Fox News is smarter than the Times!


Chris Wallace right, New York Times not: Last Friday, we discussed the New York Times’ sad attempt to fact-check a recent Rick Perry ad.

Richard Oppel got lost in the weeds several times—and he failed to notice an obvious oddness about the pledge driving Perry’s ad. To read our post, click this.

The New York Times was lost in the weeds. Yesterday, Fox News wasn’t.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviewed Candidate Perry. Wallace discussed that very same ad—and when he did, he went right to the puzzling problem the low-IQ Times overlooked:
WALLACE (10/30/11): You have a strong record here in Texas of creating jobs, 40 percent of all the new jobs in the last two years here in the state of Texas. You talked about that in your first TV commercial. Let's take a look.

PERRY (videotape): As president, I'll create at least 2.5 million new jobs, and I know something about that.

WALLACE: Governor, here's what I don't get about that 2.5 million jobs. 2.5 million jobs is terrible! That wouldn't be nearly enough for the first four years of the administration. We looked at it. We would roughly need 6 million jobs in the first four years just to stay even with population growth.

So 2.5 million jobs—the unemployment rate would increase! Jimmy Carter created 10.5 million in his first four years.
Perry fumbled and floundered about, trying to puzzle out what had been said. After a decent interval, a very cruel man followed up:
WALLACE: But how do you answer this question? Two and half million doesn't keep pace with the population growth. We would—our unemployment rate would increase under this goal!
How did Perry answer that question? With a bit more bafflegab!

This was an obvious point of strangeness in Perry’s ad. But when the Times reviewed the ad, their man Oppel failed to notice. Instead, the gent got lost in the weeds on several odd points of his own.

We can’t stress this point strongly enough: When it comes to political reporting, the New York Times is not a bright newspaper. It likes to clown around with silly shit from the Dowd/Parker/Bruni contingent. When it does try to discuss real issues, it tends to do C-minus work.

For the record, Jill Abramson is now executive editor of this C-minus newspaper. Two Sundays ago, the Times reviewed her brand new book. It’s called “The Puppy Diaries.”

Her newspaper’s work is often dumb as a rock. According to a reviewer from inside the circle, here’s how she spends her spare time:
STYRON (10/16/11): Let's be real. It's hard to keep a straight face writing about puppies. Animal behaviorists like Alexandra Horowitz may apply hard science to shed light on why your shiba inu isn't interested in the television or your corgi mix likes to eat manure. The good poet—John Galsworthy, Rudyard Kipling—will wrest a sigh from the reader's maudlin breast with paeans to loyal companions long departed. But most dog-crazy writers avoid spilling too much ink on the subject. We're wary of fashioning sentences that are a prose equivalent of the idiotic high-pitched babble we direct at our animals all day long. (Full family disclosure: my husband routinely cradles our 85-pound Labrador in his arms and sings to her, as he did when she was a puppy, the ''Baby Mine'' song from ''Dumbo.'') If we're not sentimental, we'll surely be unoriginal. It's like writing about sex. The opportunity to humiliate oneself lurks around every paragraph.

In "The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout," Jill Abramson, a prizewinning investigative reporter and now executive editor of The New York Times, has vanquished the writer's self-/regarding pose. She plunges into the subject of her dog's first year and comes up with a golden retriever of a memoir. Unaffected, unironic and lovingly goofy, "The Puppy Diaries" is not for the reader who sees life with a dog as a Booth cartoon. But it should hit the wide, heart-shaped mark cultivated by dog fanciers everywhere unafraid to be heard singing lullabies to the furriest members of the family.
Fox News is now smarter than the Times! But through Abramson’s book and Gail Collins’ work with Romney’s roof-strapped setter, America’s defiantly upper-class paper of record remains quite strong in its treatment of puppies.

Fox News is smarter than the Times! But then, do you ever get the feeling that these upper-class folk in their “country homes in Connecticut” may not care all that much?

In her "country home in Connecticut." According to Styron's thoughtful review, that's where Abramson wrote her golden retriever of a memoir. Meanwhile, Oppel was lost in the weeds surrounding that ad—that ad about jobs or whatever.

Wallace saw what was wrong with that ad. The New York Times did not.


  1. I don't disagree with Bob. However, I would point out that Wallace's questions could have been even more pointed. First of all, in the real world, problems aren't necessarily immediately solvable. If the US created 2 1/2 million jobs, that wouldn't keep up with population growth, but it would be better than we've been doing.

    Second, I agree that it's logical to think that if job growth doesn't keep up with population growth, the unemployment rate will grow. However, that's not necessarily the case. For a number of years, there has been a decline in the percenage of population who are in the employment market. Even if job growth doesn't keep up with population, it may keep up with the number of people in the job market. In that case, the unemployment rate would not rise.

    Third, chnces are Perry had little or no basis for his projection of 2.5 million jobs. Don't forget that 69.35% of all statistics are made up. :) Wallace might have asked Perry what his basis was for promising 2.5 million jobs. (Incidentally, note that this comment is meant as a criticism of Republican Rick Perry and of Fox News.)

  2. "If the US created 2 1/2 million jobs, that wouldn't keep up with population growth, but it would be better than we've been doing."

    Only in comparison to Herbert Hoover or George W. Bush.

  3. In reference to our pundits and talking heads, "Even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while."

  4. Yes, Anonymous, Bush's job creation record was poor. According to this chart, total employment increased by only around 4 million during his 8 years as President. That's not good.

    But, things have been worse during Obama's Presidency. Since the beginning of 2009, total employment is down by almost 3 million.

  5. At it again, David in Cal? Do you have no shame at all?

    "But, things have been worse during Obama's Presidency [than during the Hoover/Bush presidency]. Since the beginning of 2009, total employment is down by almost 3 million."

    Gee, I wonder why? Could it have to do with the fact that Obama took office in 2009, at the start of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, whereas Bush had an entirely different economy, even forgetting that the the stupendous economic growth which was supposed to follow the Bush tax cuts never arrived, and that most growth which did occur was thanks to the housing bubble and related speculation?

    Who the hell are you? Does a real person talk this way?

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