And The Readers Are Loving It!
All On The Editorial Page, Of Course --- But We'll Take It Anyway
By Winter Patriot on 8/19/2005, 12:15pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Regular readers of this space will recall that The BRAD BLOG is not a big fan of way the New York Times "covers" the news. But regular readers also know that we do our best to be fair, and to give credit where it's due. Therefore it behooves me to point out three excellent columns in recent editions of the NYT, and to report that two of them are at the top of the NYT's list of "most e-mailed stories".

Let's start with Maureen Dowd's column of Wednesday, August 17, Biking Toward Nowhere.

She writes:

NYT readers say: #2 on the most e-mailed list.

Thursday it was Bob Herbert's turn to strike, and strike he did.

His column, Blood Runs Red, Not Blue contains another morsel of honest truth:

You have to wonder whether reality ever comes knocking on George W. Bush's door. If it did, would the president with the unsettling demeanor of a boy king even bother to answer? Mr. Bush is the commander in chief who launched a savage war in Iraq and now spends his days happily riding his bicycle in Texas.

This is eerie. Scary. Surreal.

The war is going badly and lives have been lost by the thousands, but there is no real sense, either at the highest levels of government or in the nation at large, that anything momentous is at stake. The announcement on Sunday that five more American soldiers had been blown to eternity by roadside bombs was treated by the press as a yawner. It got very little attention.

You can turn on the television any evening and tune in to the bizarre extended coverage of the search for Natalee Holloway, the Alabama teenager who disappeared in Aruba in May. But we hear very little about the men and women who have given up their lives in Iraq, or are living with horrific injuries suffered in that conflict.

If only the war were more entertaining. Less of a downer. Perhaps then we could meet the people who are suffering and dying in it.

For all the talk of supporting the troops, they are a low priority for most Americans. If the nation really cared, the president would not be frolicking at his ranch for the entire month of August. He'd be back in Washington burning the midnight oil, trying to figure out how to get the troops out of the terrible fix he put them in.

There's more, of course. I think it's wonderful. NYT readers say: #1!!

But that may change when they see Paul Krugman's column this morning.

It's called What They Did Last Fall and --- guess what?? --- it's about the "election". And it's good!

By running for the U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, has stirred up some ugly memories. And that's a good thing, because those memories remain relevant. There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn't change the outcome. And the next election may be worse.
...
There have been two Democratic reports on Ohio in 2004, one commissioned by Representative John Conyers Jr., the other by the Democratic National Committee.

The D.N.C. report is very cautious: "The purpose of this investigation," it declares, "was not to challenge or question the results of the election in any way." [...] Although the Conyers report is less cautious, it stops far short of claiming that the wrong candidate got Ohio's electoral votes.
...
And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.

We aren't going to rerun the last three elections. But what about the future?

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.

Three cheers for [three exceptional truth-tellers who are still published by] the New York Times! Hooray for Maureen Dowd! Hooray for Bob Herbert! and Hooray for Paul Krugman!!