NYT mistakes right to speak for mythical right to be heard

Posted by: ST on January 17, 2006 at 12:32 am

In September of last year, New York Governor George Pataki rightly slammed the door on an attempt by certain liberal groups to have an “International Freedom Center” at the 9-11 memorial that would have essentially pinned the blame for all of the world’s ills on the US. A quick recap of the controversy:

The larger museum, the International Freedom Center, has sparked fears it will focus on acts of U.S. wrongdoing, like slavery and treatment of American Indians, while the Drawing Center, now based in SoHo, was exposed in The News as displaying graphic and vulgar art attacking America’s war on terror.

“Sure, there can be debate,” Pataki said when asked if his tough stance jeopardized free-speech rights. “But I don’t want that debate to be occurring at Ground Zero.”

Acting after a protest from family members – and word the Drawing Center had displayed art linking President Bush to Osama Bin Laden and portraying terror suspects as victims of American torture – the governor laid down the law to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.: “Contact the cultural institutions on the memorial site. . . and get from them an absolute guarantee that as they proceed, it will be with total respect for the sanctity of that site.” This was followed by a simple, stark threat: “I’m hopeful they are able to do that, and if not, then they shouldn’t be there.

Fast forward to now. Part of the IFC – the controversial anti-American Drawing Center – has found a new home, and the NYTimes couldn’t be more pleased. While expressing their pleasure, they also took the time to criticize the Governor for his stance on the IFC:

The Drawing Center, of course, was once part of other plans to rebuild Lower Manhattan. It was going to inhabit a planned cultural center at ground zero, until, in a memorable spasm of apparently unscripted patriotism, Gov. George Pataki made it impossible for the center to remain.

If nothing else, the battle over culture at ground zero made it perfectly clear that Governor Pataki favors free speech, but only if it takes place in another part of town.

It seems as though the NYT has confused the right to speak with the mythical “right to be heard.” They go further – you can almost hear the dejected sighs the editors likely exhaled as they wrote the following:

The real question is what ground zero has lost by losing the Drawing Center. The answer depends on many things, especially the perplexing fate of the memorial design and the character of the inchoate memorial museum. At best, ground zero has lost the ability to stand for freedom of speech, that most American principle. At worst, it risks becoming a deeply fragmented place, divided between mourning and shopping.

“Lost the ability to stand for free speech”? Again, the NYT displays an implied belief in that fantasy “right to be heard.” One wonders if the Times would be in favor of a museum devoted to them that contained a section on the Jayson Blair scandal and the ensuing brouhaha that followed with the resignation of their top two editors? I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Afterall, apparently the editors at the NYT believe that sites that are supposed to honor the memories of all who were lost in the WTC on 9-11 while emphasizing America’s greatness, resiliency, and will to overcome in the face of a tragedy of that magnitude should also contain “art” that contradicts and denigrates it as well.

Hat tip to Clay Waters at Newsbusters, who notes that Hillary Clinton was opposed to the IFC as well – of course the “newspaper of record” neglected to mention that.

(Cross-posted at Blogs For Bush)

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16 Responses to “NYT mistakes right to speak for mythical right to be heard”


  1. ttyler5 says:

    If the NYTwits care so much about the drawing center, why don’t they put it in their lobby?

  2. benning says:

    ttyler5: How dare you question the NYTimes’ Patriotism?!!

    ‘Course there are a few places in the East River, where the sludge isn’t as thick, which might make a suitable home for the Drawing Center.

    As well as the NYT. :d

  3. PCD says:

    It is about time to start putting Anti-American liberals in their place, and that is not running things or controlling the conversations.

  4. tommy in nyc says:

    I find it amusing that commenters here think they are speaking for my fellow city residents as far as a memorial goes. Their are many residents of my city who think that the 43 Admin’s decision to go to war against Iraq placed our residents in greater danger for our personal security rather than worrying about some memorial at ground zero.

  5. tommy in nyc says:

    But bashing liberals at the NYT also makes the right feel good about themselves so I’m not surprised. The reconstruction most New Yorkers want is to rebuild the WTC the same way it was before and have a respectful memorial to those who were murdered. That’s the overwhelming opinion of most N.Y.er’s I know. It does upset me when farmers tells us how to rebuild our downtown.

  6. “some memorial at ground zero”

    “some memorial”?? Your characterization via implication that it’s just another run of the mill memorial truly stuns me, Tommy. Not only that, but if you really had concerns about a ‘respectful’ memorial, then you’d be joining the hated right in opposing a museum on the memorial site that essentially blamed the US for all the ills in the world. Maybe the fact that you think it’s just “some memorial” is an indication that you really don’t give a fig what’s going to be put there. Maybe you don’t care, but others do.

    BTW, the intro of Iraq by you in this is nothing but a red herring. Nice try.

