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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (where the articles are hotlinked).

USA Today leads with the US election but most US papers lead with the Gaza pull-out vote in Israel’s Knesset, which is also big news in France and the UK, where the death of DJ John Peel attracts considerable attention.

Ever wonder, as do I, how Ariel Sharon—portrayed until now as a war criminal—has suddenly become a statesman? I suppose it’s possible that his character has changed since I saw him last, but maybe the papers were wrong then, and chances are the newspapers are wrong about him now.

Bottom line: He's a politician. As are his rivals--within his party and within the opposition ranks.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board considers the Gaza vote. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board looks at Saddam’s lost explosives.

In commentary, Pete du Pont explains why Bush will win. Britons John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge explain that the US will remain a conservative country whatever the outcome.

In the Washington Post, executive editor Leonard Downie explains how the Post separates its news and editorial pages; the piece should be read by his Canadian counterparts, judging from coverage of our election last June. And how about following Slate's practice of every reporter/commentator telling readers for whom they plan to vote?

The Post’s editorial board reconsiders stem-cells. Peter Beinart says next week's US election will mark the end of the "Jewish vote." Anne Applebaum says it’s time to try Saddam.

The New York Times’ editorial board looks at voting in Iraq, and at home next week. William Safire looks at the Afghanistan election.

Nicholas Kristof says George Bush is economical with the truth. Daniel Benjamin and Gabriel Weimann look at jihadi websites.

At home, the PM and the Preems—or most of them--reached a deal on equalization. Newfoundland was not asymmetrically unhappy, and Greg Weston says Paul Martin is the loser in the spat with Danny Williams.

What I can't figure out is the hullabaloo over Mohammed Elmasry; is anyone truly surprised by his statements? And, if the hapless professor heeds the editorialists’ call to resign, how likely is it that the next guy to head the Canadian Islamic Congress will think any differently about the legitimacy of “martyrdom” attacks against civilians in the Mideast?

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen--which first brought Elmasry's egregious statements to our attention--today front the $33 B equalization deal (it’s $28 B in the Post’s early edition and still is in the Citizen).

The Post also features the Gaza pull-out and the US presidential campaign. The Citizen has the military brass complaining about politicians making them wear the seared sub, and Paul Martin’s upcoming appearance at the Gomery Inquiry.

Inside the Citizen, Susan Riley goes after Paul Martin,

“Sheila Copps is careless with facts and Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams has a penchant for theatrical outbursts. Still, this unlikely pair -- and a damning new report on the federal government's lamentable environmental record -- may be feeding niggling doubts about Paul Martin's credibility.”

The editorial board says,

“Parliament shouldn't stand in the way of the Gomery Inquiry's search for the truth about the $200-million sponsorship scandal, even if that means waiving some of its centuries-old parliamentary privileges.”

Inside the Post, Stephen Harper explains the Belgian waffle; he should drop it and move on.

David Asper wades into the Copps/Martin spitting match and asks why it would have been a scandal if it were true that Paul Martin wanted to do away with the Canada Health Act.

Andrew Coyne is not sure of the result, but he likes the process BC’s Citizens’ Assembly used to come up with a new electoral system, and he says we lotuslanders might just be willing to give it a chance; I'd say that he and his fellow Ontarians should be the mice in experimenting with a system used by only one country (population 400,000) in the 53-member Commonwealth (population 1.8 Billion) to elect its lower house.

The editorial board praises John McCallum for trying to change Ottawa ’s spending culture. Another editorialist says life goes on without hockey, and the owners and players are just hurting themselves.

John Ivison paints a fine portrait of Paul Martin:

“There are days, like yesterday, when Paul Martin appears as a caricature of himself -- eyes wide in innocence, a trickle of sweat on his upper lip, proclaiming himself ''very, very sympathetic'' to whichever interest group has its hand out. He comes across as a guileless Oliver Twist in a room full of Fagins and Artful Dodgers….If Pierre Trudeau felt like a headwaiter taking the orders of 10 provincial premiers, Martin is shaping up to be chief cook and bottle-washer.”

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Vancouver Sun fronts politicking teachers, and Svend's ring, which is for sale. The editorial board is keeping an open mind to electoral reform. Their counterparts in Calgary poop on equalization.

