It's been obvious for a long time!

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019

No, we aren't making this up:
Earlier today, we discussed the so-called "dullard journalism" currently being popularized by the New York Times.

Principally, experts use that term to refer to a type of journalism which avoids facts and information in favor of novelized storylines—supersimplified renderings which may even border on fable and fairy tale.

Why is American health care spending so astoundingly high? Within the school of "dullard journalism," a question like that will never be answered, and the reason is simple:

In the world of "dullard journalism," the basic statistics defining that problem will never be reported!

Increasingly, the Times is becoming famous for its adoption of this Hamptons-based school, sometimes known as "the new anti-journalism." Basic data are never reported concerning even the most basic topics. Preconceived novelizations prevail.

How dumb can "dullard journalism" become? What effect can it have on a newspaper's readers?

You're asking important questions! This morning, on the Times' "reimagined" page A3, this feature appeared (print editions only):
The Conversation
FOUR OF THE MOST READ, DISCUSSED AND SHARED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM

[...]

4. It Was Obvious from Day 1
This Vows column told the story of Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim and Eliza Ladensohn, who were married Oct. 26 in California. The first time someone asked them how long they had been together, it was the very first day they met.
Key point! What follows isn't meant as a reflection on the couple in question. That said, consider this:

Consider everything which was reported over the weekend "from across NYTimes.com." Then, try to imagine how this item could possibly be one of "the most read, discussed and shared posts" from across the vast sweep of national and world events.

In truth, we find it hard to believe that the item in question actually was one of the most read, discussed and shared posts. We'll assume that someone within the New York Times structure selected this item as some sort of branding exercise.

For what it's worth, this item was the only "fluff" item included in today's "most read" listing. By way of contrast, the third item looked like this:
3. How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0
In the 2017 fiscal year, FedEx owed more than $1.5 billion in taxes, an effective tax rate of 24 percent. The next year, it owed nothing, thanks to the Trump administration's signature tax cut—and had not made good on its promises to invest in new equipment and other assets, this Times article found.
This article appeared on the front page of the Sunday Times. Assuming the reporting is accurate, it concerns a very serious topic—the decades-long attempts to rig the system in favor of American oligarchs.

Our questions:

What are the chances that this report will ever be discussed on "liberal cable?" In our view, it's much more likely that cable will continue with its standard diet of easy-listenin' topics—Trump Trump Trump, impeachment impeachment, polls polls polls polls polls.

Second, average citizens, red and blue voters alike, are undermined by this kind of rigging. Why can't liberals and Democratic pols use such topics as a way to build red/blue political coalitions?

This question will never be discussed at any time in any forum. With the modern liberal world, we're trained to avoid and loathe The Others, full-satisfying-stop.

That tribal training is another part of "dullard journalism." According to future experts, the practice of this style of journalism was very good for short-term profits, but helped bring on Mister Trump's War.

Just for the record: Below, you see an excerpt from one of the "most read, discussed and shared posts from across NYTimes.com:"
VARIAN (11/15/19): A few nights later, at Ms. Ladensohn’s suggestion, they met for drinks at Palihouse in West Hollywood. Ms. Shepherd-Oppenheim, just 23 at the time, was impressed by the hotel’s stylish lounge and rooftop view of Hollywood Hills. Ms. Ladensohn took notice of Ms. Shepherd-Oppenheim’s drink order.

“I was ordering a vodka club soda, but Ariel was ordering all these really fun drinks off the cocktail menu,” Ms. Ladensohn said. “I remember thinking this is cool, she’s adventurous.”
For ourselves, we don't believe that actually was one of the most-discussed posts. Remarkably, someone within the New York Times doesn't see what a slander they're performing against the newspaper's readers.

Our upper-end culture is hopelessly daft. Future experts sometimes refer to this culture as "the dumbnification of everything."

A modern society can't function this way. At the Hamptons-based New York Times, people aren't able to see this.

