July 5, 2004

Kerry/Osama 2004?

I just sent the following e-mail to New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent. I'll let you know when I get a response. Notice how I use my polite voice when I'm not blogging.

Dear Dan,

Hello again. I have a concern regarding a statement in today's front page story, "Fears of Attack at Conventions Drive New Plans," by David Johnston.

Johnston writes, "New York is regarded as a higher risk than Boston by counterterrorism officials because President Bush is a Republican and because of consistent intelligence."

The claim that Al Qaida is particularly anti-Republican seems to jibe just a little to well with the foul canard suggested by John Ashcroft and others in the Bush administration that Al Qaida is pro-Democrat and, by extension, vice versa. I understand that Johnston is citing officials, but he does so in a way that makes the conclusion sound self-evident. It is not.

I could understand if he'd said New York is higher risk because of the symbolism of the city, or because George Bush is the president of the United States, but I have never seen any other reports that Al Qaida is targetting Republicans especially, or that it even cares about the American political process. If counterterrorism officials believe this, that would surely qualify as news, and Johnston should explain why, rather than just state it as if it's obvious -- does the "consistent intelligence" he mentions say "Osama hearts Kerry"?

If, as I suspect, the officials who said this offered it only as a theory, Johnston should raise the possibility that they are trying to score political points, and that the administration has a track record of doing this (cf, Ashcroft's 5/26 press conference).

I certainly hope that Johnston did not simply repeat this claim without even ascertaining what it is based on. If that's the case, he and the Times owe us an apology.

Best wishes,


Posted by Daniel Radosh


I can just imagine the look on Dan's face when he sees your letter. "Not HIM again... "

"...just a little TOO well..."

pedant -- I did catch and fix that in the actual e-mail, so if he blows me off, we know that won't be the reason.

"osama wants you to vote for kerry"

have you seen that ashcroft fear remix video that this is from?


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