FAR FROM HEAVEN! When will Liberal Oasis learn—that our big orgs are next door to perfect?
SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2005
FAR FROM HEAVEN: We can all feel especially lucky. Were lucky because, as it turns out, our big newspapers arent pieces of crap after all; in fact, they represent the current state of the art in human perfectibility. (Well, at least the New York Times does. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/20/05.) And if they werent the next best thing to perfection, think how bad their coverage would be—of Priscilla Owen, for example.
With that in mind, be sure to read this report in Liberal Oasis—a report critiquing Thursdays profile of Owen in the Los Angeles Times. We chuckled to think that the folks at Oasis didnt realize what Blogger Pangloss explained—that theyre only enabling the right-wing agenda when they pen such thoughtless critiques.
We all say silly things on occasion, and as weve noted, Kevin Drum does endless, superlative policy work. (By himself, he routinely produces more information than the entire staff of the challenged paper he describes as next to perfect.) But uh-oh! Drums perfectibility comment is precisely the type of silly soundbite that screams for eternal parodification. Were trying—trying especially hard—to rein in our analysts demands.
LIMNING PHILLIPS: By the way, is former Texas Chief Justice Tom Phillips actually seen as a moderate? Thats what the Times profile said when it quoted Phillips vouching for Owen. (As the Oasis notes, all four sources in the Times profile spoke in favor of Owen.) To all appearances, Phillips is highly regarded in Texas, but is he actually seen as a moderate? Heres how the Dallas Morning News limned it when Phillips, a Republican, announced his retirement. Pete Slover offered an on the one hand, on the other hand thumbnail:
SLOVER (4/30/04): The court turned all Republican during the judge's first decade in Austin. While justices never again faced the circuslike attention of the 60 Minutes exposé, their solidly conservative rulings generated fervent support and criticism.Summers, a pro-business activist, had high praise for Phillips. McDonald, by contrast, said that Phillips had worked in service to big corporations. Slover called the Phillips court rulings solidly conservative.
At the Times, that means that Phillips is seen as a moderate. (And no, the Times didnt mention his party.) But then, no one ever said our big papers are perfect—just that they come very close.