The Montréal Gazette fronts rape, C. difficile and Gaza. The editorial board poops on Ralph Klein, who

“has come out of the gate blazing away at federal interference with Alberta 's affairs. That this interference is wholly imaginary doesn't really matter: No Canadian premier ever lost votes by blaming things on Ottawa.”

Another editorialist writes, “Poor Sheila Copps has fired her last shot, and missed.”

The Toronto Star fronts equalization “handouts,” Mitch Potter in metaphorical overdrive on the Gaza vote and Rosie DiManno getting back at Mohammed Elmasry; my, revenge must taste sweet.

Inside, Tim Harper reports on the presidential campaign, Sandro Contenta on memorial ceremonies in Italy.

The editorial board wants Mayor Miller and Premier McGuinty to kiss and make up; Ian Urquhart says nothing’s changed with a change in the players.

Another editorialist--stupidly connecting the statements to anti-Semitism--calls for Mohammed Elmasry’s resignation.

Richard Gwyn reflects on US politics. Chantal Hébert says Paul Martin is becoming the premiers’ doormat.

The Globe and Mail fronts the deal, Jane Taber on the guy who walked, the sub story, the Stonechild investigation (here's the report in the Star-Phoenix) and the noose tightening around Paul Martin’s neck.

Inside, Shawna Richer serves up a portrait of Danny Williams. Estanislao Oziewicz looks back at Tiananmen protesters.

Mark MacKinnon looks at the Ukraine election. Alan Freeman reports on the presidential campaign, Shawn McCarthy on the latest business-bust.

Jeff Simpson writes about Danny Williams,

“who stomped out of a first ministers meeting on equalization yesterday in Ottawa crying “betrayal” and claiming his province had again been “shafted,” insists he will try to revitalize rural Newfoundland . All his predecessors made similar promises, and all failed. As Canadians saw yesterday with Mr. Williams's bravado performance, he does not lack for self-confidence. So maybe he can succeed in the face of decades of failure, but the odds are stacked against him.”

Murray Campbell says the divided premiers got half a loaf in the equalization deal. John Ibbitson should have taken another day to collect his thoughts on the subject.

The editorial board says,

“As an act of political theatre, Danny Williams's decision to storm out of the federal-provincial equalization conference yesterday drew attention to an important issue. But since the Newfoundland and Labrador Premier has won a victory — even if it is less than the victory he says he was promised — it was a surprising exit. His province stands to get a lot more money.”

Another editorialist writes about the Gaza vote,

“In a region so prone to moving backward, even a small step forward seems huge. This is a pivotal moment for Israel . Wrenching as it is, leaving Gaza is the easy part; but for the moment, the Knesset vote is worth celebrating.”

Posted by Norman Spector on October 27, 2004 | Permalink


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The good news is, Brian Mulroney is a grandpa. The bad news? So is Lewis Lapham.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-10-27 6:59:55 AM

"What I can't figure out is the hullabaloo over Mohammed Elmasry; is anyone truly surprised by his statements?"

Certainly the Globe has no business being surprised. They grant frequent columns to Sheema Khan, who felt moved to defend sharia law in Nigeria when a woman had been sentenced to death by stoning for the sin of being raped, and who demanded we disabuse ourselves of the notion that jihad means anything other than an inner personal struggle for self-improvement.

So what will our fearless editorialists do when they realize that the "sons of pigs and monkeys" riff, and the stuff about rocks and trees helpfully ratting out the Jews hiding behind them, come verbatim from the Koran? Will they condemn the Koran? Or will they retreat, horrified that by condemning these remarks, they've been guilty of cultural insensitivity?

Posted by: surly | 2004-10-27 7:41:57 AM

“What I can't figure out is the hullabaloo over Mohammed Elmasry; is anyone truly surprised by his statements?”
Well, no one should be surprised; but that doesn’t mean that a hullabaloo isn’t called for. The more these characters are exposed the better. Maybe, just maybe it’ll help smoke out a few of the “moderate” Muslims we’re constantly told are the face of “true” Islam. If not, the ongoing absence of outrage from these “moderates” against Islamist extremism would also be instructive.

Posted by: JR | 2004-10-27 1:25:21 PM

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