Friday, January 21, 2005

The New York Times, more worthless every day

Sheryl Gay Stolberg's probably feeling a little heady these days. She got off her little slam against John Kerry this week with little notice. She may feel that this was her finest moment since she fed Maureen Dowd a false quote.

Today she turns in more fluff.

The headline gives the reader the idea that all voices will be heard ("Love Him or Hate Him, All Vie for a Good Perch") but that's not the case.

In this article that runs over twenty paragraph you can hear the voices of how many protestors? Exactly one.

(But Stolberg finds the time to tell us that Kerry was booed.)

The Times has done another lousy job covering protests. (The Poor People's March during the GOP convention was "covered" via a single AP article; the poor coverage of the anti-war protests during the lead up to the war have been addressed in numberous places including the books by Amy Goodman, Exception to the Rulers, and James Wolcott, Attack Poodles.)

But the I Don't Know What the Hell I'm Writing About award goes to Michael Janofksy for his stab at protestors (can't call it a stab at reporting) with "Demonstrators Revel In Opposition on Big Day for President."

Janofsky can't be bothered with estimating the amount of protestors (the Washington Post did attempt an estimate, one I'd argue was low balled, but they did attempt to estimate) or really even reporting in a precise way. At one point he tells of us of "one woman, naked but for red, white and blue underpants . . ." Uh, that would be topless and wearing panties. But he can't let go of the nudity notion in his snarky treatment (bringing up the non-issue again with "several demonstrators (fully clothed) . . ."

Janofsky, they aren't the joke; you passing yourself off as a reporter is. And it's a tired joke.

I was there. Reading Janofsky's report, I'm not sure he was. (Remember, with one anti-war protest, the Times' reporter left before they started, but that didn't stop her from "reporting." We'll quote from Amy Goodman's book on that this evening.)

It's an insulting dismissal by a paper that seems less and less concerned with anything that's not spoken or done by an "administrative official."

Which no doubt explains why the various protests across the country (many of which I saw photos of via a friend's cell phone) also don't register in this morning's paper.

Were the protests news?

I'd argue they were. I'd argue they were at least as news worthy as a Times/CBS News poll that the paper elected to give front page play to yesterday.

But the Times can't suck up to the administration and also inform the readers.

Ben e-mails: "Toad Purdum has another groaner, "Focus on Ideals Not the Details." He should talk!"

Check out Ian Fisher who may write one of the few articles worth reading in today's paper (I'm still going through the main section) -- he's covering the death toll of the tsunami in Indonesia.

Otherwise, this is shaping up to be another useless edition of the paper with a main section reads alternately like the style section and fan club bulletins.