Either someone at the New York Times doesn’t like Mayor Rahm Emanuel very much, or the Gray Lady needs to brush up on her history.
How else to account for the unfortunate evocation of murderous Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the headline NYT editors put on Emanuel’s Op-ed column about his work to improve the CTA in Monday’s Times?
“Rahm Emanuel: In Chicago, the Trains Actually Run on Time,” blared the Times, on top of a column in which Emanuel favorably contrasted his policy of putting maintenance and reliability ahead of expansion of the city’s rail system.
New Yorkers ongoing complaints about their subway system have of course reached fever pitch this summer, particularly after the derailment of a train last month forced frightened passengers to escape through a smoky underground passage lit only by their cellphones.
So Emanuel, who rides the “L” to work once a week, seized the chance to gloat that “Modernizing our existing mass transit is one reason Chicago’s economy has expanded faster than the economies of New York and Washington, and faster than the national average for the last five years.”
But the impact of the mayor’s boast may have been overshadowed by the headline, which called to mind the old fascist trope that you can “Say what you want about Mussolini, but at least he got the trains running on time.”
“They chose it,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said of the NYT editors who he said picked the headline.
CTA passengers may quibble with the mayor’s assessment of the “L.” But fascists, take note: Historians are in broad agreement that Mussolini did not, in fact, make the trains run on time.