At the Times, Peters does it again: Increasingly, the dumbness of our political discourse is its defining feature.
No claim is so dumb that it can’t be advanced. Quite often, the New York Times will be on the scene to push the claim along.
This morning, it happens again, thanks to Jeremy Peters and his editors.
Last week, Peters was busy letting us know what “some say” about past debates. It may have been the dumbest report we’ve ever seen on this low-IQ, evergreen topic.
This morning, Peters reports about some overwrought claims being made against Obama. In fairness, this is a tricky subject. How does a newspaper report about a crackpot claim without giving the claim wider airing?
We’re fairly sure the New York Times chose the wrong method today!
At issue is a billboard in Florida—a billboard which shows Obama bowing low to a Saudi king. The less-than-shocking incident in question occurred in April 2009.
To watch tape of this shocking event, click here. Warning! Foreign language!
For better or worse, the Times chose to run a color photograph of that Florida billboard. Beneath the photo, Peters’ report starts like this:
PETERS (10/24/12): To turn on the television, open the mail or drive down the highway here is to watch conservatives test the boundaries of how far they can go to disqualify President Obama.Obama did bow to a Saudi king. The photo doesn’t seem to be doctored. But good God:
Along the Interstate that connects the beach towns of Florida’s east coast, giant billboards show the president, whom some on the far right have falsely accused of being Muslim, bowing to a Saudi king. Another blares “Stop Obama!” and shows a nuclear warhead with “Iran” painted on it aimed at Israel, a particularly potent message with this area’s many Jewish voters.
That billboard also drives the claim that Obama has doubled the price of gas! In big bold numbers, the billboard shows that gas cost $1.89 on Obama’s first day and $3.89 now.
Surely, every journalist knows how stupid that claim is. In late 2008, the price of gas fell through the floor in the wake of the world economic collapse. Earlier that summer, the price had been over $4 a gallon—under President Bush!
Surely, every journalist understands these facts. If the New York Times were a real newspaper, it might have done a report by now in which it named the Republican pols who have been deceiving people by reciting those misleading facts about the price of gas.
The Times took a different approach! This morning, it published a large color photograph of a billboard which is advancing that very dumb claim.
Nowhere does Peters explain the facts behind those misleading prices. He doesn’t explain the misleading facts the Times chose to plaster across the top of A12.
This may not be Peters' fault, of course. Absent the photo, his report is OK. Who put the photograph in?
No, that photo won’t swing the election. But trust us: Somewhere, readers of the Times will be misled by that large color photo. They'll see that photo of the billboard—and they won’t understand why the price of gas rose.
They won’t remember that gas was expensive under Bush. Almost surely, that photo will lead some readers to think that Obama somehow managed to mangle the price of gas.
In a slightly more rational world, journalists would look for ways to debunk such misleading claims. But you don’t live in that world.
You live in a world where the New York Times strives to bring the world’s dumbest claims to a wider audience. To view that color photo, click here.
From the biggest con men on the planet, that billboard's claim goes to Times readers' ears! The cheering and chuckling you may think you hear is coming from RNC headquarters.