Category Archive 'Gossip'

05 Feb 2014

Tyranny & Lethargy at the Times

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The natives are getting restless at the New York newspaper of record. Belts are tightening, valued staffers are being given buyouts, but editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal continues to spend lavishly on the production of knee-jerk liberal tripe. Insiders from the news side have been spilling the beans to the New York Observer. Mr. Rosenthal’s regime is characterized by “tyranny and pettiness,” according to disgruntled Timesmen.

Andy’s got 14 or 15 people plus a whole bevy of assistants working on these three unsigned editorials every day. They’re completely reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual. I mean, just try and remember the last time that anybody was talking about one of those editorials. You know, I can think of one time recently, which is with the [Edward] Snowden stuff, but mostly nobody pays attention, and millions of dollars is being spent on that stuff.”

Asked by The Observer for hard evidence supporting a loss of influence of the vaunted editorial page, the same Times staffer fired back, “You know, the editorials are never on the most emailed list; they’re never on the most read list. People just are not paying attention, and they don’t care. It’s a waste of money.” …

As for the charges that Mr. Rosenthal is a despot, one writer provided a funny example that others interviewed for this story immediately recognized. “Rosenthal himself is like a petty tyrant, like anytime anyone on the news pages uses the word ‘should’ in their copy, you know, he sends nasty emails around kind of CCing the world. The word ‘should’ belongs to him and his people.”

Also coming in for intense criticism were the opinion-page columnists, always a juicy target. Particularly strong criticism, to the point of resentful (some might say jealous), was directed at Thomas Friedman, the three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize who writes mostly about foreign affairs and the environment.

One current Times staffer told The Observer, “Tom Friedman is an embarrassment. I mean there are multiple blogs and Tumblrs and Twitter feeds that exist solely to make fun of his sort of blowhardy bullshit.” (Gawker has been particularly hard on Mr. Friedman, with Hamilton Nolan memorably skewering him in a column entitled “Tom Friedman Travels the World to Find Incredibly Uninteresting Platitudes,” as a “mustachioed soothsaying simpleton”; another column was titled “Tom Friedman Does Not Know What’s Happening Here,” and the @firetomfriedman Twitter account has more than 1,800 followers.) …

Asked if this stirring resentment toward the editorial page might not just be garden variety news vs. edit stuff or even the leanings of a conservative news reporter toward a liberal editorial page, one current Times staffer said, “It really isn’t about politics, because I land more to the left than I do to the right. I just find it …”

He paused for a long time before continuing and then, unprompted, returned to Mr. Friedman. “I just think it’s bad, and nobody is acknowledging that they suck, but everybody in the newsroom knows it, and we really are embarrassed by what goes on with Friedman. I mean anybody who knows anything about most of what he’s writing about understands that he’s, like, literally mailing it in from wherever he is on the globe. He’s a travel reporter. A joke. The guy gets $75,000 for speeches and probably charges the paper for his first-class airfare.”

Another former Times writer, someone who has gone on to great success elsewhere, expressed similar contempt (and even used the word “embarrass”) and says it’s longstanding.

“I think the editorials are viewed by most reporters as largely irrelevant, and there’s not a lot of respect for the editorial page. The editorials are dull, and that’s a cardinal sin. They aren’t getting any less dull. As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years, from favoring the invasion of Iraq to the notion that green energy is the most important topic in the world even as the financial markets were imploding. Then there’s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president.”

Yet another former Times writer concurred. “Andy is a wrecking ball, a lot like his father but without the gravitas. What strikes me about the editorial and op-ed pages is that they have become relentlessly grim. With very few exceptions, there’s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul. They’re horribly doctrinaire, down the line, and that goes for the couple of conservatives in the bunch. It wasn’t always like that on those pages.”

Read the whole thing.

03 Jan 2012

Not Just Harvard

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Brown’s well-known gate

We’ve recently learned that it isn’t only Harvard which has acquired a NSFW site where students (and/or alumni) post naked pictures.

Unlike Harvard’s gay-interest-only site, the Brown site is coed and publishes student-written porn.

There wasn’t any Internet back during the consulate of Plancus, but I expect we also had an adequate quantity of horny exhibitionists willing to post personal pictures on these kinds of sites back then, too.

13 Dec 2010

Gawker Turns the Tables on Assange

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“Harry Harrison” in mating display mode.

Leaking embarrassing communications from the US government is Julian Assange’s chosen occupation, and it seems only fair for Gawker to turn things around and expose a bit of Mr. Assange’s private life.

It seems that the self-appointed conscience of Western governments, back in 2006, was advertising on an Internet hook-up site called OK Cupid, under the nom-de-guerre “Harry Harrison.”

Assange describes himself as a rebel and a man of mystery, a “Passionate and often pig-headed activist intellectual” seeking someone brave, spunky, but not necessarily formally educated for love,children (!), and the “occasional criminal conspiracy.”

