Galling Coverage of Afghan "Anxiety" The tone of Thursday's grim off-lead story from Kabul-based Carlotta Gall can be inferred by the baleful stack of headlines: "Mood of Anxiety Engulfs Afghans As Violence Rises - Many Losing Confidence - Taliban Offensive Stirring Impatience - Hostile Fire Downed Chopper." Continue after the front-page jump, and the text box reads: "Confidence in Karzai and the U.S. is undermined." The flashpoint for this round up of woe is the fatal shoot-down of an American Chinook helicopter: "The loss of a military helicopter with 17 Americans aboard in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday comes at a... continue reading
Pat Robertson, "Inflammatory," But Hugo Chavez is "Charismatic" The Times makes televangelist Pat Robertson's suggestion that the U.S. "go ahead" and assassinate Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez one of its top political stories on Wednesday. Laurie Goodstein's "Robertson Suggests U.S. Kill Venezuela's Leader" opens with a loaded rundown of Robertson's greatest hits before getting to the newest controversy: "Pat Robertson, the conservative Christian broadcaster, has attracted attention over the ears for lambasting feminists, 'activist' judges, the United Nations and Disneyland." She helpfully reminds us: "Mr. Robertson, who is 75, ran for president as a Republican in 1988. He has often used... continue reading
Labaton Recycles Own Pro-PBS Reporting Stephen Labaton provides more Democratic ammo against the new Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, who is trying to bring more balance to PBS programming. Wednesday's "Democrats Call for Firing Of Broadcast Chairman" is accompanied by a photo of cute kids (aka "young protesters") holding up signs like "Save Big Bird" and "Don't Cut Clifford," and the text is similarly loaded against Tomlinson, as Democrats are using details from Labaton's own reporting against chairman Tomlinson. "Sixteen Democratic senators called on President Bush to remove Kenneth Y. Tomlinson as head of the Corporation for Public... continue reading
Richard Stevenson: Bush as Lame Duck, Once Again Sigh. Another week, another analysis from White House reporter Richard Stevenson warning Bush is losing influence. Monday's version is titled "Some in G.O.P. Call on Bush to Focus on Governing," a strained effort to portray Republicans as having doubts about Bush's effectiveness: "President Bush and his hard-charging political team, which seemed to make all the right moves in winning re-election last year, have stumbled when it comes to governing in a second term, many Republicans say, leaving the White House scrambling to get back on track." "Should Mr. Bush have a Supreme... continue reading
Only Republican Groups Get Controversial No-Bid Contracts? In another Times story seemingly spurred by Democratic complaints, Philip Shenon reports Wednesday: "The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday that his office had received accusations of fraud and waste in the multibillion-dollar relief programs linked to Hurricane Katrina and would investigate how no-bid contracts were awarded to several large, politically well-connected companies." Of course, there's an Iraq connection: "Their comments appeared to be a response, in part, to charges from Democratic lawmakers that such a large, hurriedly organized federal relief program could produce the sort of contract abuses,... continue reading
Will U.K. Emulate America's "Draconian" Anti-Terror Laws? Thursday's lead by London bureau chief Alan Cowell updates the search for the London terrorists ("British Seeking 5th Man, Thought To Be Ringleader") and samples some local flavor off of talk shows and TV. Tony Blair (or at least, "the government") comes in for more Cowell blame . "In radio talk shows and in e-mail messages to television stations, Britons seemed puzzled - and annoyed - about the causes of the attack. Some expressed frustration with the government's close alliance with the United States in its campaign against terrorism, which has led to... continue reading
"RestivenessIn His Own Party" Over Iraq The generally pessimistic David Sanger has Wednesday's lead story on Bush's televised speech from Ft. Bragg justifying the Iraq war, "Bush Declares Sacrifice In Iraq To Be 'Worth It.'" Like his colleague Richard Stevenson does in his "News Analysis," Sanger emphasizes the negative right from the start: "President Bush, facing a growing restiveness around the country and in his own party over the constant stream of casualties in Iraq, declared Tuesday night that the daily sacrifice of American lives in Iraq 'is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our... continue reading
Judy Miller's Revenge? Judy Miller's revenge? White House reporter Richard Stevenson goes after Bush adviser Karl Rove's alleged involvement in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to the press in Tuesday's lead story, "At White House, A Day Of Silence On Role Of Rove." Valerie Plame is of course the wife of erstwhile diplomat turned antiwar hero Joseph Wilson, who was sent to Africa to investigate claims Saddam Hussein tried to acquire uranium and who wrote an op-ed for the Times alleging there was nothing to the allegations. Stevenson opens with the White House playing defense: "Nearly two... continue reading
Bumiller Promotes Sheehan, Other Women Against War White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller's White House Letter, "In the Struggle Over the Iraq War, Women Are on the Front Line," expands her usual cheerleading for the inflammatory Cindy Sheehan to embrace other anti-war women. "As President Bush traveled around the country last week, he got caught up in a battle of women. Women - mothers and widows of men killed in Iraq - were the most vocal leaders of antiwar protests in Texas, Idaho and Utah that dogged Mr. Bush all week. Another woman, Tammy Pruett, whose husband and five sons have... continue reading
Ending World Poverty, One Movie at a Time Alessandra Stanley reviews an HBO movie for Saturday's Arts section -"The Girl in the Caf," a quirky-sounding production about a civil servant's crush on a girl he meets in a London coffee shop and takes to a G8 summit meeting in Iceland. Tracking the plot (the girl harangues his colleagues with liberal political statements, to the mortification of her older date) Stanley makes solving world poverty sound amazingly simple: "And that is the real fantasy behind 'The Girl in the Caf,' one rooted in a Great Man theory of economics: one famous... continue reading