Category Archive 'New York Times'
02 Mar 2015

The New York Times Readership, In a Nutshell

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NYTimesReadership

A tweet from Gavin MacInnes via Vanderleun.

16 Feb 2015

Times Reporting on More Non-Existent Iraqi WMDS

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BorakSarin
At least 400 non-existent Borak rockets loaded with Sarin nerve gas were secretly purchased and destroyed by the CIA in 2005 and 2006, despite Saddam Hussein’s regime, as we all know, having been merely pretending to possess undeclared WMDs as a bluff.

New York Times:

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.

The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

The effort was run out of the C.I.A. station in Baghdad in collaboration with the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion and teams of chemical-defense and explosive ordnance disposal troops, officials and veterans of the units said. Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock.

The buying of nerve-agent rockets from an Iraqi seller in 2006 was the most significant recovery of chemical weapons until that point in the Iraq War.

A New York Times investigation published in October found that the military had recovered thousands of old chemical warheads and shells in Iraq and that Americans and Iraqis had been wounded by them, but the government kept much of this information secret, from the public and troops alike.

15 Oct 2014

NY Times Finds Missing Iraq WMDs

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BushLied

The New York Times admits that, not only were there WMDs in Iraq, American and coalition forces were exposed to them on multiple occasions.

From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.

In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

WMDmap

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And there are reports that ISIS is using chemical weapons from Saddam Hussein’s former stockpiles against its Kurdish opponents.

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 Feb 2014

Leonard Mason Smith’s Obituary

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Greenwich Time:

Leonard Mason Smith, 86, a veteran of World War II and Korea and longtime resident of Pine Island, passed away Nov. 27, 2013.

He was a very private man. If you wanted to know his cause of death, he would have told you that it was none of your business. If you asked Penny, his beloved wife, she would tell you that he had cancer, but not to tell anyone. Although his prognosis was dire, he battled on, lived his life and survived several years beyond the experts’ expectations. He did not want his obituary to suggest that he lost a long battle with cancer. By his reckoning, cancer could not win, and could only hope for a draw. And so it was. He hated losing.

He was born to Leonard Henry Smith and Charlotte deCamp July 20, 1927, in New York City. As a young man he resided in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he attended the Iona School. He graduated from the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, and then matriculated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was president of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and earned an engineering degree. He joined the Army Air Corps after his first term at M.I.T., and attained the rank of colonel, but only on the telephone when facilitating personnel discharges and equipment requisitions. He was discharged as a private. After his graduation from M.I.T., he enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War, and served in Japan and the Philippines. After the war, he began a career as a management executive. He worked for Bamberg Rayon Company, American Enka, Union Carbide, General Dynamics, Cognitronics and Computer Transceiver Systems Incorporated. By virtue of his education, training and temperament, his assignments tended to be companies and divisions that were experiencing financial or operational deficiencies. He liked the challenge.

He was married to Penelope Self Dec. 4, 1953, in Asheville, N.C. They were married for 58 years until her death in 2012. They raised five children together, living in New Rochelle and Greenwich, Conn. He enjoyed sailing and served as commodore of the Shenorock Shore Club in Rye, N.Y. They also raised show and field Gordon Setters, of which he was very proud. After retirement, they resided in Asheville and Pine Island, where they were active with local church groups and charities. …

He hated pointless bureaucracy, thoughtless inefficiency and bad ideas born of good intentions. He loved his wife, admired and respected his children and liked just about every dog he ever met. He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you cancel your subscription to The New York Times.

He would have thought that this obituary was about three paragraphs too long.

Hat tip to Rod Dreher and Jim Harberson.

01 Jan 2014

NYT Had Reporter Embedded With Benghazi Embassy Attackers?

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Times Cairo Bureau Chief and Mideast Correspondent David D. Kirkpatrick said so on Twitter on December 30th:

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Doug Ross graphically speculates on just what that New York Times embedded reporter would have been doing on that fatal evening.

27 Jul 2013

Best Line of the Week

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Jeffrey H. Anderson: Once again, Paul Krugman appears to have buried his head, ostrich-like, in a pile of New York Times.

