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The David Shipley I Knew

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:52 pm - July 25, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Media Bias

When I first read that my Williams classmate David Shipley had taken over as Op-Ed editor of the New York Times, I saw it as a sign of improvement on the editorial page of the Old Gray Lady. Even though David had worked in the Clinton Administration, I had always known him as an even-handed, level-headed kind of guy.  At college, he never showed any particular disdain for conservative ideas — and this in the heyday of the Reagan Revolution.

Indeed, I assumed it was David’s doing when the Times tapped such thoughtful conservatives as David Brooks and William Kristol to write regular columns for its Op-Ed page.  He is the kind of guy who would welcome diverse viewpoints, including conservative ideas intelligently expressed.

At Williams, David was well-liked among his classmates, at least those of us who knew him. He kept a pretty low profile on campus. I recall he was soft-spoken. We rowed together freshman year.

But, David wasn’t one of those angry left-wingers (yes, we even had them on college campi even in my day), railing against the latest action by the Gipper. He may have had left-of-center political views, but he kept them pretty much to himself, at least in his conversations with me. And I was a pretty outspoken undergraduate, particularly during my sophomore and junior years.

Actually, I was kind of surprised when I learned that David had taken a job in the Clinton Administration. I knew he leaned left when we had lunch in the summer of 1993 when we both worked in Washington, D.C. But, he didn’t seem the partisan sort.  

We discussed politics and life since college, he recalling my leadership roles on campus, I recalling his English major and interest in writing. He seemed curious about my date (two years prior to that lunch) with his then-boss, Andrew Sullivan.

Most of all, I recalled that David listened, as he had listened in class and listened to our classmates when we discussed whatever it was we discussed in the now lost (alas, alas) snack bar in Baxter Hall.

Thus, I was surprised to learn that he had personally rejected (or at least written the e-mail rejecting) presumptive Republican nominee John McCain’s column for the New York Times.

The David Shipley who so readily listened to his Williams peers was now dictating how one party’s candidate should write about our nation’s Iraq policy. I want to believe David’s distinction between accepting Obama’s piece and rejecting that of his Republican rival, that the Obama essay “offered new information.”  Given the increasingly biased record of the Times, I am skeptical, even of a man whose even-handedness I have long respected.

It’s sad that David who clearly had a hand in bringing two thoughtful conservatives to his paper’s editorial page would so readily reject the essay of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Is the David who once got along so well with his Williams’ peers now especially eager to get along well with the liberal New York media élite?

I hope David still shows the same respect for conservatives he did at Williams and in our 1993 lunch.

His failure to publish this editorial shows the decline of the paper whose Op-Eds he now edits. Given the controversy this rejection generated, the essay will likely get wider attention than it would had the paper printed it.

It may well be that the bias shown in this rejection accounts for the 82% drop in the paper’s profits.

- B. Daniel Blatt

McCain, Behind in the Polls, with Strength for Final Stretch

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:28 pm - July 25, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

With the political climate favoring the Democratic Party this year and media coverage skewed in favor of the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama should enjoy a healthy lead over his Republican rival in summer opinion polls (particularly given the strength of the out-of-power party after eight years with the other party in the White House).  

But, right now, polls show Obama’s lead dwindling, with McCain making gains in key battleground states.

And this in a week where the Illinois Senator has received especially fawning media ooverage.

Given that late-deciding Democrats broke heavily against Obama in spring primaries even after the media had anointed him their party’s nominee, one could expect late-deciding voters in the general election to break for John McCain by ever larger margins. 

Consider this one detail from the recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (which had Obama up by 6 points):  55 percent of voters surveyed consider Obama “the riskier choice for president.“  This, combined with McCain’s advantage on leadership, knowledge, experience and commander-in-chief qualities, should serve him well with voters who have yet to make up in their minds in this long campaign.

UPDATE:  As per that skewed coverage mentioned above, Ann Althouse, forced to watch CNN while waiting for a flight, observes: “the endless enthusiasm over Barack Obama is appalling. There’s no pretense of journalistic neutrality. Barack Obama is getting a rockstar welcome… blah blah blah… ugh!”  (Via Instapundit.)

Smart Young Blogger Understands Media Bias

Even though he has not yet begun his journalism studies at Indiana University, the second eldest PatriotNephewWest has shown a greater understanding of the way the news media works than does a college classmate of mine ensconced on the editorial page at the New York Times.

Now blogging on his eponymous site, this smart and insightful young man recently commented on that editor’s decision not to run an Op-Ed by John McCain because the presumptive Republican presidential nominee didn’t address U.S. policy toward Iraq the war the Times wanted him to. Mitchell, my nephew, wrote:

Whatever their [the Times‘] policy is, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt, when they already have a track record of liberal bias, for example giving Move On.org a $100,000 discount on the political ad they ran last September calling General David Petraeus “General Betray Us”.

Not only is he aware of the Times‘ bias, but he takes pleasure in taking on Chris Matthews for his.  Noting how the MSNBC host fawns on the presumptive Democratic nominee, my nephew is honest enough to highlight a moment when Matthews got “tough on Obama,” well, in this case an Obama surrogate.

Mitchell provides a great clip and I encourage you to watch it as Matthews pressed that surrogate, Texas state senator Kirk Watson, to identify an Obama legislative accomplishment. The Lone State Star state politician failed to do so.

In his post, my nephew both exposes Obama’s paucity of accomplishment and shows Matthews rare moment of objectivity.

A great blogger in the making. Let us hope he represents the future of journalism. It could really use a change from those smug reporters certain of their own detachment, convinced they can rise above their own partisan leanings.

At least Mitchell knows where he’s coming from. Journalism school will serve to develop his nascent talents. And his blog will provide a forum where readers outside Bloomington can become aware of his humor and his insight.