Sunday, November 26, 2006

NY Times Disses James A. Baker III

Today's New York Times headlines James Baker as "Mr. Fix-It of the G.O.P." I don't think I'm being overly sensitive by being offended. The entire tone of the opinion-laced "news" article, written by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, characterizes Baker as an ambitious chameleon, sometimes partisan and sometimes not, and the quintessential whack-a-mole diplomatic problem solver. But that's not my chief complaint since I've learned to expect the Times to report opinion as news. Rather, I'm primarily irked by the headline which is likely all that many readers will remember from the piece.

It's a slur to every American to demean James Baker, who has devoted himself to a demanding career of public service, as a Republican and as an American. The "Mr. Fix-It" tag trivializes his efforts, figuratively making him the guy who's going to repair the switch on a kitchen appliance, rather than a statesman analyzing foreign policy strategies and making recommendations. And, Mr. Baker is working for all Americans, not just the G.O.P.

I'm also insulted by the Times contention that Mr. Baker is trying to seal his legacy as a statesman. Hey, Stolberg, read the Times archives. James Baker's legacy doesn't need sealing.

An apology for irresponsible journalism should be forthcoming from the Times. Additionally, a headline story about Bill Clinton titled "Mr. Sex, Lies and DNA of the Dems" would provide balance and be somewhat truer. Be aware, though, that that wouldn't let the Times off the hook for trying to be graffiti artists.

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