Supplemental: Lawrence O’Donnell challenged the Times!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014

Then said it pained him to do so:
Did Lawrence O’Donnell even read that New York Times report?

In our view, he cast himself in the watchdog role, then quickly floundered and flailed. Even worse was something he said midway through his performance.

For background, see our previous post.

Good God! The analysts cried and ran from the room when they heard Lawrence make the highlighted statement:
O’DONNELL (10/20/14): Remember—if you’re on the scene on the street as an eyewitness and a gun is being fired, your ability to flawlessly report every distinct sound while trying to protect your own life might be imperfect.

And the courts understand that. Juries understand that. The law and juries do not demand perfect consistency between circumstantial evidence and eyewitness evidence,

But the New York Times does.

The New York Times has demonstrated that its reporters and editors have been woefully incompetent in evaluating the evidence in this case. It pained me to have to say as much on this program eight weeks ago. The next day, the New York Times public editor agreed with my criticism of the Times article that I ripped apart for you that night, right at this desk.
In that passage, O’Donnell was grossly misstating the type of consistency discussed in last Saturday's New York Times report. For unknown reasons, he was focusing on the number of gunshots which were fired when Michael Brown was killed, a point the Times report didn’t address or discuss.

There was plenty to clarify in the Times report. Near the end of his ten-minute segment, O’Donnell made a key point—the Times article focused on the struggle at the car, not on the later shots which actually killed Michael Brown.

By the nine-minute mark, Lawrence was making a very strong point. Along the way, he had floundered and erred, offering absurd criticisms of the Times report.

Can we talk? The New York Times routinely does horrible work. Much of the most consequential bad journalism of our era has come from the New York Times.

But so what? Despite this rather obvious fact, Lawrence felt he had to say that it pains him to criticize the Times! Eight weeks ago, he made truly hideous comments when he offered his original criticism of the Times’ reporting about Michael Brown:

“In 30 years of studying the New York Times coverage of these cases, I have never been critical of their work until yesterday.”

Believe it or not, Lawrence actually said that. Last night, he went there again.

According to the civics texts, it’s Lawrence’s job to criticize the New York Times when it gets things wrong. According to the civics texts, that would be part of his basic civic duty.

That said, you almost never hear the powerful New York Times criticized on MSNBC. Lawrence and Rachel simply don’t go there. When Lawrence does, he’s careful to say how much it pains him to do so.

That was a horrible moment last night. But it tells you something very important about the way our discourse actually works—about The Way We Are, about our floundering culture.

“In 30 years of studying the New York Times coverage of these cases, I have never been critical of their work until yesterday.”

A major TV star actually said that! That pitiful comment is very much a part of The Way We Are.

8 comments:

  1. OMB (Doing what DR. BOB ordered)

    "According to the civics texts, it’s Lawrence’s job to criticize the New York Times when it gets things wrong. According to the civics texts, that would be part of his basic civic duty." Harvard BOB

    We shall keep that quote handy the next time a BOBfan gets nasty in response to us performing a basic civic duty handed us by the almighty civics text.

    (Unless a BOBfan can point out that there are no civics texts which state anything close to what BOB regularly claims they do about journalists and journalism)


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    1. If you want to stretch a point, John Dewey, usually referred to as an educator, discussed the civic duties of journalists and newspapers in at least two of his books,"The Public and Its Problems" and "Democracy and Education".
      These could certainly be assigned as supplemental reading in a civics class.
      When I took civics in high school, the class was straight out of Funky Winkerbean. We read and discussed daily news items, and the teacher was .....wait for it......the Head Coach.

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    2. When did trolls become journalists? If they want to be considered journalists, they should adhere to journalistic ethics and training. If a troll is unaware of this basic tenet of journalism he is off to a poor start.

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    3. "When did trolls ..." ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz

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    4. Lawrence is in the bag for the high enders. So much it hurts. Terrible traits for any would be journalist.

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  2. Few universities have a better reputation worldwide than Oxford. It is England’s oldest and bright youngsters aspire to either taking their undergraduate degrees there or to do post graduate study having graduated from elsewhere.kieslerautosucks |

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