What, them report matters of substance? How does the New York Times cover our White House campaigns?
In the most fatuous way they can manage! Consider some recent examples.
Last Saturday, the famous newspaper published a 1200-word news report about Candidate Bush's sense of humor out on the campaign trail. Featuring a large photograph of the jocular hopeful, the report filled the top half of the paper's page A13.
This morning, the presidential campaign appears on the paper's front page. And dearest darlings, how delish! In a 1400-word news report, Amy Chozick thrashes back through the Lewinsky affair as she discusses the claim that such events will be "fair game" in next year's general election.
We'd have to put Chozick on our list of nominees for Worst Journalist of the Year. This morning, she misses few talking-points, no matter how silly or frivolous.
In fairness, she does omit Marla Maple's famous statement, teased to the surface by Diane Sawyer, that her sexual congress with Trump was "the best sex I've ever had." Chozick omits little else.
Below, you see the way the Times fatuous star begins today's news report. All this text appears on the paper's front page:
CHOZICK (12/30/15): When scandal engulfed Mr. Clinton's White House, Mr. Trump leapt to the president's defense. ''He's probably got the toughest skin I've ever seen, and I think he's a terrific guy,'' Mr. Trump told CNN.By paragraph 4, Chozick is repeating the hoary old chestnut about Bill Clinton being "known for taking mulligans." Plus, he's only "a so-so-golfer," the fatuous scribe reports.
Then there were Mr. Trump's pitches to the former president to settle in a gilded Trump building in Manhattan when he and Hillary Clinton left the White House. They moved to Westchester instead. His overtures for them to vacation at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., were also rebuffed. The Clintons preferred the Dominican Republic.
When Mr. Clinton had trouble joining a conservative Westchester golf club, Mr. Trump boasted that he welcomed the former president to a newly built Trump National Golf Club, a five-minute drive from the Clintons' Chappaqua, N.Y., home.
''He's a great gentleman, a good golfer and a wonderful guy,'' the real estate developer said of Mr. Clinton, who, in reality, is a so-so golfer known for taking mulligans.
This is the way this pitiful newspaper covers our White House campaigns.
On Monday, we raised a question. The Times had devoted 1200 words to Candidate Bush's sense of humor. How many words had the paper devoted to Candidate Trump's formal (and ludicrous) budget plan, which the ludicrous candidate released on September 28, more than three months ago?
According to several major analyses, the ludicrous plan would massively swell the federal government's annual deficits. The Tax Foundation, a conservative-leaning group, had presented one such analysis back in September. Last week, the Tax Policy Center, a liberal-leaning group, had presented a similar analysis.
According to the Tax Policy Center, the candidate's ludicrous budget proposal would increase federal deficits by $11.2 trillion over the next ten years. Plus or minus a couple of nickels and dimes, the Tax Foundation reached the same judgment back in the fall.
By way of contrast, Candidate George Bush's much-discussed tax cut proposal in Campaign 2000 was projected to cost the federal government only $1.6 trillion over its first ten years—and his proposal came at a time of large projected budget surpluses. Trump's proposal is crazily larger than Bush's earlier, widely-discussed budget plan.
Given its projected effects on federal balance sheets, Trump's proposal is ludicrous, crazy. It's the work of a con man, a numbskull, a fraud.
That said, how many words has the New York Times devoted to this matter as its collection of nitwits and hacks have rummaged through former presidents' mulligans and current candidates' senses of humor? How often have New York Times subscribers read about this ludicrous aspect of the Trump budget proposal?
They've read about Bush's sense of humor. How about Trump's "budget plan?"
Our answer: To all intents and purposes, Times subscribers have never read about this aspect of the Trump budget plan. To all intents and purposes, they've never read about the analyses conducted by the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center.
As noted, Trump's proposal was released on September 28. The next day, on September 29, the Times presented a news report which noted that the proposal "would grow budget deficits by trillions of dollars over a decade"—full stop.
In that initial news report, Josh Barro made no attempt to say how many trillions were involved. To read Barro's perfectly competent next-day report, just click here.
(Warning! According to an appended notation on Nexis, you'll be reading "a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print.")
In that September 29 report, Barro said that Trump's proposal "would grow budget deficits by trillions of dollars over a decade"—full stop. At that point, this important topic ceased to exist in New York Times news reporting.
On Friday, October 2, Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed column saying that Trump's proposal would "lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit."
"For what it's worth, it looks as if Trump's plan would make an even bigger hole in the budget than Jeb's," Krugman added, offering no further information about the size of budget holes in question.
