Roger L. Simon

The Gray Lady Wakes Up

Sometimes it takes behemoth a long time to awaken, but when it does, if we’re all lucky, it will stay awake. This morning the New York Times editorial virtually endorses George W. Bush’s pro-active democracy policy.

Still, this has so far been a year of heartening surprises – each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance. And for all the negative consequences that flowed from the American invasion of Iraq, there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power. Washington’s challenge now lies in finding ways to nurture and encourage these still fragile trends without smothering them in a triumphalist embrace.

Well, sure. But I think now Bush, whose triumphalism was never that great in the first place, has learned to be more subtle in that regard. Is this the beginning of a new trend for the Times? Who knows? Soon they may be sounding like Michael Ledeen.

BTW, this editorial in the Times could signal a sea change in the MSM, at least for a while. Look for it.

UPDATE: I wonder if the Times will now back Paul Wolfowitz for president of the World Bank. A few years ago their editor Bill Keller, while still a columnist, wrote an extremely positive profile of Wolfie for the NYT Magazine – ‘The Sunshine Warrior.’ (Sorry, link pay only… but trust me. It was positive.)

MORE: Austin Bay has a good tour d’horizon of the new back-tracking by legacy media.

AND: Thanks to Catherine Johnson, here is a free link to the aforementioned Keller article.