Reporter Puzzled by Conservative Hostility

Plus: Smearing Private Guards in Iraq as "Mercenaries"
Reporter Puzzled by Conservative Hostility Toward the Times
"Each time I experienced a new wave of anger toward the paper, I would try various tacks to defuse their hostility. Did they know there was a difference between the editorial and news pages? What about the fact that we get just as much criticism from the left as we do from the right? Did they know how hard we worked to report the news fairly? I would always try to offer an example, or two." - Reporter Michael Luo, in an October 28 posting on the Times political blog "The Caucus."

Economics Reporter Suggests Tax Hiking Our Way to Happiness
"More broadly, if the object of public policy is to maximize society's well-being, more attention should be placed on fostering social interactions and less on accumulating wealth. If growing incomes are not increasing happiness, perhaps we should tax incomes more to force us to devote less time and energy to the endeavor and focus instead on the more satisfying pursuit of leisure." - Economics reporter turned editorial board member Eduardo Porter, November 12.

Smearing Private Guards in Iraq as "Mercenaries"
"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refers to the lack of legal accountability that allows mercenaries working for the American government to kill Iraqis without fear of prosecution as 'a lacuna' in our law....Baghdad's attempt to prosecute United States mercenaries for crimes against Iraqis is not unreasonable....That folly was compounded by the decision to allow gun-toting mercenaries to run around Iraq without any clear legal tether holding them accountable to Iraqi law, American criminal law or military law." -- From the November 5 editorial "Legal Loopholes in Iraq."

"After Rush Limbaugh referred to Iraq war veterans critical of the war as 'phony soldiers,' he received a letter of complaint signed by 41 Democratic senators. He decided to auction the letter, which he described as 'this glittering jewel of colossal ignorance,' for charity, and he pledged to match the price, dollar for dollar." - Stephanie Strom, October 20. Actually, Limbaugh was specifically discussing the case of Jesse MacBeth, an anti-war protestor who falsely claimed to be an Army Ranger.

Swallowing All Valerie Plame's Paranoid Claims
"How dirty did the tricks get? Ms. Wilson describes being denied protection by the C.I.A., fearing for her children's safety, finding out that her tax returns were being audited and having been lucky enough to discover that some bolts holding the Wilsons' outdoor deck, high above the ground, had disappeared. The Wilsons were pushed to the point of looking at ads for real estate in New Zealand." - From Janet Maslin's book review of Valerie Plame's autobiography "Fair Game," October 22.

U.S. "Blood-Thirsty" for Capital Punishment

Elizabeth Weil, November 4.

From editor/columnist Frank Rich's November 11 column.

Because Wal-Mart, After All, Is In the Health-Care Business
"For much of the last decade, the retailing behemoth Wal-Mart stores has been associated with stingy health care as much as low prices." - Opening line to a November 13 front-page story by Michael Barbaro on Wal-Mart giving in to pressure to expand health care. The headline: "A Health Plan for Wal-Mart: Less Stinginess."

What the GOP Merely "Called" a Decline in Violence?

Reality Check: "In the Democrats' version of events, mortar and rocket attacks are not at their lowest level in nearly two years, and half the level of October 2006; car bombs and roadside bombs in Baghdad are not down more than 70 percent from before the surge; civilians deaths didn't fall below 900 in October, down from nearly 2,000 in January; enemy attacks haven't dropped for four straight months; the number of Coalition troops killed in action hasn't fallen over the same months, to the lowest level since February 2004." - Excerpt from an editorial on National Review Online, November 15.