Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.
Latest from Clay Waters
Yesterday's lead New York Times editorial, "Waiting for a Leader," asks: "While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?"
Perhaps they were reading old Times editorials on flood control. As the EU Rota blog notes, the Times editorial page has often criticized such efforts as anti-environmental boondoggles.
"The dilatory performance of George Bush during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude.
Hulse begins: "Former Senator Jesse Helms defends his record on race relations and explores his role in the rise of the modern conservative movement in a new memoir that reserves some of its harshest words for the news media."
Former Times' reporter Chris Hedges, who never let his job as a journalist get in the way of his strident anti-war activism, finds war veterans a self-pitying lot, blind to their own complicity in the horrors of war. At least that's how Hedges comes across in his review of "Black Virgin Mountain -- A Return to Vietnam," an autobiography by Vietnam veteran and author Larry Heinemann.
In "Truth-Telling on Race? Not in Bush's Fantasyland," Herbert recycles a column he wrote back on May 20, 1999. Of the 16 paragraphs of Herbert's "new" column, the middle part (nine graphs) are lifted almost verbatim from 1999.
Reporter Laurie Goodstein 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."
Surprise: Barney Calame wakes up and smells the scandal at the left-wing radio network.
First up is Lichtblau's "State Dept. Says It Warned About bin Laden in 1996," buried on A12: "State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam 'well beyond the Middle East,' but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show."
Lichtblau explains: "The declassified documents, obtained by the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to The New York Times, shed light on a murky and controversial chapter in Mr. bin Laden's history: his relocation from Sudan to Afghanistan as the Clinton administration was striving to understand the threat he posed and explore ways of confronting him. Before 1996, Mr. bin Laden was regarded more as a financier of terrorism than a mastermind. But the State Department assessment, which came a year before he publicly urged Muslims to attack the United States, indicated that officials suspected he was taking a more active role, including in the bombings in June 1996 that killed 19 members American soldiers at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia."
Safely tucked away on Page 2 of Monday's Business section is Katharine Seelye's "Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq," in which some newspaper editors admit they are hamstrung from covering good news in Iraq:
Not that the headline or subhead of the Times' story actually mention "Air America." Instead it reads: "Bronx Boys Club's Finances Investigated -- Officials Look Into Loans Made to a Liberal Radio Network." The two words "Air America" presumably couldn't fit into that 15-word space.
With a little nudge from the White House, Sheryl Gay Stolberg partially corrects her faulty story from yesterday on the John Roberts' nomination.
Chutzpah defined, as the most influential newspaper in America criticizes the Bush administration for -- get this -- insufficiently publicizing Iraqi war heroes.
"After Bombings, Few Signs Of Similar Attacks in U.S." -- August 1 headline, New York Times.
"Assessments Find Threat of Suicide Attacks in U.S.” -- August 5 headline, New York Times.