- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2002

Noble: The writers and editors at the New York Times for creating a masterpiece of American memory with the remarkable series of articles "Portraits of Grief," which concluded this week.
In his remarks on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, President Bush spoke of learning the names and reading the stories of those who perished on September 11. To their lasting credit, reporters at the Times took him at his word, producing 200-or-so-word profiles of more than 1,800 individuals who died in the terrorist attacks.
The portraits weren't complete they weren't intended to be. Instead, as Janny Scott of the Times noted, "The portraits … were brief, informal and impressionistic." Nonetheless, they were monuments of passing moment, akin to the portraits of Manet or Monet.
They presented snapshots of Americans: quiet 36-year-old firefighter Joseph Agnello, who loved his boxers Chelsea and Durante almost as much as he did his wife, Vinnie Carla, and his two sons, 3-year-old Salvatore and 19-month-old Vincent; outgoing, take-charge former cheerleader Linda Oliva, who, despite her 44 years, still loved to dance to Rod Stewart and Tony Bennett; Sean Rooney, a carpenter, cook and conversationalist, who met his wife, Beverly Eckert, at a high school dance more than 60 years ago.
Speaking at his brother's grave, another American, 19th-century artist of oratory Robert Green Ingersoll, said: "Every life, no matter if its hour is rich with love and every moment jeweled with joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death."
Those tragedies, and those lives, should never be forgotten. For a closer look at the Times' noble work of American memory, check out www.nytimes.com/pages/national/portraits.

Knaves: The writers and editors at the New York Times for perpetuating a monstrosity of religious bigotry with a front-page story that equated the religious right with Islamic radicals.
In a recent front-page story on the failure of the Saudi regime to control its endemic Islamic extremists, foreign correspondent Douglas Jehl wrote, "Choosing accommodation over confrontation, the government shied away from a crackdown on militant clerics or their followers, a move that would have inflamed the religious right."
This would appear a straw of innuendo if the Democratic Party were not planning on campaigning on the same theme, according to a recent report by Newsweek's Howard Fineman. According to Mr. Fineman, Democrats will attempt to compare the religious right to the Taliban during this year's election campaign.
Unfortunately, that won't be a new development. Self-righteous elites have enjoyed mocking the religiously inclined since at least the Second Great Awakening. Yet, regardless of what Pat Robertson said about September 11, there's a world of difference between al Qaeda and the average American congregation.
Writers at the New York Times ought to know enough to draw that distinction.



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