Here's A Gay One
"A Happy Fellow, and No Doubt a Heroic One, Too." - Headline to Robin Finn's June 23 profile of Manhattan gay activist Florent Morellet.
Letting Fly His Hatred for Fox News
"Fox, by its mere existence, undercuts the argument that the public is starved for 'fair' news, and not just because Fox shills for the Republican Party and panders to the latest of America's periodic religious manias. The key to understanding Fox News is to grasp the anomalous fact that its consumers know its 'news' is made up." - Times former Executive Editor Howell Raines, from his new autobiography on fly-fishing, "The One that Got Away."
"Fox Television showed us the future - outright lies and paranoid opinions packaged as news under the oversight of Rupert [Murdoch], a flagrant pirate, and Roger Ailes, an unprincipled Nixon thug who had assumed a journalistic disguise in much the same way that the intergalactic insect in Men in Black shrugged into the borrowed skin of a hapless hillbilly."- Times former Executive Editor Howell Raines in "The One that Got Away."
Bill Keller Defends Spy Scoop by Blaming Conservative Bloggers
"Some of the incoming mail quotes the angry words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government's anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous. (I could ask, if that's the case, why they are drawing so much attention to the story themselves by yelling about it on the airwaves and the Internet.)" - Executive Editor Bill Keller's online letter after reader outcry over his paper's revelation of an anti-terror surveillance program involving international banking transactions, June 25.
When It Comes to Hillary, Say Populism, Not Liberalism
"Mrs. Clinton has changed her style and toned down criticism of the industry in speeches about health care. But her audiences still see flashes of the old populism . Speaking to a conference of the American Medical Association in Washington this year, she said, 'Money is leaking or even escaping out of the health care system in record profits for pharmaceutical and insurance companies.'" - From a July 12 story by Raymond Hernandez and Robert Pear.
Hillary's Not a Liberal?
Senator Clinton and Liberals Split Over Flag Desecration." - June 28 headline.