Sunday, October 02, 2005

Summarizing the NYT Sunday paper

It's Sunday morning and as has often been the case, we're all coming over here to go through the morning's New York Times. "We" is The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ava, Jess, Ty and myself, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Mike of Mikey Likes It! and myself.

C.I.: Jim, you have the business section, so what's the most important item there?

Jim: Interestingly enough the product placement in TV shows. Last week, Ava and you reviewed NBC's Three Wishes and noted, among other things, the product placements. There was the biggest response on that review that we've gotten thus far. And no one was complaining surprisingly. Ty heard Mike Malloy address the product placement issue on his show mid-week as well. So this is becoming an issue that people are paying attention to.

C.I.: I'm glad you mentioned that review. There have been a number of e-mails to asking who the Ameriquest chairman is that wants to be our ambassador to the Netherlands. Roland Arnall is the man's name and this shouldn't be an automatic appointment. Due to the allegations of predatory lending by Ameriquest, the appointment should be addressed seriously. Also, it is Ameriquest as it's called at some spots in the review and not Americaquest as it's called at others. There are blogging problems with The Third Estate Sunday Review that are still ongoing so there's no time to fix that. You guys also aren't linking to Seth until midweek because the problems were cutting off the half the site.

Jim: Right. We'll link to Seth on Wednesday when most of our readers have had time to read the features. The article refers to Madison Avenues term for the practice of ads within television shows as "brand integration" but I'm sure we can all think of nicer terms.

Kat: That wasn't always the case. I can remember generic sodas or sodas you didn't see the names of used on shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

C.I.: On the other hand, the Spelling-Goldberg shows of the seventies, Charlies Angels, Starsky & Hutch, et al, used Ford automobiles. I agree it's tacky. Didn't thirty-something also use product placement or did it just feel that way?

Jim: Ava and you will be happy to know that What I Like About You is discussed in the article, in the business section of the Times.

Ava: Well color us eastern elites! Hold on I'm grabbing that piece. This is from C.I. and my
"Digging into the TV Review e-mail bag:"

Contrary to opinions expressed in some e-mails, we don't hate everything. We've praised Faith & Hope, Will & Grace and Medium. In an angry e-mail Kitty accuses us of being "snobs. You refuse to cover any show that doesn't meet your eastern elite standards of 'class.'"
Thanks for sharing, Kitty, but we really don't think "eastern elites" sit around discussing What I Like About You. We could be wrong.

Ava (con't): Who knew?

C.I.: I find it "high-larious." Main section of the paper, less so. Dona, Elaine and I were discussing Sabrina Tavernise's "Middle Class Sees Daily Life Wither in Iraq." Who wants to take it?

Elaine: Well it opens with a paragraph that uses a lengthy sentence to describe insurgents and then a brief sentence follows about the apparent noise of the American military and, oh, by the way, a bullet from them "pierced a pane." A bullet from the American military entered the home of this non-insurgent, middle class Iraqi woman. When the woman speaks, her problems are with the military.

Dona: It's that kind of "balance" that's a hallmark at the Timid. The woman denies her roof to the American military and Tavernise has to be "fair" in her opening paragraph and offer twenty-five words on insurgent violence before she can offer eight words on the American military tanks rattling the windows and, by the structure of the paragraph, apparently pierced a window pane with a bullet, which is six words. Certainly a bullet coming into someone's house is more of a threat then either tank rattling glass or people nearby firing grenades elsewhere. Adam Liptak has a strong article entitled "To More Inmates, Life Term Means Dying Behind Bars." Stricter laws mean less chances of parole for those convicted to life sentences. A correction in the paper tells you that Mandy Grunwald has no official ties to the DLC, she just likes to work with them. This is a correction to an article running in today's Sunday magazine on Hillary Clinton.

C.I.: Mandy Grunwald is married to Matt Cooper. She has a longstanding relationships with DLC members but apparently no formal ties to it. Noted. She worked on Lieberman's most recent presidential campaign. I think that says everything anyone needs to know. For those needing additional information, Maura Tierney -- whom Ava and I just mentioned at The Third Estate Sunday Review this morning -- played Daisy Green in Primary Colors, that was the role rumored to be based on Grunwald. John M. Broder fancies himself knowledgable in "DeLay Scandal Will Affect Only DeLay, Texans Say" by noting this:

Gov. Rick Perry, who began his career as a Democract and then switched parties
in the 1990's, is unlikely to be affected by Mr. DeLay's troubles because the
two are not close, Texas political experts said. Mr. DeLay is not expected
to become an issue in an an expected primary fight between Mr. Perry and Carole
Keeton Stayhorn, the state comptroller.

