Monday, October 04, 2004

Fudging the Point

Four days gone by and still the Times couldn’t bring itself to say Bush lost the first round. They cut down whole forests to cover the story, but it was with a blanket of gray ink.

The Times Bushman David Brooks spent a whole column blowing up smoke. Every paragraph contradicted the one before it and the one after it -- if they meant anything (it’s not always clear). He ended by suggesting that our moral nation may embrace a candidate who may not dominate every argument, but who can show a shared cast of mind.

The Times actually scored as a point in favor of Bush that Kerry had called Iraq the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was emphasized with the return of its chief foreign columnist Thomas Friedman. He said Bush had made a mess of their war but he hoped that Kerry might salvage something out of the wreckage. First off, he would fire Rumsfeld.

Now, while Friedman was away, the Times ombudsman made things worse by calling the Times a liberal newspaper. It’s been trying to live that reputation down for a hundred years. It depends on how you define liberal. Take its editorial Saturday, which said “Kerry is not helping things any when he pledges never to cut [Social Security benefits].”