Still Smearing Senator Helms

Plus: Weeping for a Stalinist Screenwriter & Rushing to Obama's Aid
Still Smearing Senator Helms
"Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator whose courtly manner and mossy drawl barely masked a hard-edged conservatism that opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday. He was 86." - Lead sentence to Steven Holmes' July 5 obituary for legendary conservative Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

Weeping for a Stalinist Screenwriter
"Peter Askin's stirring documentary "Trumbo" gives you reasons to cheer but also to weep. It makes you lament the decline of the kind of language brandished with Shakespearean eloquence by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, in his witty, impassioned letters excerpted in the movie....If the story of the Hollywood blacklist and the lives it destroyed has been told many times before, it still bears repeating, especially in the post-9/11 climate of fearmongering, of Guantánamo, of flag pins as gauges of patriotism." - Movie reviewer Stephen Holden on Communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, June 27.

Rushing to Obama's Defense
"Conservative and 'official English' groups immediately interpreted Mr. Obama's statement as an endorsement of the idea that 'Americans should be forced to learn to speak Spanish,' in the words of the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. But that not only misrepresents what Mr. Obama said, it also ignores the views he has expressed in the past on the proper role of English and foreign languages in American life." - Larry Rohter in his July 11 "Checkpoint" feature.

Poor Obama Facing "Entirely False Rumors" in "Small-Town America"
"Rumors are a staple of politics, but Obama seems to face an unusual problem tamping them down. An article in The Washington Post on Monday summed up the entirely false rumors being widely circulated in small-town America this way: that 'Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay Muslim racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.'" - Brian Knowlton, writing in the June 30 international edition of the Times.

North Korea Dictators Aren't Hard-Liners, Conservative Opponents Are
"From the other side of the fence, conservative hard-liners complained that the United States gave away too much for too little, and should have adopted a more absolutist approach with the secretive North Korean government....North Korean officials said the demolition would cost $5 million, and the United States offered $2.5 million - an amount that conservative hard-liners in Washington said was too much, according to several administration officials involved in the talks." - Diplomacy reporter Helene Cooper, June 27.

Examples, Please
"McCain advisers also say they are wary of unleashing allies to attack Mr. Obama, given how some conservatives have overstepped and been criticized for racially tinged remarks." - Reporter Patrick Healy, July 5.

Find the Racism

"Its racial undertones are naked enough. Earlier this year, Mr. Rove wrote that Mr. Obama was 'often lazy,' and that his 'trash talking' during a debate was 'an unattractive carry-over from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard.' Last week Mr. Rove caricatured him as the elitist 'guy at the country club with the beautiful date.' Provocative as it is to inject Mr. Obama into a setting historically associated with white Republicans, the invocation of that 'beautiful date' is even more so. Where's his beautiful wife? Mr. Rove's suggestion that Mr. Obama might be a sexual freelancer, as an astute post at the Web site Talking Points Memo noted, could conjure up for a certain audience the image of 'a white woman on his arm.'" - Columnist Frank Rich, June 29.

Channeling Michael Moore: U.S. "Cronies and Allies" in Iraq
"Today, the question hanging over Iraq is whether its natural endowment will be used to help create a sustainable new state, or will instead be managed in ways that reward the cronies and allies of the country whose army toppled Mr. Hussein." - Economics reporter Peter Goodman, June 29.

Editor Admits: More Liberals Than Conservatives in Newsrooms
"There are all kinds of internal and external checks on bias and personal preference. Editors like me have the primary responsibility to identify bias, and we take that job seriously. And while I would not dispute the longstanding assertions that there are more political liberals in newsrooms than conservatives , our political staff, as best I can tell, represents all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs, and because we all work so closely and in such a fishbowl, we all tend to keep one another on the straight and narrow." - Political Editor Richard Stevenson in an online chat, June 23.