Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times, devoted his oversized every-other-Monday column to a snobby and elitist assault on an old foe – the dangers of internet commentary, mostly of the right-wing variety, on the state of economic debate: “The Politics of Economics in the Age of Shouting.”
Keller recently took a crash course in economics via airplane and bedside reading and came out of it with a foolproof, completely banal economic fix of "spending cuts, increased tax revenues and entitlement reforms." Then he went after the Internet.
In Monday's edition of his “Best of the Web” column, under the subhead "Recycling Is Garbage," Opinion Journal’s James Taranto unveiled a humorous pattern of New York Times columnists recycling a satirical headline from The Onion that made an apparently profound point about the unfair burdens accompanying Barack Obama into office: "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job." (Not as hard as coming up with new column ideas, apparently.)
* "Of all the coverage of Obama's victory, the most accurate take may still be the piquant morning-after summation of the satirical newspaper The Onion. Under the headline 'Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job,' it reported that our new president will have 'to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.'"--Frank Rich, New York Times, Jan. 18, 2009
New York Times editorial board member, and former Times reporter, David Firestone is filling in for Andrew Rosenthal this week at the paper’s opinion blog The Loyal Opposition. He has apparently been tasked to make Rosenthal seem balanced by comparison, judging by his Monday posting with the laugh-line headline “Barney Frank, Moderate.”
Firestone was paying tribute to liberal Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who has represented the Fourth District in southern Massachusetts for the past 30 years and is retiring now, unwilling to stomach the challenge of running in a redrawn district. Firestone termed Frank, who has earned a lifetime rating of 4 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union, a “centrist.” But if Barney Frank isn’t a liberal, than who in Congress is?
Kevin Boyle reviewed two new books on the Ku Klux Klan for the Sunday Times Book Review under the heading “The Not-So-Invisible Empire.” Boyle, an Ohio State University history professor and frequent contributor to the Times Book Review, compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan. Boyle's review started and ended offensively:
Seattle-based New York Times reporter William Yardley made the front of the Monday Business section with a friendly interview with Kalle Lasn, the catalyst for the Occupy movement and the controversial editor of the Canadian “anticonsumerist” (how about left wing?) magazine Adbusters: “The Branding of the Occupy Movement.”
While crediting Lasn (pictured) for branding the Occupy Wall Street movement, Yardley went 19 paragraphs before mentioning Lasn’s inflammatory 2004 anti-Jewish attack on the Iraq War and neo-conservatives, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”
First it was the New York Times Sunday Review that traded in liberal news analysis for hard-left essays; will the Times Sunday Magazine follow in those left-ward steps? Three long stories from outside writers suggest yes.
Social liberalism: Laurie Abraham’s cover story celebrated the joy of talking sex with high-school seniors: “Teaching Good Sex – A frank, fearless approach to the birds and the bees.” The Table of Contents approvingly quoted teacher Al Vernacchio, “‘What if our kids really believed we wanted them to have great sex?’ Introducing pleasure to the peril of sex education.”
On the eve of Saturday’s Massachusetts state swim championship at M.I.T, the front of the New York Times sports page that morning was dominated by reporter Karen Crouse’s “Boys Swimming on Girls Teams Find Success, Then Draw Jeers." The prospect of boys and girls competing on the same team and in the same contests has suddenly become controversial at the Times. But why now?
Tea Party beat reporter Kate Zernike was back on the reporting scene in a Thursday afternoon “Caucus” post, “A Tea Party ‘Hearing’ in the Senate That Wasn’t.” Zernike surely used up her monthly quota of sarcastic quote marks in this snarky post mocking the unofficial hearings (sorry, “hearings”) held by congressmen who support the Tea Party.
By contrast, Times reporter Scott Shane was quite respectful of an unofficial hearing held on June 16, 2005 by a far-left anti-war fringe aimed at impeaching President George W. Bush.
Kantor’s book, “The Obamas,” certainly does not sound like it will afflict the comfortable couple in the White House: “Filled with riveting detail and insight into their partnership, emotions and personalities, and written with a keen eye for the ironies of public life, THE OBAMAS is an intimate portrait that will surprise even readers who thought they knew the President and First Lady.” That promotional tone matches Kantor’s previous Times coverage of the First Couple.
When Gov. Rick Perry attacked President Obama as an elitist, New York Times reporter Richard Oppel Jr. didn’t just quibble with or criticize the attacks as overboard, but banished them to the “realm of falsehood," in Friday's “Perry’s Latest Attacks Distort Obama’s Words and Past.”
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is testifying today before a Congressional committee on Solyndra, the solar equipment maker favored by the Obama administration that went bankrupt after being pledged federal loan guarantees worth a half-billion dollars.
Revelations that the administration asked Solyndra to delay a layoff announcement until after the 2010 midterm elections made the front page of the Washington Post on Wednesday: “The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.”
New York Times political reporters Jeff Zeleny (pictured) and Jim Rutenberg teamed up on Tuesday for a preview of the possible presidential head-to-head matchup Obama vs. Mitt Romney: “As the Primary Campaign Grinds On, Romney’s Team Prepares for Obama.” But they felt the need to put a metaphorical finger on the scale with a negative description of the GOP.
New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane devoted his Sunday Review column on the future of the paper's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement (it ran before Mayor Mike Bloomberg ousted the OWSers from Zuccotti Park). Brisbane also quoted Executive Editor Jill Abramson sounding sympathetic to Occupy’s goals, promising to produce more stories on the group’s signature cause of income inequality.
The New York Times Sunday Review resembles the hard-left New York Review of Books more and more with every passing week. Formerly the Week in Review, the revamped Sunday Review is lighter on news analysis from liberal Times reporters and heavier on outside essays, often with a hard-left outlook. It’s put together by veteran Times man Andrew Rosenthal, who demonstrates his "alarm" about “right-wing” Republicans at his New York Times blog “The Loyal Opposition.” This week’s target: Ronald Reagan.
