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Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Four out of five dentists surveyed...
I've criticized the New York Times before, many times, for their use of the "news analysis" label to editorialize in the news section. But they have one standard tactic which may be even worse: their "We won't do any polling because it might get in the way of the story we want to write" polling story. If you wanted to know what black Americans felt about L'Affaire Lott, wouldn't you commission a survey to find out? Well, certainly that's one theory. Or, you could ask nine black people what they thought. And then conclude, from this perfectly representative sample, that a group of people have "mixed feelings" about a subject.
In interviews in a dozen cities and towns across the country this last-minute-shopping weekend, black Americans eagerly welcomed the chance to talk about the furor surrounding Mr. Lott's comment on Dec. 5 that the nation would have been better off if Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948 when Mr. Thurmond was an adamant segregationist. But their responses to Mr. Lott's removal ranged widely, from a newfound approval of President Bush to a renewed hostility toward him and all Republicans.
Which is news to whom, exactly? Is anybody other than Howell Raines surprised to find out that even people of the same skin color can have more than one opinion about something? Isn't this sort of story more worthy of USA Today than the New York Times?

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