Nov 29, 2004 07:50 PM
Ever wonder why so many editorials in The New York Times sound like they were written in the Office of Circumlocution? A weblog called Patterico’s Pontifications has an excellent suggestion about why this should be so. Consider Mr. Smith Goes Under the Gavel, the editorial on judicial filibusters that appeared in yesterday’s paper. Mr. Patterico quotes this bit from our Paper of Record:
Judicial nominees have never been immune from filibusters. When Republicans opposed President Lyndon Johnson’s choice for chief justice, Abe Fortas, they led a successful filibuster to stop him from getting the job. More recently, in the Clinton era, Republicans spoke out loudly in defense of their right to filibuster against the confirmation of cabinet members and judicial nominees. Republican senators, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mike DeWine of Ohio, used a filibuster in 1995 to block President Bill Clinton’s nominee for surgeon general. Bill Frist, now the Senate majority leader, supported a filibuster of a Clinton appeals court nomination. Senator Christopher Bond, a Missouri Republican, was quoted in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1993 saying, "On important issues, I will not hesitate to join a filibuster."
Mr. Patterico comments: "I looked up this last quote. Contrary to the clear implication of the editors, the quote from Senator Bond has nothing to do with judicial filibusters. It related to his participation in a filibuster to block President Clinton’s economic stimulus package. "
Hmm. Mr. Patterico gives the original context, and then asks why the Times should include an "irrelevant quote from a 1993 article in a St. Louis paper? A quote that has nothing whatsoever to do with filibusters of judicial (or even cabinet) nominees?" Thank God for Google. Mr. Patterico did a search and discovered that it turned up two results: the editorial in the Times and a Democratic Policy Committee page of talking points about judicial filibusters, titled "The Republican Flip-Flop on Filibusters." Yep, there it is, in black and white under the subhead "Senator Christopher Bond." You may have suspected that the Times took its cue from the DNC. You were right. They just lift whole sentences from their ideological masters.
Of course, the fact that the Times lets the DNC write its editorials is only part of the problem. As Mr. Patterico notes,
The editorial is tripe, start to finish. It opens with this amusing line:
Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court.
I’m not sure exactly what the editors mean when they say "Republicans . . . control the Supreme Court." Do they mean that most of the Justices were appointed by Republicans? That’s true, as far as it goes -- but I think John Paul Stevens, arguably the Court’s most liberal Justice, would laugh long and hard if you told him Republicans "control" him, just because he was appointed by a Republican. By that logic, Republicans "controlled" Eisenhower appointees William Brennan and Earl Warren, two of the most liberal Justices in history.
Mr. Patterico’s whole post is very much worth reading. When you finish, you might consider cancelling your subscription to the most overrated paper in the United States.
Thanks to InstaPundit for bringing this post to my attention.
( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)
In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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