Times smells Kerry's "aroma"

By Geraldine Sealey
Published October 11, 2004 9:19PM (EDT)

Bob Somerby rips the Times a new one for, well, for a few things, but we're especially interested in his take on the front page piece on Sunday devoted to Kerry's life being "shaped" by the wealth of others. Somerby points out how inappropriate it was for the Times to run this piece so close to Election Day -- one that relied heavily on subjective, nearly silly, lines such as, "Mr. Kerry has never been able to escape the aroma of class privilege that clings to him." (That was our fave.)

It was especially ironic for the story to run, and so prominently, when deep inside the paper in the Week in Review section, public editor Daniel Okrent made the point that the paper's political coverage had not, overall, been biased in one direction or the other.

About the wealth article, Somerby wrote: "This article wasn't published in July, when it would have been merely daft; it was published on a Sunday front-page, in October, as voters were making their final decisions, and it will fuel an endless Republican effort to present Kerry as a rich, wealthy, fake, phony swell. And [reporter Robert Worth] understands how these images work, because he says so right in his piece. 'Class is not a new weapon in American politics,' he notes, as he hands Kerrys foes their new cudgels."

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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