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The NYT's New Favorite Word: "Unsubstantiated" - August 27, 2004


August 27, 2004
The NYT's New Favorite Word: "Unsubstantiated"
"Mr. Bush did not hesitate when asked about the central charge issued by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the veterans' group that has leveled unsubstantiated attacks against Mr. Kerry's record in Vietnam." - From David Sanger and Elisabeth Bumiller's interview of the president, August 27.

"The national counsel for President Bush's re-election campaign resigned on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he acknowledged that he had provided legal advice to a veterans group that has leveled unsubstantiated attacks on Senator John Kerry's Vietnam War record in a book and on the air." - Elisabeth Bumiller on the charges of the Swift Boat veterans, August 26.

"Democrats said all of their activities were legal and that the groups are not leveling similarly personal and unsubstantiated charges against the president." - Elisabeth Bumiller, August 26. "Coming as Republicans prepare to renominate President Bush two miles away at Madison Square Garden, and after a week in which the presidential campaign has been consumed by unsubstantiated charges about Mr. Kerry's military record in Vietnam." - Jodi Wilgoren, August 25.

"Mr. Bush spoke to reporters at his Texas ranch after a weekend in which veterans supporting and opposing Mr. Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, furiously debated mostly unsubstantiated accusations against him by a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." - Elisabeth Bumiller and Kate Zernike, August 24.

"In fairness to Mr. Kerry, his aides were faced with a strategic dilemma that has become distressingly familiar to campaigns in this era when so much unsubstantiated or even false information can reach the public through so many different forums, be it blogs or talk-show radio." - Adam Nagourney, August 21.



Bush/Kerry-One Kind of Campaign Event, but Two Different Takes

"As anyone who has sat through the 90-minute forums knows, the questions are not hand grenades that detonate onto the evening news. Take, for example, one of the first queries at the 'Ask President Bush' session in Beaverton, Ore., on Friday: 'I'm wondering if I can get some inauguration tickets?' Or consider this from Albuquerque on Wednesday: 'Can I introduce my mother and mother-in-law, who are new citizens to this country?' Many times the questions aren't even questions at all." - Elisabeth Bumiller's "On the Road, Bush Fields Softballs From the Faithful," on Bush's campaign chats, August 16.

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"Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, have held 10 such homespun events.The low-key, invitation-only events, where perhaps 100 people sit around red-checked picnic tables, raising hands with questions rather than waving signs with slogans, mimic the town-hall style campaigning for the Iowa caucuses at which both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards excelled. For Mr. Kerry, porch visits follow the chili feeds he held at firehouses all over New Hampshire and Iowa.Situated mainly in swing states, the visits are intended to emphasize the Democrats' kitchen-table economic appeal-light on partisanship, laden with 'we're here for you.'" - Jodi Wilogren's "Front-Porch Chat: Birth of a Kerry Campaign Tactic" on Kerry's campaign chats, August 17.



Nicholas Kristof's Latest Cheap Shot Against Gun Owners
"Still, assault weapons, while amounting to only 1 percent of America's 190 million privately owned guns, account for a hugely disproportionate share of gun violence precisely because of their macho appeal. Assault weapons aren't necessary for any kind of hunting or target shooting, but they're popular because they can transform a suburban Walter Mitty into Rambo, for a lot less money than a Hummer." - From Kristof's August 18 column "Who Needs Assault Weapons?"



Did I Mention They're Conservative?
"The potential effects of conservative discontent on the election remain to be seen. No conservative third-party candidate has gathered much momentum, and few conservatives are likely to pull a lever for Senator John Kerry on Election Day." - David Kirkpatrick, August 26.



Star Wars "Derided" (by Journalists and Other Liberals)

"The administration's plans, which rely on ground-based rockets, are sharply scaled down from the space-based shield envisioned by Mr. Reagan and derided in the 1980's as a 'Star Wars' system." - David Halbfinger on Bush's missile-defense plans, August 18.



And the Times "Calls Itself" Objective
"Mr. Kerry's crewmates have been responding to attacks on Mr. Kerry's war record, this time mainly from a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." - David Halbfinger, July 27.

"a group calling itself Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." - Jim Rutenberg and Kate Zernike, August 22.



How Dare the News Networks Cover the News
"The assault is gaining attention, with Internet and cable television zealots debating combat minutiae and even whether Mr. Kerry enacted wartime events with his political future in mind or held secret meetings with Communists." - From the Times editorial "Politics as Usual," on the anti-Kerry ads by the Swift Boat veterans, August 19.



"Alarming" Environmental Bias in the Times
"A scientific study released on Monday presents an alarming view of climate changes in California, finding that by the end of the century rising temperatures could lead to a sevenfold increase in heat-related deaths in Los Angeles and imperil the state's wine and dairy industries. The study, published in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers the most detailed projection yet of changes in California as temperatures rise around the world because of building concentrations of heat-trapping gases." - Dean Murphy, August 17.



A Blow to Bush on Education
"The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students often doing worse than comparable students in regular public schools. The findings, buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement, dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement, including the Bush administration." - Diana Jean Schemo, August 17.



Sanger Likes Kerry's Nuance on Iraq
"He doesn't have a bumper sticker position. And a year into the Iraq war, maybe that's a good thing. There are a lot of people who think it was simple solutions and simple slogans that made for a rough time in Iraq." - David Sanger, appearing on the August 13 edition of Washington Week in Review.



Sharon Bloody Sharon
"It was not so long ago that Sharon and his memories of blood were the stuff of history and hysterical opposition to everything that seemed hopeful-to the Oslo peace process, to the negotiations that brought Palestinians to the verge of statehood and Israelis to the verge of the safe, welcomed society they dreamed of." - From James Bennet's Sunday magazine profile of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, August 15.



We Get the Point, Neil
"The facility at Guantnamo, which now houses about 585 prisoners, has been widely viewed by foreign governments and human rights organizations as a symbol of Washington's willingness to flout international law. While many inmates have been released, most of those here have been held for more than two years without any charges being filed." - Neil Lewis, August 25.

"United States officials are keenly aware that Guantnamo, which has served as a prison for as many as 800 detainees captured at the end of the Afghanistan war, has become in many parts of the world a symbol of American high-handedness and unwillingness to acknowledge international law." - Neil Lewis, August 22.



"Exhilarating" Assassination Talk from a Bush-Hater
"There are several Broadway shows the Republican delegates won't be attending during their convention at the end of the month, they say. 'Avenue Q,' for instance, might not go over well with the 'defense of marriage' set. One Off Broadway production you can be sure they won't be flocking to is 'Brian Dykstra: Cornered & Alone,' but Democrats and environmentalists are going to find it enormously satisfying. It's always dangerous to equate mere outspokenness with humor, but Mr. Dykstra's exhilarating one-man show, which opened last night at the tiny Triad Theater on the Upper West Side, does more than call names. 'This is a planet that has lost over half its coral reef in your lifetime,' he says. 'I'm talking to the 20-year-olds.' As much as Mr. Dykstra, an actor and writer, dislikes Dennis Miller, his political polar opposite, he has a similar ranting skill and style. And a similar willingness to go over the line. 'I totally understand assassination now,' he says." - From critic Anita Gates' August 13 review of a one-man show in Manhattan.