Saturday, August 14, 2004

Martha Burke vs. John O'Neill

Martha Burke was an opportunist who saw a chance to get her 15 minutes of fame by attacking Augusta National because of its male only membership policy (even though about half of the member organizations of her National Council of Women's Organizations also have gender specific membership policies). The New York Times made her a pet cause and put her crusade on the front page on numerous occasions (even though traditional newspaper decorum called for advocacy issues to be the providence of the opinion pages).

In this case - the New York Times tried to make the news instead of cover the news but they failed miserably. Howell Raines abused his position at the New York Times by trying to make Martha Burke and her crusade something it was not. Even the New York Times couldn't ignore the fact that only a handful of protesters ended up answering Martha Burke's call to protest. The protest is now recalled only for its utter failure and for Heywood Jablome's protest sign that read "Iron My Shirt" on one side and "Make My Dinner" on the other.

Now the New York Times is not trying to make the news - they are trying to ignore the news.

John Kerry is the candidate of choice for the New York Times and official paper policy seems to be to ignore any news that may be disparaging to Senator Kerry. How else can you explain their willful avoidance of the story that John Kerry lied about spending Christmas in Cambodia in 1968?

John Kerry claimed to have been ordered into Cambodia illegally during his Vietnam service. This is a claim he made from the floor of the US Senate as the elected representative of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! Kerry's claims have been recently proven to be false but you would never know this fact if you relied soley on the New York Times for your news.

Ask yourself why is it news if President Bush "misspeaks" but not news if Senator Kerry is caught in a blatant lie? Why was Martha Burke and her NCWO front page worthy but the Swift Boat Vets for Truth not?

John O'Neill and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have made some serious charges against Senator Kerry and it was from them that the truth about Kerry's Christmas in Cambodia fantasy was revealed. Their book Unfit for Command is number three on most book lists. Yet we see no coverage of this story from the New York Times.

Papers like the New York Times have changed from mindsets of "we report - you decide" to blatant advocacy mindsets. The results of this new mindset can be seen in declining readership and ad revenues and people (like myself) who have turned to the Internet to get their factual reporting. On the Internet - I get to decide what stories are important and worthy of my time. I don't need a Howell Raines trying to force certain issues and viewpoints down my throat.

The New York Times is a public company and the result of their new open advocacy policy can also be seen in their stock performance. Compare the Times' stock to the overall performance of the market and ask yourself why is this stock underperforming? Why is it that people no longer want to buy what they are selling? How come you never see any analysts saying their stock is a "buy" (at best most rate them neutral)? Could it be because the paper changed from a selling point of "all the news fit to print" to a selling point of being the house organ for the DNC? If you asked the people at the Times - they would probably blame the poor stock performance on Bush's shabby handing of the economy (but that of course wouldn't explain why most other stock issues are out performing the Times stock).

The easy answer to why the Times stock is down so badly is that people are just not buying what the Times is peddling.

Does anyone out there see the irony that the Swft Boat Veterans for Truth have to file as a 527 advocacy group while the New York Times does not?

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