Moderation and Extremism
September 22, 2001
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The New York Times tries again today at a profile of Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvania governor who has been chosen by President Bush to do what the FBI, CIA, Defense Department, Justice Department and National Security Council were supposed to be doing already -- defending America against terrorist attacks.
"Last year, Mr. Ridge, a rising star in the Republican Party, was said to be Mr. Bush's choice of running mate, a selection that some people said was dropped because of Mr. Ridge's moderate position on abortion," the Times says.
A "moderate" position? Well, according to the Weekly Standard, Mr. Ridge "opposes partial-birth abortion. He favors parental consent if a minor wants an abortion. He's against taxpayer-funded abortion." It will come as news to advocates of unfettered abortion rights and to many other readers that the Times news department considers these positions "moderate."
At the same time, while a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ridge "voted against forcing abortion providers to notify the parents of minors who had sought an abortion. He once voted to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer-financed abortions," the Standard says. It will come as news to opponents of legal abortion that these positions are "moderate."
It would have been more helpful to readers if, rather than characterizing Mr. Ridge's position on abortion as "moderate," the Times had said what his position is. On the abortion issue, views are such that what strikes some reporters as moderate may strike some readers as extreme.
The same profile quotes a Pennsylvania political scientist saying that, as governor, Mr. Ridge has "been able to spend money, expand programs . . . cut no programs, lay off no employees." Well, without laying off employees or cutting any programs, it is pretty amazing that Mr. Ridge was able, as the Times claimed yesterday, to become known for "cutting state spending in half." No correction in today's Times of that claim, which Smartertimes.com pegged yesterday as bogus.
Moderating Effect: Speaking of moderation and extremism, today's New York Times carries an article that reports, "Statements by President Bush and other leaders appear to be having a substantial effect on moderating the behavior of Americans, said Ziad Asali, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the largest Arab-American group in the country."
It's remarkable that the New York Times would quote Dr. Asali without any intended irony as assessing the "moderating" of behavior, because Dr. Asali and the organization he heads are not moderate. They are extreme.
Consider, for instance, his position on Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which passed which passed the Senate by a vote of 93 to 5 and the House by a vote of 374 to 37, says, "Statement of the Policy of the United States. (1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected. (2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel." Yet, as chairman of an anti-Israel, divide-Jerusalem outfit called the American Committee on Jerusalem, Dr. Asali wrote letters to executives who portrayed Jerusalem as part of Israel, saying, "East Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock are not part of Israel. . . Portraying East Jerusalem as part of Israel. . .misrepresents the status of the city."
The last time America took action against Osama Bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee issued an action alert asserting, "the U.S. government overstepped the bounds of international law by taking this unilateral action. . . The U.S. government acted in total disregard for the killing of innocent civilians."
According to material compiled by the Zionist Organization of America, the then-president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Hala Maksoud, praised Hezbollah as "the heroic resistance" (ADC Times, June-July, 1996); then- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee president Hamzi Moghrabi called Hamas "very respectable" and "not a violent organization." (Rocky Mountain News, Nov.27, 1994). The U.S. State Department considers Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist organizations. The State Department is correct about that. So it's really hard to fathom how the New York Times could be quoting the head of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on "moderating" behavior, when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee itself is an example of extremism, not moderation.
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