This time the NY Times is really in trouble

I love NY Times bashing, in part because I think it’s a dreadfully misguided paper that has way too much reach, and in part because it’s a cheap and easy target, and I don’t always have the time or energy to make subtle arguments against more challenging targets. What I did not know, though, was that NY Times bashing has moved out of the conservative blogosphere and into the mainstream. Thanks to a post at Political Fan, I learned that David Letterman (whom I never watch, since I prefer Jay Leno) has the Times in his crosshairs. Get a load of this list:

Top Ten Signs There’s Trouble At The New York Times

10. Extensive coverage of recent fighting between the Israelis and the lesbians

9. Pages 2 through 20 are corrections of previous edition

8. Every sentence begins “So, like”

7. TV listings only for Zorro

6. Weather forecast reads “Look outside dumbass”

5. Multiple references to “President Gore”

4. Obituary includes list of people they wish were dead

3. Headlines fold over to create surprise mad magazine-type hidden message

2. Restaurant critic recently gave IHOP four stars

1. Reporting that Oprah isn’t gay, but Letterman is

I don’t think the humor itself is that funny, but I really think it’s quite significant that the NY Times quality failures have hit the late night circuit.

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  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The humour sucks atomic pile. The Left’s version of humour is so brain dead.

    I used to think I was being dumb and not getting the 10 list jokes, but it’s not me, it’s them.

    Well, when you bleed in the water, the sharks will attack you, they don’t care who you are. The Left will eat themselves if you make one of them bleed for awhile.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    I think the wool has been pulled over the American people’s eyes here. The problem isn’t that the NY Times is too liberal, it’s that it’s incredibly supportive and subservient (in subtle ways) to the US government. Look at work by Chomsky (in Manufacturing Consent, for instance) that shows disproportionate coverage for crimes committed by America’s enemies as compared with crimes committed/supported by us — our crimes are barely even mentioned.

    I believe the NY Times relishes the role as the outlaw and the watchdog (which, admittedly, they have done some of), but the vast majority of their coverage and commentary is biased toward Western business interests.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    What Clint is probably talking about is making equivalent page 500 stories with page 1 stories. So 1 Abu Ghraib front page counts as a one compared to some back story concerning so and so on page 9, seems to be Clint’s methodology. After all, if you just count the stories the NYTimes does, and not pay attention to the page weighting, then you may actually get something like what Clint is describing.

    Of course we all know propaganda isn’t about how many times a story is repeated. It’s about the psychological impact of a story.

  • jg

    I would vote for a New York Times ‘subservient’ to the American government.

  • http://theview.townhall.com/Default.aspx d_Brit

    Clint asserts that:

    the NYT is ‘incredibly’ supportive of the Bush administration

    Cites Chomsky as a ‘source’

    Implies that America is committing numerous ‘crimes’

    Asserts that the NYT is a WSJ ‘wannabe’

    Clint is a moron…

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Whoops, D_Brit — no name calling here, just because I’ve made that my blog policy. I assume that your real conclusion — and one with which I totally agree — is that Clint has used the wrong factual premises and reached a completely wrong conclusion. The more pressing problem is for people like you and me, D_Brit, to figure out how to help the misguided to look away from Chomsky and towards more credible, less loathsome sources of intellectual guidance.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Brit hasn’t gotten the whole white wash thing down to a comprehensible level for him, yet. I think that should be the first step.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Chomsky’s pretty good as a primer on written propaganda techniques and logic manipulation. You should read his pieces and learn some tricks of his. But I wouldn’t recommend believing in his claims however, beneath the superficiality is the object that casts the shadow.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    Ymarsakar,
    I don’t follow what you’re saying. There are very simple, straightforward examples of propaganda that anyone can research if they have a computer.

    For instance, let’s take the current Israel/Lebanon war. Most people who follow the story know that Hamas captured Corporal Shalit in a raid into Israel, right? OK, well what’s not known is that the day BEFORE that happened, Israel abducted two people from Gaza (Israel says they were militants, their neighbors say they were civilians) and imprisoned them. That seems like a pretty relevant fact, doesn’t it? Well, the Washington Post, for instance, decided to give it 4 sentences at the bottom of one story, while it decided to give the abduction of Shalit more than one full story. The UK’s Guardian, as another example, gave it a couple lines in a briefs section. Needless to say, the story is almost never repeated in any large publication when discussing the current conflict.

    D Brit,
    Ouch. Surely uncalled for.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    There is no propaganda value there. If, and I say if, Israel abducted anyone out of Gaza, this just means Hizbollah as one terroist organization is helping another terroist organization.

    What is it supposed to convince people of? That Hizbollah and Hamas work together? Think people already suspected that.

  • http://theview.townhall.com/Default.aspx d_Brit

    Clint,
    Your response demonstrates my evaluation of you to be mistaken. I apologize. Nor will I label you again. Regardless of how mistaken I believe your rationale to be.

