Let Amy Chozick show you: It’s impossible to deny the obvious. The New York Times’ Amy Chozick is a genuine piece of work.
Chozick got famous during Campaign 2008, when she was a young reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She got famous when she published a lengthy piece which was deeply inane.
Headlines included, the piece in question started as shown below. No, we really aren’t making this up. Yes, this was actually published:
CHOZICK (8/1/08): Too Fit to Be President?Again, the necessary disclaimer—that’s actually what she wrote. As the lengthy piece proceeded, it basically just got dumber.
Facing an Overweight Electorate, Barack Obama Might Find Low Body Fat a Drawback
Speaking to donors at a San Diego fund-raiser last month, Barack Obama reassured the crowd that he wouldn't give in to Republican tactics to throw his candidacy off track.
"Listen, I'm skinny but I'm tough," Sen. Obama said.
But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability? Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice-cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.
The candidate has been criticized by opponents for appearing elitist or out of touch with average Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in July shows Sen. Obama still lags behind Republican John McCain among white men and suburban women who say they can't relate to his background or perceived values.
"He's too new...and he needs to put some meat on his bones," says Diana Koenig, 42, a housewife in Corpus Christi, Texas, who says she voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.
Beyond the sheer inanity of the lengthy “skinniness liability” piece, the Journal was forced to append a formal “amplification” due to Chozick’s peculiar journalistic technique. You see, Chozick had created a Yahoo bulletin board to solicit comments about Obama’s concerning lack of heft. Through this unusual approach, she was able to pretend that “his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them.”
Just a guess. Zero Americans had been wondering that prior to Chozick’s unconventional outreach, which managed to trigger such thoughts.
In the world of eighth-grade civics textbooks, work that silly might be expected to end journalistic careers. In our world, work that silly will get a young writer hired by the New York Times, which succumbed long ago to the “Creeping Dowdism” Katherine Boo warned us about.
In the realm of domestic politics, the New York Times has dumbed itself down to a jaw-dropping degree. Almost surely, Amy Chozick wasn’t hired in spite of the fact that she wrote that piece. People inclined to write pieces like that seem to be the only folk the glorious Times is willing to hire for its political beat.
This brings us to today’s front-page “news report.” In our hard-copy Times, it started in highly dramatic fashion:
CHOZICK AND HABERMAN (10/1/15): Clinton Camp Moves to Block Path of BidenFirst, a bit of background:
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign, increasingly worried about the threat of a challenge from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., is making a sudden and urgent effort to throw roadblocks into his path.
In the press corps’ current novelized version of the Democratic race, Biden is the universally-loved hail-fellow who’s recovering from the death of his son. Amy Chozick played a key role in scripting this melodrama, which is widely observed and recited.
According to an earlier Chozick front-page report, the son begged Biden, “as [he] lay dying,” not to let those horrible Clintons regain control of the world. Chozick sourced her Sunday morning front-page report to an unsourced column by Maureen Dowd, a decision which rarely makes sense:
CHOZICK (8/2/15): Ms. Dowd reported that as Beau Biden lay dying from brain cancer, he “tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” Mr. Biden's other son, Hunter, also encouraged him to run, she wrote.Actually, Dowd’s column didn’t say that this conversation occurred “as Beau Biden lay dying.” In fairness, we’re sure Chozick thought that’s what she read in Dowd’s (unsourced) piece.
At any rate, Chozick has played a bit of a role in scripting the melodrama. This morning, Times readers were suddenly being told that the Clinton campaign is engaged in “a sudden and urgent effort to throw roadblocks into [Biden’s] path.”
From watching Morning Joe, we knew that such conduct (repeat after us) Would Be Just Like The Clintons! Still, we wondered how sudden and urgent those efforts to throw roadblocks might be.
Sadly, this piddle came next:
CHOZICK AND HABERMAN (continuing directly from above): After months of voicing doubt about a challenge from the vice president, Clinton campaign operatives are viewing Mr. Biden’s entry into the contest as a serious possibility and are trying to rally the party’s apparatus and its donors to her side. They have flooded uncommitted Democrats with emails, phone calls and a plea for them to sign a letter, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. In the letter, Democrats are asked to “pledge to support Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Committee Convention with my unpledged delegate vote.”In what way is the Clinton campaign trying to “throw roadblocks into Biden’s path?”
This Saturday, hours before Mr. Biden appears as the keynote speaker at the annual gala of the Human Rights Campaign, the most influential gay and lesbian political group in the country, Mrs. Clinton will have breakfast with the same group. And next Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton will appear on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” after an emotionally powerful appearance by Mr. Biden that became a viral video among some in the Democratic Party.
If we’re reading that copy correctly, Hillary Clinton is going to meet with a major gay group! And not only that! Bill Clinton is going to appear on a TV show! Even though Vice President Biden appeared on the program first!
In Chozick’s mind, those are “roadblocks” thrown into Biden’s path. Editors rushed this piddle to print as a front-page news report.
Worms have eaten the brains of the Times. All the way back in 1993, Boo warned us that this could be happening.
At that time, the worms were creeping, perhaps a bit thin. Today, the worms are happy and fat. The worms seem to be in full control behind the wheel of the clown car.