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Girlie Stuff

by JOHN HESS

I think it’s safe to predict that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be forgiven for calling certain Democrats “girlie men” — just as he’s been forgiven for groping women and for talking fondly about Aryan ubermensch. Our media are always more tolerant of the sins of Republicans than of Democrats.

Just so, the Times reported that John Edwards was dashing around praising John Kerry like a used car salesman trying to get us to ignore the dents in the fenders.

By contrast, its reporting on the Bush campaign tends to follow whatever the White House has chosen as its spin for the day.

For example, now that the occupation of Iraq is over, the Times reports today that its prime minister let us bomb Fallujah – though our military command could not confirm that it asked for his permission. He also let an insurgent newspaper resume publication. As Bush says, let freedom reign.

In between explosions, our embedded correspondents tell us Iraq is quieting down. Not enough to bring some of our troops home — on the contrary – the powder trail has been tracked to Iran — Iran, Iraq, what’s the difference?

Back home, we look at the bright side. A government survey says violence is down and pregnancy is down among teenagers — but poverty is up and so is obesity. The headline says “Report Notes Improved Well-Being of U. S. Youth.” Well-being indeed. Now let them exp why, with violence down sharply, our jails are overflowing with young people from the ghetto. Shall we talk about AIDS, or TB, or lead, or jobs, or wages, or schools, or housing?

Stay tuned.

John L. Hess is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

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JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

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