September 6, 2000
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A dispatch in the international section of today's New York Times about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs contains the following sentence: "Mr. Arafat, the experts say, has been putting forth the compromise position of United Nations resolutions that call for Israeli withdrawal from all territory occupied in the 1967 war -- which includes all of East Jerusalem."
In fairness to Israel, the Times might have pointed out that the operative U.N. resolution and the one to which Mr. Arafat is apparently referring, U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, explicitly does not refer to "all territory." The key sentence in 242 speaks of "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."
That small three-letter word "all" may seem like a minor point, but it has a long history, as anyone who knows anything about the Arab-Israeli conflict would understand. As the book "Myths and Facts" recounts, when Resolution 242 was being debated, the Soviet Union's delegate at the U.N. and the Arab delegates wanted the key clause to say "all the territories." As the book records, the American ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Arthur Goldberg, explained, "The notable omissions -- which were not accidental -- in regard to withdrawal are the words 'the' and 'all' . . . the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal."
Now, 33 years later, after Israel, the British and the Americans won a hard-fought diplomatic victory to get this language, Mr. Arafat and the Times are collaborating to obscure this point.
Women's Figures: The Times today carries in its national section a story about Al Gore's economic plan. The Times article includes the following sentence: "Women now earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the Council of Economic Advisers."
This is both wrong and false.
It's wrong because, as the Independent Women's Forum has exhaustively shown, that statistic is based on "a crude comparison arrived at by simplistically comparing women's average wages (without regard to age, education, experience, full- or part-time status, or even type of job) to the average wages of men." The IWF cites data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth showing that "among people ages 27-33 who have never had a child, women earn 98 cents on the male dollar." Now, two cents on the dollar is not nothing, but it isn't the 27 cents cited by the Times, either.
But even on the most plain, non-ideological, simple, basic, level, the sentence in the Times is false. The Times cites the Council of Economic Advisers for the 73 cent statistic. Yet a June 1998 report by the Council of Economic Advisers on "Explaining Trends in the Gender Wage Gap" states plainly "The gender pay ratio is on the rise again, surpassing 75 percent in 1997." If the Council stated in 1998 that women had passed the 75 cent mark and were rising, how is the Times today claiming that "now" women are earning 73 cents on the dollar?
Monument to Tyranny: Citing speeches at the U.N. by Fidel Castro and Nikita Krushchev, the Times declares in an editorial today that the United Nations "is as much a monument to New York's heritage as Ellis Island is." No. Ellis Island is a symbol of the journey to freedom from tyranny. The United Nations is the place where dictators go to bloviate and criticize Israel, and where international bureaucrats waste American taxpayer money. The Times just doesn't understand the distinction.
Cheney's Generosity: Today's Times carries a story on Richard Cheney's charitable giving, which the Times seems to consider unduly paltry. While the article compares Mr. Cheney's giving to that of "average taxpayers," one whose giving level isn't mentioned in the story is Al Gore, who earned $197,729 in 1997 and gave a whopping $353 of it to charity, according to news reports about his tax return.
'Issues' vs. Character: The Times today prints an analysis of a new Democratic television ad attacking George W. Bush's record on children's health care in Texas. The analysis draws a distinction between the Democratic ad, which it says takes on Mr. Bush "on the issues," and a recent Republican ad featuring Mr. Gore and the Buddhist monks, which the analysis claims "takes a swipe at Mr. Gore's character." This is a false distinction. Mr. Gore's character -- and his raising money from straw donors who were foreign nationals organized by a woman that a Congressional committee found had been an agent of Red China -- is an issue.
Families USA: The executive director of Families USA is quoted in each of the front-page stories in today's Times on George W. Bush's Medicare plan. The organization is described once as "a consumer advocacy group," and a second time as "a nonpartisan, nonprofit group for health care consumers." Families USA is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group about as much as the National Rife Association is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group; in other words, it may well be, but that description alone doesn't tell you very much useful. One thing that might be useful would be finding out how much of the group's funding comes from the AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions, which have endorsed Al Gore and have long been advocates of increased government spending on health care.
'Anglos': A news story in the national section of today's Times reports from Miami that "many people here, especially blacks and Anglos," said they felt pushed aside by the city's mayor. What is an "Anglo"? Permissive dictionaries record that the word is used in the Southwestern U.S. to refer to a white person of non-Mexican descent. But, given the reference to England or Anglo-Saxons, it seems a strange term for use to describe all non-Hispanic whites in Miami, who presumably include plenty of Jews and Italians who don't trace their ancestry back to Anglo-Saxons.
Racial Beating Buried: The Times today reports a Staten Island hate crime in which six teens were assaulted and robbed by 10 others shouting racist epithets. In this case, it was blacks assaulting whites, and the news of the crime is buried in a tiny, un-bylined story inside the metro section. The Times devotes more space today to a recipe for "grilled shrimp with ginger shrub" than it does to the brutal, racist beating of the Staten Island youths. It's hard to believe that a crime like this committed by whites against blacks would have gotten the same restrained treatment in the Times. Then again, we haven't yet seen the Rev. Al Sharpton calling a press conference to inflame the situation.
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