Friday, May 26, 2006

Dumb Times Editorial of the Year

I'm a day late with this, but I still thought weigh in with my own expression of disgust for the editorial that appeared in the New York Times yesterday. It has got to be the dumbest Times editorial I have read in a long time, and that is saying a lot.

The aim was to shoot down Ehud Olmert's West Bank disengagement plan. Israel must carry out a full withdrawal and that, of course, won't be enough! The poor poor Palestinians will be left with... well, get this addled imagery:
. . . imagine a map of Manhattan. The West Bank would be, very roughly, East Harlem and the Upper East Side. Gaza would be Battery Park City, far to the southwest. Now imagine trying to create a fully functioning city with its own economy out of those pieces while an entirely independent, antagonistic city remained in between.

Something missing from this neat little imagery, wouldn't you say? Such as the people on the East Side and Battery Park City vowing to obliterate the rest of Manhattan.

Kind of fouls up the picture, wouldn't you say?


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Monday, May 22, 2006

The Times 'Scoop' That Never Was

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The New York Stock Exchange is poised to merge with an electronic something-or-other called Euronext! So reported the New York Times today.

"The NYSE Group is expected to present Euronext with a formal proposal in the next couple of days, two people involved in the negotiations said yesterday."

The story was filled with stuff like this -- confidential source stuff -- talking about a "person" here and a "person" there said this and that.

Nice! I guess that "person" must have been reading the Sunday Times of London, which got there first. As the New York Post reported today,

London's Sunday Times reported yesterday that Big Board chief John Thain was poised to make a merger offer to Euronext - an electronic network covering stock listings in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon and derivatives in London - to counter a move made Friday by German exchange Deutsche Boerse.

Gee, nothing in the Times story about one of Britain's leading newspapers reporting that.

Guess they must have forgot.

See? Bloggers aren't the only ones who get poached by the Times.

Hey Barney Calame! Dust off that Empty Suit and serve us up a nice whitewash.


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Friday, May 12, 2006

A 'Press Critic' Wakes Up to the Empty Suit

Belated recognition

I see that Jack Shafer of Slate has finally woken up to what any casual reader -- and many blogs, including this one and Michelle Malkin -- have been saying for months: that Barney Calame is one awful New York Times "public editor."

Shafer fails to mention the widespread revulsion that Calame -- who I dubbed "The Empty Suit" way back in July -- has been causing among readers of the Times. No surprise there. Since the people complaining about the Suit have tended to beef about the Times's leftwing bias, they were invisible to the left-leaning Shafer.

Still his column makes for good reading. Glad he finally woke up. But the lateness of his column shows how the mainstream press critics have failed their readers in serving as watchdogs for this kind of thing.


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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The UN Minister of Propaganda Wants a Promotion

Shashi Tharoor wants a better job

The UN's Minister of Propaganda, Shashi Tharoor, has been all over the news lately as he pounds the pavement campaigning to succeed Kofi Annan as UN secretary general. That's right folks. The head of the UN's most bloated, inefficiently run bureaucracy, noted mainly for anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Semitic propaganda offerings, wants to run the whole shebang!

I've written quite a bit about Tharoor over the past year. So "let's look at the record," as on old pol once said

Jew-baiting and Israel-bashing

On his watch, the UN propaganda apparatus has sponsored hate-Israel "media events," one of which included the rabid anti-Semite Israel Shamir. See the link here, and note here how Reuters came to his defense, proving that a UN's flack's best friend is a UN hack!

Giving a platform to a Jew-hater wasn't enough for Tharoor. He had to top himself, and he did. The next hate-Israel fest featured the vicious anti-Israel polemicist Ilan Pappe. See my item here, and follow-ups here and here..

To keep the public record of the Pappe-fest nice and tidy, Tharoor's minions sanitized the transcript to eliminate the most extreme statements.

Waste and irresponsibility

Now, you have to admit, this is a pretty good record! But that's not all. Tharoor manages to run a useless propaganda ministry by employing no less than seven hundred paid flacks around the world. Four hundred of them are employed in New York. And no effort is being made to trim this obscenely bloated staff.

The dirty details emerged at a press briefing, see here, but received zero publicity.

While those seven hundred propagandists keep their noses to the grindstone planning hate-Israel parleys, Tharoor finds time to write books, no matter what else happened to be going on at the UN.

In recognition for his terrific work, Tharoor's department won a nice award from the UN for "promoting efficiency." I kid you not. Read about it here.

Even defenders of the UN were losing patience with the guy last year, as Annan was kicked around right and left and Tharoor was AWOL. After all, a flack's job is to, well, flack. You can't always rely on a supine UN press corps or its Saudi-dominated correspondent association to do your flacking for you.

So that's the Shashi Tharoor Platform. He has my vote. After all, he embodies what the UN is all about -- Israel-bashing and inefficiency. The right man for the job!


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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Calame Slays a Red Herring

The Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman a/k/a "public editor" Barney Calame, was in fine form today -- as is the Times, needless to say. Great paper. No problems there. Terrific reporters coming up with great ideas. Calame so proclaims, in the latest of a series of advertorials by this train wreck of a newspaper ombudsman.

Today's advertorial, entitled "That First Inkling: The Origin of Enterprise Stories." is vintage Calame. No critical analysis and above all nothing of the slightest interest to Times readers. Just relentless happy-talk of the kind usually found in a morale-boosting employee newsletter That's our Barney!

The Barney column today describes how reporters come up with most ideas for enterprise stories and, doggone it, everything is just fine. Bias? Ain't happening. Figment of your imagination.

