Today, the New York Times flaunts just how useless a paper it can be. The only report supposedly about life on the ground in Iraq is by C.J. Chivers (who, no doubt, will issue an update months from now that could be subtitled "What I Should Have Written Then"). The article is useless on every level. It's not "reporting" in any sense.
"Who, what, where and when?" gets thrown in the trash bin because Chivers wants to go 'cinematic' and do a star turn -- readers who are tempted to wade through the trash to find out about the "ambush" ("On the day after the ambush . . ." opening sentence) or just to find out how many paragraphs of crap they have to stomach before dramatist Chivers finally gets around to discussing the ambush can spare themselves the torture.
Paragraph five is where Chivers gives the next shout out to the ambush and paragraph eight is where he finally tells you how many died (three Iraqi soldiers died). Time may wait for no one but the news, apparently, waits for star turns from bad reporters and the editors who enable them.
This crap is exactly the reason Bill Keller's been arguing for shorter articles. This isn't news. This is a writer, who isn't a stylist, thinking they're a great writer and that someone's picked up a daily paper to trudge through their bad writing.
Meanwhile, David E. Sanger, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and War Poronographer Michael R. Gordon gather round for a circle jerk on the James Baker Circle Jerk that shouldn't be mistaken for flooding the zone, just boring the readers. Possibly, a reader who has no radio reception, no TV reception and no internet connection will be delighted when the carrier reaches the far away outpost they're living in and delivers the paper. Everyone else will see these clip jobs (and that's being kind) for what they were, dead by noon EST yesterday and useless today.
Real news from Iraq?
Forget about it. Today is December 7th. How many US soldiers have died in Iraq so far this month? You won't find an article on that in the paper. And, if you've counted on the Times to keep you informed, take a second to brace yourself, because ICCC counts it as 30. 30 US troops dead by the 7th day of the month.
30 dead and three reporters are in a circle jerk and a fourth wants to do a star turn. The Washington Post can't shut up about the James Baker Circle Jerk either, but they do find time for some news. From Nancy Trejos' "10 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq:"
Ten American troops died in Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. military reported, matching the highest number of U.S. service members killed on a single day in the past year. It was also a deadly day for Iraqi civilians, with at least 40 killed in car bombings and mortar attacks across the capital.
The U.S. troops died in four incidents, a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, said Wednesday night. He declined to provide details about how or where they were killed because family members were still being notified.
[. . .]
The deaths bring the total number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq so far this month to 29, according to Pentagon reports and the Web site iCasualties.org, which tracks Iraq war fatalities. Most of the deaths identified were caused by hostile fire, including roadside bombs and grenades. Six of the deaths resulted from accidents, including the crash of a Marine CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter Sunday in Iraq's western Anbar province.
And for those who are looking for 30, Trejos notes 29, Kim Gamel (AP) files an update:
The toll in one of the U.S. military's deadliest days in Iraq rose to 11 Thursday when the military confirmed that another soldier had died in fighting west of Baghdad.
At least seven Iraqis -- six policemen and a 7-year-old girl -- were killed in a series of bombings and shootings.
The U.S. soldier was shot Wednesday while manning a machine gun nest on the roof of an outpost in Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the capital of the volatile Anbar province, according to a Associated Press reporter on the scene.
Chivers isn't reporting on any of the above, isn't reporting period. So the day after "one of the U.S. military's deadliest days in Iraq," the Times can't be bothered to even note it.
In Iraq right now, it's after 3:00 pm. If you're thinking the paper that failed in print has something up at the website, think again.
Managing opinion grabs the front seat and reality doesn't even rate the back -- it's left on the curb with the hope that someone will pick it up tomorrow. (It's waiting beside the 2900 mark that the Times still hasn't bothered to do an article on.)
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the new york times
michael r. gordon
the washington post