Category Archive 'Thomas L. Friedman'
09 Jun 2014
The most self-important airhead of them all: Thomas Friedman
Everyone laughed on reading Maureen Dowd’s naive and self-important account of her bad experience and inability to handle the effects produced by nibbling a caramel-flavored candy bar containing marijuana during a recent trip to Denver.
What did these bozos do back when they were at college in the 1970s? we wondered.
MoDo’s hyperbolic account of her horrible ordeal, the paralysis! the paranoia! the disorientation! the failure to maintain, Man! has inspired inquiring minds on the Internet to wonder what would it be like if other self-important, windbag, journalist airheads got stoned.
What if, for instance, his emminence, the New York Times’s own Tom Friedman were to become unaccustomedly wrecked?
Sarah Jeong took on the task of imagining Tom Friedman pulling a Maureen Dowd and produced a masterpiece of satire in the haiku-like-form of a series of Tweets (happily collected at Twitchy).
Via The Dish.
05 Feb 2014
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.
Andyâ€™s got 14 or 15 people plus a whole bevy of assistants working on these three unsigned editorials every day. Theyâ€™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.â€
Asked by The Observer for hard evidence supporting a loss of influence of the vaunted editorial page, the same Times staffer fired back, â€œYou know, the editorials are never on the most emailed list; theyâ€™re never on the most read list. People just are not paying attention, and they donâ€™t care. Itâ€™s a waste of money.â€ …
As for the charges that Mr. Rosenthal is a despot, one writer provided a funny example that others interviewed for this story immediately recognized. â€œRosenthal himself is like a petty tyrant, like anytime anyone on the news pages uses the word â€˜shouldâ€™ in their copy, you know, he sends nasty emails around kind of CCing the world. The word â€˜shouldâ€™ belongs to him and his people.â€
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, â€œTom 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.â€ (Gawker has been particularly hard on Mr. Friedman, with Hamilton Nolan memorably skewering him in a column entitled â€œTom Friedman Travels the World to Find Incredibly Uninteresting Platitudes,â€ as a â€œmustachioed soothsaying simpletonâ€; another column was titled â€œTom Friedman Does Not Know Whatâ€™s Happening Here,â€ 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, â€œIt really isnâ€™t about politics, because I land more to the left than I do to the right. I just find it â€¦â€
He paused for a long time before continuing and then, unprompted, returned to Mr. Friedman. â€œI just think itâ€™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 heâ€™s writing about understands that heâ€™s, like, literally mailing it in from wherever he is on the globe. Heâ€™s a travel reporter. A joke. The guy gets $75,000 for speeches and probably charges the paper for his first-class airfare.â€
Another former Times writer, someone who has gone on to great success elsewhere, expressed similar contempt (and even used the word â€œembarrassâ€) and says itâ€™s longstanding.
â€œI think the editorials are viewed by most reporters as largely irrelevant, and thereâ€™s not a lot of respect for the editorial page. The editorials are dull, and thatâ€™s a cardinal sin. They arenâ€™t getting any less dull. As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasnâ€™t had an original thought in 20 years; heâ€™s an embarrassment. Heâ€™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 thereâ€™s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president.â€
Yet another former Times writer concurred. â€œAndy 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, thereâ€™s almost nothing light-hearted or whimsical or sprightly about them, nothing to gladden the soul. Theyâ€™re horribly doctrinaire, down the line, and that goes for the couple of conservatives in the bunch. It wasnâ€™t always like that on those pages.â€
Read the whole thing.
09 May 2011
Mark Steyn compares then and now, observing that Kitchener would not only have released the photographs of the dead Osama.
In the fall of 2001, discussing the collapse of the Taliban, Thomas Friedman, the in-house thinker at The New York Times, offered this bit of cartoon analysis:
“For all the talk about the vaunted Afghan fighters, this was a war between the Jetsons and the Flintstones â€“ and the Jetsons won and the Flintstones know it.”
But they didn’t, did they? The Flintstones retreated to their caves, bided their time, and a decade later the Jetsons are desperate to negotiate their way out.