  7. tommy in nyc says:

    Sister Toldjah as I mentioned there is controversity about the memorial here in the city. Personally I had 3 acquaintiences murdered down there. One major problem with any memorial is the fact that the FDNY,PAPD and the NYPD want a seperate acknowledgement of them being in the uniformed service of the city whereas the families of civilians who were killed are ticked off about fact 1) Their families were compenasated more finanically than civilians and 2) it diminishes their deaths in their view compared to the members of the uniformed services that’s why their is controversity about any memorial you place down there. Plus the political aspect of some city residents who honestly feel than some of our foreign policies were partially responsibile for the attacks. Personally I don’t agree polical B.S. about our foreign policies but some families of the fallen do. I’m just stating as a resident of the city some of the issues concerning a memorial at the WTC site. That’s all.

  8. PCD says:

    Tommy, It is closed minded, feeling superior to the rest of us people like you who really are generating a backlash against NYC. There is NO reason to gratify the America Hates among the American left with any of their crackpot ideas being enshrined in ANY WTC Memorial.

    Second, I am getting tired listening how people got gypped on compensation. Many, if not the majority, got much more than fair. Our fallen from WW2, Korea, Vietnam, never got anywhere near as much.

    Greedy Liberals in NYC are overplaying their hands and had better wise up before the “farmers” cut off all the funds the the ungrateful whelps in NYC.

  9. ttyler5 says:

    Tommy in NYC, the memorial is being funded with federal, state, local and private funds.

    I find it amusing that you would consider this national memorial the property of “city residents.”

  10. Baklava says:

    Tommy wrote, “I find it amusing that commenters here think they are speaking for my fellow city residents as far as a memorial goes. Their are many residents of my city who think that the 43 Admin’s decision to go to war against Iraq placed our residents in greater danger for our personal security rather than worrying about some memorial at ground zero.

    1) It was an attack on America not just an attack on NYC.
    2) What does Iraq have to do with 9/11 memorial? Pearl Harbor isn’t used as a WW2 memorial and the WTC memorial shouldn’t be a recount of the entire WOT either.
    3) I dispute your last sentences position. Having a dictator who killed hundreds of thousans and wanted to kill Americans DISPOSED OF and then giving Iraqi people a chance at democracy where the people are more likely to want and vote themselves a better life not war is a better future that some Iraqi neighbor insurgents can’t stand to see. More than 42% of so-called insurgents are not Iraqi’s. Did you know that?

  11. “At worst, it risks becoming a deeply fragmented place, divided between mourning and shopping.”

    – Yes. Damn those bleeding heart mourners. How dare they stand in the way of the Lefts right to scream Marxist slogans in a room full of free Americans.

    – Bleh. Everywhere you look the Dems march on in their campaign of self implosion.

    – Bang **==

  12. PCD says:

    One thing about Tommy’s posts, we get to see the misinformation, if not the mental illness, the left revels in and believes is true in the absence of facts.

    I sometime wonder why the left insists on wrong being right?

  13. Steve Skubinna says:

    Actually, I too thought immediately of the NYT lobby as the home of the Drawing Center. Maybe if they moved Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer out of the way it’d make room.

    And tommy, I don’t think the “farmers” are as interested in telling you what to do as they are ticked off at the constant preaching and moralizing directed at them by NYC elitists. Middle America does not think of you nearly as much as you (New Yorkers) think of them. Or of yourselves.

  14. Mike Veeshir says:

    Maybe they could agitate for a few new exhibits at the Newseum
    The “Made-Up-News” Exhibit prominently featuring Jayson Blair and Dan Rather, among others.

    The “Lying for Saddam” Exhibit featuring CNN and anybody else who will admit it.

    The “Slandering our Troops Abroad” Exhibit featuring Eason Jordan, among others.

    And my personal favorites,
    The “Ridiculous Defense of Made-Up News” Exhibit prominently featuring Steve Lovelady from the CJR, among others.

    The “Bloggers Scooping the News” Exhibit featuring Allah, Bill from INDC and LGF, among others.

    You know, in the spirit of the 1st Amendment.

  15. ttyler5 says:

    Mike, I think I will create a blog that will do just that! Great suggestions! I will return with the info and link!

  16. lawhawk says:

    I’ve been covering the Battle for Ground Zero for the last year on my blog, but it’s good that this story gets wider play.

    The LMDC which is overseeing Lower Manhattan reconstruction gave a $10 million grant to the Drawing Center so that it can relocate from its current location to the now empty Fulton Fish Market. That’s $10 million that could have gone to businesses in Chinatown that are still affected by street closures and security measures enacted after 9/11. Instead, the folks at the politically connected Drawing Center got the money. And the NYT shills for them at every opportunity.