Sunday, July 25, 2004


On the Arts & Leisure front page every week, columnist Frank Rich slices up President Bush, Mel Gibson, John Ashcroft and other paladins of the right in prose as uncompromising as Paul Krugman's or Maureen Dowd's.

--"public editor" Daniel Okrent, agreeing with conservatives that The New York Times is unacceptably liberal, in today's edition

... big guns in the culture industry are rousing themselves into a war-room frenzy of anti-Bush hysteria that goes well beyond fielding an inept talk-radio network and producing documentaries for the base at

It can be seen at full throttle in Jonathan Demme's remake of the classic cold war thriller, "The Manchurian Candidate," which opens nationally on Friday, the morning after the Democratic convention ends. This movie could pass for the de facto fifth day of the convention itself.

I cannot recall when Hollywood last released a big-budget mainstream feature film as partisan as this one at the height of a presidential campaign. That it has slipped into action largely under the media's radar, as discreetly as the sleeper agents in its plot, is an achievement in itself. Freed from any obligations to fact, "The Manchurian Candidate" can play far dirtier than "Fahrenheit 9/11."

--Frank Rich, also in today's edition of the Times

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