The New York Times is a very strange bird!


This morning, some high theoretics: The New York Times is a very strange critter.

On the one hand, it does detailed front-page news reports like this superb report about flight from Mali—or this distressing report from Stockton, California.

Then too, there’s the way the Times reports politics. This morning, the paper churned this worthless pap about Obama and Fox—though it did come with high theoretics.

Jeremy Peters found three instances in which Obama made a crack about Fox. Well actually, Obama made only two cracks.

The third crack came from Valerie Jarrett. But it completed the rule of three, thus permitting this pointless report.

Before he was done, Peters noted that Obama made occasional cracks about Fox in 2008 as well. That means that this pointless report isn’t even new.

Truly though, the analysts howled when Peters offered some high theoretics.

Ow ow ow, the analysts said. This sort of very challenging work can really make your head hurt:
PETERS (7/19/12): Political experts said Mr. Obama’s swipes at Fox News then and now seem to be in keeping with a strategy to discredit his opponents, a tactic the campaign has deployed rather effectively.

“Whoever it is who may be a source of strength for Romney, they’re out there trying to discredit them in some fashion,” said David Gergen, an adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. “It’s an old tactic, and it often works.”
Let’s see if we’re able to follow this:

According to a bunch of experts, you’re supposed to discredit your opponents, not your supporters! According to Gergen, this is a very old tactic.

What do other people think when they read such work in the Times? We wonder that almost every day as we plow the great paper's piffle.

Also offending is Peter Baker, with this classic flyweight analysis piece. Baker thinks he has found a major philosophical difference between Obama and Romney:
BAKER (7/19/12): Either way, putting aside the predictable partisan cross-fire and the inevitable Internet-fueled distortions, even in proper context the president’s remarks crystallize a profound disagreement that defines this year’s campaign. More perhaps than any presidential contest in years, the choice between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney presents voters with starkly different philosophies about the role of government in American society.
Has Baker found "a profound disagreement" reflecting "starkly different philosophies about the role of government?"

Actually, no—he has not.

As you will see if you read this report, this pseudo-dispute turns on two different readings of something slightly murky which Obama said. Consider two dueling statements:
STATEMENT A: If you own a business, you didn’t build it yourself.
STATEMENT B: If you own a business, you didn’t build the infrastructure that helps make your business possible.
Obama said he meant Statement B in his slightly murky remarks. Romney says he understood Obama to be making Statement A. That said, there is no “philosophical” difference between the two. As you can see from Baker’s piece, Romney agrees with all the points Obama says he meant.

In all honesty, this is the latest pseudo-dispute, ginned up by the clowns at Fox. Baker puts the Times stamp on it by pretending a great philosophical dispute lurks inside the bullroar.

(Headline: “Philosophic Clash Over Government’s Role Highlights Parties’ Divide”)

The New York Times is a very strange bird—and it has a very deep bench. They managed to churn this crap today without using Parker or Barbaro!


  1. Well, if you read either of the two NYC tabloids, you'll get even less news but you'll learn all about the latest Kardashian hi-jinks. Or you can watch on the TV thingy as Brian Williams reports about the search for the next Benji.

  2. I see a big difference between the two positions.

    In Obama's version, the successful entrepreneur or business-person owes a debt to the government. Therefore, the government has a moral right to force him/her to pay back, by taking a substantial part of his profit via high taxes.

    In Romney's version, the successful business person or entrepreneur has already paid his/her share for infrastructure via his/her normal taxes. S/he owes no extra money to the government due to his/her success. If anything, the people owe the entrepreneur something, because his/her successful enterprise created jobs and made the country wealthier.

    Romney's version makes the entrepreneur a hero. In Obama's version ("You didn't create that"), government is the hero.

    In Obama's version, bigger government will lead to more advances and a wealthier country. In Romney's version, bigger government will retard development and mean less prosperity.

    1. Once again you've nailed it, D in C. The country, and the world, benefits the less taxes the rich and the super rich pay.

    2. "In Romney's version, the successful business person or entrepreneur has already paid his/her share for infrastructure via his/her normal taxes. S/he owes no extra money to the government due to his/her success. If anything, the people owe the entrepreneur something, because his/her successful enterprise created jobs and made the country wealthier."

      This is so ass backwards its hilarious! Show me an entrepreneur that has paid sufficient taxes to fund even the interstate highway system, railroads, police, fire, the justice system, the educational system, the army, the state and federal agencies which enforce free market competition and prohibit monopoly and monospony.

      These and countless other items were created and are funded and maintained at huge cost to the taxpayers and they are utterly essential to the entrepreneur's success. Without them the entrepreneur would not just be a failure, he would be dead. they cost so much that the entrepreneur will never even come close to repaying them even after a lifetime of paying taxes.

      The entrepreneur is the parasite in this situation. He leeches off society's infrastructure and extracts the surplus value of his employees labor to enrich himself.

      As a society we are okay with this because, as DinC says, his efforts (if he is successful) ultimately build this country's overall wealth. Even if he ultimately fails, we want to enable and encourage such efforts and we recognize that all members sof our society should be so enabled.

      But that doesn't change the fact that he benefits from countless societal handouts in ways that entrepreneurs do not.

      What really pisses me off is that successful entrepreneurs are unable or unwilling to acknowledged their reliance on this welfare, which was provided to them unconditionally when they were starting out and had a good chance of failure.

      At least actual welfare recipients acknowledge and udnerstand that they are receiving assistance. They get crapped on every day by people like DinC who never let them forget that they are getting a "hand out." Those that are able to use that assistance to improve themselves are almost uniformly appreciative of the assistance they received.

      But the entrepreneur isn't. He smugly assures everyone that he did it all himself.

  3. "According to a bunch of experts, you’re supposed to discredit your opponents, not your supporters!"

    I think by this sarcastic comment, Bob was saying that it's normal to attack one's political opponents. However, I disagree in part. IMHO it's unusual for Republican Presidents to attack liberal media. That's why it was memorable when the odious Spiro Agnew made his "nattering nabobs of negativism" speech.

    Obama freely attacks Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. OTOH, as far as I know, Romney hasn't attack MSNBC or the many liberal scribes in the mainstream media.

  4. Sorry for the double post.

  5. **Everyone** uses the same roads and Internet.

    And there has been plenty of basic research funded by the government that hasn't been commercially useful.

  6. It's not really two readings of what Obama said. One is something he said, and one is not.

    1. Exactly. And there was nothing that was in the wildest stretch of the imagination the least bit "murky" in what Obama said. Only when you slice it and dice it can it be spinned into something he didn't say at all, and you can do that with just about anything any candidate ever says.

      After all, hasn't Bob gone on for years about how Kit Seelye and Ceci Connelly sliced and diced Al Gore's quote about Love Canal into something he never said?

  7. This is a good example of Howler analysis that helps get people to understand the hopeless sameness of the 'two oligarchy parties and mainstream media complex'. Although Howler doesn't take the next step and advocate dumping them for something better, he fills in the evidentiary basis for that necessary step (if we feel like moving forward to a democratic and roughly egalitarian society rather than continuing in the other direction).

  8. This is the bungled Kerry joke all over again. It happened in late October, 2006.

    What Kerry said. "You know education, if you make the most of it, 
you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, 
you can do well, and if you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

    What he had written down and meant to say. "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

    Republicans insisted that Kerry was condemning the troops as a whole, and a lot of them believed it.
    Kerry was also attacked by stand-up comedians as an example of why politicians should stick to politics.