So What Will Doom the Republicans This Month? The NYT Knows

What issue will doom Congressional Republicans in 2006? In February, it was Abramoff, while the month of March is shaping up as the UAE ports controversy.

This morning, the Times once again insists that the Republicans will face trouble in the 2006 elections. Last month it was ethics scandals and Jack Abramoff. This month’s Times-selected Republican killer is shaping up to be the ports deal with United Arab Emirates.

A story by Carl Hulse and Scott Shane, “Doubts Back Home Fuel G.O.P. Worries About Ports Deal,” drives that idea hard.

“Senator Jon Kyl, a staunch supporter of President Bush who faces a potentially difficult re-election fight this year, is hearing a lot from constituents in Arizona about the plan to allow a Dubai company to operate shipping terminals at Eastern ports. Most think the deal should be stopped.”

The Times touts anti-Bush spin as fact:

“The port deal has exploded out of nowhere to become a major bone of contention in an election year that had not lacked driving issues. It is not clear what kind of staying power the deal has as an issue, but for now Republicans have little choice but to acknowledge the objections they are hearing from voters, distancing themselves from Mr. Bush on national security heading toward the midterm elections.”

They invest credibility in an old document from the terrorist group Al Qaeda:

“New revelations about Dubai have made it difficult for the White House and its allies on the issue to turn down the political heat, despite the agreement to undertake a 45-day review of the potential security risks from the deal.

“The latest twist is a document produced by Al Qaeda in 2002 in which the group claims, without offering any supporting evidence, to have infiltrated the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part. ‘You are well aware that we have infiltrated your security, censorship and monetary agencies along with other agencies that should not be mentioned,’ said the one-page message, written in Arabic. It demanded the release of detained Qaeda suspects and hinted that if its demands were not met, the group might strike the emirates.”

The Times uses the document to pile up pressure.

“But the disclosure of the document -- which has been reported on by several news outlets, including the Web site of The Weekly Standard, the conservative magazine, and the Scripps Howard News Service -- could add to the difficulty Mr. Bush faces in pulling his party together on the issue.”

They predict:

“Many Republicans doubt that Mr. Bush will be able to contain the opposition, and Democrats agree, pointing to the unusual amount of bipartisan backing for legislative proposals that would give Congress the final say on the deal.”

We’ll see.

For more examples of Times bias, visit TimesWatch.

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.