    Bookworm,
    My apologies as well, in my repulsion at Clint’s ‘rationale’, I allowed myself to forget your rule. Which is a good though uncommon one.

    Re: “to figure out how to help the misguided to look away from Chomsky and towards more credible, less loathsome sources of intellectual guidance.”

    A noble objective though I predict one likely to provide little recompense for the amount of effort expended. I say that not out of pessimism but rather out of the perception that deeply held beliefs are reluctantly surrendered and then only under great duress.

    I point to WWII as example. The pacifism in England, prior to the war was rampant. It took the invasion of Poland, the fall of France, Dunkirk and the bombing of London to finally silence the pacifists.

    The past is not always a prdictor of the future but its clear that in this case America will require another Pearl Harbor to awaken to the threat that looms on the not so distant horizon.

    9/11 notwithstanding, it is now clear that for many Americans more will be required to arose them from the ‘land’ of illusions that presently comprise their ‘map’ of reality.

    God save us from the fools within our midst. Brothers and sisters though they are, I fear their near suicidal foolishness will extract a heavy price indeed.

  • http://www.judyrose.wordpress.com judyrose

    As a former New Yorker, I must give credit where credit is due. The NYT Crossword Puzzle is the best. Luckily, the Orange County Register carries it every day, because I’d have to give it up if subscribing to the NYT were the only way to get it.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    Ymarsakar,

    “There is no propaganda value there. If, and I say if, Israel abducted anyone out of Gaza”
    There’s no dispute about whether or not it happened. It did; it’s simply swept under the rug.
    Check the bottom of this article:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/25/AR2006062500051.html
    And this one:
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,1805354,00.html

    “this just means Hizbollah as one terroist organization is helping another terroist organization.”

    Correct. But it also shows that the current wave of violence began with Israel abducting people, not Hamas or Hezbollah.

    “What is it supposed to convince people of?”

    Personally, it leads me to believe two things. A) Israel is full of it when they claim self-defense. B) There’s propaganda inherent in Western media that will favor Western interests (just as it would anywhere else), and we can’t accept news reports as truth in situations like these.

    “That Hizbollah and Hamas work together? Think people already suspected that.”

    They did, but that’s not why I brought up this example.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    There is no unity in the West. If France wasn’t cracking up on Romania and Ukraine and Poland, it would be arguing with Britain. Point being, everyone hates everyone in the west. Our advantage, freedom of whatever, is also our prime weakness, in that there is plenty of dissent, and zero unity.

    In light of that, there can be no Western media that favors Western interests because there is no such thing as Western interests in a democracy, where nobody agrees on anything.

    Let’s skip over the question of who started what, cause I don’t have a time machine, and it is a waste of time tracking who did what to whom back 5 decades. I’ll start from fundamental truths, using deductive logic.

    A democracy’s natural state is one of self-interest. War is very seldom to anyone’s interest, therefore democracy’s baseline state is one of peace. Israel is a democracy, so therefore they favor peace rather than war and occupation, especially given how expensive war and occupation is. Democracies hate expending anything that is not on their personal pet projects of their constituencies.

    As for Hizbollah and Hamas, their fundamental natures are of terroists that require an occupation force in order to exist. When Israel stops occupying, terroists must do everything they can to provoke more occupations, otherwise the terroists become politicians, ala IRA. They won’t let that happen, they will not give up terrorism and become politicians. They will remain terroists once and for all, that is their nature, and that is why they will continue occupation and states of war. Fundamental behavior derives from fundamental natures.

    Now given these fundamental truths using deductive logic, we have your inductive logic using stories and examples. Since inductive logic is more prone to flaws, your position is comparably weaker.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    Ymarsakar,
    What are you talking about?

    I accept none of your “fundamental truths”, and disagree with the main point of every single one of your paragraphs. I don’t think there’s much point even arguing about them because we’d be at it for years and wouldn’t make any progress.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The reason why I don’t use inductive logic (at least in this thread) is because inductive logic relies upon examples and historical precedents, that can be and often are argued for years on end without progress.

    The solution I presented is to use deductive logic, rather than to rely on your inductive logic and get into useless arguments.

    Of course you don’t accept the fundamental truths of the situation. If you did, your experimental data would reflect the methodology of your judgement.

    The best I can do in any debate is to offer what I have for my position, contrast it with my opponent’s position, you, and have the reader decide for himself. Not everyone will be convinced by me, and not everyone will be convinced by you. But it all depends upon whether they come about their judgements and beliefs through deductive logic, which is the arguing of fundamental truths, or through experimental results, which is a scientific method of analyzing humans and politics through the news and events independent of the fundamentals.

