Saturday, February 28, 2009

NYT pretends it's Palm Beach Society Magazine

In this morning's New York Times, Peter Baker offers official 'wisdom' via "In Announcing Withdrawal Plan, Obama Marks Beginning of Iraq War's End" which is the sort of article no trained reporter -- even one now working for the New York Times -- should allow their byline on. The article begs the question of, "How long can this hold?"

It's not Judith Miller, Michael Gordon or Dexter Filkins' territory, but it's not really reporting. It's a club bulletin. Jazz it up a bit, sprinkle some names in, you've got a piece for Palm Beach Society Magazine.

The speech can be reported on. Baker's not done that.

It's garbage from the opening sentence: "President Obama declared the beginning of the end of one of the longest and most divisive wars in American history on Friday as he announced that he would withdraw combat forces from Iraq by August 2010 and all remaining American troops by December 2011."


The administration is the lazy child and Baker absorbs that, enstills it and adapts. That's not reporting.

The lazy child?

The lazy child wants praise.

The lazy child doesn't want to work for it.

So the lazy child might, for example, say, "I was going to take out the trash," causing a parent to respond, "That would be wonderful." The lazy child beams and that's the end of it. He or she has gotten his praise.

The lazy child analogy is from a friend who has written numerous best sellers and never discusses a book while it's being written. The reason is because talking about it and getting praise for talking about what is intended lowers the impulse to actually do the work required. You've already gotten the praise, so why knock yourself out.

We were on the phone early this morning (three a.m. EST, around the time this is written -- thanks to Mike for agreeing to post this later and Saturday's entries are posted later so that if a death is announced late Saturday morning, Mike can include the death in it) when Baker's article was brought up. Baker's treating words as actions.

Worse, he's treating words as actions that have taken place.

It's a deplorable stand for a reporter.

What's the difference, my friend asked, between Barack declaring the war over and Bully Boy declaring, as the banner read, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"?

Not a damn thing.

Neither statement ended the Iraq War. But here we have reporters who should know better getting giddy all over again. It needs to be remembered that long before Chris Matthews (MSNBC) confessed to getting a tingle up the leg (and a rise in his shorts?) when he watched Barack, the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" speech had already aired with real time commentary from Chris Matthews and fellow crotch watcher G. Gordon Liddy. It needs to be remembered that the two size queens couldn't stop raving over the display of Bush's padded package, as the two giddy, horny boys tossed around talk about don't tell them that size doesn't matter.

It's appalling to grasp that not only did that garbage air on MSNBC but that the country's learned nothing from that.

Peter Baker knows a reporter's job is to be skeptical. He also knows that pronouncements are not always followed up on. He's not new to the game.

So there's really no excuse for this article.

Where is Robert Gates in this article? The Secretary of Defense was trotted out by the White House, the White House spent all day yesterday praising Gates and insisting reporters note what Gates had said. They never grasped -- as pointed out in the snapshot yesterday -- Gates was not on task. Gates public statements slap a question mark after every (weak) declaration Barack made.

This is an appalling article.

It's embarrassing.

Speeches aren't actions. If you're going to tease out a speech into a news article, you need something more than what Baker offers -- he 'rounds out' with a celestial choir of hoseannas composed of Gordon D. Johndroe, John McCain, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and, hate to break it to you, that choir's no singing "Give Peace A Chance."

"The dream is over, what can I say?" as John Lennon sings in "God" (Plastic Ono Band). What dream is that? The dream that the press learned a damn thing from their efforts to canonize Bush. This isn't a 'honeymoon' for Barack, it's a drug orgy. When reporters won't do their job, the country's in trouble. And when reporters won't do their job, all the whining about the Rocky Mountain news closing (inside the paper) is nonsense. A press that doesn't do its job doesn't deserve to exist.

The current White House is no better than the last except they think they've learned from the errors of the one prior. They openly brag about how they will go around the press and they have multiple ways in which they plan to do so. As has been documented by some -- usually at outlets other than the New York Times -- since Obama was sworn in, the White House press office has been openly hostile to the press.

Peter Baker's nonsense could be posted at the White House's website. It's not reporting. It is not even reporting adjacent.

Bully Boy required 9-11 to be canonized. All Barack required was "a tingle up the leg."

In tomorrow's paper, already online, the Washington Post offers "Obama's Plan for Iraq" which is a variety of voices that, honestly, don't need to be heard from -- unless they were writing letters to their prison appeal boards. But one we will note is the KRG's Qubad J. Talabani who states:

No doubt the security situation in Iraq has improved, but the country has made little progress toward reaching political accommodation.
Fundamental political questions that remain include divergent understandings about the need to adhere to the country's constitution and its status as the supreme law of the land; acceptance of Iraq's federal framework; finalizing the administrative status of cities such as Kirkuk in accordance with the process set forth in the constitution; and reaching agreement on the elusive laws on hydrocarbons and revenue-sharing to ensure that all communities in Iraq share equally in its vast resources.
The United States will not be able to leave behind a stable and functioning Iraq until these disputes are resolved. Resolution will require continuing robust U.S. engagement with the federal government in Baghdad, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and other representatives of Iraq's diverse communities.
Iraq is too important to its region and the world for its future to be left to chance. Allowing these issues to fester while the United States prepares to withdraw is a prescription for reversing all the progress that has been achieved on security over the past year. The KRG remains committed to Iraq's constitution as we seek a political settlement on the outstanding issues.

Why are we noting him? Because the KRG is a player in this and he is speaking on the KRG's behalf. It's the sort of thing that should have occurred to Peter Baker to cover.

Baker doesn't even offer what Jennifer Loven (AP) does:

At stake was the promise that most defined and drove Obama's successful presidential bid: to bring all combat troops home -- effectively, to end the war -- 16 months after taking office. The details he unveiled in an appearance Friday before hundreds of Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., depart from that pledge in several ways:

Use link to continue reading Loven. The New York Times' article is garbage. Instead of allowing Alessandra Stanley to cover Twitter today, the paper should have turned the speech over to her because it would have had some perspective.

To be really clear, this isn't Baker chose to emphasize on section of the speech and forgot another.

That would be understandable, it was a long, long speech. As we all know, Barack can be a very Chatty Cathy. Baker's offered nothing but stenography. Again, a club bulletin. People are paid for this? Newspapers desperate to stay in business think this cuts it?

Let 'em all die. If that's what passes for journalism, if this is our so-called free press, let it die already. As Gore Vidal always points out, the water's boiling and the frog's getting used to it instead of realizing you're being cooked.

Last night we did a roundtable on Barack's speech:

Cedric's Big Mix
Talking Iraq
12 hours ago

The Daily Jot
12 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
12 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
12 hours ago

Iraq roundtable
12 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
Iraq roundtable
12 hours ago

Ruth's Report
Roundtable on Iraq
12 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Roundtable on Iraq
12 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
The broken promise roundtable
12 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
12 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
12 hours ago

The Common Ills
Iraq roundtable
12 hours ago

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the new york times
peter baker
the washington post
jennifer loven
alessandra stanley

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends