The New York Times - A Force for Evil

The recent end of the Hillary email investigation brings to mind how instrumental the NYT has been in affecting our recent Presidential elections for the worst.

The 2000 election was arguably affected by Clinton's impeachment, which had it's start in the Whitewater investigation, which in turn was the result of some really sloppy reporting by the Times. They pushed the story for years, even though there was never a there there.

2000 was also affected by the Times coverage of the "Gore lies" trope, giving credence to the idea that the most boy scout of candidates was some sort of self-aggrandizing liar. At the same time, the fact that Bush was blatantly lying about his tax plan got almost no coverage, except by Krugman.

Result - 8 years of Dubya, the most disastrous Prez of out lifetimes, though Trump is in the running to usurp that role.

Obama managed to avoid the Times curse.

Hillary not so much.

We all know the emails story and its wildly over the top coverage by the Times.  It clearly helped to paint the image that Hillary was corrupt to the core, to say nothing of the anti-Clinton coverage that the Times produced over the last 20 years. The story about the report finally clearing her ran on page A16, and an op-ed on the subject was about the least self-aware piece of writing you're likely to see.

And that's not to mention their terrible coverage of the Clinton Foundation and Nuclear One - again serving no purpose other than to imply Hillary was corrupt. With no evidence.

On the whole, the Times is still one of the best papers on the planet, but at the same time, one of the worst, because they screw things up with historical consequences.

(They even screwed up the Tulsi story. Hillary never said Russia was looking at her for a 3rd party run - she said it was the Republicans. And the Times "corrected" it in later stories, but never actually said it was a correction. Some editors really need to be fired.)


Well Hillary is in fact corrupt.  But I would agree that the NY Times is a force for evil because it is a force for empire.  They do not tell the whole story, but argue for what the Empire wants and that typically involves meddling in foreign affairs and a government that controls our lives.   All too often, this involves slanting their reporting towards war. 

All the news that's fit to print.  I'm not sure.  I think its more selling the narrative those in power want. 


Let me consider ending my subscription to the NYT then. Nope.


drummerboy said:

On the whole, the Times is still one of the best papers on the planet, but at the same time, one of the worst, because they screw things up with historical consequences.

(They even screwed up the Tulsi story. Hillary never said Russia was looking at her for a 3rd party run - she said it was the Republicans. And the Times "corrected" it in later stories, but never actually said it was a correction. Some editors really need to be fired.)

Because the NY Times has more coverage of more issues, and is read by more people, they have outsized influence.  And so their failures also have outsized influence.

They have to clean up their act on a lot of things.  But they also have to do more, of the important coverage that they provide, and we'd be worse off if the NY Times wasn't there. 


it's crap like this...


It’s intentional irony like that.

Was it too subtle?


DaveSchmidt said:

It’s intentional irony like that.

Was it too subtle?

 You think the use of "deep state" was ironic?


drummerboy said:

 You think the use of "deep state" was ironic?

 They should have used parentheses like you did.


DaveSchmidt said:

It’s intentional irony like that.

Was it too subtle?

 This is not a time for "subtlety" or "intentional irony" that will go WAY over the heads of the deceived Trumpers.

These news people have to be clueless not to realize that they gave ammunition for: "EVEN THE NEW YORK TIMES KNOWS IT'S THE 'DEEP STATE'!!!!"


drummerboy said:

DaveSchmidt said:

It’s intentional irony like that.

Was it too subtle?

 You think the use of "deep state" was ironic?

If it was, they were writing for their circle of friends to impress them with their use of "irony" (albeit in the Alanis Morrissette use of the term).

The should write their articles for the general public. 


It’s not them setting their writing p.o.v., it’s Editorial ( I.e. the Publisher), and really' you know that. It’s just truly sad we’ve lived to see standards and objectivity erode to this level.


drummerboy said:

 You think the use of "deep state" was ironic?

That’s the way I read it the other day, and didn’t give it a second thought. What Trump has boogeymanned as the “deep state” is actually made up of real government officials like those who have come forward to testify and make a mockery of the epithet:

WASHINGTON — Nameless, faceless and voiceless, the C.I.A. officer who first triggered the greatest threat to President Trump’s tenure in office seemed to be practically the embodiment of the “deep state” that the president has long accused of trying to take him down.

But over the last three weeks, the deep state has emerged from the shadows in the form of real live government officials, past and present, who have defied a White House attempt to block cooperation with House impeachment investigators and provided evidence that largely backs up the still-anonymous whistle-blower.


nohero said:

DaveSchmidt said:

It’s intentional irony like that.

Was it too subtle?

 This is not a time for "subtlety" or "intentional irony" that will go WAY over the heads of the deceived Trumpers.

These news people have to be clueless not to realize that they gave ammunition for: "EVEN THE NEW YORK TIMES KNOWS IT'S THE 'DEEP STATE'!!!!"

I doubt if they read the NYT. So now the NYT is all evil because they forgot quotes? You are blowing this way out of proportions.


basil said:

So now the NYT is all evil because they forgot quotes?

The quotes are there the first time. There’s an idea that once you use quotes around a term, you don’t need to keep doing it in the same written piece, that readers will understand it’s the same quote-unquote term. That’s the idea, anyway.


No. The error by the Times is that it is using the term "deep state", but trying to redefine it as benevolent, which it can't possibly do successfully, so instead its usage simply reinforces the concept of the nefarious deep state.

Which is a bad thing.


I think the NYT is an excellent paper. Ditto for the Washington Post. I pay for both of them. I believe the core of what makes them good is that they do real reporting -- they have actual human beings at the locations they are reporting from, talking to actual sources. This is the foundation of all quality journalism.

Now having said that, there are real problems with both papers. They have real biases. Some are ideological -- while I believe the reporters and editors at both papers make sincere attempts at being factual and objective, I think there is definitely consistently bias in favor of the center left. Those aren't the only biases. Being based in major cities introduces a bias. Most of the reporters and editors are college-educated, introducing another type of bias. Etc. These biases in some ways reinforce and explain the ideological biases.

Again, I think the staff at both papers do make sincere attempts at being objective, but they are human. The real problem here is media consolidation. However good both papers are, we need more reporting, but the last few decades have decimated the news industry. Beyond NYT and WaPo there's the WSJ (which is also a good paper, though I don't read it much and, while it has different biases than the NYT in some ways, it still a NY paper and so shares many of the same biases) and a handful of regional papers (I confess to not knowing much about, say the LA Times for instance).

Real reporting requires travel and making and maintaining contacts with sources. That's not cheap, and it turns out not many want to pay for it. What they _will_ pay for (either directly or, more commonly, via advertisers) is commentary. A Colbert or a Jimmy Dore talks about the news, arguably even provides important perspectives on the news, but without actual reporting there isn't much news to comment on. So much of the "independent" news media is derivative; glosses on the news with little actual reporting. People complain about biased news, but it turns out that as long as you feed their bias, they're largely indifferent to whether it's actually news.

This is more a rant than an argument. All I'm really saying is yes, there's definitely real shortcomings in the NYT, but I hardly think that's the biggest problem with today's news media. I'm proud to be a paying subscriber for real journalism.


I should point out that I'm a digital subscriber to the Times, though I have to fight the urge to cancel my subscription about once a month.


ridski said:

 They should have used parentheses like you did.

 Quotation marks?


STANV said:

ridski said:

 They should have used parentheses like you did.

 Quotation marks?

Too subtle?

(Well, at least one in ridski’s circle of acquaintances was impressed.)


STANV said:

 Quotation marks?

 That's the one. I grew up not using either word, so I always which one is used for that here.


ridski said:

STANV said:

 Quotation marks?

 That's the one. I grew up not using either word, so I always which one is used for that here.

My father moved to the U.S. from Hungary when he was around 19 years old. Hungarian does not distinguish between "she" and "he"  (both are ő , while there is a different word for "it" that is not a person). Since he grew up without different words for "she" or "he" (the same word is also used for "her" and "him" in Hungarian), my dad never knew which one to use in English. 

My sister and I would be referred to as "she" about 50% of the time, and as "he" about 50% of the time. My dad's now been speaking English almost exclusively for the past 50 years, and still doesn't know which pronoun to use -- so, he still just randomly picks one.


sprout said:


My sister and I would be referred to as "she" about 50% of the time, and as "he" about 50% of the time. My dad's now been speaking English almost exclusively for the past 50 years, and still doesn't know which pronoun to use -- so, he still just randomly picks one.

 Your dad was way before his time with respect to non-gender specific pronouns.


I have subscribed to the weekend Times for years and have the online subscription. Outing the whistleblower is what almost got me to cancel the subscrption. Plus the delivery person delivering it after 9am half the time. 


STANV said:

sprout said:

My sister and I would be referred to as "she" about 50% of the time, and as "he" about 50% of the time. My dad's now been speaking English almost exclusively for the past 50 years, and still doesn't know which pronoun to use -- so, he still just randomly picks one.

 Your dad was way before his time with respect to non-gender specific pronouns.

Unfortunately, it's almost the opposite. My dad has been mispronouning everyone for forever! It's Hungarian that was before it's time for non-gender specific pronouns. 

Is it too late to just have English adopt ő for everyone to go by a non-gender specific pronoun?  As I'm aging, I can't remember names anymore, and the personal pronouns are another level I have no memory for. And much as I hate to admit it, I've gotten confused with 'they' as a plural rather than non-binary. 

My brain doesn't have the flexibility (or storage space) it used to have decades ago.


drummerboy said:

No. The error by the Times is that it is using the term "deep state", but trying to redefine it as benevolent, which it can't possibly do successfully, so instead its usage simply reinforces the concept of the nefarious deep state.

