WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2015
He's almost as bad as the Times: "It’s hard to imagine some version of this is not true."
The statement was made by Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times. Baquet was delivering his assessment of a front-page news report in the Times on Sunday, August 2.
It’s hard to imagine that some version of the report wasn't true? In theory, it's Baquet's job to ensure that front-page reports in the New York Times are actually known to be true!
As such, his comment—made to the Washington Post's Eric Wemple—may end up in the Revealing Quotations Hall of Fame. The statement is being widely discussed as readers comment on Margaret Sullivan's new public editor column.
To read that column, click here. It concerns one of the most jumbled, revealing episodes in the Times' modern history.
This episode involves Maureen Dowd, the paper's Pulitzer winning columnist and apostle of Clinton hatred. It involves Amy Chozick, the paper's Clinton reporter. It involves the editor who handled Chozick's August 2 front-page report.
By now, the episode also involves Sullivan and Baquet. It also seems to involve Joe Biden. Let's throw in Norah O'Donnell, she of CBS News.
This latest episode at the Times is bizarre and complex. It's also extremely revealing. It involves a very basic concept—the concept of accurate statement.
Does anyone at the modern Times have any basic understanding of that basic concept? More and more, it looks like the answer is no.
This episode has quite a few parts; we want to do them justice. For that reason, we may not present a treatment of this episode until next week.
For today, we'll recommend Gene Lyons' new column, in which he sifts this subject. We also recommend the many comments to Sullivan's post, in which Times readers thrash the paper's performance in its latest dispiriting gong-show.
Tonight, the nation will be watching the third GOP debate. Donald Trump's vaunted ratings machine will be forced to go head to head with Game 2 of the World Series.
What will we be watching tonight? We'll be watching Candidate Carson to see if he's able to explain his all new and improved proposal for medical savings accounts.
This explains the source of our focus:
On last weekend's Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace made a valiant effort to extract an explanation pf the high-flying hopeful's various and ever-changing health care proposals. We don't know if we've ever seen a policy discussion which was so confused.
In the main, the problem wasn't with Wallace. The Fox host made a decent effort, but Carson's incoherence was cosmic.
If you want to watch the wrestling match, the videotape can be found here. The questions about Carson's health care plans start at the 4:30 mark. The transcript is also there.
Has there ever been a major party front-runner who was so incoherent? We're not sure, but the intellectual chaos at the Times has been brought into stark relief by the Dowd/Biden/Chozick episode.
In the realm of policy and politics, our nation's intellectual capital is astoundingly low. The chaos will be on display tonight.
It arrived at the New York Times first.
"It’s hard to imagine that some version of this proposal doesn't make some sort of sense!" Ben Carson could possibly shout that out tonight, if his attempts at explanation show signs of going south.
The way we were: During the [run-up to the] 2004 World Series, Doris Kearns Goodman had friends over to watch the Red Sox [play the Yankees] during the third Bush-Kerry debate. The next morning, she went on Imus anyhoo, to repeat GOP talking points.
We know; you think we're making this up! Go ahead—just click this.