Medill grad re-explores Candidate Biden's hugs: Sarah Lyall prepped at Chapin and Exeter, then graduated from Yale in the class of 1985.
We're not sure why she bothered. On Sunday, the New York Times published her front-page report about how Donald J. Trump can't spell.
We'll assume that Lyall was forced to waste everyone's time in this way by her brilliant editors. That brings us to the latest report by the Times' Katie Glueck.
Glueck graduated from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, with honors, in the class of 2012. As with Lyall, so too here. Last Friday, the Times published her latest report, in which she goes back to re-explore a pressing question:
Which women are still hugging Joe Biden out on the campaign trail?
As with Lyall, so too here. We'll assume that Glueck's editors forced her to ponder this dreck.
Inevitably, Glueck's report—"The Women in Line to Hug Joe Biden"—recalled an iconic moment in the history of New York Times pseudo-journalism. According to former Times honcho Bill Kovach, it happened at the 1984 Democratic convention.
That was the convention at which Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro to be his vice presidential running mate. Ferraro thus became the first women to run on a major party ticket.
According to Kovach, that produced the moment when the Times realized what a brilliant property it had in Maureen Dowd. In a profile of Dowd for the old Brill's Content, Gay Jervey quoted Kovach telling the story:
JERVEY (6/99): Even as a young reporter Dowd had an eye for telling detail and nuance...“We were on deadline,” Kovach explains. “Mondale and Ferraro had just been nominated... As the candidates stood on the platform, Maureen jumped up and grabbed me and said, ‘Look! Look! There is the story. Mondale doesn’t know whether to hug his wife or Ferraro. He doesn’t know what to do.’ She saw that signaled a new era, with women playing a whole new role in politics and men not quite knowing what to do.” That keen observation...crystallized for Kovach just how clairvoyant a reporter she was.We don't know if that story is really true, or if it's just "too good to check." But in that telling, we apparently see the moment when the Dowdism started to creep.
(Katherine Boo would try to warn the world in 1992. "Why is the Creeping Dowdism in political reporting starting to irritate me?...[W]hat's unsettling is the dark vision of the pointlessness of politics that Dowd and her followers deliver...")
At the Times, Dowd's fascination with inanity was taken to be a sign of her clairvoyance. Sarah Lyall would go to Yale and Katie Glueck would go to Medill, but we're not sure why they bothered.
Before we close, let's consider the other ultimate, wholly definitive, total inanity moment:
Amy Chozick graduated from UT Austin in 2001. By her own attention-grabbing telling, she then got on a bus, Midnight Cowboy style, which took her straight through to New York.
In August 2008, she wrote the dumbest candidate profile of the modern era. We refer to the lengthy piece for the Wall Street Journal in which she pondered this brilliant question:
Was Candidate Obama too skinny to be elected president?
Yes, she actually did that! We can't give you a free link at this time, but she even committed some acts of journalistic misconduct in the course of throwing this nonsense together. Click here, with a link to a prior report.
The result of this misconduct and nonsense was of course wholly predictable. The Times was so impressed by Chozick's inanity that it went out and hired her!
We post this material to help you ponder the anthropological question we keep raising. When our nation's self-branded "smartest newspaper" persistently functions this way, is it possible that our self-impressed species is actually massively dumb, despite what Aristotle is famously said to have said?
Meanwhile, from The Hill, this headline, hot off the press last week:
"NYT's Amy Chozick to co-write and produce drama series about female journalists covering a fictional presidential campaign!"
In the beginning was the end! We believe Vladimir Putin said that. in one of his Facebook posts.
Tomorrow: Why did Gillibrand's campaign fail? The New York Times tells the story three times, for reasons about which we'll guess!