White Racism Cost Ford His Senate Seat?

Plus, Bashing Blogs that Criticize the Times, Paul Krugman's Pre-Election Paranoia, and Karl Rove as a Cancer
White Racism Cost Harold Ford Jr. TN Senate Seat

"As the scion of a politically influential family from Memphis, Mr. Ford was faced with overcoming the suspicions of rural whites skeptical about his race, his background and his city....The first issue came to the fore in a television advertisement featuring a winking, bare-shouldered white woman intoning, 'Harold, call me.' Produced by the Republican National Committee and eventually disavowed by Mr. Corker, the commercial played on Mr. Ford's reputation as a man about town but also spoke to - or so critics charged - age-old white Southern fears of miscegenation....The crowd in the room packed with Corker supporters told its own story: It was almost entirely white." - Adam Nossiter on Harold Ford Jr.'s defeat in his Senate race,November 8.
"Ad Seen as Playing to Racial Fears." - Online headline to October 26 story by Robin Toner on RNC ads mocking Harold Ford Jr., a black Democrat running for Senate in Tennessee.
"The much-seen Tennessee ad against Harold Ford Jr. placed by the Republican National Committee in support of his opponent, Bob Corker, was seen as racist.It featured a bare-shouldered blond party girl coaxing Mr. Ford, who is African-American, to 'call me.' When Republican strategists in 1988 tried to stoke subliminal racist fears with the infamous Willie Horton ad, the message was deadly serious. This spot is anything but: The G O.P went with a 'Daily Show'-style send-up of conventional negative ads." - TV beat reporter Alessandra Stanley, October 29.

Blaming Blogs that Criticize the Times

"Some of the blogs take a toll on our reporters. One question on our minds is, 'What are the blogs going to say?'...Reporters have to be careful not to pulltheir punches...There are people dedicated to analyzing and picking apart whatever we say and do, not always in a bad way, but sometimes it's just mean-spirited...The bloggers are after us...we try not to be affected, but foremost in our mind, we know that everything we write will be picked apart...you have to ignore those people that go after you...I'm afraid that blogging...creates problems for people to do their job." - Times Assistant Managing Editor Richard Berke at a Times Talk at the New York Historical Society on Manhattan's Upper West Side, October 31.

Kerry's Troop "Joke" Controversy? Just Make It Go Away

- Editor and chief blogger Kate Phillips on the paper's campaign blog "The Caucus," November 2.

"Clear Mandate" for 2006 House Democrats, but Not 1994 GOP?
"And, first of all, that means the Democratic Party can clearly claim a mandate and their party leaders will have a lot of flexibility in trying to build coalitions to get stuff through." - Political reporter Adam Nagourney in an online in-house audio recording, November 8. In contrast, the Times didn't see a "mandate" for the GOP the week after the party's 54-seat takeover of the House in 1994.

Karl Rove, Cancer on the Body Politic
"Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century - to bring out the best in us. His 'genius' is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country." - Columnist Thomas Friedman, November 3.

Paul Krugman, Left-Wing Paranoid
"That said, it's still possible that the Republicans will hold on to both houses of Congress. The feeding frenzy over John Kerry's botched joke showed that many people in the news media are still willing to be played like a fiddle. And if you think the timing of the Saddam verdict was coincidental, I've got a terrorist plot against the Brooklyn Bridge to sell you." - Columnist Paul Krugman, November 6.

Stick a Fork in Him: Bush Is Done
"Yet for someone whose presidency had just been repudiated, whose party had been sent reeling and whose defense secretary had just been sent packing, Mr. Bush also appeared strangely giddy, like someone who is acting a little odd after suffering a blow to the head, or a "thumpin'," to use the official presidential description....But this was one for the annals, Mr. Bush at the most-diminished moment of his six-year presidency, compelling for the same reason that Shakespeare's tragedies have always been more popular than his comedies or why the long-suffering Chicago Cubs have always had such a large following." - Mark Leibovich, November 9.

GOP Mean to Poor Nancy Pelosi
Editor Kate Phillips on the Times campaign blog, "The Caucus," October 30.
"Mr. Hastert is also fueled by what appears to be a genuine dislike of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, who would be speaker if Democrats gained 15 seats next week. To invoke Ms. Pelosi as speaker is a Republican talking point, but when Mr. Hastert does it, it smacks of disdain." - Mark Leibovich, October 31.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi quoted in a conference call to fellow Democrats on October 27.

"What the Bush Administration Calls the War on Terror"
"That sort of thing plays a little differently here. First, there is a sense of relief that characters on television are talking about the events openly and irreverently. Then there is the punch of confirmation that much of the rest of the world may indeed despise the United States for what the Bush administration calls the war on terror." - Critic Anita Gates reviewing the BBC America detective series "Cracker: A New Terror," October 30.