A Slap at the Globe
December 31, 2000
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A review in today's New York Times discusses a collection of the letters of Joseph P. Kennedy. The review reports that The Boston Globe "effectively ended Joseph Kennedy's career" by printing some controversial remarks Kennedy made in an interview. The review goes on to note parenthetically, "The paper has more than made it up to the family since."
Whoa. The New York Times Company owns the Boston Globe. If the Times ownership thinks the Globe has been unfairly biased toward the Kennedys, it should run a correction in the Globe, or change the management at the Globe, or run an editorial in the Globe adjusting that newspaper's course. Handling the issue with a catty remark tucked away in the Times book review doesn't fix the problem and just exacerbates the feeling in Boston that the New York ownership has no respect for the Globe other than as a cash cow.
Refugee Inflation: The lead article in the Week in Review section of today's New York Times puts at "some 750,000" the number of Palestinian Arab "refugees" who "fled the fighting that commenced with the Arab attack on the newly created state of Israel in 1948." This is progress; at least the Times is now acknowledging the "refugee" issue is at least in part the result of Arab aggression. Still, the number of 750,000 is inflated. As the book "Myths and Facts" notes, a 1948 report by the U.N. mediator for Palestine put the number of "refugees" at 472,000. The last pre-1948 census of the Arab population in the area that became Israel was in 1945, and it counted 756,000 permanent Arab residents. A 1949 government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in Israel after the war. The Times cites no source for its claim that there were "some 750,000" refugees.
In the Tank: A particularly nasty and ill-informed Paul Krugman column in the New York Times on December 13, 2000, had sniped at conservative and libertarian think tanks in Washington. "Since the policy recommendations that come out of Heritage, or the Cato Institute, or even the American Enterprise Institute, are so predictable, what purpose do these organizations serve? Good question," Mr. Krugman wrote.
A front-page news article in today's Times makes it clear that even the Times' own Washington bureau thinks Mr. Krugman's attack on the American Enterprise Institute, at least, was unjustified. The news article describes AEI, together with Rand, as "organizations with mildly conservative slants that often dissect government programs and national security issues and take stands that sometimes defy easy partisan labels."
Property Rights: A brief item in the Week in Review section reports that the nomination of Gale Norton to be interior secretary in the Bush administration is likely to be contentious because Ms. Norton is "an advocate of property rights." Have the Times and its liberal allies really come to the point where they believe that merely advocating property rights is enough to make a person's fitness for government service a matter of contention?
Vivienne Tam, Twice: Readers of today's New York Times are treated to not one but two profiles of fashion designer Vivienne Tam. It's puzzling that, for all its vaunted concern for the environment, the Times still felt it necessary to kill trees to tell this story twice. One profile appears in the business section, another in the Sunday Styles section. One benefit of having two profiles appear of the same person is that it provides readers and editors with a chance to see which Times writer does a better job of reporting out the basic facts that readers look for in a profile. The business section article reports that Ms. Tam is 43; the Sunday Styles article reports that Ms. Tam "is in her 40's." Was it really too taxing for the Sunday Styles reporter to ferret out Ms. Tam's exact age? After all, the reporter for the business section story managed to do so.
Nuisance: An article in the city section of today's New York Times reports on a flurry of legislation in the New York City Council. The Times reports, "One bill, offered by Councilman John D. Sabini from Queens, would require that live chickens be kept in backyard pens, apparently a common nuisance in his district." What is the Times trying to say here? That backyard pens are apparently a common nuisance in Mr. Sabini's district? That live chickens kept in backyard pens are apparently a common nuisance in Mr. Sabini's district? That the councilman's legislation would require each New Yorker with a backyard to keep a live chicken in a pen, and that such legislation is commonly considered a nuisance? Logic would dictate that the nuisance is the live chickens that are roaming unpenned. So the Times could have more comprehensibly written something like, "Councilman John D. Sabini is offering a bill to address the apparently common nuisance of live chickens roaming free in backyards. His bill would require New Yorkers with live chickens to confine the animals to pens."
Ribat, Rubat: A dispatch from Yemen in the international section of today's New York Times is datelined Al-Ribat. A cutline beneath the locator map accompanying the article also spells the village Al-Ribat. But on the Times locator map itself, the village's name is spelled "Al-Rubat."
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