Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New York Times Reporters Go Full Driftglass -- UPDATE

We join a senior New York Times editorial board staff meeting already in progress...

So it turns out that in a world where, for want of gainful employment, real journalists wait tables and real writers busk for nickles, the Texas deck of America's newspaper of record has been stocked with monstrously overpaid and over-privileged hacks (Not you Krugman) that anyone who can string five words together regards as a joke...by a trustifarian fop in the thrall of a bullying asshole.


The New York Times op-ed page is a fucking disaster.

To the surprise of no Liberal anywhere...
The Tyranny and Lethargy of the Times Editorial Page
Reporters in ‘semi-open revolt’ against Andrew Rosenthal

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.”
Also too this:

And this:

And a little of the vintage '07, I think.  From back when Mr. Friedman and Iraq were going through a messy, public divorce and The Mustache of Understanding columns were mostly public paroxysms about how he loveses too much and careses too deeply!

Once upon a time I worked for a 3rd generation, family-owned company that has since vanished from the face of the Earth.

It disappeared from the memory of man due to the sheer, inbred ineptitude of its owners, which manifested itself in all the usual ways: the rogue's gallery of unfireable toadstools who had been promoted into upper management, a spectacular array of useless vanity projects, and a steady outflow of money into the pockets of high-flying management consultant grifters who promised that all of the emperor's problems could be turned around with a new suit of clothing which, while very expensive, would be the finest raiment in all the land!

The Times has had this kind of stink coming off of it for years, and as long as its Beltway rot is allowed to continue, it will continue to gangrenize every other media institution it touches.  

In other words, there is a Club.

But you already knew that.

And we on the Left are going to continue to eat smoke and sift the ruins of one media disaster after another until somebody bothers to ask us how to do it right:


Strider said...

Guh.I clicked over to the article and the cartoon depicted the WSJ as some kind of sleek, luxury yacht (pronounced "throat warbler mangrove") relative to the NYT's sodden dinghy. Has the cartoonist ever *read* a WSJ editorial?

Deering said...

Friedman is the worst? How''d they miss Brooks?

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Three generations from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that insiders see what an idiot Friedman is. (Have you seen the movie "Being There"? I call Friedman Chance the Columnist.)

But it could be worse. Rosenthal could hire Richard Cohen.

bowtiejack said...

Ah, I still remember crusading publisher Pinch Sulzberger taking heroic girl reporter Judy Miller out for a celebratory dinner when she was finally sprung from the Alexandria City Jail on her contempt incarceration for initially refusing to give up courageous whistle-blower (and aspen roots admirer) Scooter Libby.

If only real life was like the movies, it wouldn't matter if you cast those parts with a clueless dilettante heir, a round-heeled floozy and a vicious shyster. But it does. Wonder how they're all doing now?

Kathleen said...

Outside of Paul Krugman and Gail Collins, which NYT editorial writers are "liberal"?

Anonymous said...

How can you have a whole story on the Times editorial page without mentioning the rampant online mockery of David Brooks?

JerryB said...

Since I have nothing of value to add to what you wrote lets talk about the M.P vid.

One of the last skits they did as M.P.F.C. Besides being funny there's some truth to it. Most words are either Woody or Tinny Tinny words upset me too.

"Later Dear."

Howlin Wolfe said...

I looked at the comments at the Observer. They were mostly from clueless wingnuts, who said "Harrumph! what do you expect from librulz!" No one mentioned Bobo at all, for obvious reasons. Also, that's the reason the WSJ is symbolized by a yacht. It betrays the Observer's ideological slant.

Redhand said...

Well, it's certainly useful that the sources of the rot on the NYT's editorial page are being exposed. How sick yet all-too-predictable that it's the worthless sons of two NYT patriarchs: Sulzburger and Rosenthal, who are responsible.

As to why Bobo wasn't included in the critique, to me it's like being within the gravitational pull of two nearby black holes, but closer to one of them. When that one takes you into its event horizon, you're blind to everything else, even though the other one is equally horrible.

Exactly the same article could have been written about Bobo, with no mention of The Mustache of Understanding. The destructive effect would be exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Friedman the worst?

Brooks. Dowd. DOUTHAT?

When you're looking for idiot columnists on the NYT editorial page, it's a target-rich environment.

Yastreblyansky said...

I think Friedman is the worst because he has readers who are not stupid but too busy to realize how terrible he is. Like our president. Brooks may be one of the worst writers in human history but you can't imagine his having an influence on anybody who knows how to tie shoes and eat with a spoon. He just makes his audience shake their jowls in sympathetic indignation. Friedman, in contrast, enabled by the Times, is widely taken seriously by people who do stuff out in the world, and is truly dangerous.

Anonymous said...

You really have to read this as an axe-grinding piece by the newspaper of a certain brass-buttoned navy blazered New York old guard. The Observer, mind you, endorsed Mitt Romney, is the toy of a boy tycoon who married into the Trump family, and is staffed pretty much entirely by graduates of the very best elite self-reproduction mills who aren't paid near enough to live on (at least for non-trustafarians). So for The Observer (AKA "The Other Pink 'Un") to charge the Times editorial page with elitism, insularity and trustafarianness is pretty rich. "La la la, The Wall Street Journal's Op/Ed page is just smashing and here's one of Andrew Ross Sorkin's opening bell ringers to talk about how the Times' business editorials are all wrong..."

So they could mostly only get Timespersons to talk shit about Friedman because Friedman is legitimately an embarrassment, but really, this is an article that set out to troll the page's politics, which are mostly excellent. The Times' unsigned editorials are, too, mostly excellent. Do you read them? I do, and I learn stuff even about issues I've followed closely. They're usually incredibly informative, concern vitally important issues and are, by the standards of a retro newspaper Op/Ed section, lively as all get out. They are, in short, an excellent counterpoint to The Times' mixed-bag roster of columnists, some of whom (Krugman, Collins, Cohen, Nocera) are frequently excellent, some awful (Douthat) and some simply serving out their term in perfect job drudgery purgatory (Dowd).

The Observer's problem isn't with Friedman, Dowd and Douthat.

Anonymous said...

"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."

awwww… pity

Yastreblyansky said...

Ha! You think they trashed Friedman because he's vulgar and (neo)liberal? Could be... Hope that doesn't mean I have to start defending him.

Anonymous said...

Since I have nothing of value to add to what you wrote lets talk about the M.P vid.

Victor said...

If you haven't seen it, the Friedman random column generator is a hoot: http://thomasfriedmanopedgenerator.com/about.php

It makes up a random Friedmanesque sounding column filled with total random nonsense.

I showed it to an ex-girlfriend, who prides herself on being sophisticated politically (she writes speeches for business execs, and has been heavily involved in Democratic party politics) and it completely fooled her!

Unknown said...

One problem is that the oligarchs and fascists own (or control) all the big media anymore.

It would be great to have one of the major media companies beholden to the public.

And all of the public media has been neutered by right wing congresspeople, not that NPR was all that much anyway.

And I don't figure that anything new will get any traction soon, without a sea change.

Perhaps a Kickstarter for about $100 million to found a cable outlet and companion newspaper.
Maybe we can find an oligarch to help fund it, Warren Buffet, Melinda Gates somebody that might still be a bit "public minded", rather than simply greedy.