Which is a bad thing.

 It's not a 'bad' thing. But maybe too clever for the audience you'd like to see convinced that there is no such thing. 

DB, the art of getting messages onto a page (or slab, or screen, etc) is quite complicated and includes all the white spaces as well as those marks. There are all kinds of conventions that have evolved over centuries that we use without thinking, regardless of the language we speak or read. Turns out a lot of them are reinforced by the way the brain works to decipher those marks. There's a lot of skill and experience informing apparently small decisions you see in those articles, and as publishing tech changes, neuropsych will keep pace. Including the dumbing down. 

Sorry. This has taken too long to type, and it sounds like a lecture. It was meant as a comment on the editing process. 


joanne said:

drummerboy said:

No. The error by the Times is that it is using the term "deep state", but trying to redefine it as benevolent, which it can't possibly do successfully, so instead its usage simply reinforces the concept of the nefarious deep state.

Which is a bad thing.

 It's not a 'bad' thing. But maybe too clever for the audience you'd like to see convinced that there is no such thing. 

DB, the art of getting messages onto a page (or slab, or screen, etc) is quite complicated and includes all the white spaces as well as those marks. There are all kinds of conventions that have evolved over centuries that we use without thinking, regardless of the language we speak or read. Turns out a lot of them are reinforced by the way the brain works to decipher those marks. There's a lot of skill and experience informing apparently small decisions you see in those articles, and as publishing tech changes, neuropsych will keep pace. Including the dumbing down. 

Sorry. This has taken too long to type, and it sounds like a lecture. It was meant as a comment on the editing process. 

 I'm not sure of your point. The Times use of the term "deep state" served to normalize it.

That's bad writing/editing. Full stop.

====================================

I started to read an oped in the Times today. The first sentence was this:

It’s that time of the campaign season when some Democrats are starting to feel — as President Jimmy Carter might have put it — malaise.

Carter never used the word malaise in his speech. It was a complete concoction of the media. Both the editor and writer should freaking know better. Instead, they propagate the myth.

If you're writing for the G..D... NYT you should be among the smartest and best informed of us.

But they're not even close.

I never read past that sentence.


drummerboy said:

joanne said:

drummerboy said:

No. The error by the Times is that it is using the term "deep state", but trying to redefine it as benevolent, which it can't possibly do successfully, so instead its usage simply reinforces the concept of the nefarious deep state.

Which is a bad thing.

 It's not a 'bad' thing. But maybe too clever for the audience you'd like to see convinced that there is no such thing. 

DB, the art of getting messages onto a page (or slab, or screen, etc) is quite complicated and includes all the white spaces as well as those marks. There are all kinds of conventions that have evolved over centuries that we use without thinking, regardless of the language we speak or read. Turns out a lot of them are reinforced by the way the brain works to decipher those marks. There's a lot of skill and experience informing apparently small decisions you see in those articles, and as publishing tech changes, neuropsych will keep pace. Including the dumbing down. 

Sorry. This has taken too long to type, and it sounds like a lecture. It was meant as a comment on the editing process. 

 I'm not sure of your point. The Times use of the term "deep state" served to normalize it.

That's bad writing/editing. Full stop.

====================================

I started to read an oped in the Times today. The first sentence was this:

It’s that time of the campaign season when some Democrats are starting to feel — as President Jimmy Carter might have put it — malaise.

Carter never used the word malaise in his speech. It was a complete concoction of the media. Both the editor and writer should freaking know better. Instead, they propagate the myth.

If you're writing for the G..D... NYT you should be among the smartest and best informed of us.

But they're not even close.

I never read past that sentence.

 The point you’re making there, for what appears to an analysis or opinion piece, is a slightly different matter. And not necessarily against what I was trying to communicate. 
if you feel opinions are swayed by these articles, in fact that’s not evidence of poor or ‘bad’ writing. Quite the opposite. Lousy ‘journalism’, if by journalism you mean holding to principles of writing objective observations. Not everyone does; not every publication does; not every publisher does.

We all know the publisher of the NYT doesn’t care a fig for objective journalistic values. 
Many of us have been aware for a very very long time of the subtle ways in which these values were manipulated stylistically to convey certain shades of opinion, especially in politically valuable pieces. You’ve only fairly recently woken to the manipulation, and think it’s the writing at fault. I’d argue that in most cases (maybe not this one) the journo is trying to stay employed. 


Re ‘deep state’ and other similar terms: 

If they’re in online wiki dictionaries, these days that’s considered normalised whether we like it or not. We can hold out and wait for the blessing of old-fashioned academics who compile lexicons in ivory castles, but like alternative facts and alternative histories, once it’s in cyber-space, you can’t recall it. Just look at the MOL conversations we have now and how they compare to those over the past 5, 10 and 15 years... 


Anyone who has done the Sunday crossword knows the NYT is a force for evil.


smile I’d say that about any crossword or sudoku



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