Urban Sprawl Threatens Parks
September 5, 2000
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Under a six-column headline, the New York Times leads its national section today with an alarmist story about how "Urban Sprawl Threatens the Solitude and Fragile Lands of Georgia's State Parks." Upon further examination, it becomes clear that the article is not about parks at all, but about development, which the Times implacably opposes. The article today comes complete with a chart titled "A Closer Look -- Parks in Trouble," listing about 60,000 acres of parkland in ten states that are "threatened."
What, exactly, is the threat to these parks?
Well, in the sixth paragraph, the Times gets around to telling us: "The parks said to be in jeopardy, in states including Nevada, Florida and Ohio, are not themselves at risk of disappearing. Rather, they are ringed, or soon will be, by buildings, rushing traffic and neighbors who may consider fragile areas extensions of their backyards."
"The solitude you expect in a park is now being lost to high-rises," whines the president of an outfit called the "National Park Trust."
Hello? Two of the finest parks in the entire world -- Central Park and Prospect Park -- are situated right in the Times's own supposed hometown of New York City. They have survived quite nicely being ringed by rushing traffic and high-rise buildings, thank you, and they are even known to provide moments of solitude to those who know the right spots and times to frequent them.
Sexists: In an editorial today on "Technology's Gender Gap," the Times bemoans the lack of women in the technology sector and calls for policy reforms to encourage women to enter the world of high technology. But the editorial evinces sexist stereotypes of the sort that the Times would ordinarily bemoan. The Times states "Most computer games are male-oriented." What does that mean? That the games are mostly about war, auto-racing and hockey? Does the Times consider women unfit for such activities? What, in the view of the Times editorialists, would constitute a "female-oriented" computer game? One that featured cookie-baking and dress-making?
The Clymer Affair: The Times today handles in a pretty sober way the incident in which George W. Bush was overheard on an open microphone describing a Times reporter as a "major league" sphincter ani. (The governor used a more earthy term not fit for repeating in a family newspaper.) For what it's worth, the view here is that Mr. Bush might have used more dignified language, and he picked the wrong target in Adam Clymer. Mr. Clymer, who I know casually from serving with him on the Graduate Board of the Harvard Crimson newspaper, is actually a nice enough guy on a personal level, and at any rate, ultimately, it's a newspaper's proprietors, not its reporters, who are responsible for what is printed. But Mr. Bush is right to be upset with the Times's coverage of the presidential campaign, which, as Smartertimes.com has been pointing out over the past few months, has been slanted and error-ridden.
Out of Control on Gun Control: The Times manages to write an entire lengthy lead editorial today about gun control without a single reference to the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The Times is refreshingly forthright about its goal: "In an ideal world, a central agency would oversee the manufacture and distribution of guns in the way that government regulates other potentially hazardous products, like drugs and pesticides." The problem is, just about any product is "potentially hazardous" -- tires, glue, scissors, silverware, fertilizer. The Times's ideal world is what we used to call a state-controlled economy.
Lieberman Loses It: One of the problems with staying up all night is that it affects a person's brain the next day. So, descending into self-parody during a 28-hour campaign swing, Senator Joseph Lieberman is quoted in this morning's New York Times making the following remark: "If the labor movement were a religion -- and, in some ways, it is -- Flint, Mich., would be a holy city."
Two N's, Two T's: A front-page Times story on the agenda in Congress misspells the name of the director of congressional relations at the Heritage Foundation, Marshall Wittmann. The Times renders it "Wittman." Of course, Heritage is identified as a "conservative" organization, while the Times hardly ever identifies the Brookings Institution as "liberal" or "appeasement-oriented."
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