Friday, September 05, 2003
Luiza Chwialkowska weighs in today with a front pager on the dashing of Miguel Estrada’s appointment to the federal bench. Chwialkowska, winner of a prestigious 1992 High School Yearbook and Newspaper Award from the Ottawa Citizen (for her outstanding work on Lisgar Collegiate’s Lisgarwrite), provides plenty of juicy anti-Democrat quotes from her Republican overlords. “Mr. Estrada received disgraceful treatment at the hands of 45 United States senators,” said Resident Bush. (Say, why didn’t Bush refer to him as Judge Estrada? Ah, yes, he had no experience as a judge. . .) The “Democrats will pay dearly for what they have done,” said Manuel Miranda, counsel to Dr. Sen. Wm. Frist. “The Democrats’ character assassination of Miguel Estrada was a political hate crime,” said House Majority Leader Tom DeFerment
. “I am appalled by Senator Schumer’s selfish and unprincipled opposition to Miguel Estrada,” said Michael Benjamin. Wait, who? Oh, yeah, Michael Benjamin, the Sun’s preferred candidate for Senate
/former freelance male model. Mr. Benj. added, “It’s a shame to watch [Schumer] try to end an amazing personal success story for his own political gain.” I see, we’re supposed to support Estrada so the TV-movie based on his life will have the requisite happy ending, his refusal to submit to the Senate’s advice and consent role be damned. Sorry, Mr. Benj., in this case Charles Schumer is both Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa, and will send your ass back to the runway. Or the boiler room, your choice. (Incidentally, why do you leave your experiences as a freelance male model and at Heartland Securities
off of your campaign bio
? And why did you drop “Bonheur” as your last name? Come election time, your deception could prove to be the biggest Bonheur of all.)
As you can tell, Ms. Chwialkowska’s “article” reads as nothing more than a GOP press release. Perhaps Ms. Chwialkowska, a recent émigré from Canada (where she was earlier this year laid off from the National Post, which is owned by Hollinger International, which is owned by Conrad Black, who is an investor in the New York Sun, which publishes the writings of Barbara Amiel, who is married to Conrad Black. . .), may as yet be unaware that in America, reporters are supposed to aim for objectivity. And accuracy, too: Ms. Chwialkowska (who at age 14 “pleaded with the management of a local TV station until they allowed her to spend a few days following reporters through the rodeo corrals of the Calgary Stampede,” according to a September 1995 Time magazine) writes, “Forecasters concur that the Republicans could pick up two or three seats [in the Senate], likely in South Carolina and Georgia, possibly Illinois, Alaska, North Carolina, or Florida, but that they would also be balanced by likely gains by the Democrats.” The Republicans may pick up some seats, it’s true, but as Republicans already hold the seats in Illinois and Alaska
, I don’t think those two will be among them. But you’re making a decent effort, and I’m sure that some day you will become such a good reporter that SethAndIra
will fire you.
I notice that in yesterday's dispatch I erroneously refer to Dina Temple-Raston as "business editor," a title which she once carried. She is the foreign editor of the Sun
, all the reason more why she would not be on speaking terms with Ira Stoll. I deeply regret the error, and the fact that someone with the obvious writerly talents which DTR possesses has to edit the likes of Benny Avni.
On the subject of DTR, I was flipping through the latest issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, which contains an article by Ms. Temple-Raston, when I happened upon a very interesting article on the topic of Kissinger's involvement in the Chilean coup of 1973. The article can be found here
It seems, according to an investigation by author Peter Kornbluh, that Kissinger secured covert funding for a right-wing Chilean newspaper called El Mercurio
. The owner of this newspaper loathed the Allende presidency, and the newspaper became a fount of anti-Allende propaganda, publishing almost-daily editorials slamming Allende and advocating for the democratically-elected president's overthrow. The CIA became a prime investor.
The newspaper was able to go on despite deep financial trouble, brought on by mismanagement, thanks to funding from the Nixon administration that kept it from going under.
Hmm, a bunch of paranoid right-wing lunatics propping up a poorly managed newspaper that, in turn, spouts the views of said lunatics and passes it off as the voice of the people. Sound familiar?
The war criminal Kissinger, in case it needs to be said, sits on the board of directors of Hollinger International, which is an investor in the New York Sun
, a poorly managed newspaper.
