Where's Howie? Not in the Times
DNC boss Howard Dean's inflammatory statements have even prominent members of his party (including liberals Sen. Joe Biden and Rep. Barney Frank) distancing themselves - and party fundraising is suffering. But the Times doesn't find the turmoil interesting or even newsworthy.
So far the Times has made do with a single underwhelming Adam Nagourney story in May that was rather mild about Dean's "freewheeling remarks" (such as saying Rep. Tom DeLay belonged in jail and "I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country, I really do").
Perhaps the Times thinks it filled its quota of Democratic-concern-over-Dean stories with that one, but the unrepentant Dean continues to shoot off his mouth in a way that demands a follow-up and would make front page news if practiced by his RNC counterpart Ken Mehlman.
Dean was most recently caught on tape in San Francisco saying Republicans "all behave the same, and they all look the same...it's pretty much a white Christian party.'' He then characterized the GOP as "not very friendly to different kinds of people."
Contrast the paper's print silence on Dean with the way the Times is replaying golden oldies from Justice Janice Rogers Brown, the black judge confirmed after a bitter Senate filibuster to the influential federal appeals court in D.C.
Yet the paper downplayed Brown's victory Thursday, as reporter David Kirkpatrick tracked down her greatest (and to liberals, most inflammatory) quotes from the past, summarized under the ominous header, "Seeing Slavery in Liberalism." Meanwhile, the fresh verbal atrocities from the head of the Democratic Party went utterly unremarked upon.
NY GOP Blocking "Gay Republicans" from Party?
Patrick Healy's misleadingly headlined "State G.O.P. Rebuffs Senator Who Sees Gay Republicans as Disloyal" earns the front page of Thursday's Metro section. While the headline could imply anti-gay animus, State Sen. Serphin Maltese of Queens is targeting not "gay Republicans" as a whole but a local branch of a gay activist group, the Log Cabin Republicans, that didn't endorse George Bush in 2004 because of Bush's support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Though Healy insists several times throughout the piece that "gay Republicans" are being targeted, he's actually talking about the New York Log Cabin Republicans. The text-box reads: "One Republican calls a state senator's stance 'Paleozoic thinking.'" What's left off: The Republican in question, Patrick Murphy, is in fact a member of Log Cabin.
Healy explains: "A state senator from Queens jolted state Republican Party leaders this week by trying to block gay Republicans from obtaining greater power within the state party organization. The move occurred as the party was preparing political strategies for the 2006 election. The move against the gay Republicans was rebuffed by other party members, led by the state chairman, Stephen J. Minarik, and the Manhattan chairman, James Ortenzio, who both argued that the party should have a 'big tent' image heading into 2006. Excluding gay Republicans could also have embarrassed party leaders who support gay rights, like Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is up for re-election this year."
After Healy's reductive reasoning, he finally sets out the issue, which turns out rather more prosaic and party-politics oriented than the caricature of a conservative Republican trying to have gays barred as disloyal: "The Queens senator, Serphin R. Maltese, shook up a typically sleepy meeting of the New York Republican State Committee on Monday by objecting specifically to proposed bylaw changes that included adding a representative of the New York Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, to the party's powerful executive committee. Mr. Maltese, who in addition to being a Republican is also a founding member of the state Conservative Party, said in an interview yesterday that he believed Log Cabin officials were not loyal Republicans, noting their critical comments and television commercials against President Bush's opposition to same-sex marriage during the 2004 election. 'They've been disloyal,' Mr. Maltese said, 'and I don't think the group belongs in the leadership. If a gay Republican is elected as a county chair, fine. But I wouldn't add this group.'"
Maltese has a point on the disloyalty charge, given that the Log Cabin Republicans withheld its endorsement from Republican George W. Bush in 2004 over Bush's support of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Healy further explores what's actually under discussion, which shows how the issue is a bit more complicated than blunt statements about blocking "gay Republicans": "Under the proposed bylaw changes, the 62 county leaders on the party's executive committee would have been replaced by 8 members, elected by county leaders by region, and representatives of six groups within the party, including blacks, Hispanics, gays and women. A much smaller executive committee could be more susceptible to influence and control by Mr. Pataki and Mr. Minarik, some county leaders."
Incidentally, Healy wrote in April on Arthur Finkelstein and the apparent agony of being a gay Republican, stating near the beginning that "being a gay Republican has never been easy" and near the end repeating: "It's not always easy being a gay Republican."
For the full Healy story, click here:
On Gay Issues, a "Political Right" but Never a Left
There's not a liberal to be found in Thursday's piece by Michael Janofsky, "Gay Rights Battlefields Spread to Public Schools."
Janofsky's story opens: "Emboldened by the political right's growing influence on public policy, opponents of school activities aimed at educating students about homosexuality or promoting acceptance of gay people are mounting challenges to such programs, at individual schools, at statehouses and in Congress. Chief among the targets are sex education programs that include discussions of homosexuality, and after-school clubs that bring gay and straight students together, two initiatives that gained assent in numerous schools over the last decade."
Following this are six labels of "conservative" groups opposed to what Janofsky terms "discussions of homosexuality," but no liberals, even when the political leanings are clear: "Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of the gay education network, said more than 3,700 junior and senior high schools took part in his group's event. Mr. Jennings and other gay rights leaders say the growing opposition to their efforts is in keeping with a predictable trend set off by disputes over issues like same-sex marriage that are playing out on the national stage. 'These are a bunch of people who very much want to remove from public discourse any mention of homosexuality,' said James Esseks, litigation director of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. 'They don't want any mention of the fact that gay people exist.'"
To read the rest of Janofsky, click here: