Andrew Rosenthal’s all-time classic groaner: Incredibly enough, Andrew Rosenthal is the editor of the New York Times editorial page.
Also, he may be the dumbest journalist on the planet. Consider what happened on April 2, 2012, when the Times published a 4800-word account of the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The story was still new to most readers. In its lengthy, detailed report, the Times presented a boatload of new information. Among other things, it established the time-line for George Zimmerman’s phone call to the police dispatcher shortly before Martin died.
For the relevant text from the Times report, just see yesterday's post.
It was clear from the Times report that Zimmerman got out of his car that fateful night before the dispatcher asked him if he was following Martin. The Times report made it perfectly clear:
When the dispatcher said, “We don’t need you to do that,” Zimmerman was already out of his car, following Martin on foot.
That’s what the new reporting showed—unless you were Andrew Rosenthal or one of his unfortunate readers. Boasting about the detailed report, he wrote this on his Editor's Blog:
ROSENTHAL (4/2/12): Today, The Times offered perhaps the most detailed account yet of what we do know, and it's not much: Mr. Martin, a young black man, was walking to the home where he was staying with his father in a gated community when he was spotted by neighborhood watch volunteer turned vigilante George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman claims Mr. Martin looked suspicious (after all, he was wearing a hoodie and he was black). So against the advice of the 911 dispatcher he got out of his car, pursued Mr. Martin, and the two began throwing punches. After a few minutes of 911 calls by frantic neighbors there was a gunshot and Mr. Martin was dead.Try to ignore all silly name-calling, which was already standard. Try to ignore the braindead snark.
Ignore the highly imaginative claim, “And the two began throwing punches.”
That whole paragraph is journalistic porn. But here’s the part we were stunned by: Even after reading the detailed report he was bragging about, Rosenthal continued to sing that pleasing old song:
“So against the advice of the 911 dispatcher he got out of his car.”
In fact, that was one of the standard claims the new report debunked. But Rosenthal loved the story so much that he just kept typing it up the way he always had.
Who knows? Maybe he didn’t read the report. Or maybe it didn’t compute.
Rosenthal, a legacy hire, may be the dumbest man on the planet. He captures the soul of our “mainstream press” in this age of Society Down.