Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The New York Times more worthless everyday

"The New York Times," Ben e-mails, "more worthless everyday."
Or as Trina puts it, "I wish the idiots would go back on one of their long vacations. The highs of the initial tsunami coverage have been replaced with all time lows for the paper. Where's the news?"

Careful study with a magnifying glass might reveal some but who even wants to bother now that Times gets worse and worse every day (or, to put in terms that some editors will better understand, "The Times Hits a Losing Streak that Rivals That of the Golden State Warriors!").

For Keesha who strongly objects to the photo on A14 used to illustrate a story on MLK, don't you remember all the times that Colin Powell was at the front of every march in the sixities?
Don't you remember when Powell, then in the military, took the time to publicly support MLK's "Beyond Vietnam" speech? Don't you remember when . . . Oh wait, none of that ever happened. Okay, Keesha, you're exactly right. The paper sees Bush hugging an African-American man as news even if the African-American male in no way reflects the work of MLK, but "just because he's black." I don't blame you at all for being insulted.

Kara points out that there are five small paragraphs of news on A15: "Florida Democrats Back Dean Unanimously." And yes, it is interesting that this tiny article (which doesn't even rate a byline) doesn't receive more play. (Maybe if Romer were being endorsed for DNC chair by Florida Adam Nagourney would write a long, half page article with pictures?)

Two people write in recommending an A10 article by David Rohde and Amy Waldman, Maneuvering: Rival Political Factions Jockey for Power in Tsunami-Devastated Sri Lanka, the only article will bother to link to.

There's a story on Putin's backing off cuts to benefits, a story that NPR is covering much better as I type.

The front page? Adam Liptak's got "Judges' New Leeway in Passing Sentence May Change Little" which is, I suppose, news. Or it was last week when Nina Totenberg was addressing it at length on NPR.

Twelve e-mails came in complaining about Elisbeth Bumiller & Richard Stevenson's "Cheney Exercising Muscle on Domestic Policies." (Many blaming Bumiller for leading Stevenson down the fluffy highway. Stevenson's a grown man, he needs to take responsibility for his own actions.) Butt smooching and air kisses continue to be the key characteristics of anything carrying Bumiller's byline -- anything remotely resembling journalism flies right out the window when the one woman fan club stars dotting her "i"s with tiny hearts.

A14 contains a story that appears to reveal the Times' problems with "breaking news." Sam Dillon writes about the remarks of Harvard University president Lawrence H. Summers, remarks that were made last week. The remarks (which were sexist) resulted in objections. One of those voicing strong objections was a Dr. Denice D. Denton. Denton's not quoted in the piece because, as Dillon reveals, "A late phone call yesterday to Dr. Denton . . . was not returned."

The remarks were made at a conference last week. And only yesterday is the Times attempting to get a comment from Dr. Denton? Way to be on "top of your game" (sports metaphor so that the editors at the Times can comprehend more easily).

Apparently, the fact that the Boston Globe covered the story yesterday means that Times has to weigh in with the half-assed manner that's become the hallmark of the paper in the last week.
(Boiled down, Summers made remakrs that indicated women couldn't handle science due to biological differences -- he mentions men being taller. If gender had been substituted with race, maybe Dillon could grasp the story? Lawrence claims he was attempting to provoke. What is that? The Howard Stern defense?)

The New York Times is still in the news business, right? The business of news? Between all the useless articles noted above and "Travels with Wolfowitz" it's becoming increasingly hard to take the paper seriously.

Check out yesterday's The Daily Howler for comments on Bumiller's "reporting" last Friday (Bob Sommerby, rightly, dubs her schill-in-chief)
http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh011705.shtml. Sadly, the way things are going, Bumiller's inept "reporting" may soon not even register as many at the paper join her in the rush towards banality.