12 Dec 2012

New York Times Reviews First Self-Published Book

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Suw Charman-Anderson, in Forbes, notes a watershed moment in the world of books and readers. For the first time, a book self-published by its author has broken through traditional barriers and gained the attention of important establishment book reviews.

[T]his week, the New York Times, one of the most important source of book reviews, published a long and enthusiastic review of a self-published book, Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution Was Televised. Based on his TV criticism blog, What’s Alan Watching, Sepinwall’s book:

    analyzes a dozen “great millennial dramas” that have forged a new golden age in TV: bold, innovative shows that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, mixed high and low culture, and demonstrated that the small screen could be an ideal medium for writers and directors eager to create complex, challenging narratives with “moral shades of gray.”

But the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani wasn’t the only mainstream book critic to write about Sepinwall’s book. USA Today carried an interview with Sepinwell at the end of November, Time published a review of its own, The Huffington Post carried a review, so did the New Yorker.

Sepinwall got the kind of coverage that most traditionally published authors can only dream of. To some extent, this might just be reviewers reviewing another reviewer, a little bit of moral support from your friends, except Sepinwall’s friends have very big megaphones. But at the same time, it illustrates that the idea of a division between ‘traditionally published’ and ‘self-published’ is becoming a ridiculous construct with no meaning whatsoever. …

The reasons that self-published books don’t get reviewed boil down, I think, to the lack of infrastructure. A traditional publishing company can get to know different reviewers and send them the books that they think will go down best with that person. And the reviewer works on the assumption that what he or she is sent by the publisher has to be at least half-decent and thus worth opening. This whole process works because it’s mediated and because of the assumption that a third party stamp of approval for a book guarantees minimum levels of quality. …

[R]eviewers depend on publishers acting as winnowers, sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and at least attempting to make sure that they are sent books they are actually interested in. It’s this weeding out process that’s missing in self-publishing.

This is bound to be only the first instance of what will before very long become normal.

Technology has made self publication and book distribution easy, inexpensive, and available to anyone.

Even successful and well-established popular authors like Barry Eisler as far back as 2011 have found the economics and creative control offered by self publishing to be irresistible. (Eisler was interviewed here about his at-the-time astonishing decision to dump his relatively prestigious print publisher and move off into the new frontier of electronic self publication.)

29 Sep 2012

“All the News That’s Fit to Slant”

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Hat tip to Clarice Feldman (via FB).

06 Feb 2012

Times’ Sex Smear of Yale Quarterback Provoked Wide Criticism

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An earlier witch trial

K.C. Johnson, at Minding the Campus, devastatingly criticized the New York Times story.

When Times readers learned from Richard Perez-Pena that “a fellow student had accused Witt of sexual assault,” how many of them realized that Yale was actually using an “expansive definition” of this otherwise commonly-understood term? How many readers further realized that Yale had designed the procedure about which Perez-Pena wrote so as to give Witt’s accuser “control over the process,” including limited or no investigation? And how many readers could have dreamed that the procedures guiding the allegation against Witt have produced the extraordinary claim that sexual assault is far, far more common on this Ivy League campus than in the fourth most dangerous city in the country? And since the Times went to print without ever speaking to Witt or (it seems) anyone sympathetic to him in the Athletic Department, didn’t the paper at the very least have an obligation to provide the context that would explain the highly unusual procedures and definitions that Yale features?

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Patrick Witt’s response to the Times’ story.

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Kathleen Parker, in the Washington Post, put the New York Times’s reporting standards on trial.

A  New York Times story on Friday… essentially indicted and convicted a 22-year-old star football player on an alleged sexual assault charge by an anonymous accuser. …

[W]ith throat-clearing authority, the story begins with the young man’s name — Patrick J. Witt, Yale University’s former quarterback — and his announcement last fall that he was withdrawing his Rhodes scholarship application so that he could play against Harvard. The game was scheduled the same day as the scholarship interview.

Next we are told that he actually had withdrawn his application for the scholarship after the Rhodes Trust had learned “through unofficial channels that a fellow student had accused Witt of sexual assault.” And there goes the gavel. Case closed.

But in fact, no one seems to know much of anything, and no one in an official capacity is talking. The only people advancing this devastating and sordid tale are “a half-dozen [anonymous] people with knowledge of all or part of the story.” All or part? Which part? As in, “Heard any good gossip lately?”

