McFadden relayed the wildest crowd estimates (half a million) from the organizers rather than the official number from the police (200,000) and stated in all seriousness that "The faces appeared to be a cross-section of the American experience." The diversity happy talk crowded out any mention of the fact that the protest's leader, a woman named Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice, thinks Fidel Castro is a better political role model than George W. Bush.
Todd Purdum's front-page news analysis Monday, "Upstaging Before the Show," began by noting that "the Republican convention's calculated claims to patriotism and the presidency met elaborately planned and heavily Democratic street protests ... the demonstrators doused a good bit of Mr. Bush's intended message with television images of dissent." What a perfect liberal media cartoon: Calculated -- read: cynical, scripted -- Patriotism upstaged by Street Dissent.
Where the Swift Vet ads and the New York Times are concerned, it's all Republican dirty tricks, and a discussion of dirty tricks would not be complete unless they could drag out, you guessed it, one Willie Horton, the man who stabbed a gas station attendant 19 times to make extra sure he was dead. Reporter Robin Toner complained that the Dukakis team "was slow to react when the charges started coming that he was soft on crime and insufficiently patriotic."
The Times recapped how the meanies at the Bush-Quayle campaign portrayed Dukakis as a Massachusetts liberal who let violent criminals out on weekend furloughs and refused to require schoolchildren to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Never mind that all this was true. For the whining Times, the Democrats' "legalistic responses were no match for the powerful imagery and rough attacks of the Republicans."
In the New York Times Magazine on Sunday, Times writer James Traub offered a story titled "Going to Extremes," with the subhead: "Both the president and the protesters prefer certainty to complexity. Is there room for nuance in a time of war?" Traub then described what a nuance-filled moderate he was in his youth: "I was almost exactly Alex's age in 1968. At the time, I was an avowed moderate: I was a Hubert Humphrey Democrat."
That matches the level of delusion that Bernard Goldberg describes when he tells the story that Dan Rather thought the New York Times was a "moderate" newspaper. "All the news that's fit to print"? Only if it savages the Republican Party and its nominee.