- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

“Some liberals” — yes, we’ll use the formulation — simply can’t admit that some Democrats are acting sourly in the wake of Abu Musab Zarqawi’s death last week. A case in point is yesterday’s New York Times column by Paul Krugman which singles out this newspaper for supposedly fanning the flames of the “Some Democrats” meme.

Our offense: Reporting, quoting and summarizing in a headline the defeatist words of prominent Democratic lawmakers Pete Stark, Jim McDermott and Dennis Kucinich. Their words do in fact illustrate that “some Democrats” pooh-poohed the killing of the thug Zarqawi. “Some conservatives,” including us, consider those lawmakers to be otherworldly in their thinking on national security. If Mr. Krugman wants us to stop reporting facts which he happens to dislike, he should just say so. In that case we would stand guilty of the crime of journalism.

Here are the lawmakers’ reactions, as our reporter Amy Fagan heard them: “This is just to cover Bush’s [rear] so he doesn’t have to answer questions,” said Mr. Stark. “This insurgency is such a confused mess that one person, dead or alive at this point, is hardly significant today,” said Mr. McDermott. Mr. Kucinich, calling Zarqawi a small part of “a growing anti-American insurgency,” used the occasion to claim, “We’re there for all the wrong reasons.” Our newsroom summarized these remarks in a headline: “Democrats call Zarqawi killing a stunt.”

“[N]one of the Democrats quoted by The Washington Times actually called the killing of Zarqawi a stunt, or said anything to that effect,” groused Mr. Krugman. This is rich. They did in fact say things “to that effect.” Words have no meaning if we cannot regard a lawmaker who says “This is just to cover Bush’s [rear]” as also accusing Mr. Bush of a political stunt. Besides, we would point out, Mr. Krugman’s column fails his own standard. His headline is “Some of All Fears.” We’re not about to feign indignation because the word “fears” does not appear in the Fagan story. Headline writers summarize. By Mr. Krugman’s logic, we should be incensed.

Mr. Krugman’s real problem isn’t with us, of course. It’s with people like Messrs. Stark, McDermott and Kucinich who keep reminding more reasonable liberals that their party contains a significant number of people who cannot think objectively about foreign policy. They are, in fact, weak on national security, however much Mr. Krugman dislikes it.

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