There is one big difference between El Mercurio
and the Sun
, however -- El Mercurio
had a wide readership.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
The underpowered hive mind operating the Sun
today posits a binary: in response to the Global Islamofascist Terror Conspiracy which is gonna done kill us all, one can either goad Dim George on to "finish the war" against "the Arabs," as do the Bushit
e shills from the Berkshire Hills , or one can get behind "the alternatives that the Democrats have generally supported" (i.e., in SethAndIra
's reckoning, be a pussy).
A sane person properly concerned with general harm reduction - as opposed to zany crusading and repeated demonstrations of one's improbable thickness - might suggest a third response. Would not a competent and scrupulous program of lawful police action not pay Steinhardt-scale dividends, as it did in the capture of Abu Zubaida? I piss into the wind by asking, dear readers, for the dismal history of the deplorable Sun
shows how little competence and scruple matter to Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll.
"WAR ON ISLAMIC TERROR FALTERING AS IT ENTERS THIRD YEAR," the top of today's front page of the Sun
states provocatively. Under Dina Temple-Raston's able byline, the story begins, "The wave of terror attacks in the past month in Iraq, Russia, Afghanistan, Russia, Israel, and India has made clear something that President Bush has been loath to admit — the war on Islamic terrorism is not going well."
This is, of course, not terribly provocative for those of us who actually read the news, before turning our attention to the scattered press releases that fill the Sun
's pages. What is interesting about this story, though, is the way in which it contradicts nearly everything the see-no-evil-speak-no-evil Sun
chooses to believe in its alternate reality.
For instance, DTR states that, "The Taliban is reorganizing and gaining strength as Afghans, bitter about lawlessness under the twoyear-old American-led interim government, have given their former rulers a second look. The Associated Press reported this week that the religious militia has rejoined forces with Al Qaeda outside of Kabul and now operates with impunity in Afghanistan and Pakistan." But on page six of the Sun
, the headline to an A.P. story the Sun
nis swiped from the wire states, "U.S., Afghan Troops Defeat Taliban."
Now, I know what you're thinking. Didn't our Dear Leader defeat the Taliban a long, long time ago? Aren't they "on the run"? What is with all of these clouds of pessimism scudding all over SethAndIra
's glorious moment?
Oh, but Ira
, you are betrayed. You just don't know it yet -- that The War Against Terror (yes, TWAT) is only useful to the Republican Party insofar as they gain political advantage over the Democrats. Sorry, Ira, they have no intention of "finishing" the war against "the Arabs." If you're curious about this, perhaps you should ask your business editor. If you're on speaking terms with her -- a condition which, owing to the fact that she is an employee of the New York Sun
, is unlikely.
Ah, but the idiotorial parade marches on. "The Surge in Terror," is the name of SethAndIra's latest masterwerk
. "Global death tolls from Islamic terrorism are an inexact science because of definitional questions," they claim. Shall we parse this sentence? "Tolls" "are" "science." That would be the old subject-verb-object. But it doesn't make much sense. "Tolls" are not a "science" at all, with or without "definitional questions." Calculating
death tolls would be an inexact science, though, you illiterates.
And by such "definitional questions" I assume that SethAndIra are not going to wander into the territory of trying to put a number on the civilian dead who have been dispatched from this earth in the interest of Republican electoral gains. No, we are meant to focus on "Islamic terrorism." After all, only "the Arabs" can really be terrorists, by definitional declaration.
But the show must go on! "Democrats will no doubt rush to use these figures [that is, the number of deaths attributed to terrorism in August 2003] to claim that President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are losing the war on terrorism." Or maybe it will be the front page of the Sun
that will rush to such claims. Or SethAndIra have just outed Ms. Temple-Raston as a "Democrat." But something tells me there are more folks out there
who think we are losing the war than just "Democrats."
The show must still go on!
But the alternatives that the Democrats have generally supported — less military spending; more coddling of soft-on-terror European nations like France; hesitancy in using military force against the terror sponsors; a reliance on the United Nations; negotiations with terror regimes — offer less promise of victory than the Republican hard line. President Bush said in May aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, “The war on terror is not over; yet it is not endless.We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide…Free nations will press on to victory.”
