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Ed Driscoll

Sulzberger, Coordinate! Sulzberger, Coordinate!

January 31st, 2010 - 1:29 pm

Byron York writes in the Washington Examiner that the New York Times, via Frank Rich, and the editors who approved his column, have dubbed former POW and moderate Republican John McCain the “unpatriotic opposition:”

From columnist Frank Rich:

If Reid can serve as the face of Democratic fecklessness in the Senate, then John McCain epitomizes the unpatriotic opposition.

The rest of Rich’s column is here.

In the past, Rich has bristled at Republicans who, in his eyes, sought to cast Democrats as unpatriotic. In June 2008, Rich blasted McCain for trying “to create a smoke screen by smearing Barack Obama as unpatriotic.” In August 2007, he hit “the right’s vigilantes” who Rich said “branded [as] unpatriotic” a program on ABC listing the names of American servicemembers who died in Iraq. In June 2006, Rich slammed President George W. Bush for “implying that his critics are unpatriotic, if not outright treasonous.” In November 2005, he criticized Bush for giving a “Veteran’s Day speech smearing the war’s critics as unpatriotic.” And in October 2005, he smacked Karl Rove for creating “the rhetoric that would be used habitually to smear any war critics as unpatriotic.”

There are more examples, if you care to look. But it’s clear that Frank Rich used to become quite upset when he felt a Republican was branding a Democrat as unpatriotic. But that was then. This is now.

At the end of last October, Rich rather paradoxically described the conservative Republicans who wanted a smaller government-oriented candidate Doug Hoffman over RINO Dede Scozzafava as the biggest government types there are: “Stalinists”, to quote from the headline of Rich’s column.

Of course, as we’ve noted in a recent edition of our Silicon Graffiti videoblog, for much of the 20th century, being a Stalinist was a pretty cool thing at the New York Times, whose Walter Duranty copped a Pulitzer by airbrushing out all of the horrors of Stalin’s terror famine. The Times later gushed at the rest of Uncle Joe’s accomplishments in their fawning obituary in 1953. In the late 1950s, Timesman Herbert Matthew helped to launch Fidel Castro. A decade or so later, the once and future publishers of the paper would have this conversation, as described by the New Yorker:

“He had been something of a political activist in high school — he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State — and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Comapny, a defense and space contractor; there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.”

Punch had shown little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved with the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect of him in the future. Arthur assured his father he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as ‘the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life’: ‘If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?’ Arthur answered, ‘I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.’ To the elder Sulzberger, this bordered on traitor’s talk. ‘How can you say that?’ he yelled. Years later, Arthur said of the incident, ‘It’s the closest he’s ever come to hitting me.’”

And six years ago, the Times and his subsidiary paper the Boston Globe endorsed Sen John Kerry (D-MA) for the presidency, who was unrepentant over his own unpatriotic transgressions during the Vietnam War. In 2007, the Times would give a sweetheart ad rate deal to Moveon.org, for their infamous “General Paetraus or General Betray Us?” Ad. Last fall, Thomas Friedman wrote that he prefers China’s one-party government over messy American democracy.

So to paraphrase the question I asked in the video back in November, for Rich, Pinch, Friedman, and the rest of the Timesmen, why is being the “unpatriotic opposition” suddenly a bad thing in their eyes?



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