Friedman: Can’t we do better: As we emerges from our long tribal nap, we liberals have been quick to criticize the press corps for alleged “bias.”
That’s a perfectly sensible framework. We have been much slower to criticize the press corps for its dumbness—for its stunningly fatuous values.
For whatever reason, people seem comfortable with the one framework. With the other one, not so much.
At the New York Times, Maureen Dowd keeps testing that permissive side to our nature. Yesterday, her column bore the following headline:
"Woodrow Wilson, Stud Muffin."
How dumb can it get before we speak? Early in yesterday’s column, Dowd continued her downward spiral, offering this to our floundering nation:
DOWD (12/8/13): And it turns out that the League of Nations was not the most intriguing thing about Wilson. The love of women was.Grrrrr! There was no holding that particular tiger! Did you know Edith Wilson was buxom? We’re embarrassed to say we did not.
A. Scott Berg, the author of “Wilson,” was relating the story of how the widowed president wooed Washingtonian Edith Galt with flowers and private romantic meetings reminiscent of the widowed president wooing a Washington lobbyist in the movie “The American President.”
“She was widowed very young,” Berg said of the buxom Galt. “She had not been in love with her first husband and so along comes Woodrow Wilson, the great lover. I’m telling you, she didn’t call him Tiger just because he went to Princeton.”
(Somehow, Dowd restrained herself from comments about White House interns.)
Later, Dowd pretended to care about something, complaining about Wilson’s racism. This produced the following speculation in the very first comment:
COMMENTER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: What probably drives the Tea Party and their cohorts crazy is just the thought of Barack and Michelle Obama doing the nasty in the White House in their bedroom where all the presidents have slept. There's still racism going on, and not so subtle.That’s almost certainly it!
On-line, Thomas L. Friedman’s column appeared right beneath Dowd’s in the Times listing of contents. “We Can Do better,” its headline said.
Right above Dowd, the headline said this: “Borderline Insanity at the Fence in Nogales.”
Who has to travel that far?
A newspaper’s low intellectual standards: Each Sunday, the Times presents a “Sunday Dialogue” feature in its Sunday Review. Readers respond to a submission published the previous Tuesday.
Yesterday’s Dialogue concerned “Partisanship in the Media.” It was based upon a submission by an antiquarian bookseller from Connecticut.
That original submission was very weak. Go ahead—read it yourself.
As we keep noting, the New York Times just isn’t an especially bright newspaper. That may be why the paper works so hard to signal that it is.