He boasts that he personally directs a “consuming, dangerous human rights project” and advertises that the fortunate lady will encounter a man with a “Nordic appearance” and “unusual presence,” someone so sexually appealing that he is stalked by lascivious Asian teenagers.

Assange’s choice of romantic persona has a lot in common with the self-portrait he has made every effort to purvey to the world’s media. He likes to think of himself as a scientifically-trained, technically skilled man of mystery, a brown-paper-package-bearing crusader mischievously confounding the intelligence directorates of the Great Powers, a modern Captain Nemo avenging humanity’s wrongs through mastery of technology, genius, and audacity.

Julian Assange was looking for erotic non-conformist females aged 22-46, preferably with Third World backgrounds, understandably enough. He seems to have not gotten along terribly well with the girls he dated in Sweden.

21 Sep 2009

Political Gossip

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Ryan Grim, at HuffPO, spills (a day before the book’s release) some of the interesting bits from Bush Administration’s speechwriter Matthew Latimer’s new tell-all Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor.

While Karl Rove was appearing on Fox News and writing op-eds as an independent political analyst, he was privately smearing Democrats. “Karl spread rumors through the White House that one of Obama’s potential vice presidential running mates — and a United States senator — had beaten his first wife. ‘Karl says it’s true,’ the president assured a small group of staffers. Then knowing Karl, he quickly added, ‘Karl hopes it’s true,'” reports Latimer.

For a commencement address at Furman University in spring 2008, Ed Gillespie wanted to insert a few lines condemning gay marriage. Bush called the speech too “condemnatory” and said, “I’m not going to tell some gay kid in the audience that he can’t get married.” (Of course, Bush ran his 2004 campaign telling that kid just that.)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “adamantly opposed” any reference to jailed Egyptian dissident Ayman Nour when Bush traveled to Egypt to promote freedom. She won.

Bush, it turns out, is like millions of Americans: “I haven’t watched the nightly news one night since I’ve been president,” he said.

Laura Bush, says Latimer, “was secretly a Democrat for all intents and purposes, though it really wasn’t much of a secret.” …

Bush on Jimmy Carter: “If I’m ever eighty-two years old and acting like that have someone put me away.”

17 Jun 2008

A Message From Obama

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Kevin Drum is experiencing a bit of schadenfreude at Hillary Clinton’s expense this morning.

….It turns out that Barack Obama’s hiring of Patti Solis Doyle is even more interesting than I thought at first. Perhaps because I deliberately pulled back from campaign coverage during the final couple of months after Texas and Ohio, I didn’t realize that Solis Doyle had become so estranged from Hillary Clinton after she was fired as Hillary’s campaign manager. Far from her hiring being a conciliatory gesture, the developing conventional wisdom is that Team Obama is sending the same kind of message to Team Clinton that the Tattaglia family sent to the Corleones in The Godfather:

    “It’s a slap in the face,” Susie Tompkins Buell, a prominent Clinton backer, said in an interview. “Why would they put somebody that was so clearly ineffective in such a position? It’s a message. We get it.” She said it was a “calculated decision” by the Obama team to “send a message that she [Clinton] is not being considered for the ticket.”

    Other Clinton insiders also seethed. “Who can blame Obama for rewarding Patti? He would never be the nominee without her,” one person who has worked for both Clintons and remains close to them said. The sentiment reflected what another person in the immediate Clinton orbit described as “shock” that Obama would send such a strong signal that he is not considering Clinton as his running mate so soon.

Another Hillary supporter puts it even more bluntly: Hiring Solis is the “biggest f*** you I have ever seen in politics.”

And he’s not alone. The whole left side of the blogosphere is buzzing like a beehive over this one.

15 Aug 2007

The Left Still Obsessing Over Karl Rove

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Karl Rove’s recently announced intention of riding off into the sunset at the end of the month has provoked a veritable tsunami of reaction by the left, which has been going on for days.

Some of today’s funnier examples:

James Carville says that ok, so what if Rove won a lot of elections? Bush is down in the polls late in his second term, and that means Rove really lost a generation of Republicans to the democrats.

Harold Meyerson
thinks that simpleton Rove overlooked the nation’s basic need for socialism.

Best of all, Monica Hesse fumes indignantly in the Washington Post on behalf of the mortally offended mass of Rove adversaries and opponents dismissed by the great man himself in a Wall Street Journal interview as “the mob.” How dare he use the language of social condescension? Doesn’t he realize how politically incorrect it is to use “the mob” as a pejorative?

Personally, I think it is all really very simple. George W. Bush isn’t running for anything in 2008, so he doesn’t really need his political strategist on daily call anymore. That makes it a good time for Karl Rove to take some time off, and go off and crank out a book and make a ton of cash, while quite possibly looking over the GOP field of candidates. I wouldn’t be surprised myself if old Karl reappears next year, refreshed by a nice vacation (and a considerably wealthier man), all ready to help kick some more democrat butt.

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