New York

Feel Good, America!


That’s the message New York’s tabs are delivering this week—a backlash against suggestions that the Bush administration’s initial response to the Indian Ocean tsunami was lackluster.

A day after headlining that U.S. rescue copters were “worth their weight in gold” to devastated areas of Sumatra, the Daily News reports Tuesday that “Americans—famous and ordinary—are donating so much cash that charities are being swamped by their generosity,” refers to “America the Generous,” and then editorializes that “it seems like just a few days ago that the usual bunch of Self-Hating Americans were falling all over themselves agreeing with that very silly United Nations fellow that America The Stingy is just about the awfulest country that ever was.”

The News adds, remarkably: “Somewhere in stricken Asia there is a motherless child eating a bowl of nourishment and sipping a cup of clean water. Courtesy of Uncle Sam and his helicopters. You’re welcome, youngster. Good luck.” Interestingly, on the News website, a poll indicates that most respondents had not donated money to the relief effort and implied that they did not intend to give.

The Post, which last week devoted a lot of ink to proclaiming American generosity (Friday’s front page trumpeted, “Cash rolls in for survivors,” while Thursday’s Post included a two-page spread headlined, “Our Response Is ‘Incredible’ “), on Tuesday indicates “Bush’s tsunami charity appeal” is “All Heart.” Inside, the Post slaps its own back over the cash that News Corp. has chipped in to the relief effort.

Of course, the News and Post weren’t alone in taking this line: It was the story out of the White House too, with Dubya tapping his dad and Bill Clinton to head an appeal for charitable donations and praising the generosity of the ‘Merican people. Self-Hating Americans will note that one of the instances of charity Bush cited was the owner of a tax assistance firm who “is making a donation for every tax return he prepares”—in other words, making tsunami donations a promotional event, the Ownership Society in action.

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