It’s time for Jeff Zeleny to go!


Fox friend steals from Goofus and Gallant: Whatever you think of last night’s debate, it’s time for Jeff Zeleny to go.

Zeleny is the timid fellow who represents the New York Times in panel discussions on Special Report. That's on the Fox News Channel.

He’s also the fellow who wrote the Times’ front-page report about last night’s debate. In our view, it’s time for this hackster to go:
ZELENY (10/12/12): Biden and Ryan Quarrel Aggressively in Debate, Offering Contrasts

It was the debate that President Obama and Mitt Romney did not have a week ago.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Paul D. Ryan fiercely quarreled at the vice-presidential debate here on Thursday night, with Mr. Biden using the cutting attack lines against the Republican ticket that Mr. Obama did not and Mr. Ryan delivering a spirited case for conservative policies that Mr. Romney had soft-pedaled.

The 90-minute debate, which unfolded in rapid tempo, offered a spirited airing of the sharp contrasts over the administration’s handling of the terrorist attack in Libya, the pace of the economic recovery at home and the role of government in addressing the nation’s fiscal burdens.

While Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney were not on stage, they were at the center of the conversation as their running mates made certain the evening was squarely focused on defining the men at the top of the ticket. But, under pressure to pass the test, Mr. Ryan displayed a proficiency in areas like foreign policy and kept pace with Mr. Biden, who is 27 years his senior.

It was Mr. Biden who sought to quiet the rising clamor among Democrats that the president was not assertive enough with Mr. Romney at their debate last week in Denver. A day after Mr. Obama conceded he was “too polite,” Mr. Biden showed no hesitation in hectoring, heckling and interrupting his challenger.
Zeleny didn’t write that childish headline, but it’s closely drawn from his copy. And his copy betrays the bias we often see in his work.

We don’t think we’ve ever used the B-word in describing the work of a major reporter. But good God! You can’t call Zeleny subtle!

In Zeleny’s copy, Biden “uses cutting attack lines.” Ryan “delivers a spirited case for conservative policies.”

Ryan “displays a proficiency in areas like foreign policy.” Biden “shows no hesitation in hectoring, heckling and interrupting his challenger.”

In paragraph 3, the whole evening was built around possible shortcomings of the Administration. There was no discussion of possible flaws in Romney's proposals or outlook.

And the bullshit doesn’t stop there. The pencil-necked Fox friend continues:
ZELENY (continuing directly): Within a single minute, Mr. Biden worked in three attacks on his rivals, referring to Mr. Romney’s opposition to the auto industry bailout, his statement that the foreclosure crisis would have to “run its course” and his comment about “47 percent” of Americans who he said were overreliant on government benefits.

“These guys bet against America all the time,” said Mr. Biden, whose temperature was running close to boil for most of the evening.

Mr. Ryan, who kept his composure for most of the night, suggested that Mr. Romney misspoke when talking about the 47 percent. He added pointedly, “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
Biden’s “temperature was running close to boil.” Ryan “kept his composure for most of the night.”

“Goofus and Gallant” is written like this. But that feature offers morality plays intended for 8-year-old children.

Zeleny frequently types this way—and yes, this is a front-page news report! As an opinion column, this piece would be dumb.

It's on the front page of the New York Times, posing as news.

It’s time for this weak, timid Fox man to go. It’s time for him to be shown the door—to take his bullshit through it.


  1. "the Fox News Channel."

    Nice oxymoron.

  2. I'd say Joe took that boy to the woodshed.

    1. Couldn't agree more. Several times Ryan seemed very frustrated and irritated. Most overwhelming win I can remember.

    2. I've seen every televised debate since 1976. The only one I can think of that came even close to being this lopsided was Bentzen vs. Quayle, 1988.

      And a sure sign that the GOP knows how badly their boy got whupped is that they have been spending all day talking not about his sterling performance, but about Biden's alleged bad behavior.

