Thursday, October 7, 2010

Times, are They a' Changin'?

One of the reasons people assume I'm a fascist liberal comes from the fact that I read the New York Times. I'm not afraid to admit it: yes, I read the world's most influential newspaper.

Actually, people far more conservative than I read it, too. Something about keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer. After all, what better place to get a quick pulse on the liberal elite than reading what many people consider to be the holy grail of left-wing drivel?

For years, and through innumerable Republican administrations, the bane of afflicted conservatives has been the editorial board of the New York Times. Pontificators of the politically-correct and manipulators of information, these Ivy League muckrakers (I'm talking about the Times editors here) couldn't tell the truth from Democratically doctored spin if their evolutionary reality depended on it.

But has years of robotically championing the left begun to take its toll on the Big Apple's venerable rag?

The UN Ain't All That

For my first proof I refer you to Exhibit A, an article from October third's online edition of the Times, in which reporter Jeffrey Gettleman, whom I've quoted before, muses out loud whether or not the Republican's other evil empire, the United Nations, has lost its humanitarian touch.

Gettleman's title, "Frenzy of rape in Congo reveals UN weakness," reveals more than the atrocities continuing to dehumanize this strife-ridden African country. He lets it slip that the UN's vice-like grip on happy-days self-aggrandizement appears to be over, at least at the New York Times.

Speaking of UN peacekeepers being absurdly ineffective in Congo, Gettleman bluntly asserts, "Despite more than 10 years of experience and billions of dollars, the peacekeeping force still seems to be failing at its most elemental task: protecting civilians."

Of course, Republicans elicited a chorus of "duh!" upon reading such a succinct criticism from one of the Times' most celebrated reporters. Unfortunately, it all comes too late for the victims being brutalized within earshot of at least one UN base, as reported by Gettleman in this piece.

What a travesty. And no, I'm not referring to the length of time it's taken for the Times to even contemplate the possibility that the UN is at best a compromised organization.

Popping An Election Year Bubble

For my second proof, I refer you to Exhibit B, another article from the Times' October 3 online edition entitled "Cheap debt for corporations fails to spur economy" by Graham Bowley.

In his reporting on the trend of large companies sucking up oceans of cash at low interest rates, Bowley describes how the Federal Reserve's attempt at jump-starting the economy risks being foiled by such tactics. By intentionally suppressing interest rates, the Fed hoped to provide incentives for corporations to ramp up R&D and new hires with low-cost loans. Instead, already healthy companies are paying down debt and stockpiling cash reserves with this "cheap debt." In effect, they're taking advantage of a bad situation - which they helped create - and laughing all the way to the bank.

Now, some right-wing conservatives may have no problem with that, admiring the way corporate accountants have figured out how to have their cake and eat it, too. And the argument can be made that paying down existing debt and stockpiling reserves can make healthy companies even healthier. But what is the point at which companies actually imperil the very economy they depend on for their own viability by squandering cheap debt on their balance sheets instead of putting people - our own little economic engines - back to work?

Marveling at the Fed's assumptions and corporate America's incessant greed, Bowley admits out loud that "this situation underscores the limits of Washington policy makers’ power to stimulate the economy."

Wow - did he really say that? Did he really say that all the grandstanding, tinkering, and outright hand-tying our president and Congress have been perpetrating on our economy amounts to a hill of beans when it comes to getting businesses to do the right thing? Did Bowley actually put words in the Times' mouth amounting to a dismissal of Democratic chances for staying the course during these perilous financial times? During an election year?

Has the government-bureaucracy-loving shell of the New York Times begun to develop hairline cracks of doubt as to whether opposing laissez-faire and deregulation should be continued?

Or, considering that these two incidents of conservative hubris took place on the same day, maybe their editors had a little too much of something late into the night on October 2?
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