31 comments:

  1. "Assuming the reporting is accurate"

    Well, take it for what it's worth, dear Bob, but FedEx's CEO Fred Smith calls it “a distorted and factually incorrect story”.

    "it concerns a very serious topic—the decades-long attempts to rig the system in favor of American oligarchs."

    Oligarchs? FedEx is a public company. You can be one of those oligarchs, dear Bob.

    Also FedEx employs a quarter million people. When company's finance get better, they might employ more, and, hopefully, pay better wages. More people employed -- more taxes they pay, and less need for taxes.

    Perhaps life is not as simple as you see it, dear Bob?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the game sweetie:

      The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003. The top 1% have more than twice as much as they did then. https://on.wsj.com/32hOx3c

      Delete
    2. "Hopefully" get better wages? What a total fool. If you look at the wealth distribution, the inequality mostly comes from super-wealth—literally, the top one-tenth of a percent are just super-wealthy. This is the result of over thirty years of a shift in social and economic policy. If you check you find that over the course of these years the government policy has been modified completely against the will of the population to provide enormous benefits to the very rich. And for most of the population, the majority, real incomes have almost stagnated for over thirty years.

      But let's hope they change all that, right sweetheart?

      You're being a very good girl today defending the oligarchy. You deserve a treat!

      Delete
    3. "The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003."

      Yeah, dembot. And if FedEx had to pay billions in taxes and cut a hundred thousand or so of jobs, that would've definitely enriched the bottom half of all U.S. households.

      Yeah, that's the ticket.

      Delete
    4. So, you are saying that FedEx underpays its workers (since they are in the bottom half of households in income)?

      Corporations such as FedEx are not investing their tax reductions in their businesses but are paying dividends to investors and buying back their own stock. So workers are not seeing any benefits from the tax reduction. Those who own FedEx stock are, and they tend to be very rich people along with some pension funds. So the rich get richer from this and the bottom aren't seeing any benefit (assuming they didn't have to pay more taxes this past year).

      Delete
    5. Dembot? Do tell.

      Delete
    6. Statistics tell the story, not me.

      Delete
    7. So we are lucky they don't pay taxes! Had they, workers are the ones who would suffer. Lol. Where else would they get the money to pay taxes?? ;) It simply must come the workers! Darling, you are precious!!! What a sweet princess. Loyal to the oligarchy and its propgandistic logic (if you could call it logic.)

      The workers suffer if any taxes are paid. Where else would the money come from???

      Simply precious. You are darling!

      Delete
    8. "So we are lucky they don't pay taxes!"

      We get lucky when word-salad dembots (and that, unfortunately, includes, in this episode, our dear Bob) are not in charge of economic affairs. That's for sure.

      Delete
    9. The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003. The top 1% have more than twice as much as they did then. https://on.wsj.com/32hOx3c

      Delete
    10. 4:49

      Brilliant riposte!

      Your defense of the oligarchy is so complete. ;)

      Delete
    11. "The bottom half of all U.S. households have 32% less wealth than in 2003."

      Dembot, FedEx is a company. It is not a U.S. household.

      Do you know what "category mistake" is? Check it out.

      Delete
    12. Incidentally, dembot, where did you get this idea that accumulating wealth is better than spending your money and enjoying a good life?

      Perhaps the bottom half of all U.S. households disagree...

      Delete
    13. Dembot? Defending oligarchy is Dembot's full time hobby. There's only one dembot here and it is you pretty girl.

      Delete
    14. Fred Smith says businesses make investment decisions based on tax rates, and not on demand. Fred Smith is either a moron, a liar, or both.

      Delete
  2. "For ourselves, we don't believe that actually was one of the most-discussed posts. Remarkably, someone within the New York Times doesn't see what a slander they're performing against the newspaper's readers."

    This is a matter of statistics, counting comments and shares. Somerby complains today that news stories don't have enough data in them, but I'm not sure he can recognize data when it exists. Or maybe he wants to call the paper dishonest, but won't come out and say so.

    I think Somerby is just as dumb as everyone else and has no basis for criticizing the so-called upper-end on daftness.