    The best way I can explain fundamental truths to you or Bookworm, is to mention Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Now, that principle is a fundamental truth. It is true because it applies to everything. A fundamental truth is FALSE if it does not apply to everything. So if I say a fundamental truth of Bookworm is that she is bloodthirsty (as many anti-neocons accused neo neocon of) then the proof in the pudding is that Bookworm often disagrees with me when I take a position that is real bloodthirsty.

    Inductive logic is to go around looking at this situation, event, person, and action and trying to see how it acts and what not. Then when you have the data, you derive your conclusions from that. Deductive logic starts with the conclusion first, then with the data. Science never starts with the conclusion first and then tries to get the data, bad science results. However, to derive truth does not require science, there are other methods and techniques.

    Bookworm mentioned in a later post that she has fundamental beliefs, about the truth, that informs her judgement. Bookworm has included human behavior and beliefs with deductive and inductive logic, one step further than I have taken in this thread.

    A simple test of Bookworm’s inductive logic skills would be to see whether she can gather enough information and make a hypothesis that is backed up by the data she has collected. For example, with the drug test on tour de France, she has the data, and she has two mutually exclusive hypotheses. Instead of choosing one and trying to disprove it, she can, by using inductive logic, collect data and information in order to see which hypothesis is better supported by the evidence and the reasoning. Logically, only one option is true in a mutually exclusive situation. So one option is most of the time better supported by the data, Bookworm just has to find out which is which by digging up information she currently may not have.

    Now an example of testing deductive logic, works the other way around. For example, I would say “If Bush is a liar, then what else would be true based upon that a priori?” From then on, I would construct a logical series of events and scenarios that MUST BE TRUE if the a priori belief, Bush is a liar, is true. Using this logic gate operation and code, I can create sub-logic routines that can be tested for truth or falseness. A couple of the subroutines says, then, if Bush is a liar, then he would have a propaganda apparatus. If Bush is a liar, he would have better popular support, ala Roosevelt and the other liars in the past who were very good at manipulating public opinion with deception. If Bush is a liar, then he would have excellent rhetorical abilities and his plans would contain extremely complex and deceptive details.

    After I analyzed the subroutines, I came up with negatives on all of them. Deductive logic cannot and should not be used by idiots. Sherlock Homes, detectives, these people operate the way they do because of a reason, and also because they have ability. A guy who lacks the knowledge and the mental fortitude to make calculations, is unable to build and test logic gates. Neither can he debug them. Sure, maybe he could do it on paper, but in reality? With human beings as the logic gates? *shakes head*

    The reason why deductive logic is so useful to human affairs, is because of how we think and how we believe. Everyone, you included bookworm, has something they believe in. So how can you make a scientific analysis of the thesis, if you already believe in one over the other? How is objectivity possible? It is not. People with prejudices, previous bad judgements, and so forth, cannot correct them if they cannot see why they were wrong. And without an inbuilt ability at introspective deductive logic, they are unable to see where they went wrong. If this, then that, if that then this, if this then not that, if not that, then not this. What kind of mental training, education, natural intellect, and good judgement is required for someone, like you bookworm, to analyze your own personal preconceptions and prejudices and verify whether they are correct or incorrect? Every human believes something. If we were all computers, then inductive logic would be all we would need in order to determine the truth or falseness of A or B. But we are not computers, we cannot analyse something without inbuilt bias. Therefore by taking into account our internal biases, we can build and debug logic gates based upon what should be true. If this, then that should be true. If not this, then that should not be true.

    In Conclusion, I do not believe Clint understands deductive logic as a practical application while I think Bookworm does. It is a requirement for a person to change his mind. I cannot change Clint’s mind. I can only show by contrast how his thinking compares to mine. The reason why I won’t argue with you clint about the history of the Jews or tell you what I believe the Jews did or did not do to justify their state’s existence, is because I am far more interested in your fundamental logic and your a priori assumptions. With that information, I can build a logic gate. With that information, I need not go looking for historical contexts trying to “disprove” your position.

    It’s a time saver. If Logic Gate 5 out of 5 X 10 to the 90 power logic gates is not true, then you discard the other 5 X10 to the 90th power logic conclusions. When debating, people draw up a list of ‘evidence’ and ‘stuff’ that can go down to the floor. Or at least take a supercomputer days to run through. It’ll never end, one side can always bring something else to the picture and say “here, this counters your A.” Which is returned by “this counters your counter to A” and on it goes until infinity.

    Bookworm knows what I’m talking about because she’s a lawyer, one of their purposes being to make a legal list and make sure it contains everything advantageous to proposition A. Reasonable doubt, is there for a reason. Rest your case sometime. But there is always some new evidence that can be found sooner or later.

    I rest my case on the basis that Clint doesn’t accept the fundamental nature of a democracy as being in favor of peace and the fundamental nature of terroists as requiring force to sustain their justification for existence. That is all that I need to know, and all that you need to know as well, fellow reader.