A statement Friday afternoon on Witt’s behalf denied any connection between his withdrawal from the Rhodes application process and the alleged assault. Moreover, when Witt requested a formal inquiry into the allegations, he says, the university declined. “No formal complaint was filed, no written statement was taken from anyone involved, and his request . . . for a formal inquiry was denied because, he was told, there was nothing to defend against,” according to the statement.

The Times apparently didn’t know these facts, but shouldn’t it have known them before publishing the story? It’s not until the 11th paragraph that readers even learn about the half-dozen anonymous sources. Not until the 14th paragraph does the Times tell us that “many aspects of the situation remain unknown, including some details of the allegation against Witt; how he responded; how it was resolved; and whether Yale officials who handle Rhodes applications — including Richard C. Levin, the university’s president, who signed Witt’s endorsement letter — knew of the complaint.”

Translation: We don’t know anything, but we’re smearing this guy anyway. …

By anyone’s understanding of fairness, Witt has been unjustly condemned by nameless accusers and a complicit press.

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Reuters pointed out that the Times’ own commenters overwhelmingly condemned the newspaper’s decision to print that story.

The Times has already published a follow-up story that noted “diverging stories,” but only after comments and writers began questioning the Times’ editors and the paper’s editorial process.

The simplest summation of that criticism came from a commenter named ‘mystery shopper’ who posted that running the story was “a horrible editorial decision. Ethics classes in schools of journalism around the country will use this story as an example of an ill-advised story.”

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Instapundit readers also reacted:

Reader John Lucas writes: “A red light violator facing a $50 fine gets more due process than a student at Yale (or most other universities) now.”

Reader Dave Ivers writes: “I’ve wondered what would happen if every male athlete at Yale looked around a classroom and noticed a young woman looking at them and than filed an ‘informal’ complaint. Under the Yale rules that ‘looking’ at well-built athletes could be a sexual crime. Since the athletes don’t know for sure, shouldn’t they file to protect themselves and then get victim status?”

05 Feb 2012

Yale Witch Hunting Gets Covered By the Times

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Patrick Witt

The original story seemed straight out of Owen Johnson or Burt L. Standish‘s school stories: Yale’s record-breaking quarterback forced to choose between the interview that could win him a Rhodes Scholarship and playing for Yale against Harvard in The Game, turns his back on dreams of Oxford and dons his uniform to take the field for dear old Yale.

The denouement in which Harvard proceeded to crush the Bulldogs 45-7 seemed a sufficiently inglorious return to ordinary reality, but the Kindly Ones were not finished with Patrick Witt and Yale.

The New York Slimes, last week, published a story based on information from anonymous sources (apparently from within the administration of Yale itself), flagrantly violating that institution’s confidentiality policies, alleging that Witt’s Rhodes application had been compromised by an “informal” sexual assault charge made against Witt in September by another student. The article went on to detail a couple of minor brushes with the law on the Yale senior’s record, hinting darkly at a pattern of criminality on the part of the Yale senior.

The New York Times’ decision to destroy a college senior’s personal reputation by elevating an anonymous allegation, unsupported by any evidence and purveyed by a secondary layer of anonymous sources, to national news provoked both astonishment from ESPN and well-deserved indignation from the Wall Street Journal.

What the Times’ smear article really represents is a shocking case of toxic spillover from the radical left-wing head of the Obama Administration’s Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Russlyn Ali‘s personal campaign to reinvigorate Title IX Anti-Discrimination enforcement on American campuses.

Her approach amounted to nothing less than arm-twisting university administrations to participate in a federally-required witch hunt against “sexual harassment,” with sexual harassment defined in the broadest possible terms to include “verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct” in any fashion connected with sex which is “unwelcome” to someone or anyone, and asserting that harassing conduct in general may create “a hostile environment” anytime the conduct is deemed “sufficiently serious” as to interfere with some student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program.

Russlyn Ali’s notorious “Dear Colleague” letter of 4 April 2011 essentially mandates new grievance procedures, processes, and tribunals, specifically reduces standards of proof, and threatens “appropriate remedies” for noncompliance including both withdrawal of all forms of federal funding and assistance and lawsuits by the Justice Department.

