The Times Catches Up With Times Watch - July 25, 2003

Times Watch for July 25, 2003

The Times Catches Up With Times Watch

The Times finally corrects Chris Hedges July 1 story profiling a radical Brooklyn judge in which Hedges falsely claims Sen. Joe McCarthy derailed the career of Stalin-supporting actor-activist Paul Robeson.

In the Corrections box in Fridays print edition (not online), the Times notes Hedges referred incorrectly to events that led to the derailing of Robesons career. He was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee well before Senator Joseph R. McCarthys heyday.

As Times Watch noted the day Hedges profile came out, Hedges chronology is implausible since Joseph McCarthy wasnt elected to the Senate until 1947 and didnt make his famous speech about Communists in the State Department until 1950. Paul Robesons last movie, Tales of Manhattan, was released in 1942, a full five years before McCarthys ascent to the Senate. That same year, Robeson said he wouldn't make any more films until there were better roles for blacks. Joe McCarthy had nothing to do with it, Hedges fantasies of McCarthyism notwithstanding.

Conservative Columnist Joins the Times

The Times announced Friday that Weekly Standard senior editor David Brooks will become a columnist for the paper in early September. Brooks column will appear twice a week. Brooks, who has written frequently for the Times, joins token non-liberal columnist William Safire as a regular feature of the Times op-ed page.

For more on David Brooks, new op-ed columnist for the Times, click here.

Cant Recall Reagan as California Gov.?

Fridays front page features a story on the California recall election by Dean Murphy and John Broder, 11-Week Countdown to California Recall Begins. The vote, which could result in a replacement for embattled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, is set for October 7.

The Times notes Democrats plan to pile on Rep. Darrell Issa, who financed the recall: The hope among Democrats is to demonize the Republicans, and in particular, Mr. Issa, who financed the recall signature-gathering efforts, as the usurpers of democracy. Even though Mr. Issa is considered a long shot, Democrats today said he would be the poster child of their antirecall campaign, mainly because he is the sort of conservative Republican who has traditionally fared poorly in statewide elections.

Conservative California governors Ronald Reagan (1967-1975) and George Deukmejian (1983-1991) werent that long ago, were they? (This isnt the first time reporter Broder has joined in a pile-on of Issa.)

Murphy and Broder move to another issue that may bear on the gubernatorial vote: Due to a quirk of electoral law, the October ballot will include a vote unrelated to Mr. Davis, but one that many Democrats believe will help his cause. A proposition by Ward Connerly, a regent at the University of California, that would restrict the collection of racial data in the state has qualified for a vote and must appear on the next statewide ballot. Mr. Connerly does not believe distinctions should be made by race. The measure is opposed by many minorities who support diversity and Mr. Davis recently announced that he would fight its passage. (Ward Connerly masterminded the successful passage of Californias Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative.)

The Times odd formulation begs the question: Can one support diversity, a suspiciously vague term in the first place, without supporting the government collecting racial data that could be used to discriminate on the basis of race? The Racial Privacy Initiative that Connerly supports reads: "the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin in the operation of public education, public contracting, or public employment." According to the Times, to be against that is to be against diversity.

For the rest of Dean Murphy and John Broders story on the California recall, click here.

Republicans Wreck Bipartisanship

It was a bleak day for the federal pre-school education program Head Start, thinks reporter Diana Jean Schemo, judging by the tone of House Votes to Shift Control of Head Start in Eight States.

Schemo, who clearly likes Head Start (on July 18 she gushed: Head Start has largely enjoyed a charmed history, with studies showing that every dollar spent in Head Start saved the government $4 to $7 down the road.) believes Republicans have shattered a generation of bipartisan comity by giving some states more control of their own Head Start programs.

Schemo laments: After a tense and bitter debate that ended a 38-year history of bipartisan cooperation on Head Start, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill early this morning that would allow eight states to take over Head Start, the largest federal program for nearly 1 million preschool children in poverty. The bill, formally called the School Readiness Act, has attracted broad opposition from Head Start providers around the country and from an array of child welfare organizations, who describe it as a block grant program that will open the way for dismantling the popular day care program. Republicans rejected the criticism, saying their bill would merely permit states to better coordinate their own efforts with federal day care services.

Schemo also lets Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. George Miller and a coalition of child welfare advocacy groups criticize the bill directly, with only Rep. John Boehner speaking in favor of it - and this bill passed.

For the rest of Diana Jean Schemos story on Head Start, click here.