Chi Trib has come through with another in its series on hard times in America, rubbing raw the sores of discontent in Saul Alinsky style — hey, why be a newsman if you can’t rub sores?
Today’s is Mark Silva’s “Bush touts it, jobless doubt it: President’s talk of strong economy hard for some in St. Louis to believe.” This is hard-copy page-one stuff, though run as a business story on-line. It’s a nice prep for listening to Bush’s State of Union speech tomorrow, meaning don’t believe the s.o.b. when he reports on the economy:
The president will trumpet the nation's economic successes, with unemployment down and productivity up, crediting his tax cuts and calling on Congress to make them permanent. But the gap between the president's view and that of many working Americans is a yawning one and quite apparent in this once proud but dramatically shrunken middle-American city where good-paying work is hard to find,
says Silva, who has a nose for bad news. Is this not what Dems and other leftists want to hear? Does not Chi Trib deliver it neatly and on time? Hey, Bush lied, what’s a mainstream newsie to do? Rather, “Bush touts.” “Tout” is a favorite here. It used to refer to the guy at the track tipping you to a winner.
Bush and his chief economic advisor are quoted with simple statements, no arguing their case. Touts. A Democrat state senator complained? No, she just “said.” No colorful language here. Why would there be? Trib takes her seriously. A St. Louis U. political science (not even economics) professor gets a paragraph, supporting Trib’s angle — which no man dare call slant. Another, who teaches “American studies” (?), agrees.
And, of course, so does Angie Totten, who just got laid off. This is a business story? It’s Job Losses Under Bush for Dummies. That’s us, who read Chi Trib and others of the antique media to find out what’s happening.
All is not leftist in Trib news coverage, however. Its 2/2/04 article, part of a series, on Bridgeview Islamicists — “Struggle for the soul of Islam,” has star billing at Power Line, where Scott Johnson calls it “outstanding” and quotes it at length, including this:
Among the leaders at the Bridgeview mosque are men who have condemned Western culture, praised Palestinian suicide bombers and encouraged members to view society in stark terms: Muslims against the world. Federal authorities for years have investigated some mosque officials for possible links to terrorism financing, but no criminal charges have been filed.
The issue is not dead, says Johnson, referring to Friday’s Wall Street Journal piece by Joel Mowbray, “Reign of the Radicals: One man fights to take back his mosque from Islamists” — in light of which “the Tribune article deserves a second look,” says Johnson. Mowbray writes about Omar Najib's 20–plus-year fight to save the Bridgeview mosque from fundamentalists, concluding that
Notwithstanding Mr. Najib's protests, the current leadership seems quite popular. An estimated 2,000 people attend Friday prayers, a 20-fold increase from 1983. The ever-expanding contingent of mosque-goers appears to consist largely of fundamentalists in sync with the leadership's worldview, which seeks a return to "pure Islam" and preaches withdrawal from secular society. By Mr. Najib's count, the overwhelming majority of men at the mosque have religious beards and almost every woman is covered from head-to-toe. Stepping foot through the door, he says, "is like walking inside the Taliban."
While most Americans believe--or, at least, hope--that all but a handful of their Muslim countrymen find radical Islam noxious, Mr. Najib's tale is not encouraging. Not only has no one at the mosque publicly backed his reform efforts but "you can count on less than two hands the number of people who have supported me privately," Mr. Najib laments. "It's been a lonely fight."
Since the Spanish Civil War, such people have been called Fifth Columnists. Or as Bobby Kennedy titled his book about labor-union corruption, the enemy within. Is that too strong?