The Obama Administration’s Education Department mandates on-campus inquisitions into a supposititious pattern of nation-wide victimization of female students by sexual harassment and assault. Patrick Witt, a white male member of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, ideally fits the favored profile stereotype of male harassers and assaulters. These days, a politically incorrect smart remark or an unwelcome date request can be construed as a punishable offense. Who knows who accused Witt of exactly what or why? We can, I think, tell that the charge did not rise to what we usually think of as a crime since no police complaint was made. He hasn’t been arrested or charged with any crime. The assault the Times reported was clearly one of the notional assaults prosecutable only in the kind of jurisdictions, like our university campuses, successfully annexed by the radical left, where justice consists of whatever Russlyn Ali says it is.

08 Dec 2011

Reviewing the New York Times

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David Ross takes the occasion of the documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times” (2011) to deliver a devastating critique of “the newspaper of record”‘s honesty, accuracy, prose style, quality of contributors, and exact place in the chain of biological phyla.

[T]he mainstream media, and the Times in particular, has done everything conceivable to hasten its own demise. The postmodern Times is a cavalcade of inaccuracy, omission, myopia, flagrant political bias, outrageously lousy writing, latent snobbery, and superficial urban sophistication. All the shallowness of the modern elite university has come home to roost at the Times. The worst offenders are surely the editorial sections (prose sinkhole) and the culture sections (lapdog of everything transgressive), but I reserve special ire for fellow Yalie Michiko Kakutani, the Pulitzer-winning book reviewer who’s done much to instantiate a self-important middle-browism as the default mode of the literary culture. The novelist Jonathan Franzen, for one, calls her “the “stupidest person in New York” and an “international embarrassment.” He continues, “Everyone in Europe says to me, “How can The New York Times let a person who is so patently tone deaf, who is so screechy rhetorically, so clearly unequipped to appreciate interesting books or even to enjoy them — how can that person be the lead reviewer?’”

Ross draws even more blood, as he continues:

Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, Tom Friedman, Bob Herbert (recently departed), Nicholas Kristof, and Paul Krugman are the Bad News Bears of prose. Metal garbage cans tumbling down tenement stairwells are about as mellifluous. The newspaper industry has forgotten something it once knew: good journalism is a literary exercise.

Read the whole thing (and don’t overlook the hilarious takedown of the ineffable Thomas Friedman he cites by Matt Taibbi).

It is always tempting to fall into the mode of laudator temporis acti, but this is the same New York Temporis that published Walter Duranty’s denials of the existence of the Ukraine famine in the 1930s; the same newspaper which so thoroughly functioned as Fidel Castro’s publicist that wags responded to a Time’s employment advertising promotion of the 1960s by inserting pictures of Castro in the then-ubiquitous “I Got My Job Through the New York Times” posters; the same paper whose Sunday Magazine commemorated the sacrifice of 58,000 American lives the week of the final US withdrawal by publishing a picture of a contented North Vietnamese soldier, relaxing in a lawn chair (Kalashnikov across his lap, titled “The Blessed Peace;” and the same paper, which when news of the massacres of millions in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge broke in the early 1980s, studiously ignored the story.

The Times has always been a lying, propagandistic organ of leftism, and its cultural side has always been an intellectually dubious olla podrida of slavish trend worship, middlebrow establishmentarian cant, and cynical log-rolling. What Michiko Kakutani is to today, Bosley Crowther used to be a generation ago.

I think David Ross is right: the Times has gone downhill in factual accuracy, editing, and prose, but in those respects I think the Times is simply mirroring the larger culture and reflecting a collapse of standards of education in secondary schools and prestige universities.

What is different, though, today, I think, is the reckless and hysterical level of political partisanship. The Times used to be partisan, but it put the knife into its adversaries with discretion and a grave and carefully-maintained gentility. In those days, the Times and the liberal elite for whom it speaks, were unquestionably and unchallengeably on top and in American society’s driver’s seat. We live today in a post-Reagan revolutionary era, in which the status, authority, and even the economic position of the Times is seriously in doubt, so I suppose the Times’ increasingly thuggish behavior must be seen as a form of lashing out in frustration from the Fuerherbunker as it becomes increasingly evident that they are not winning in the end.

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