American and British troops have entered Afghanistan.
The White House gets testy with the media.
On the same day last week that “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw sat down to interview former President Clinton, executives for the program received unexpected phone calls from senior communications staffers at the White House, expressing disappointment about the decision to spotlight Bush’s predecessor.
While not asking the network to refrain from running the interview, they expressed the feeling that the Sept. 18 interview with Clinton would not be helpful to the current war on terrorism. Neither NBC nor the White House would comment on the phone calls, but sources familiar with the calls confirmed that they happened.
This news comes on the heels of revelations that President Bush and Air Force One were not, contrary to earlier White House claims, targets of the terrorists who attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center Sept. 11. The White House is now saying that those claims, which it used to explain why the president didn’t return to Washington immediately that day, were a result of staffers “misunderstanding” security information.
On Wednesday, tensions between the White House and its media critics, real or imagined, threatened to rise even higher. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer took a slap at “Politically Incorrect” host Bill Maher, who called U.S. military strikes on faraway targets “cowardly.” Fleischer blasted Maher, claiming it was “a terrible thing to say,” and didn’t stop there, noting “There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.”
Boonies look better: The NY Post reported yesterday that New Yorkers are heading to the ‘burbs to look for houses. Today, the Washington Post reports that richer New Yorkers are just moving to their summer homes; school attendance in the Hamptons is up.
From the Washington Post:
This is a diaspora of the rich and upper-middle class, a well-funded flight from the city’s death and destruction.
In the weeks since the World Trade Center towers disintegrated, a small but rising number of people who can afford to escape Manhattan are doing so. A quick count finds that about four dozen New York City families have suddenly enrolled their children in private and public schools in the Hamptons, along the gilded southern shore of Long Island.
A property caretaker in Montauk reports that 35 of his clients have moved back into their summer homes full time. Many other families — the numbers are difficult to pin down and change from day to day — have retreated to vacation homes in Upstate New York and the Jersey shore.
These New Yorkers have handsomely appointed second homes and incomes large enough to ease the dislocation. They talk of their move as a chance to soothe their nerves and calm their children.
But some emigrants prefer not to look back. They are moving permanently to the wealthier suburbs, enclaves 10 and 15 miles from New York. In Alpine, N.J., real estate agent Dennis McCormack said clients from New York City have signed $40 million worth of home contracts since the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I’ve experienced a crazy buying frenzy these past two weeks,” said McCormack, president of Prominent Properties. “All are from Manhattan, most live on the Upper East Side and have children.