The complaints of some disgruntled readers imply that the process is to blame when they think an article shouldn't have run or view its concept as inherently biased. They often suspect that the process was contaminated by the influence of some powerful special interest or the political leanings of a top editor.

That, of course, isn't what "disgruntled readers" are saying. I haven't heard anyone complain about "process." "Process" is purely Calame's obsession. I, for example, believe that the bias at the Times is institutional, a part of the fabric of the paper that is shared by reporters and editors alike, particularly on the Foreign Desk and among the foreign correspondent corps.

For example, it would be absurd to suggest that somebody has to tell Hassan Fattah to sucker up to Islamists, or screw up a big story about Abu Gharib. Oh no. He does that all by himself. Enterprise!

Calame, however, doesn't like dealing with actual instances of bias. That, after all, would deter him from his primary task, which is to shill for management. So instead he raises the red herring that bias is somehow imposed by fiat from above.

Having raised that red herring, Calame proceeds to slaughter it by describing how ducky the process is. His conclusion: "Over all, The Times seems to have a fairly robust, ground-level-up idea-generation process that can, and does, yield added value for readers."

Which is Calame's way of saying, "No matter how bad the bias I am going to ignore it or excuse it. So can you please leave me alone while I go back to sleep on the divan!"


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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Double Whammy in the Times

More signs today that the New York Times is reverting back to its accustomed role of shilling for the Palestinian cause in all its delightful incarnations.

First we have a story on a poor, poor Gaza family in a house unjustly shelled by the big, bad Israelis, and then grotesquely biased coverage of Islamic Jihad terrorist Sami al-Arian's sentencing in Florida. He got the book thrown at him, to the annoyance of the Times.

The syrupy coverage of the Gaza family, by Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Erlanger, is quintessential Erlanger. Told entirely from the point of view of the Palestinians, it barely touches on the cause of all the shooting going back and forth, which is Palestinians firing missiles at Israel.

Here's the real gem -- statistics by the far-left Btselem "human rights" group that lump in Palestinian terrorists with civilians in the casualty counts, making them meaningless.

The al-Arian sentencing piece reads as if it were written by the slick terrorist's defense team:

Indeed the outcome of the case against Mr. Al-Arian did little to resolve the conflicting portraits of his life.
The judge who tried the case just sentenced him to five years in prison -- and made it plain that there was no "conflict" here.

Hard to find a better example of muddled, biased, spitoon-quality Times coverage than what we saw today.


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Monday, May 01, 2006

Arrogance in the Post on Moussaoui

Today, the Washington Post editorial board weighs in on whether Zacarias Moussaoui should be executed. Of course, the enlightened Washington Post editorial board opposes capital punishment in all cases, and it feels the need to let everyone know what it thinks of executing the so-called 20th hijacker, and while doing so, displays know-it-all arrogance.

Personally, I favor the death penalty, and I think it should be used far more often than it is. But I can accept the view of the opposing side. The Post's editorial board cannot--it stoops to ad hominem attacks on those who may think that Mr. Moussaoui deserves death. We are told that only a "wise and courageous" jury could find that the mitigating factors in Moussaoui's case outweigh the aggravating factors, as if any other decision would be reflective of a jury less steeped in wisdom and courage. And to cap it off, prosecutors in this case are "not smart" because they seek to put to death a conspirator who participated in a conspiracy that killed thousands.

The arrogance of the editorial is astounding. Although the editorial makes a good point about the eligibility of the death penalty for "low-level" conspirators and the possibility that Moussaoui's death could be used for recruitment (although I personally think that his execution will prevent the possibility of some terrorists deciding one day to take hostages to try to win his freedom, and I also think it will send a message that the American public is not squeamish about killing terrorists), the editorial writers cannot help denigrating those who might disagree as "not smart" or less than "wise and courageous". (Of course, if the Post's advice is taken, and Moussaoui goes on to kill or maim a prison guard (a distinct possibility), one wonders if the Post would have the nerve to pen an editorial stating that life was the proper decision.)

The prosecutors and jurors deserve better.

I am reminded of an editorial penned by the Washington Post on July 17, 2005 entitled "Sentenced for Speaking". In that editorial, the editorial board argued that an American citizen named Al-Timimi who recruited followers to travel abroad to kill American troops was treated unfairly because he received what is effectively a life sentence. Given the abject silliness of that editorial, one is not surprised by the Post's arguing for lenience for Moussaoui, but it certainly should give one pause about the Post's editorial board's judgment when it comes to matters of crime and punishment.

(the above from the new Mediacrity contributor.....)

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Under the Gun on the West Bank

Just when you thought that an occasional moment of fairness might creep in to the chronically biased New York Times, its trusty Jerusalem bureau chief proves that it's on the job, shilling for the poor, poor Palestinians.

Note this article today and an accompanying photograph -- the photo appearing only in print and not online.

The article contains the usual Times formula for describing the security fence on the West Bank. The formula consists of not mentioning why the fence was erected -- suicide bombings -- and calling the fence a "separation barrier," thereby adopting the quasi-apartheid style rhetoric of anti-Israel polemicists.

But the real treat is the photo, which shows a looming Israeli soldier at the wall with his automatic weapon vividly magnified by a shadow. On the other side of the wall is a poor, poor elderly Palestinian. The message, as if you didn't get the picture already, is that those poor, poor Palestinians are being harmed by big bad Israel for no reason at all!

Back to business as usual at the Times, quite obviously.


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