Headline of the Year (So Far)

Plus: "Ex-Radical" Bill Ayers? & Two Great Moments in Investigative Journalism
Headline of the Year (So Far)

"East Germany Had Its Charms, Crushed by Capitalism." - Headline over an October 29 book review by Richard Eder of "New Lives," by German novelist Ingo Schulze.

How Dare McCain Call Domestic Terrorist Bill Ayers a Domestic Terrorist

"His campaign has pelted his rival with attacks that make some of his old advisers wince, like questioning Mr. Obama's patriotism or tying him to 'a domestic terrorist.'" - Reporter David Kirkpatrick, October 26.

Defending White Americans Against McCain-Palin's Racist Appeals

"Such human nuances are lost on conservative warriors of the Allen-McCain-Palin ilk. They see all Americans as only white or black, as either us or them. The dirty little secret of such divisive politicians has always been that their rage toward the Others is exceeded only by their cynical conviction that Real Americans are a benighted bunch of easily manipulated bigots." - From Frank Rich's October 26 column.

"Ex-Radical" Ayers? Since When?

"While describing his views on education and social justice, Mr. Ayers hardly resembled the unrepentant terrorist that his critics have sought to paint him as while attacking the Obama campaign." - Colin Moynihan, October 27, over the headline, "Ex-Radical Talks of Education and Justice, Not Obama."

Great Moments in Investigative Journalism
"I'm a reporter at the New York Times, writing a profile of Cindy McCain, and we are trying to get a sense of what she is like as a mother. So I'm reaching out to fellow parents at her kids' schools. My understanding is that some of her older kids went to Brophy/Xavier, but I'm trying to figure out what school her 16 year old daughter Bridget attends - and a few people said it was PCDS. Do you know if that's right? Again, we're not really reporting on the kids, just seeking some fellow parents who can talk about what Mrs. McCain is like." - A message sent by reporter Jodi Kantor to a schoolmate of John McCain's daughter Bridget, via the Internet social network Facebook.

Great Moments in Investigative Journalism, Take II
"The blog, daddytypes.com, fueled the speculation by e-mailing the Witthuhns a video of Ms. Kline, and Mr. Witthuhn said he was 'pretty sure it's her! CRAZY!!!' Mrs. Witthuhn said today that her husband was '85 percent' sure but not 100 percent." - From Michael Luo and Eric Wilson's October 24 on one Lisa Kline, who may or may not have purchased some of Sarah Palin's wardrobe.

All Criticism of Obama Now Racist
"Early voting in Florida began today, with long lines at several polling places, a flood of robocalls, a rally by Senator Barack Obama in Tampa - and some new, harsh anti-Obama literature in my mailbox....The second piece of literature, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, provides a new line of attack. It alleges that Senator Obama would be soft on crime. Few issues are as racially radioactive, especially here in Miami, so it is worth asking: Does the flier go over the line?" - From an October 20 "Caucus" blog post by Miami bureau chief Damien Cave.

Confirming Liberal Bias, Denying Its Effect
"Being human, journalists do have personal biases, and a long line of studies has shown that they tend to be more socially and politically liberal than the population at large. There is no reason to believe Times journalists are any different . But Tien-Tsung Lee, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, wrote in 2005 after reviewing the literature that "a link between reporters' political beliefs and news coverage has never been convincingly established." - Public Editor Clark Hoyt in his October 19 column for the Week in Review.

Irrelevant Detail, Anyone?
"John McCain may be one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, but on the campaign finance front he's going to have to watch his dollars in the last two weeks of the campaign." - Reporter Leslie Wayne, October 21.

Non-Guilt by Association?
"Indeed, for months [Michelle] Obama was a political target. A Fox News anchor referred to an affectionate fist bump between the Obamas as a 'terrorist fist jab.' Republicans, including Cindy McCain, criticized her for saying in February that 'for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.' (They omitted the words that followed: "And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.") A blogger supporting Senator Clinton spread an unfounded rumor that Mrs. Obama had once used the word 'whitey.'" - Reporter Patrick Healy, sandwiching two discredited allegations about Michelle Obama around a legitimate one, October 28.