Former executive editor, now New York Times columnist Bill Keller theorized on Monday on “How Romney Could Win.” For one, he is “certifiably sane,” unlike some in the GOP field. Keller dismissed Herman Cain as “not-so-serious” and hoped Newt Gingrich would “pass like a tantrum.” But he misses Bill Clinton most of all.
The latest New York Times weekly “Caucus” podcast, hosted by reporters Sam Roberts and Michael Shear, opened with Gov. Rick Perry’s blank-out over the third federal agency he would shut down at last week’s Republican presidential debate, an event the Times and other media outlets rewarded with blanket coverage. Shear compared Perry’s flub to a supposedly “famous” one by candidate Barack Obama in 2008, in which Obama appeared to think there were 58 states in the U.S. But was it famous in the Times? Hardly.
The exchange from the podcast, created last Thursday and posted to nytimes.com on Friday.
John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, co-hosted the GOP debate in Michigan last Wednesday, and had a hand in Perry’s infamous debate “oops” moment, when the Texas governor was unable to list all three of the federal agencies he planned to eliminate as president. On Monday Harwood revealed that a CNBC producer helped prod Perry’s long, awkward moment by shouting a directive into Harwood’s earpiece.
Harwood also writes a weekly “Caucus” column for the New York Times. On Monday he discussed his role in Gov. Rick Perry’s infamous debate "oops," as well as how the audience booed the hosts for bringing up Herman Cain's sexual harassment controversy.
New York Times correspondent Alan Cowell issued a moralistic “Memo from London” on Monday on the humble joys of post-World War II austerity compared to today, where the "have-nots" are tempted by things they cannot have: “As the riots in London and elsewhere in August seemed to show, the profound gulf between haves and have-nots has been magnified by the inequalities and envies of a society that has built its newest altars to consumption and greed.”
A hostile New York Times Sunday Magazine profile of GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain by T.A. Frank compared his policy knowledge unfavorably to that of Britney Spears: “...to say that Herman Cain has an imperfect grasp of policy would be unfair not only to George W. Bush in 1999 but also to Britney Spears in 1999. Herman Cain seems like someone who, quite frankly, has never opened a newspaper.”
“Many [OWS] protesters say the lawless visitors constitute a tiny fringe and are not representative of the movement, which, they say, has espoused nonviolence and mutual aid. Some have suggested moving the kitchen area and the comfort station out of the park to discourage freeloaders from congregating there. But there are concerns that even if the criminal and antisocial elements are a small minority, they are becoming visible enough to tarnish the image of the entire group.” – From a November 6 story by Cara Buckley and Colin Moynihan.
“It was difficult, if not disingenuous, for the Tea Party groups to try to disown the behavior. They had organized the rally, and under their model of self-policing, they were responsible for the behavior of people who were there. And after saying for months that anybody could be a Tea Party leader, they could not suddenly dismiss as faux Tea Partiers those protesters who made them look bad.” – Reporter Kate Zernike on page 139 of her 2010 book “Boiling Mad – Inside Tea Party America.”
Will the media take advantage of sexual harassment allegations to perform even more stringent levels of Cain scrutiny of every word and action from his campaign? New York Times reporter Susan Saulny hinted so in Friday’s “Even Cain’s Old Jokes Face Extra Scrutiny Now.”
Previously, Saulny had quoted leftist Cain-haters Cornel West and Harry Belafonte in an October 19 story fretting over Cain’s playful treatment of black stereotypes on the campaign trail, even quoting a professor who accused Cain of employing “a certain kind of minstrelsy to play to white audiences.”
Yet another media outlet is writing Gov. Rick Perry’s political obituary after his GOP debate flub Wednesday night. This time it's Ross Ramsey, managing editor for the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization that provides content to the New York Times: “National Spotlight Might Shine Too Bright for Gaffe-Prone Perry.”
The Times has certainly feasted on Perry’s flub, in which the Texas governor blanked out on naming the three government agencies he planned to eliminate. Thursday’s front page carried the story under the headline “‘Oops’ at Debate When Perry Can’t Get to Three,” and quoted the entire exchange in a text box on the jump page.
David Firestone, a former national and Washington correspondent for the New York Times who is now on the paper’s editorial board, was featured on Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal’s blog Thursday, commenting on the GOP debate in Michigan Wednesday night, specifically Rick Perry’s flub when he was unable to name the three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate. However, Firestone informed us, “the real mental lapse” involve Republicans trying to cut government programs in the first place. Meanwhile, Obama's stimulus "unquestionably saved millions of jobs."
Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled by Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the Justice Department’s botched sting Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to flow untracked into the U.S. and Mexico, putting thousands of illegally purchased firearms on the street, one of which led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in the Arizona desert.
Republican questioners even forced Holder to admit his initial statements to Congress about his knowledge of the gun-walking were "inaccurate.” But the New York Times's print edition completely skipped it.
On Wednesday, New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner covered an embarrassing gaffe involving President Obama – a private conversation between Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, in which both men were overheard insulting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet somehow the paper managed to omit Obama from its headline: “In Overheard Comments, Sarkozy Calls Netanyahu a ‘Liar.’”
The New York Times is belatedly starting to commit actual journalism on what’s actually happening at the Occupy Wall Street camp-out in Zuccotti Park. Cara Buckley and Matt Flegenheimer reported for Wednesday's Metro section: “At Scene of Wall St. Protest, Rising Concerns About Crime,” mostly abandons the chirpy promotionalism that has infected the paper’s coverage of OWS, catching up to what local rival the New York Post has been doing every day.