Archive for July 8th, 2007

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About That “Trophy Wife” Thing…

July 8, 2007

This is a response to TMV’s post that calls into question the NYT’s journalistic integrity in their piece on Fred Thompson’s wife. The Times’ Susan Saulny writes:

Now, with the possible candidacy of Fred D. Thompson, the grandfatherly actor and former Republican senator from Tennessee, whose second wife is almost a quarter-century his junior, comes a less palatable inquiry that is spurring debate in Internet chat rooms, on cable television and on talk radio: Is America ready for a president with a trophy wife?

The question may seem sexist, even crass, but serious people — as well as Mr. Thompson’s supporters — have been wrestling with the public reaction to Jeri Kehn Thompson, whose youthfulness, permanent tan and bleached blond hair present a contrast to the 64-year-old man who hopes to win the hearts of the conservative core of the Republican party. Will the so-called values voters accept this union?

I’d have to say that I have a problem with this as well.  It’s not the use of the term ‘trophy wife’ so much as it’s the inherent assumption that she is one (at least in Susan’s eyes, presumably).  However, a simple rewording of the question would fix everything for me:

Will Americans view Mrs. Thompson as a trophy wife, and are they ready to have one in the White House?

Or something along those lines.  Better?

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The NYT Finally Owns Up To Their Shoddy Iraq Reporting

July 8, 2007

It took a couple of weeks, but they got there.

I remember reading a Glenn Greenwald post a little while ago about how the media – and the Times specifically – was acting like stenographers lately regarding news coming from Iraq.  From June 23:

The Times — typically in the form of the gullible and always-government-trusting “reporting” of Michael Gordon, though not only — makes this claim over and over, as prominently as possible, often without the slightest questioning, qualification, or doubt. If your only news about Iraq came from The New York Times, you would think that the war in Iraq is now indistinguishable from the initial stage of the war in Afghanistan — that we are there fighting against the people who hijacked those planes and flew them into our buildings: “Al Qaeda.”

Then today I saw this show up on memeorandum: NYT – Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner

Why Bush and the military are emphasizing Al Qaeda to the virtual exclusion of other sources of violence in Iraq is an important story. So is the question of how well their version of events squares with the facts of a murky and rapidly changing situation on the ground.

But these are stories you haven’t been reading in The Times in recent weeks as the newspaper has slipped into a routine of quoting the president and the military uncritically about Al Qaeda’s role in Iraq — and sometimes citing the group itself without attribution.

And in using the language of the administration, the newspaper has also failed at times to distinguish between Al Qaeda, the group that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an Iraqi group that didn’t even exist until after the American invasion.

Do you suppose the people at the Times read Greenwald’s post?  Or did they finally see that proverbial light bulb appear over their heads on their own? 

I’m also kinda curious if Greenwald will notice.  Oops!  Just minutes after I posted this, I checked Salon.  He did notice (see Update II), after he got done railing the Times again.  Oh well.

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