By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
This inflation reached a peculiar pinnacle of insolence in the October 20 New York Times, which devoted an entire news article to suggesting that even Al Gore’s biggest supporters are now glad that Bush was elected. To support this point, reporter Richard Berke quotes various unnamed Gore backers who suggest that the ex-veep ”may know too much“ about foreign policy to manage a war properly, and that his foreign-policy team might have been less experienced than Bush‘s (greener than Condoleezza Rice?). At moments, Berke’s prose achieves levels of shiftiness worthy of Jon Lovitz: ”Sounding relieved that Mr. Gore is not president, Representative James P. Moran, a Virginia Democrat, said: ‘I feel comfortable with President Bush. I never thought I would utter those words.’“ Read that again: Does Moran really sound relieved that Gore lost?
Although no fan of Gore, whose principles fall away as easily as a stripper‘s costume, I find it bizarre to suggest that he’d obviously handle things less well than Bush -- especially on the grounds that he knows too much about foreign affairs. When poor Al saw this in the pages of the Times, the shock must‘ve splintered him into 10,000 toothpicks.
While the liberal media are filled with wobblies (alas, not Wobblies), the right makes no pretense to tolerance, fair play or bipartisanship. I enjoy reading The Wall Street Journal, not only because it’s briskly written and unsentimentally reported, but because it so gleefully promotes the interests of the capitalist elite. What other paper would charge Democrats with employing a ”class-war riff“ in opposing corporate tax breaks?
Its editorial pages became famous under Robert L. Bartley, whose treatment of Bill Clinton reached a level of viciousness that a hyena could only aspire to. Under the new leadership of Paul Gigot, so deceptively genial when sparring with Mark Shields on PBS‘s NewsHour, the paper’s ideological fervor hasn‘t wavered. In the world of the Journal, Paul Johnson urges the West to re-colonize the Middle East; the media’s favorite Arab, Fouad Ajami, insists that ”Arabs Have Nobody To Blame but Themselves“; and a celebration of V.S. Naipaul‘s Nobel Prize begins with the claim that he’s eons better than Gunter Grass, Toni Morrison and Nadine Gordimer (who, not coincidentally, are all on the left). Its editorial about profiteering doesn‘t mention airlines, insurance companies or Bayer AG, which would keep generic Cipro off the market to protect its profits. No, the villains of the piece turn out to be the trial lawyers (of course) whose perfidy was to decide that they weren’t going to exploit the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Especially during wartime, the Journal offers a bracing reminder that, while America may be united in some ways, the rich are always looking out for themselves. I find it oddly comforting in these confusing times to know that, no matter what terrible thing may happen, these guys will always keep pursuing the same old agenda. Had Bartley and Gigot washed up on that island with Tom Hanks in Cast Away, they‘d have doubtless insisted on privatizing Wilson.
If you’re addicted to Nightline or CNN‘s World Business Today with Richard Quest (who sucks air through his teeth so loudly that his guests recoil), you’ve seen the ad that years from now will surely fill viewers with a perverse nostalgia. The ”Wicked Game“ commercial for Jaguar is a glossy-chic spot set in a depopulated world in which a gorgeous young couple cavort and kiss and nearly run each other over while Chris Isaak croons, ”No, I-I-I-I don‘t want to fall in love.“ Not so long ago, such designer decadence would have felt platitudinous, but in our glum advertising climate, this 30-second spot erupts between the news items like a vesuvian id. It seems to have come from another planet, or maybe from a time capsule dated September 10, 2001.