The official boosters of New York City couldn't be happier that the Republican Party brought their show to the city that never sleeps. It's too bad we can't say the same for the New York Times, which greeted the convention with about as much as enthusiasm as a first-grader greets the measles.
Anyone turning on the TV for news two weeks ago was greeted with the blockbuster news that the New York Times had uncovered devastating links between the Bush campaign and the avowedly independent Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But if you read the article, you had to laugh. The "evidence"? Why, the same firm producing the Swift Boat ads produced an anti-Dukakis commercial in 1988 -- yup, 16 years ago. A publicist for the Swift Vets once helped prepare George Bush 41 for a vice-presidential debate -- 20 years ago. On and on the foolishness went.
Tuesday morning, it was another utterly misleading headline. President Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer that "can't win it," suggesting right there that the enemy couldn't be vanquished in the next four years, but eventually we'll be successful. The Times headline? "Bush Cites Doubt America Can Win War on Terror."
A day seemingly doesn't go by when the Times isn't showing its desire to shed the president in a negative light. One Monday headline was "The G.O.P. Arrives, Putting Sept. 11 Into August." Reporters Adam Nagourney and Robin Toner warned that Republican leaders said "they would repeatedly remind the nation of the Sept. 11 attacks," beginning a week in which the GOP "seeks to pivot to the center and seize on street demonstrations to portray Democrats as extremist." Democrats told the Times the Republicans are exploiting tragedy for political points. That's a line of thinking that escaped the Times when Kerry was pushing his service in Vietnam using home-movie footage he once promised -- to the New York Times, no less! -- he'd never use in a campaign commercial.
Obviously the Times won't find any extremists in street demonstrations as long as the hate object is Bush. Robert McFadden's front-page story, "March Raucous but Largely Peaceful," began lyrically: "A roaring two-mile river of demonstrators surged through the canyons of Manhattan yesterday in the city's largest political protest in decades, a raucous but peaceful spectacle that pilloried George W. Bush and demanded regime change in Washington." What a nice subtle dig, comparing Bush to Saddam Hussein.