When it comes to instructive analogies, I prefer Khartoum to cartoons. If it took America a decade to avenge the dead of 9/11, it took Britain 13 years to avenge their defeat in Sudan in 1884. But, after Kitchener slaughtered the jihadists of the day at the Battle of Omdurman in 1897, he made a point of digging up their leader the Mahdi, chopping off his head and keeping it as a souvenir. The Sudanese got the message. The British had nary a peep out of the joint until they gave it independence six decades later â€“ and, indeed, the locals fought for King and (distant imperial) country as brave British troops during World War Two. Even more amazingly, generations of English schoolchildren were taught about the Mahdi’s skull winding up as Lord Kitchener’s novelty paperweight as an inspiring tale of national greatness.
Not a lot of that today. It’s hard to imagine Osama’s noggin as an attractive centerpiece at next year’s White House Community Organizer of the Year banquet, and entirely impossible to imagine America’s “educators” teaching the tale approvingly. So instead, even as we explain that our difficulties with this bin Laden fellow are nothing to do with Islam, no sir, perish the thought, we simultaneously rush to assure the Muslim world that, not to worry, we accorded him a 45-minute Islamic funeral as befits an observant Muslim.
That’s why Pakistani big shots harbored America’s mortal enemy and knew they could do so with impunity.
John Henrik Clarke, in Mohammed Ahmed, (The Mahdi) Messiah of the Sudan, says otherwise:
In avenging what he thought was England’s honor, Lord Kitchener showed no mercy and considered nothing to be sacred while he was accomplishing his mission. He more than earned the name, “The Butcher of Omdurman”. He bombarded the tomb of the Mahdi and took his bones and threw them into the Nile. It was said that the Mahdi’s head was packed in a kerosene tin and later used by Kitchener as a tobacco container.
25 May 2010
Tea Party Protests, Republicans in Congress voting no, and democrats losing elections are really coming to represent altogether too much dissent for our friends on the left. Last week, Woody Allen wished aloud that Obama could be dictator for “a few years” so that “he could do a lot of good things quickly.
This week, Thomas Friedman, on Meet the Press, expressed the same kind of frustration with votes in Congress, checks and balances, and public opposition to the “good things” and “right solutions” which he understands with his own privileged insight to be necessary and desirable.
MR. FRIEDMAN: Well, David, it’s been decimated. It’s been decimated by everything from the gerrymandering of political districts to cable television to an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don’t like where you’re going, to the fact that money and politics is so out of controlâ€”really our Congress is a forum for legalized bribery. You know, that’s really what, what it’s come down to. So I don’tâ€”I, Iâ€”I’m worried about this, it’s why I have fantasizedâ€”don’t get me wrongâ€”but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.
Hat tip to the Barrister.
10 Sep 2009
They know how to achieve consensus in China
Republicans are declining to support Obama-Care and Cap-and-Trade. Why, it’s enough to make New York Times editorialist Thomas Friedman envy China.
Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. Chinaâ€™s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
Our one-party democracy is worse.
27 Jul 2009
Thomas L. Friedman knows whats good for you
Kate, at Small Dead Animals, merely posts a quotation from New York Times editorialist Thomas L. Friedman‘s June 30th “Just Do It” column demanding that Americans support the democrats’ Cap-and-Trade Bill.
(T)his billâ€™s goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 is nowhere near what science tells us we need to mitigate climate change. But it also contains significant provisions to prevent new buildings from becoming energy hogs, to make our appliances the most energy efficient in the world and to help preserve forests in places like the Amazon.”
and links a photo of Mr. Friedman’s house.
Hat tips to Greg Pollowitz and Mark Steyn, who remarks:
(O)bviously, being a renowned expert, Thomas Friedman, like Al Gore and the Prince of Wales, needs a supersized carbon footprint. But you don’t â€” you can get by beating your laundry on the rocks down by the river with the native women all day long.
“Environmentalism” is a government restraint on economic advance and, therefore, social mobility. In other words, it’s a way to ensure you’ll never live like Tom Friedman.
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