Times Watch Quotes of Note -Preening Over Publishing Stolen Cables, Snooty Over Swiped Climate-Gate Email
Plus: Frank Rich's latest excruciatingly bad metaphor and his lament that "homophobia" is only a "misdemeanor" in Washington.
Published: 12/16/2010 9:57 AM ET
Times Preens Over Publishing Stolen Cables, Was Snooty Over Swiped Climate-Gate Email
"Of course, most of these documents will be made public regardless of what The Times decides. WikiLeaks has shared the entire archive of secret cables with at least four European publications, has promised country-specific documents to many other news outlets, and has said it plans to ultimately post its trove online. For The Times to ignore this material would be to deny its own readers the careful reporting and thoughtful analysis they expect when this kind of information becomes public. But the more important reason to publish these articles is that the cables tell the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money...As daunting as it is to publish such material over official objections, it would be presumptuous to conclude that Americans have no right to know what is being done in their name." - Executive Editor Bill Keller, in his "Note to Readers" on November 29, 2010.
"The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here." - Former Times environmental reporter and current blogger Andrew Revkin, November 20, 2009.
How Many Times Can I Say "Conservative" in One Paragraph?
"The Republican governor-elect, Mary Fallin, a former member of Congress, is not only the first woman to be elected to the office, but also an archconservative allied with right-wing Republican lawmakers who call themselves the Liberty Caucus. Voters also passed ballot initiatives on hot conservative issues, measures that had had little chance of becoming law under Mr. Henry. Those initiatives show the extent of the conservative triumph here and how the anxiety among some voters about illegal immigrants and Muslims has become a potent political weapon." - James McKinley Jr., November 15.
Alan Simpson, Center of Evil in the Modern World
"It's hard to see how this situation is resolved without a major crisis of some kind. Simpson [Alan Simpson, the deficit commission co-chair and former senator from Wyoming] may or may not get the blood bath he craves this April, but there will be blood sooner or later. And we can only hope that the nation that emerges from that blood bath is still one we recognize." - From Paul Krugman's November 22 column on the deficit commission.
Frank Rich's Latest Excruciating Extended Metaphor
"Wall Street is already celebrating the approach of bonus season by partying like it's 2007. In The Times's account of this return to conspicuous consumption, we learned of a Morgan Stanley trader, since fired for unspecified reasons, who went to costly ends to try to hire a dwarf for a Miami bachelor party prank that would require the dwarf to be handcuffed to the bachelor. If this were a metaphor - if only! - Wall Street would be the bachelor, and America the dwarf, involuntarily chained to its master's hedonistic revels and fiscal recklessness with no prospect for escape." - Excerpt from Frank Rich's November 28 column.
Sounds Fair and Balanced to Me
"I mean, I've just written this book that very consciously tried to come up through the middle, and look at the Tea-that we, you know, the publishing house and I made a very conscious decision that there was a lot of polemic out there. I'm not a columnist so I couldn't write a polemic about the Tea Party. What I could do is be a reporter. And we made a decision that we felt that there were a lot of people out there who just didn't understand what the Tea Party was And so there was merit in saying, OK, we're going to take as objective as possible a look. And certainly, you know, conservatives think I'm not objective. Liberals think I'm too objective, whatever. You can't win on this score. But we were really gonna try and I think we produced a pretty good, balanced effect." - Kate Zernike, speaking at the "Bipartisan Policy Center" in New Orleans on November 9.
"It was difficult, if not disingenuous, for the Tea Party groups to try to disown the behavior. They had organized the rally, and under their model of self-policing, they were responsible for the behavior of people who were there. And after saying for months that anybody could be a Tea Party leader, they could not suddenly dismiss as faux Tea Partiers those protesters who made them look bad." - An excerpt from Zernike's book "Boiling Mad," taking as fact unsubstantiated assertions that Tea Party members shouted racial slurs at black congressmen during a Capitol Hill protest against Obama-care.
Blaming Powerless Minority GOP for Obama's Legislative Struggles
"I'm going to go out on a limb, at the risk of sounding like I'm expressing an opinion. If there's one time I think people should accommodate each other, it's in times of national crisis. I think the period from late 2008 to early 2009 was just such a period. And I just want to give four examples as to where I think the Republicans did not accommodate or at least try to....But then the health care bill. People talk about government takeover and how this was a liberal bill. Well, just ask the liberals how liberal it was." - Jackie Calmes appearing on a panel discussion on "The Role of Minority Party in Congress" held at the Wilson International Center for Scholars, November 15.
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, a Santa Claus of Information
"Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been jettisoned to fame or notoriety (choose your noun, please) not because of a passing political battle but for reasons much deeper: the desire to possess, distribute and devour information....In contrast to the petabytes of data flotsam, half-truths and speculation that drift daily around the Internet, WikiLeaks spews forth unvarnished, sensitive truths. Assange's extraordinary project provides transparency unbridled....At the same time, the Pentagon suggested that "the release of these field reports does not bring new understanding to Iraq's past." But if they do not bring new understanding to the past, why are they damaging at all? Is this not the curse of power, forever compelled to conceal and dissemble?" - British journalist Misha Glenny in a profile of the WikiLeaks leaker in "T," the Times occasional style magazine, titled "The Gift of Information."
WikiLeaks Hacker Supporters: Cool People With a Worthy Cause
"They got their start years ago as cyberpranksters, an online community of tech-savvy kids more interested in making mischief than political statements. But the coordinated attacks on major corporate and government Web sites in defense of WikiLeaks, which began on Wednesday and continued on Thursday, suggested that the loosely organized group called Anonymous might have come of age, evolving into one focused on more serious matters: in this case, the definition of Internet freedom." - Noam Cohen in a front-page story December 10.
Frank Rich Grieves 'Homophobia Is at Most a Misdemeanor' in D.C.
"The incident is chilling because it suggests that even in a time of huge progress in gay civil rights, homophobia remains among the last permissible bigotries in America. 'Think anti-gay bullying is just for kids? Ask the Smithsonian,' wrote The Los Angeles Times's art critic, Christopher Knight, last week. One might add: Think anti-gay bullying is just for small-town America? Look at the nation's capital....It still seems an unwritten rule in establishment Washington that homophobia is at most a misdemeanor." - From Frank Rich's December 12 column on "Hide/Seek," a gay art show sponsored by The Smithsonian, which featured a video clip of ants crawling over a crucifix. The video was removed from the show after outcry.
Obama-Care on Same Level as Civil Rights
"We've lived through a version of this story before, and not just with Medicare. Nearly every time this country has expanded its social safety net or tried to guarantee civil rights, passionate opposition has followed....In truth, the law is quite moderate. It is more conservative than President Bill Clinton's 1993 plan or President Richard Nixon's 1974 plan (in which the federal government would have covered anyone who wasn't insured through an employer). It's much more conservative than expanding Medicare to cover everyone. It is clearly one of the least radical ways for the United States to end its status as the only rich country with millions and millions of uninsured." - Economics writer David Leonhardt from his December 15 front-page "Economic Scene" column.
U.S. "Demonizing" Islam, Complains United Nations Beat Reporter
"But as ["Arab Voices" book author] Zogby suggests, demonizing the very people, culture and religion that the United States hopes to influence and change - rather than really studying what the Arab world says and thinks - is not a terribly smart approach....The problem, which 'Arab Voices' persuasively illustrates, is that Americans tend to project their fears and desires onto Arabs and Muslims rather than searching for common ground." - United Nations bureau chief Neil MacFarquhar in the November 28 book review, reviewing "Arab Voices" by James Zogby.