Krugman is a columnist, not a news reporter. And alas! The Times has offered no further reporting about the Trump proposal.
No news report has ever explained how many trillions in deficit spending are involved in Trump's ludicrous budget proposal. No news report has ever attempted to put the numbers into some sort of useful context—by comparing it to the size of previous budget plans; by explaining what annual deficits would look like with and without Trump's proposal.
According to the Nexis archives, the projected size of Candidate Trump's new deficit spending has been mentioned just once in the hard-copy Times. It happened on Sunday, October 4, in Barro's "Economic Scene" column, which appeared on page 3 of the paper's "Sunday Business" section.
Below, you see the relevant text. According to the Nexis archives, this is the only time the New York Times has published the relevant figure, whether from the Tax Foundation or the Tax Policy Center:
BARRO (10/4/15): In the 1998 film ''There's Something About Mary,'' there is a scene where Ben Stiller's character picks up a hitchhiking drifter. The drifter explains that he's really a businessman, and he has an idea that will someday make him a fortune: Seven-Minute Abs, a home exercise video that will produce the same great results as Eight-Minute Abs, but in one minute less.According to the Nexis archives, that represents the only time the New York Times has quantified the deficit spending which would result from Candidate Trump's crazy budget proposal. Presumably, Barro was working from the Tax Foundation analysis, although he didn't specifically say.
Mr. Stiller's character responds that it sounds like a great idea, unless someone comes out with Six-Minute Abs. The drifter, played by Harland Williams, gets angry. ''Nobody's coming up with six! Who works out in six minutes? You won't even get your heart going!''
With my apologies in advance for comparing him to an unhinged drifter, this is roughly what happened to Jeb Bush in September.
He came out with the tax policy version of Seven-Minute Abs: a plan to cut taxes by $3 trillion to $4 trillion over a decade, with no need to worry about the budget because he'll produce 4 percent economic growth. Just like Seven-Minute Abs, it's so easy, you might not even believe it's possible!
Then Donald Trump responded with essentially the same plan, but bigger: $11 trillion in tax cuts; economic growth as high as 6 percent; the biggest, classiest, most luxurious plan you've ever seen. Six. Minute. Abs.
According to the Nexis archives, that represents the only occasion on which a Times subscriber has been exposed to that astonishing number. And good God:
To be exposed to that number in so fleeting a fashion, subscribers had to read an analysis column on page 3 of that Sunday Business section. No front-page reporting allowed! Darlings, what a consummate buzzkill!
This morning, on the Times front page, we get to hear the delicious old clunker about Bill Clinton's mulligans. Meanwhile, to all intents and purposes, the famous newspaper has never stooped to the task of reporting the basic facts about Candidate Trump's ludicrous budget proposal.
Dearest darlings, the New York Times avoids such topics as Dracula shrank from the cross. This morning, the paper is back to its cherished Lewinsky tales. Those tales appear on the paper's front page, where the craziest budget proposal in history has never been allowed to intrude.
Last week, the Tax Policy Center seconded the earlier analysis by the Tax Foundation. Trump's proposal will cost the federal government $11.2 trillion over ten years, the TPC said. It would produce more than a trillion dollars in new deficit spending every single year!
It's been more than a week since that analysis appeared. Like the Tax Foundation analysis before it, it hasn't been mentioned in the hard-copy Times.
Instead, we got a full news report about Bush's sense of humor. And dearest darlings! Miss Lewinsky is back!
Branding and marketing to the side, the New York Times is our nation's dumbest newspaper. Our liberal world has been happy with this state of affairs for several decades now.
Blog post only: The analysis by the Tax Policy Center did get mentioned last week, but only in a Times blog post by Alan Rappeport.
The post ran 573 words. Rappeport offered this somewhat strange formulation:
"According to analysts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the cuts would mean nearly $25 trillion in lost government revenue over the next 20 years, and swell the ratio of debt to gross domestic product from about 74 percent to 180 percent."
Everything said there is accurate. That said, it's strange to report the twenty-year outlook while omitting the more conventional (and more reliable) ten-year analysis. And by the way:
The Tax Policy Center actually said that Trump's proposal would increase deficit spending by $34.1 trillion over those twenty years. Rappeport reported the smaller number (revenue lost), rather than the more significant number (added deficit spending), which includes added interest costs.
Candidate Bush's sense of humor got 1200 words in the hard-copy Times, accompanied by a large photograph of the funnin' hopeful. The craziest budget proposal in history got less than half as many words—and only on-line, of course.
This is the way the New York Times plays. Only a failed and failing people would tolerate such a long-running disgrace.