C.I.: Members from Texas refer to Strayhorn as Granny Rylander because when she ran for her current office, she was Rylander at the end of her lengthy name. She married, again, and became Stayhorn. Carolyn Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn is the full name and she's the mother of Scotty who works for the Bully Boy and of course the former wife of Barr McClellan, Scotty's father, who accuses LBJ of being involved in the JFK assassination. More to the point, Strayhorn switched to from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in 1985, two years after she was no longer the mayor of Austin. Point, he's flashing his Perry knowledge but revealing he doesn't know all that he thinks he does. Second point, I do read and pay attention to the e-mails. Texas community members are very vocal and provide many details in their e-mails. Jess?

Jess: I have the Sunday magazine this week. The letters have more honesty about Bono than the article on September 18th did and they still don't correct the errors re: "Silver & Gold." Best comment comes from Paul Hickey of Fairfax, Va who writes:

Specifically Bono has become the politicians' idea of the perfect activist
musician: nonjudgemental, nonthreatening and reluctant to criticize when they
fail to offer more than lip service to the people truly in need.

Kat: Amen.

Jess: Matt Bai tackles "Mrs. Triangulation" as Hillary Clinton is dubbed. He refers to Hillary at one point, a former cliche of her, as, is this correct, "the war-protesting, Joni Mitchell-loving feminist . . ."

C.I.: Chelsea was named after the song written by Joni Mitchell, "Chelsea Morning." They named her after Judy Collins' version, not Mitchell's version of her own song. If that was a stereotype, it was a false one. Both of them speak of Judy Collins and, specifically of the album Colors of the Day on Bill Clinton's part. There's not been a great deal of comments made regarding Joni Mitchell. Collins recorded "Chelsea Morning" as a single and it came out, I believe, in August 1969. The song wouldn't grace an album until her live one in 1971, Living. A new collection contains the single version which did chart on the top 100. Carole King's Tapestry is another album both have spoken of and they both note Carly Simon but Joni? She was named after the Collins' version of the song.

Kat: Putting the matter to rest. This is Bill Clinton from his book My Life, page 73:

One day as we window-shopped down King's Road in Chelsea, the loudspeaker of a
store blared out Judy's version of Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning." We
agreed on the spot that if we ever had a daughter we'd call her Chelsea.

Ava: Great idea and I pulled Hillary's book, Living History, while you were reading that aloud. From pages 84 to 85:

She knows she was named after Judy Collins's version of Joni Mitchell's song
"Chelsea Morning," which her father and I heard as we strolled around Chelsea in
London, during the wonderful vacation we took over Christmas in 1978. Bill
said, "If we ever have a daughter, we should name her Chelsea." And
he started singing along.

Jess: False spin buried. Then we get a happy spin on William F. Buckley, Jr.'s, a huge butt smooch. Even praising him for having "violated the race tabooo. . . . in a novel way, drawing on a sophisticated and up-to date set of ideas . . ."

C.I.: Well they don't want to anger Tom Wolfe, do they? Who's the author of the Buckley piece, Jess?

Jess: Sam Tannenhaus.

C.I.: Good Lord. Do they mention the book?

Jess: What book?

C.I.: I'll take that as a no. Tannenhaus has been working on a biography of Buckley. Is this an excerpt of the book? The Times doesn't tell you. The Times might want to inform the reader that the person has a book to sell in the near future on Buckley and to explain any agreements Tannenhaus did or didn't enter into to gain access for the book. They do an article on "brand integration" in the business section the same day the magazine's promoting an author of an upcoming book on Buckley. Irony?

Kat: Arts section is, again, the biggest waste of time. The ads are nice. Rebecca will want to check out the ad for Into the Blue.

Rebecca: I saw that for Paul Walker Friday. Hot! Dumb movie. Hot Walker.

Kat: Other than the ads, nothing to see her. Go to Mike before he falls asleep like last time.

Mike: Sports fan. Of real sports. And real sports reporting. Someone needs to break it Juliet Macur that her hearts and flowers "From Team Players in War to Competitors in Games" don't cut it. It wouldn't make for a cheesy Lifetime movie and it certainly doesn't belong in the sports pages. Reading it is like watching that really bad movie where Stallone plays soccer. You know the one.

Jim: I know what you're talking about but I have no idea what it's called. C.I.?

C.I.: Ava?

Ava: I don't watch Stallone films. I've made it one of my life purposes to avoid them at all costs.

C.I.: Was it Victory?

Mike: That's it! David Margolick has a real article, about a German boxer who's being honored with stamps and other things, and how history's glossed over his close relationship with Hitler's Nazi Party. Considering all that's not covered in the skimpy sports section, wasting almost a full page on Macur's sob-sister story is offensive. Sports fans wants sports. They don't need her propaganda on a match they've never watched because it's not on TV and it's not on the radio. Next up, the Timid will be covering men's softball teams.

