Friday, February 12, 2010

The New York Times: Now vs Then

January 26, 2010, NY Times editorial titled "Don't Give Up Now":
It would be a terrible mistake for Democrats to abandon comprehensive health care reform just because voters in the Massachusetts Senate race last week decided that they liked the Republican, Scott Brown, more than the Democrat, Martha Coakley.

There is no question that without a filibuster-proof majority it will be a lot harder to pass a bill. But it should not be impossible if Congressional Democrats and the White House show courage and creativity. Health care reform is too important to throw away, and it is not too late to persuade voters that it is in their interest. . .

Recent polls show that the public is divided, with more opposing the bills than favoring them. The negatives have been driven up by critics’ distortions about a supposed government takeover of medicine and the tawdry deal-making necessary to win 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate. . .

We are hearing a lot of talk in Washington, including from President Obama, about possibly paring down the current bills -- to cover many fewer of the uninsured and focus instead on reeling in the worst abuses of the insurance industry and reining in health care costs. That could be difficult technically; many of the parts are not easy to disentangle without undermining their effectiveness. And the politics on Capitol Hill -- where the Republicans are determined to oppose pretty much anything President Obama endorses -- are unlikely to get easier. . .

This is a once-in-a-generation chance. President Obama must explain to the American people why reform is essential to their health and security and this nation’s future. And he must insist that Congress finish the job.
June 23, 2005, NY Times editorial titled "Social Security Follies":
Congressional Republicans have begun talking with top White House aides about an exit strategy -- not from Iraq, but from the winless quagmire of President Bush's campaign to privatize Social Security. Mr. Bush has responded to this new political reality by, first, insisting that the American people do not yet understand the virtues of privatization, and second, blaming the failure of his deservedly unpopular plan on Congressional Democrats.

That's absurd.

After listening to Mr. Bush talk of little else during his second term, the American people understand quite well what he is proposing for Social Security, and by wide margins reject it. In fact, the polls show that the more they learn about privatization, the less they like it. And with good reason. The very real risks of privatization -- in terms of retirement security and the enormous budgetary cost to the country -- far outweigh the potential rewards.

So when Congressional Republican leaders tell the president that Social Security private accounts are a nonstarter, they are conveying the informed views of their constituents.

Mr. Bush has reacted by railing against Democrats for obstruction -- as if Democrats are duty-bound to breathe life into his agenda and, even sillier, as if opposing a plan that the people do not want is an illegitimate tactic for an opposition party. . .

Enough is enough.
For the supposed "paper of record," the Democrats always are right--even if it requires flip-flopping on procedural legitimacy.

(via Megan McArdle)


A_Nonny_Mouse said...

"...the Democrats always are right..."

Not just for the Times; for AALLLL of the MSM. What is labeled "outrageous" for Republicans is later declared "courageous" when done by Democrats.

The fallout from their blatant one-sidedness has now left newspapers trying to justify government bailouts: We-The-People have finally discovered HOW VERY PARTISAN our media are; and those of us with Internet access who stumbled onto conservative websites became alarmed at how COMPLETELY the Monolithic Statist Media has been controlling "all the news we think you should have access to".

Certainly I myself watched the mainstream coverage of some of Bush's follies and thought "Aha! the media's doing its job"; but then the media's 2008 campaign coverage of Mr. Obama provided an amazing revelation: Unavailable background documentation? -no problem. Associations with radicals? -hide them. Criticism of the Golden Candidate? -attack the individual citizen who speaks his mind, search through his tax records, his divorce papers, his business records... The MSM attacks on Joe The Plumber REALLY alarmed me; then it became known that "legions" of MSM reporters were sent to Wasilla to dig up whatever they could on Sarah Palin while those same news outlets protested they didn't have the manpower to go to Chicago and check out Rev Wright or Tony Rezko or the Annenberg Project. Then I KNEW the press was corrupt. (And now I worry that a lot of my "assimilated wisdom" --gained from faithfully reading newspapers over the last decade or two-- is tainted by the left-wing slant the media has PROVED it has.)

OBloodyHell said...

> Criticism of the Golden Candidate? -attack the individual citizen who speaks his mind, search through his tax records, his divorce papers, his business records...

ANM: You missed tactic number A-1-Prime: "Racist!!!"

Peripherally related, an example I noted over on Wolf Howling, dating back 18-odd years, the myth that Bush I was "amazed" by a supermarket scanner:

Via Snopes:

Then the details of the story started to dribble out. Andrew Rosenthal of The New York Times hadn't even been present at the grocers' convention. He based his article on a two-paragraph report filed by the lone pool newspaperman allowed to cover the event, Gregg McDonald of the Houston Chronicle, who merely wrote that Bush had a "look of wonder" on his face and didn't find the event significant enough to mention in his own story. Moreover, Bush had good reason to express wonder: He wasn't being shown then-standard scanner technology, but a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes.


The New York Times seemed to be one the only major print medium to take this view of the event, however. Newsweek screened the same tape and reported: "Bush acts curious and polite, but hardly amazed." Michael Duffy of Time magazine called the whole thing "completely insignificant as a news event. It was prosaic, polite talk, and Bush is expert at that. If anything, he was bored." And Bob Graham of NCR, who demonstrated the scanner technology for President Bush, said, ''It's foolish to think the president doesn't know anything about grocery stores. He knew exactly what I was talking about.

This was a very, very effective piece of disinformation -- it made Bush I look out of touch with the common man, and, with Clinton's own efforts to appear as "just one of the guys" (Playing sax on Arsenio, etc.), the lie probably swung a lot of "swing" support Clinton's way (not saying those two events were solely responsible for many swings, just that they were effective pivots for the general perception).

Back then, we didn't have the internet and conservative blogging (and even conservative radio wasn't yet at its height) to run counter to whatever liberal media Deigned To Tell Us Plebes About (even Fox news was still several years in the future)

PS -- Carl, as a complete aside, you might want to trash the obvious (and ancient) spam at the bottom of the comments for the flip-flop piece