Take Your Pick
March 13, 2002
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The lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times reports on how violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza will affect prospects for a cease-fire there. "The violence further undermined the prospects of Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, the retired Marine and Bush administration envoy, who is expected to return to Jerusalem Thursday in a renewed bid for a cease-fire," the Times reports.
A "news analysis" that runs elsewhere in today's New York Times offers a sharply different assessment, writing that the logic of the conflict "did not preclude a cease-fire once General Zinni arrived, since both sides seem exhausted by the recent wave of violence and in need of a respite."
The news analysis seems to undermine the assertion in the news article, or at the very least to make clear that it is an opinion.
It's also interesting today that, in nearly two full pages of coverage about the clashes in the Middle East, coverage that begins on the front page under a four-column headline that says "U.N. Chief Tells Israel It Must End 'Illegal Occupation,'" the Times never finds room to consider the question of whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza is indeed illegal. Had the Times probed the matter, it might have referred to three particularly important articles on the subject: One by Dore Gold on January 16, 2002, available on the Web at http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp470.htm , and two others by Eugene Rostow in the October 21, 1991, and April 23, 1990, issues of The New Republic. Those articles suggest that the Israeli presence is perfectly legal.
Immigration: A front-page article in today's New York Times reports: "The debate in the House today exposed a rift in the Republican Party between those who want to restrict immigration more and those who want to court Hispanic voters by addressing their concerns and making it easier for people to immigrate. Mr. Bush and his political advisers are in the second camp." Seeing pro-immigration views among Republicans as strictly an effort to court Hispanic voters is an oversimplification. Here are some other possible motivations for pro-immigrant sentiment among Republicans, none of which are considered by the Times.
1. Republicans tend to oppose government regulation. Restrictions on immigration are merely a regulation of the labor market.
2. Republicans are the pro-business party. Business supports immigration as a way to reduce labor costs.
3. Republicans are the pro-growth party. Immigration helps create economic growth.
4. The Democrats are the party that has in recent decades been strongly linked with American blacks and with American labor unions, constituencies who have opposed increased immigration on the grounds that it would drive down wages of American-born workers. While the position of organized labor has undergone some adjustments, the resistance persists at some level. But Republicans are not constrained by it.
5. Republicans don't actually hope to win many Hispanic votes. But they hope to win the votes of non-Hispanic white soccer moms by appearing sympathetic to Hispanics.
6. Republicans don't actually hope to win many Hispanic votes. But they hope to win votes and contributions from non-Hispanic rich people who would like to make it easier to employ more Hispanics at low wages.
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