Rebecca: The Sunday Style section uses paternity tests as an excuse to run two photos of Jesse Metcalfe. Since one is shirtless, I won't complain that a very real issue is reduced to TV trivia. Damien Cave fancies himself a wit. He can dream. But trying to list impossibles by writing "it was almost as if Michael Jordan had told the country to stop excercising . . ." Jordan was a professional athelete, he wasn't an excercise guru. Inside, a full page is devoted to a fashion pictorial on tweed for women. Can someone please explain to the Times that unless you're forty-ish, virginal nanny to small children, you're not wearing tweed in this country. They're still pushing the "Britain look" and I hope it's thrown in their faces next year whenever they push some other nonsense. Women do not like to look like they're wearing the fabric of a couch.
Other than the photo of Metcalfe without a shirt, and you really can't see his chest, no eye candy. Boring.

C.I.: Ty had the Week in Review and before he goes, quickly, a visitor keeps e-mailing that the Times did hold the loyalists in Ireland accountable for not disarming in an editorial. I don't comment on editorials. I frequently don't read them. When I do, if they're not sporting hard ons for "free markets," I generally agree with the paper. But I don't critique the editorials or the op-eds myself and I've repeatedly made the point that the editorials and op-eds should not exist to clean up after the reporting.

Ty: I'll focus on an editorial.

C.I.: That's fine. Members can. Go for it.

Ty: Gail Collins announces that the Times is always happy to run corrections when errors are pointed out.

C.I.: We're sending Dallas to the web site. Hold on.

Ty: That's really all I have. I really wasn't interested in the section.

C.I.: No problem, we're all tired. And in terms of the community, what you selected is something they'll want to know about. We serve members. Okay, Dallas has the entry. We're dealing with the nonreading book reviewer Alan Wolfe and the review is entitled "The New Pamphleteers." Here's what Wolfe, who is paid to read closely, writes of David Brock's Republican Noise Machine:

Brock also fails to grasp the conflicts that have emerged within right-wing punditry since he served in its ranks. Chris Matthews was not a supporter of the war in Iraq and Bill O'Reilly has serious questions about it.

C.I. (con't): Wolfe's very sure of himself. He's just not correct. As we noted, thanks to Dallas for hunting this down as well when we noted it here in December of 2004, this is from Brock's book that Wolf is supposed to be reviewing:

During the George W. Bush era, [Chris] Matthews distinguished himself as the lone host of a cable talk show who opposed the Iraq war, joining hands with both the liberal Left and some members of the Far Right, such as Pat Buchanan (p. 240 of The Republican Noise Machine).

C.I. (con't): To steal from Jim, Gail Collins tear down the wall! Correct Wolfe's error. Readers have complained and complained about this. I don't think anyone's taken it to Collins, but I'm not sure of that. They took it to Okrent who told one reader that he'd look into it. Empty words from the empty headed Okrent. They notified the corrections department via e-mails, letters and phone calls. They wrote the book section where the review appeared. There has been no correction to this.
Brock grasped what Wolfe falsely claimed he didn't. The Times continued refusal to print a correction on this is irritating to members and it's something I have to read about everytime the paper screws up a book review. Members have not forgotten this error nor have they forgotten that the Times refuses to correct it. Gail Collins, if you're sincere, correct the error. Brock does not fail to grasp that Chris Matthews didn't support the war, he makes that point on page 240 of the book that Wolfe was supposed to have read prior to reviewing. The error needs correction. It's stood for over a year now.
I'm glad you found this Ty. What's Collins' editorial called?

Ty: "A Letter From the Editor: It All Goes on the Permanent Record."

C.I.: Ava?

Ava: I read through the book section and it put me to sleep. That was before I was truly tired.
I do wonder how well Thomas Friedman's book charts on charts not compiled by the Times. In D.C., I was told the book wasn't selling but there it is at number one week after week on the Times chart. I'll also add the Buckley's son Christopher teams up with Republican and Times' op-ed columnist John Tierney for a piece in the Sunday Magazine that supposedly crunches poll data but really just provides them with a shot at playing snarky on Bill Clinton and other Repube fave targets.

C.I.: Good catch. Elaine, summary?

Elaine: Arts, not worth reading. Sports, mixed bag. Style section, not worth reading. Main section? Problematic. Magazine? Laughable and no disclosures given. Week in Review? Collins is asking for a stream of e-mails. Business? Playing pattycakes instead of hitting hard, my opinion. E-mail address for this site is We're done for the morning.