August 30, 2001
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The lead, front-page article in today's New York Times reports on $150 million in "cuts" to the city's public schools. "Some longtime observers of city politics and the school system said the contemplated cuts were remarkable in light of the city's overall robust financial situation," the Times reports.
Oh, so now that money is to be cut from the schools, the city has a "robust" financial situation, according to the Times. This is likely to bring a smile to the lips of anyone who remembers how, whenever Mayor Giuliani talks about a tax cut, the Times yelps about how dire the city's financial situation is.
Indeed, in yesterday's lead, front-page news article about the mayoral debate, the Times reports that Alan Hevesi, in attacking Mark Green, "suggested his opponent [Green--ed.] did not have the budgetary experience to deal with the fiscal problems that may await the next mayor."
Amazing how in the space of 24 hours the city, as described by articles in the same spot on the Times front page, can go from "fiscal problems" to an "overall robust financial situation."
Missing Candidates: Today's New York Times carries the paper's endorsements for the Democratic City Council primaries in Brooklyn.
In the 33rd District, which includes Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, the Times reports that David Yassky, a former aide to Charles Schumer, "has an uphill battle against the Democratic organization's candidate, Steven Cohn." The Times endorses Mr. Yassky. But what's really odd is that the newspaper makes it sound like a two-man race. In fact, there are at least two other Democrats running in the 33rd district: David Reiss and Ken Diamondstone. Neither one is exactly a fringe candidate. Mr. Diamondstone has the endorsement of Rep. Major Owens and of a political club called Lambda Independent Democrats, according to the Gotham Gazette. Mr. Reiss claims the endorsement of Betsy Gotbaum. If the Times doesn't want to endorse them, fine, but it seems rather extreme to pretend they don't exist.
The newspaper pulls the same stunt in its endorsement in the 39th District. The Times endorses Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, Bill de Blasio, while also mentioning Jack Carroll and Steven Banks. "Any of the three would make a fine council member," the Times says. To read the endorsement, you'd have no idea that there are three other candidates in the race: Craig Hammerman, Anthony Pugliese and Paul Bader. An article in the metro section of today's Times refers to the 39th district campaign as a "6-Way Race." That news article notes that Mr. Bader has the support of the Senate Democratic leader, Martin Connor, that Mr. Pugliese has the endorsement of District Council 37, the city's largest municipal labor union, and that Mr. Hammerman has been the district manager of Community Board 6 for 11 years. Again, if the Times doesn't want to endorse them, fine, but it seems weird for the endorsement editorial to deal with these other candidates by pretending that they do not exist.
Fire: Bizarre front-page placement in today's New York Times for an article about a fire in California that the Times says "caused no injuries or deaths." When a New York City firefighter died while fighting a blaze in Staten Island this week, the news made the bottom of the first page of the Times metro section. Why is a non-fatal fire in California more newsworthy to the Times than a fatal fire in Staten Island? The California fire caused $3.5 million in damage to property, "including timber," the Times reports. Well, if, as yesterday's Smartertimes.com noted, the Times believes the silly claim that California has already lost 90 percent of its forests, maybe the loss of additional trees there explains the Times decision to give the article front-page placement. At least no chainsaws were involved in the damage to this timber.
Late Again: The New York Times waddles in today with the news about Communist China that "Until this month, the site for The New York Times on the Web was blocked. The blocking was lifted after an interview with President Jiang Zemin by top editors at the Times in which President Jiang was specifically questioned about the blocking of the site." Smartertimes.com reported the end of the blocking in its Friday, August 24, 2001, edition.
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