    If Somerby thinks no one will be talking about the way large corporations pay insufficient taxes, he hasn't been paying attention to Sanders or Warren's campaigns, and no doubt others too. I heard this topic discussed on NPR this morning with one of the members of the Fed. I don't believe Somerby gets around enough to say that no one is discussing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ' Somerby is just as dumb as everyone else'

      Dumber, since he is a Trumptard.

      Delete
  3. Somerby ignores the point of that romance, which was that they were together many more years than they were permitted to be married. Another point is that romance works the same in same sex couples as in heterosexual couples, who also experience love at first meeting.

    Somerby reads past the pronouns as if they didn't matter. They do.

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  4. “a very serious topic—the decades-long attempts to rig the system in favor of American oligarchs.”

    Cue another Timothy Egan-style op-ed at the NYT (as previously discussed by Somerby) to tell us how, without evidence, progressives like Warren are virtue-signaling know-it-alls who are contemptuous of Republican voters when they push their healthcare and tax plans that attempt to fight the oligarchy on this very matter that Somerby claims is important.

    And Somerby, agreeing with the op-ed, will pass it right along to his readers.

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    Replies
    1. ' this very matter that Somerby claims is important. '

      The only thing that TDH thinks is important is reelecting Trump. Oh, and defending Roy Moore and Ron Johnson.

      Delete
  5. Here is the complete response from Fed Ex

    FedEx responds to The New York Times article from Nov. 17, 2019
    November 17, 2019

    Statement from FedEx

    The New York Times article is a deliberate distortion of our company’s actions before and after tax reform. FedEx has paid federal income tax every year, including fiscal year 2018. Following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), FedEx invested billions in capital items eligible for accelerated depreciation and made large contributions to our employee pension plans. These factors have temporarily lowered our federal income tax, which was the law’s intention to help grow GDP and generate investment in the U.S. The accelerated depreciation deductions are only temporary with higher depreciation and lower taxes early in the life of a new capital asset. This is then offset by lower depreciation and higher taxes later in that asset’s life. These temporary deductions FedEx received for capital investments are minimal compared to the overall impact the company has on the economy.

    FedEx made extensive investments in our team members and our global network to better serve our customers following passage of the TCJA. These investments included a voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains a well-funded retirement program, more than $200 million in increased team member compensation – about two-thirds of which went to hourly team members – and more than $3 billion to significantly expand and modernize our Memphis and Indianapolis hubs through 2025.

    FedEx takes pride in paying its full share of taxes and has paid almost $10 billion in total taxes in the U.S. during the last five fiscal years, contributing to tax revenues of the U.S. government. We have supported tax increases in some cases, particularly federal diesel and gasoline taxes, to fund badly-needed infrastructure in the United States. The decrease in U.S. investment over the past year is due to the slowdown in global trade which has a significant impact on the asset-intensive industrial economy, including FedEx.

    Statement from Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and CEO of FedEx Corporation

    The New York Times published a distorted and factually incorrect story on the front page of the Sunday, November 17 edition concerning FedEx and our billions of dollars of tax payments and billions of dollars of investments in the U.S. economy. Pertinent to this outrageous distortion of the truth is the fact that unlike FedEx, the New York Times paid zero federal income tax in 2017 on earnings of $111 million, and only $30 million in 2018 – 18% of their pretax book income. Also in 2018 the New York Times cut their capital investments nearly in half to $57 million, which equates to a rounding error when compared to the $6 billion of capital that FedEx invested in the U.S. economy during that same year.

    I hereby challenge A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times and the business section editor to a public debate in Washington, DC with me and the FedEx corporate vice president of tax. The focus of the debate should be federal tax policy and the relative societal benefits of business investments and the enormous intended benefits to the United States economy, especially lower and middle class wage earners.

    I look forward to promptly hearing from Mr. Sulzberger and scheduling this open event to bring further public awareness of the facts related to these important issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plus even if FedEx didn't pay taxes that's not on them. That's on the tax code. That's on the government.