All of which leads me to second-guess my assertion that Ira is clueless about the electoral cynicism behind this so-called war. Nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes
, after all.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Something must have been in the water this Labor Day. Emboldened, apparently, by their three-day holiday -- really just a physical manifestation of their permanent holiday from reality -- the Sun
has been looking more and more like a caricature of itself.
It's all here!
-- A screaming banner headline announcing the filing of the latest conspiracy theory lawsuit linking Saddam with Al Qaeda: Poor Colin Miner is forced to cover this as if it were an actual news event. The lawsuit is filled, as reported, with pages and pages of "so-and-so met so-and-so -- evil so-and-so -- in such-and-such disco in 1972." Might as well indict Rumsfeld; he was meeting with Saddam as late as the 1980s. This "news" "story" comes complete with the obligatory quotation from conspiracy queenpin Laurie Mylroie, though it is curiously distant: "Iraq was the major state sponsor of terrorism in the 1990s.... They’re absolutely right about that, and it’s very important." Miner quotes the lawyer: "'This could have easily been a seven-paragraph complaint,' said one of the lawyers, Joshua Ambush. 'But we felt we needed to detail what we know, to show that this is real. And we have the documents to back it all up.'" Yes, a real conspiracy theory is not so easy to explain as all that.
Finish the War!
-- A new series of articles, slugged "Free Speech on Trial," following SethAndIra's psychotic obsession with the McCain-Feingold Act. This, without irony, from a newspaper that demanded treason prosecutions against those opposing the Basra Boogie-Down, America's latest and greatest quagmire.
-- A JONATHAN POLLARD IDIOTORIAL!!! Hoo-dog, they mean it this time. Apparently SethAndIra now believe that those who oppose the Patriot Act, that terrifying piece of Big Brotherism, should also support the Pollard cause. It is important, after all, in times of crisis like these, to support those who have spied against America! What SethAndIra apparently don't recognize is that this puts them in the uncomfortable position of having to oppose the Patriot Act, which they no doubt love, as it is instrumental in the push to "finish the war" against "the Arabs." Well, it would be a problem, if they had any regard for consistency or journalistic integrity.
-- Hey, Benny the Jet thinks the United Nations is anti-Israel. Will the (s)hit parade ever stop rolling? Apparently the U.N., which is no doubt considered a crucial part of the international order in the minds of Sun
nis, is convening a conference of "Israel's Enemies." And Benny isn't afraid to name names. Well, only one name, really. "Naomi Chazan, a former Knesset member," is that enemy. We all know how the Knesset is a ... hotbed of ... anti-Israel ... something.
Funny, Benny, despite what appear to be some high-up sources, seems to have no idea what groups will be attending the "International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People." But the headline is not afraid to say, "New U.N. Parley Is Set To Gather Israel’s Enemies." Who are these people, that we may smite them? [Crickets.]
"'It has to start with the Europeans,' said Ambassador Danny Gillerman," The Jet reports, without filling us in as to what Danny Gillerman is the ambassador of, exactly. (Israeli ambassador to the United Nations; you can google it. WET-- oh, fuck, nevermind.) Anyway, we also know in what high regard the Sun
places "the Europeans."
"But here, there is still an obsession with the '[I have inserted this piece of punctuation as a courtesy, as it was missing from the original text] Alienable Rights of the Palestinian people.' The term appears in the title of one of several committees the U.N. has founded to deal exclusively with what is know here as 'Palestine'
— disregarding the only flag representing that land at the U.N., that of Israel."
This is only partly true, of course. The Palestinians do have a non-voting seat in the United Nations. Still, his point is taken. For bullshit.
-- And Laura Ingraham wonders aloud, "In this cultural wasteland is it surprising then, that informal surveys are showing that girls (and boys) today treat oral sex like a handshake?" Back to the kitchen with you, wench! Cover them in bee-keeper suits!
Laura Ingraham, I want to shake your hand. (Cue Nelly)
Finally -- whew! -- we notice today the disappearance from the pages of the Sun
of the loathsome "Best of the Web." Whether this was just an editorial oversight, which is likely, or an actual distancing from the insane racist Taranto, we will wait and see. In ordinary times, I would take this -- like the disappearance of the infantile SmarterTimes -- as a sign of some sort of maturing on the part of SethAndIra. We know better by now.