A Cup of Afghan Tea with the Editors of The New York Times

Rich Tucker /

So what do yesterday’s nationwide tea parties and a protest march in Afghanistan have in common? They’re both highlights of conservative victories, successes (unsurprisingly) mostly ignored in the pages of The New York Times.

Tens of thousands of Americans rallied at tea parties on Wednesday
to protest out-of-control federal spending. That’s probably news to the remaining handful of Americans who get their information solely from the “newspaper of record.”

The print edition of the Times provided a tepid write up of the parties on page A-16. “Although organizers insisted they had created a nonpartisan grass-roots movement, others argued that these parties were more of the Astroturf variety,” sniffed Liz Robbins.

Her piece was heavily reported — six people contributed in addition to the author — but seems to have missed a forest of protesters right in the newspaper’s front yard. While the Times provides a detailed count of the turnout in some cities (200 in Philadelphia, 500 in Pensacola, 2,000 in Houston) it glosses over the fact that 5,000 or so gathered near New York’s City Hall.

So what story lights up the Times’ front page, with two (below the fold) color photos? A march in Afghanistan, where some 300 women braved a crowd “three times larger than their own,” to protest a recently passed law that severely limits the rights of women.

“It was an extraordinary scene,” the Times reports. “Women are mostly illiterate in this impoverished country, and they do not, generally speaking, enjoy anything near the freedom accorded to men. But there they were, most of them young, many in jeans, [George Will cannot be happy] defying a threatening crowd and calling out slogans heavy with meaning.”

There’s a reason Afghan women are “mostly illiterate” and do not enjoy the freedoms men do. It’s because the country was run for years by the regressive Taliban. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan provides a handy list of some of the freedoms denied to women by the Taliban. See the bestseller A Thousand Splendid Suns for further examples.

Women in Afghanistan today have the ability to protest because the United States led a coalition to remove the Taliban in 2001 and allow an elected government to run the country. That’s the sort of fact that never seems to make The New York Times’ front page. Maybe that’s why the paper is waddling toward bankruptcy, while the anti-tax tea party movement will only grow stronger.