Parker and Barbaro’s final cartoons!


Barbaro knows beards—and meticulous hair in general: Michael Barbaro knows beards—and he knows melodrama.

Like all young applicants to the guild, he also knows that he must master the guild’s many Standard Stories.

This morning, in a front-page report, he showcases his growing range when it comes to these Requisite Tales:
BARBARO (11/9/12): Even his own aides said it was hard to know precisely how Mr. Romney, an unsparing self-critic, would respond to a loss that had such a personal dimension. It was his second run for the White House and he had believed, until the very end, that he was ever so close to fulfilling the dream of his father, George, whose own presidential aspirations fell short in 1968.

Few of them can imagine him following the path of, say, Bob Dole, who traded in the title of Republican nominee to become a lobbyist and a pitchman for Viagra. Or Al Gore, who graciously accepted loss in public, then descended into a private slump, growing a beard and putting on weight before slowly finding his passion in environmental advocacy that won him a Nobel Peace Prize.
Barbaro knows melodrama—and he knows Standard Stories. In particular, he knows what his colleagues like to say about the fact that Gore grew a beard. And got fat!

There are a million Standard Stories in the empty city. Eager to get his own guild card, Barbaro typed this one up!

For the most part, Barbaro is busy today showcasing two skills. He is busy 1) marveling at Romney’s overall brilliance and 2) pretending to believe every word which falls from from Romney's mouth. Or from the mouths of his aides!

But on Wednesday, Barbaro joined forces with Ashley Parker for a wonderfully comical account of the candidate’s Final Day.

Quite plainly, Michael and Ashley are the New York Times’ it-children—the newspaper's "next generation of Dowd." Note where they were by paragraph 2 of their ersatz news report:
PARKER AND BARBARO (11/7/12): On the 523rd day of his second presidential campaign, the moment that had long eluded Mitt Romney, the candidate of so many missed political connections and unrequited electoral affections, arrived at last.

As his head of meticulous silver-and-black hair popped out of a plane here in a state he would lose within hours, his eyes caught the unfamiliar sight of a spontaneous outpouring of love: 1,000 or so strangers, lining the decks of a dingy parking garage above the tarmac to show their support and watch him perform the simplest of acts: walk off a plane.
Just that quickly, they got to his hair! Just as their editors wanted!

These children are very soft. Unfairly, they're often confused with Hanna-Barbera, an unrelated group. On this occasion, we were struck by the way they padded their report with a highly tedious string of pointless pseudo-facts.

It was the 523rd day of Romney’s campaign, the Katzenjammers quickly told us. But other such factoids littered their work, giving readers the false impression that they were receiving “news:”
PARKER AND BARBARO: On the 523rd day of his second presidential campaign, the moment that had long eluded Mitt Romney...arrived at last.


By the end of the night, he was huddled with his children and grandchildren in a hotel suite at the Westin, eating his favorite dish: meatloaf.


After a breakfast of peanut butter and honey on toast, Mr. Romney and Ann, arrived at the Beech Street Senior Center, a polling place where a plaque on the wall describes the Romneys as “Diamond Benefactors.”


All day, Mr. Romney was his essential self, careful and disciplined, unemotional and measured, nearly as uneasy in the limelight as when he began his campaign on June 2, 2011.

After much pleading, he agreed to talk to his traveling press corps—the 50th news conference of the campaign.


Postcampaign, he said, he was thinking of getting a puppy. “Assuming I win, one of the benefits would be to get another Weimaraner.”
The children dedicated that last factoid to the highest lady Collins. (Yesterday morning, she passed it up.) But in the best tradition of pseudo-news, they distracted readers with a collection of pointless pseudo-facts.

Our impression? The children have heard of facts. And they've heard that a news report should almost surely include some.

Two days later, the doctor was IN as Barbaro recalled the meaning of that beard—and as he recalled Bob Dole’s work on behalf of Viagra.

It isn’t easy to get a guild card. On the bright side:

This guild card, when it does get awarded, is always awarded for life.


  1. It is truly a mystery why Somerby continually has such high expectations of news content contained in the NY Times.

    Did the GOP or Bush create Whitewater and conflate into the bloated fraud it eventually became? No, the Times was responsible for that.

    To paraphrase Professor DeLong, the prime motivation for for media corporations is to provide eyeballs for its advertisers.

    Apparently, fluff and b*llsh*t sells.

    1. And didn't Judith Miller work there too?

    2. re: "It is truly a mystery why Somerby continually has such high expectations of news content contained in the NY Times. "

      It seems you haven't noticed the issue(mystery) in play is how the various methods of the NYT journalists/op-ed writers, which Somerby is trying to help us see, are actually serving to mislead some Americans about the actual functioning of governance systems in the USA. But then when a person mulls on that, if they hadn't succeeded in misleading you, then logically you wouldn't be making that comment about it being a "mystery". darn it. tactless again. sorry about that.

      Sam Gunsch

  2. If I remember correctly, Al Gore did grow and beard and got fat! Oh, and he left his wife too.

  3. The left hasn't had high expectations of the NYT since -- forever. Mealy liberals have had high expectations for many years, yes, but even then, not terribly high -- the NYT provided just a sort of baseline, and some useful information on many stories. When the right started its concerted attack on "the liberal media" back in the Reagan years, only then did the NYT attract national attention as a "liberal" bastion: I know that you are, what am I? Bob S. falls prey to this logical fallacy (exercised deliberately by the right). He is often excellent on the failings of the NYT but led astray by calling those failings "liberal" pure and simple. Smart liberals make the distinctions he wishes the NYT, and more people of its readers, would make. Real leftists are making further distinctions.

    I guess I'm saying: Bob S. is at his strongest when he just advocates (through analysis) good journalism. He should stop obsessing about labels like "liberal," most of which the right defines in its tu quoque games that Bob S. should refuse to play.