      Delete
    2. *** Public Service Announcement ***

      Q: What kind of idiot rebroadcasts propaganda from Fred Smith, Yale asshole ’62, CEO of Fedex, worth about $5.5B, and someone whose fee-fees were hurt by a NYT article?

      A: David in Cal, the Village Idiot of this blog’s commentariat.

      Laugh (bitterly) along with me:

      FedEx invested billions in capital items eligible for accelerated depreciation

      It’s not like FedEx has much choice in its capital investment. FedEx is stuck with an old business — delivering physical objects in physical vehicles powered by gasoline and kerosene.

      made large contributions to our employee pension plans

      Yeah, about as much as they spent buying back their own stock.

      And the reason is that these plans were funded at 80% and were no doubt attracting the attention of the gov in the person of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Their “contributions” brought that up to 89% and not because they gave a shit about their employees but because MetLife wouldn’t have bought the pension obligations otherwise.

      Oh, yeah. New hires don’t get pensions. They do get a good 401(k) plan with the following matches: 1%(2%), 2%(4%), 3%(5%), 4%(6%), 5%(7%), 6%(8%). If current employees want to keep their pension, they’re stuck with the old plan, which maxed out company contributions at 3.5%.

      Can’t afford to contribute? Too bad. No extra retirement for you. Stock market tanks? Too bad. You carry the losses. Old pension plan goes bust? Don’t complain to FedEx; they don’t own the plan anymore.

      temporarily lowered our federal income tax

      The tax law permanently lowered FedEx’s tax burden. True, the accelerated depreciation means that subsequent years won’t have deductions for depreciation, but it’s always better to have the money upfront.

      more than $200 million in increased team member compensation – about two-thirds of which went to hourly team members

      2% this year. And no bonuses. Did I mention the $1.4B they spent buying back their stock? In case you’re wondering, Smith got $16M last year.

      We have supported tax increases in some cases, particularly federal diesel and gasoline taxes

      Oh, good. So everybody gets to pay more gas tax so FedEx can use better roads? Fuck you.

      the New York Times paid zero federal income tax in 2017 on earnings of $111 million

      If that’s true, so what? It would make a hypocrite out of the Times, but how does that help FedEx?

      But here’s the thing: nobody knows how much FedEx or the NYT actually pays in taxes. That’s because only the annual tax accounting is public; the tax filings are not. The 2017 Republican Tax Giveaway to the Rich only made things more complicated. All of a sudden, companies like FedEx that were making money and thereby had tax liabilities, found those liabilities reduced (to zero in FedEx’s case). Companies like the NYT that had past tax credits, possibly because they lost money in the past, found that those tax credits were an asset that was worth less, which would have given them a paper loss and an accompanying lower tax bill.

      Without knowing the fiscal and tax history of a company, you really can’t know the actual taxes that company owes for the previous fiscal year.

      Which is why FedEx is probably a bad corporate citizen, but the Times is a terrible newspaper. And David in Cal is still an idiot.

      Delete
    3. 'And David in Cal is still an idiot.'

      But David doesn't claim to be a liberal. TDH on the other hand claims to be a liberal, although his views seem to be 95% aligned with Trumptards.

      Delete
  6. "Centrist." Hm. Most thinking people don't label themselves, but you have chosen the most cowardly label one can chose. And you're always pithy, time after time after time. I wonder why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have labelled myself because I was repeatedly called a liberal for objecting to TDHs defense of DJT and Roy Moore. Therefore, I wanted to emphasize that I am not a liberal, but a Centrist, but still object to Trumptardism and its defenders.

      Delete

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  8. "Why can't liberals and Democratic pols use such topics as a way to build red/blue political coalitions?"

    We've been through this. It's because the corporate owned media will accuse them of "punishing success", and the low information voters will nod in agreement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't see how Republicans accusing Democrats of being commie Marxists (and the media amplifying the accusations) is a Democratic Party electoral winner during an election year.

      Delete
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