Who Says Times Journalists Aren’t Religious?
"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." – Managing editor Jill Abramson as quoted by Times media reporter Jeremy Peters upon her ascension to the executive editor slot, replacing Bill Keller, in a story posted at nytimes.com the morning of June 2. The quote disappeared later that day and did not make it into the next day’s print edition.
David Mamet, Far-Right Playwright
"David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right." – Subhead introducing Andrew Goldman’s May 29 interview with playwright David Mamet in the Times Sunday magazine.
Matt Bai Deals Two Race Cards -- Both Are Jokers
"Is there a racial element to some of the attacks on President Obama? It’s pretty hard to argue there isn’t, when a conservative writer like Dinesh D’Souza argues that Mr. Obama sees the world like an African nationalist (a theory Mr. Gingrich praised again in his interview Sunday), or when Donald J. Trump asserts that Mr. Obama isn’t smart enough to have gotten into Harvard or to have written his own books....The infamous Willie Horton ad that George Bush deployed against Michael Dukakis in 1988, you may recall, was more overtly racist than anything Mr. Obama had to parry 20 years later." – From Matt Bai’s May 17 column. The premise of D’Souza’s book, "The Roots of Obama’s Rage," is the theory that Obama inherited his left-wing ideology from his father, a Kenyan economist who became an anti-colonial agitator. Bush’s campaign ads on Willie Horton issue didn’t feature Horton’s name or picture. Democrat Al Gore raised the furlough issue during a debate against Dukakis.
Coddling Cuddly Communists in Manhattan
"You can still be a card-carrying Communist in New York, but these days committed Communists usually register online....All three parties are finding the Internet to be a fruitful recruiting tool and believe their message has been given a fresh, beguiling appeal by the failures of capitalist symbols like Lehman Brothers and by debacles like the billions of dollars in securities tied to subprime mortgages....philosophically, they take a kind of I-told-you-so schadenfreude in statistics that indicate a growing gap between the rich and the poor, with top chief executives now making 275 times as much as the average proletarian." – Joseph Berger in the May 23 Metro section.
Tornadoes As Stimulus
"Experts say tornadoes and hurricanes can create a catalyst for renewal." – Text box to Michael Cooper’s June 1 front-page story pushing tornadoes and other natural disasters as economic stimuli.
That Would Be "Damp Squib," Hotshot
"The Big Society started in part as a political gadget, as a way to distinguish the current Conservatives from the more individualistic ethos of the Thatcher years. It has turned out to be something of a damp squid politically. Most voters have no idea what the phrase ‘Big Society’ means. But, substantively, the legislative package has been a success. The British government is undergoing a fundamental transformation." – David Brooks in his May 20 column (italics added). The correct phrase is "damp squib," a Britishism for an event that fails to meet expectations. The online version was corrected.
Read the full issue of Times Watch Quotes of Note here.