Off with Their Heads by Dick Morris


Ordinarily, I would never comment or rank a book that I didn’t finish, but this one bugged me enough to make an exception. “Off with Their Heads” is well ranked on Amazon.com, but a closer look shows that people either love it or hate it. I hated it – or at least I hated the first chapter. Dick Morris’ book is supposedly what happened to our sense of unity and determination after 9/11. He blames a number of organizations and people for “sidetracking” us and devotes a section to each of them. The first section was about the New York Times. Morris claims that the NYT’s is now extremely liberal and that they slant their poll numbers (that was interesting) and pick their stories to align with their beliefs. While I personally believe every newspaper picks stories that align with their beliefs, and I have no problem with it, I just like to know about it, so I was looking forward to hearing his NYT story. However, other than the issue of the poll numbers, all I heard was rants. Morris was very upset that any front page space was given to the civil rights of prisoners, the number of dead in Iraq, etc.
If the New York Times slanted their polls or weighted them inappropriately, then that’s wrong. If they gave titles to news stories that weighted the news towards one side or another of the story, then I agree they are biased but not necessarily wrong.
If the New York Times decides that the civil liberties issue as manifested by the lack of prisoner rights granted to prisoners in Guantanomo Bay is a front page issue, then I think they have the right to put the story on the front page. I think it is front page news. I don’t think it should be withheld because it might detract from our support of the Iraq War. I think it’s atrocious that we don’t give our prisoners captured during time of war (not those captured on the battlefield, but those captured in civilian places, like the Chicago airport) the same democratic process and “innocent until proven guilty” as every other citizen. We need to practice what we believe in. That is a separate, although not unrelated, issue than whether or not we should support a war in Iraq.