    3. 1976 was my first debate. The first Kerry Bush was close. Biden responded on every misstatement by Ryan

  3. Thanks, Bob, for exposing the myth of liberal media bias.

  4. Biden's behavior was very odd. On substance the win belongs to whoever you agree with.

    1. I think this comment nails it. Liberals are happy that Biden made the attacks he did. Conservatives see the big story as Biden's (mis)behavior. Biden's conduct would have been normal in the British Parliament. It was without precedent in a US high-level political debate like this one.

      Bob remembers better than any of us how his buddy Al Gore got pilloried for sighing softly a couple of times during a debate with Bush. But Gore's couple so sighs were nothing like Biden's continual hectoring, heckling and interrupting.

      It seemed clear to me that Biden's obnoxious behavior was designed to fluster Ryan. Conservatives see the second biggest story as the fact that Ryan kept his cool.

    2. Biden: interrupted the moderator 9 times

      Ryan: interrupted the moderator 8 times

      Oooh, that awful Biden!

    3. Biden's behavior was perfectly normal considering all the rubbish coming out of Ryan's mouth.

      For example, even I laughed out loud once when Ryan made a 1:1 comparison between the modern U.S. Navy and the pre-World War I U.S. Navy. Ryan's comment was so detached from reality that he deserved to be laughed at.

    4. It was without precedent in a US high-level political debate like this one.

      Perhaps you meant, "without precedent from a representative of the mommy party?"

      Because I'm pretty sure I saw Rmoney of the daddy party interrupt with great enthusiasm, to the cheers of the corporate media, just recently.

    5. David meant to say "Within the echo chamber that I inhabit, it was without precedent."

    6. "On substance the win belongs to whoever you agree with."

      Really? So how concerned were you with "substance" last week?

  5. "It has never been done before."

    "Kennedy did it."

    "Oh so now you're Kennedy?"

    Grandpa Simpson showed up to vindicate Obama. Fail.

    1. You would know about Grandpa Simpson.

  6. Kudos to Biden for composure and self-restraint ! Zeleny wouldn't want to go up against my 'Latin Temperament'.

  7. Let's see, I'd say the evening was slightly Biden's. Although there were no knockouts, he clearly had a couple of glory moments while Ryan had to be satisfied with a couple of "zingers" that mostly went "thud."

    We've all been trained to call out Biden for his smiles, laughter, and expressions, but please pay attention to the dorkiness of Ryan's set expression. Biden's expressions are contextual and usually appropriate to what's being said. Ryan, I suspect, would maintain that hokey frozen smile were he to be called a mass murderer.

    I'm more and more of the school that says the more time these candidates, especially the incumbents, have to spend prepping and rehearsing for these carnival events, the less these events have to do the actual skills required for the jobs they're running for.

    1. I am still under the naive expectation that what comes out of these guys mouths is far more important than their facial expressions.

    2. Perhaps it's tiresome to point out, but communications experts will tell you you're missing the lion's share of the message if you consider only the verbal.

      Of course, while listening to experts spout such amazing theories, I also like to watch their faces, body movements and tics, and hear the tone and timbre in their voices in order to get a feel for the messenger.

      The Great Undecided can always go read position papers. These debates are an imperfect chance to get a feel of the people espousing these positions. I hope these candidates have the issues down pat. What I suspect is that they're largely being prepped to perform nonverbally, because their unconscious idiosyncrasies could cost them the election.

      Would you buy a used car from these people? Many are not satisfied by just reading the brochure.

    3. "Biden's expressions are contextual and usually appropriate to what's being said."


  8. Romney gives his minutes long '47% rant' and its called "a mistake" and/or "inelegant" ?! Folks, there's no such thing as a three-four-five minute 'slip-of-the-tongue', not without serious lack of 'feed-back mechanism'!

  9. I caught Mr. Zeleny on a Frontline piece about candidates Romney and Obama on Tuesday evening - he seemed to be there solely to criticize President Obama

  10. Zeleny is one of those who give the Times that left-wing cachet. Right! Right?

  11. His observations were accurate. He did his job. It's your bias that stands out. Biden was a heckling, rude, and grumpy old man. And, counter to your likely surmise, I am an unaffiliated independent.

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