Times Editor Questions Timing of Terror Alerts

Plus Clarence the Stupid and Hillary the Moderate
A la Keith Olbermann, Times Editor Questions the Timing of Terror Alerts
"I asked Marty Gottlieb, the weekend editor and the senior editor in the newsroom when the decision was made, and Geddes, who made the call from home, for more detail about their thinking. Gottlieb said that as soon as he learned there was going to be a news conference to announce a terror plot, he phoned Geddes and said, 'Don't go to the beach.' Based on early reporting, he said he told Geddes, 'This could be the lead, Page 1 or an inside story.' Gottlieb told me he was mindful of a history of orange alerts that came at politically convenient times and previous terror plots that wound up amounting to less than they first seemed." - The Times new Public Editor Clark Hoyt, on the placement of a story on the terror threat to Kennedy International Airport, June 10.

Now There's a Strange Choice of Adverb
"[Bush's] poll numbers may be in the basement, but when he zipped through this small, relentlessly pro-American nation on Sunday, President Bush was treated like a rock star." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg, June 11.

"Housing Slump Pinches States in Pocketbook."

"State lawmakers across the country, their coffers unexpectedly full of cash, have been handing out tax cuts, spending money on fixing roads, schools and public buildings, and socking something away for less fruitful years." - Lead sentence to a June 11 front-page story by Jennifer Steinhauer, "States Finding Fiscal Surprise: A Cash Surplus."

Clarence Thomas, the Stupid Justice
"In the last 100 Supreme Court arguments, Clarence Thomas has not uttered a word. Court watchers have suggested a variety of explanations. Among the least flattering: he is afraid that if he speaks he will reveal his ignorance about the case; he is so ideologically driven that he invariably comes with his mind made up; or he has contempt for the process . In their provocative new book, 'Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas,' two Washington Post journalists, Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher, ponder Justice Thomas's extraordinary silence, and many other puzzles. They offer a wealth of insight, but they have no answer to the central enigma he poses: why the justice who has faced the greatest hardships regularly rules for the powerful over the weak, and has a legal philosophy notable for its indifference to suffering." - Editorial Board member Adam Cohen, June 3.

Editorializing Cheap Shot on Earmarks
"No longer in charge of writing spending bills since they lost their majority, House Republicans are unleashing a previously unseen indignation at the pet projects that individual lawmakers attach to such bills." - David Kirkpatrick, June 13.

Conservatives Are Nosy Busybodies
"In some ways, Mr. Levy has emerged as a leader of a new breed of Democrats, who represent suburban areas that once were dominated by Republicans and remain socially conservative, particularly on questions of who lives next door." - From a Paul Vitello profile of Long Island politician Steve Levy, who is fighting illegal immigration, June 13.

Conservatives Are Fostering Fear Among Illegals
"Over the last several years, this city has gone to great lengths to turn itself into a kind of haven, quite literally, for illegal immigrants. It was not that new immigrants were pouring in, but that there were thousands already living here, and the officials who have long run the city wanted to bring them out of the shadows....Within hours, any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants advocates [sic] had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear." - Jennifer Medina in a June 8 story from New Haven, Conn.
And Conservatives Are Simple-Minded, Too
"A single hot-button word was repeated often and viscerally: Amnesty." - June 10 text box accompanying a Julia Preston story after the immigration "reform" bill stalled in the Senate.

Patrick Healy profile, June 12.