"I mean, with the 'draws attention to' formulation, Times editors can concoct a lede 'news' story making practically any tendentious ideological connection they want."
The Times wields a rhetorical device — does it have a specific name? — where you exclude human agency not with the passive voice but by making some abstraction the subject of a sentence written in the active voice. [CORRECTION: I mistakenly wrote "passive voice" for "active voice" at the end of that sentence. Sorry for the confusion!]
The headline Mickey Kaus draws attention to is "Sagging Economy Draws Attention to War Spending." In reality, somebody — e.g., Obama, the NYT — is trying to tell us to look at Y instead of X. The headline absurdly infuses the "sagging economy" with the will and the capacity to cause "attention" to be diverted to the subject of war spending.
The word "attention" also drains the headline of human will. The truth is that Obama/the NYT would like people to look at war spending instead of the economy. "Attention" isn't an entity with powers of perception that can be influenced to look at from one thing to another. The economy isn't trying to get attention to flit immediately from the troublesome subject of itself over to the preferred topic of war spending.
Real human beings, with interests and will, are trying to manipulate the minds of other human beings, who also have interests and will. And there's no evidence that the people have turned our attention to the subject the would-be manipulators prefer. In fact, we're still looking at the economy. It's the economy, stupid, a wise man once said. We're not stupid.