Saturday, October 25, 2014

Driftglass Birthday Fundraiser: Day One

Meet Andrew Rosenthal.

He is the editorial page editor of The New York Times and the son of former New York Times executive editor, A.M. Rosenthal.

He is also David Brooks' boss at the New York Times.

As the video above explains, Mr. Rosenthal has seven basic rules for writing a good editorial.   They are as follows:
  1. Know your bottom line.  Know what you want to say.

  2. Be concise.  Get to the point fast.

  3. Give an opinion or a solution.

  4. Do your research.   There is nothing that screws up an editorial faster that getting a fact wrong that you could have easily

  5. Write clearly.  Good writing is important.

  6. Every writer needs an editor.  After you've written your editorial, give it to someone you trust to read and listen to what they say.

  7. Be prepared for a reaction.  If someone writes you a letter, write them back.  Be prepared to defend your position.  Don't get defensive.
What is hilarious is that David Brooks -- an editorial writer who reports directly to Mr. Rosenthal -- routinely breaks several of his employer's own fundamental rules for writing editorials pretty much every time he puts pen to paper, as I have documented to the point of exhaustion on this blog over the last 10 years.
  1. Know your bottom line.  Mr. Brooks' bottom line is that Conservatives are never to blame for anything.  Ever.  Period.

  2. Be concise.    Mr. Brooks' usually spends half of his 800 words meandering ponderously through the hills and dells of some study or book before getting on with reiterating that Conservatives are very definitely not to blame for whatever it is that's on fire today. His perambulations almost never have a thing to do with his thesis.  

  3. Give an opinion or a solution.  Since Mr. Brooks' bottom line is that Conservatives are never to blame for anything, and since this is so flagrantly and veritably untrue, week after week Mr. Brooks must make up Tall Tales to cover up his Very Big Lie.  His go-to fairy tale is always Both Sides Do It: whatever Conservatives have blowed up real good this time. according to Mr. Brooks, Dirty Hippies or Both Sides or "everyone" is blame.  Mr. Brooks' "solutions" to whatever Conservatives have blowed up real good this time is always "something-something culture" or Simpson-Bowles.

  4. Do your research.   Since Mr. Brooks writes Whig Alternate History Fan Fiction, Mr. Brooks does not concern himself too much with research,

  5. Write clearly.  Since Mr. Brooks is in the obfuscation business, clear writing is not his friend.

  6. Every writer needs an editor.  You must be kidding me.

  7. Be prepared for a reaction.  If someone writes you a letter, write them back.  Be prepared to defend your position.  Don't get defensive.   In several interviews Mr. Brooks has repeated that he does not read emails and ignores all of the comments his columns generate.  He does not defend his positions because he is very carefully avoids any venue where anyone would ever challenges his positions.
It does not matter how many hundreds of whoppers and fairy tales Mr. Brooks tells or how many times he takes a meat cleaver to history to amputate all the inconvenient parts which do not fit his Procrustean ideological bed. 

It also does not matter how many times other sentient being point this out -- whether they be pedantic fringe bloggers like yours truly, or the NYT commentariat which routinely destroy pretty much every David Brooks column by the hundred.

And it turns out it also does not matter that he routinely blows off his own employers basic rules for doing the job which they hired him to do.  

Which brings us to another of Mr. Rosenthal's employees -- Dr. Paul Krugman.

This is normally the place in the blog where I would once again comprehensively and uselessly vivisect Mr. Brooks' latest column.  There would be swearing.  There would be links to relevant columns I have written over the last 10 years.  There would be adjectives.  And, for the most part, on my way to honing my 1,000th sharp point about the sheer ludicrousness of Mr. Brooks' 1000th assertion of Both Siderism, I would abide by the spirit (if not the letter) of Mr. Rosenthal's rules for writing.

But today I don't have to do that because -- surprise! -- Dr. Krugman has done it for me:
The Invisible Moderate
OCTOBER 24, 2014 11:19 AM

I actually agree with a lot of what David Brooks says today. But — you know there has to be a “but” — so does a guy named Barack Obama. Which brings me to one of the enduringly weird aspects of our current pundit discourse: constant calls for a moderate, sensible path that supposedly lies between the extremes of the two parties, but is in fact exactly what Obama has been proposing.

So, David says that
The federal government should borrow money at current interest rates to build infrastructure, including better bus networks so workers can get to distant jobs. The fact that the federal government has not passed major infrastructure legislation is mind-boggling, considering how much support there is from both parties.
Well, the Obama administration would love to spend more on infrastructure; the problem is that a major spending bill has no chance of passing the House. And that’s not a problem of “both parties” — it’s the GOP blocking it. Exactly how many Republicans would be willing to engage in deficit spending to expand bus networks? (Remember, these are the people who consider making rental bicycles available an example of “totalitarian” rule.)...
Dr. Krugman goes on a a bit longer (sans swearing) and concludes, generously:
It’s an amazing thing: Obama is essentially what we used to call a liberal Republican, who faces implacable opposition from a very hard right. But Obama’s moderation is hidden in plain sight, apparently invisible to the commentariat.
I say "generously" because President Obama's moderation is a matter plain fact and not "invisible" to anyone -- certainly not anyone who heeds Mr. Rosenthal's advice to "Write clearly" and "Do your research".

No, the facts here are not being  "hidden" from Mr. Brooks.  Mr. Brooks is simply a liar and an arrant coward who uses the featherbed Mr. Rosenthal has given him to both perpetuate the same fraud week after week and hide from reader's reaction to his fraud.

Of course, Dr, Krugman cannot come right out and call Mr. Brooks a liar.

But I can.

And I can also ask you to hit my tip jar on this first day of my Birthday Fundraiser.

So I am.

PS. I'm trying to put together a series of "Best Of" posts for this fundraiser, and would like your suggestions as to what I should haul out of storage and repost this week. I am away from the computer for longer and longer stretches these days so please be patient when posting comments -- I will approve/publish them as fast as I can.

PSS. If you are one of the small group who donates to this blog on a monthly basis, this fundraising appeal is not directed at you. You bastids are already more than generous and I appreciate it more than I can say.


Your pal,



D. said...

Hmmmmm. I'll have to go through my archives (ha!) and then the byways of those still at their roadside stands, but I think there will be diamonds of yours uncovered.

Cirze said...

As to the BD fundraiser, hope you get lucky.

Luckier, I mean.

(You did get BG.)

Tears running down face.


Write clearly. Since Mr. Brooks is in the obfuscation business, clear writing is not his friend.

Every writer needs an editor. You must be kidding me.