‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists, and the invaluable TimesWatch website has issued its annual roundup of dozens of biased or just plain silly quotes from the reporters, columnists and editors who work so hard to ensure that The New York Times maintains its august position as the flagship publication of the Democratic National Committee.
Your unassuming correspondent was honored when asked by TimesWatch director Clay Waters to be one of three judges whose task it would be to read through the many gruesome entries Mr. Waters had compiled and then select one as the absolute worst of the lot. Each of the judges ended up choosing a different quote.
The three choices for Worst Quote appear below, along with a couple of others your trusty scribbler/judge came close to choosing. For the full list of nominated quotes, see www.timeswatch.org/articles/2007/20071219191230.aspx – and be sure to visit TimesWatch regularly during 2008 as the presidential campaign heats up and the Times skews its coverage to help the Democrats before endorsing the eventual Democratic nominee for the 13th straight presidential election.
● Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of The American Thinker (www.americanthinker.com), chose this, from a May 6 article by reporter Elaine Sciolino on the French election, which would result in a win for right-of-center Nicolas Sarkozy:
“While Ms. Royal has pledged to protect and unite France, Mr. Sarkozy has often taken a ruthless us-against-them attitude, stressing there is no place in France for young people who do not respect the law or for immigrants who do not embrace French values….In this election, authority apparently is deemed to be more important than compassion.”
● Donald Luskin, publisher of the blog The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid (www.poorandstupid.com), tapped this ode to wealth redistribution from economics reporter turned editorial board member Eduardo Porter in a Nov. 12 signed editorial:
“More broadly, if the object of public policy is to maximize society’s well-being, more attention should be placed on fostering social interactions and less on accumulating wealth. If growing incomes are not increasing happiness, perhaps we should tax incomes more to force us to devote less time and energy to the endeavor and focus instead on the more satisfying pursuit of leisure.”
● The Monitor chose this comment by the odious Frank Rich in his Oct. 14 column about how Americans who fail to see their republic morphing into the Fourth Reich resemble the “good Germans” of the 1930’s and 40’s – a statement that perfectly encapsulates the Times’s weltanschauung:
“Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those ‘good Germans’ who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo…. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.”
The Monitor almost picked this Nov. 11 hallucination from Rich, who apparently writes his column when his attendants take him out of his rubber room for a little morning exercise:
“This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.”
And then there was this, from reporter-columnist Jim Dwyer’s May 30 piece on the conspiracy-mongering entertainer Rosie O’Donnell, who isn’t sure we know who really was responsible for 9/11:
“The first day of the post-Rosie O’Donnell era on ‘The View’ television show has come and gone, and by any fair accounting, an often useful provocateur has left the building. In her final months on the air … she opened debates with others about terrorism, peace and citizenship…. Few civic virtues are as useful as skepticism, though it is rarely honored until too late. The citizens who questioned the validity of the case for war in Iraq were widely scorned or ignored in 2002 and 2003 by the government and the news media.”