John Harwood's claim that Dean Baquet's first priority is turning the New York Times into a trusted information intermediary runs on to and then sinks offshore of the reef that is Thomas Friedman:
John Harwood's claim that Dean Baquet's first priority is turning the New York Times into a trusted information intermediary runs on to and then sinks offshore of the reef that is Thomas Friedman:
the first female to land the role in the publication’s 170-year history...
From my perspective, likely to be a very good hire. However, two things seem to me to require rapid repair and a quick turn away from the Micklethwait era:
In its review of my next-door office neighbor, friend, and patron Barry Eichengreen's superb Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses-and Misuses-of History, the London Economist writes things like:
Mr Eichengreen at times stretches the facts to fit his narrative. He accuses the Fed of keeping monetary policy too tight because of a preoccupation with inflation; but it enacted several rounds of unconventional stimulus...
This simply will not do.
Barry has substantial discussions of when, how, and why he thinks that the Federal Reserve kept monetary policy too tight because of a preoccupation with inflation.
You can disagree with the analytical framework he uses to make his assessment that monetary policy was "too tight"--smart people like Jeremy Stein do.
But you cannot say that Barry's documented and well-supported analytical judgment "stretches" the facts, without any further elaboratio--unless, of course, you want to get a reputation for being in the fact-stretching business yourself.
The London Economist is right now in a race to establish itself as a trusted information intermediary with entities like the Financial Times, Business Insider, and http://vox.com. Right now it appears to me at least to be well behind the leaders. Things like this do not help it...
Over at Equitable Growth: I must say, I am surprised to see Robert Samuelson claiming that the Federal Reserve and the Reagan administration were in accord in 1982...
Let's roll the videotape:
...place very little weight on Reagan, and emphasize instead the role of the Federal Reserve.... Paul Volcker, was determined to bring inflation down, even at a heavy price; it tightened policy, sending interest rates sky high, with mortgage rates going above 18 percent. What followed was a severe recession that drove unemployment to double digits but also broke the wage-price spiral. Then the Fed decided that America had suffered enough. It loosened the reins, sending interest rates plummeting and housing starts soaring. And the economy bounced back. Reagan got the political credit for ‘morning in America,’ but Mr. Volcker was actually responsible for both the slump and the boom... READ MOAR
The legacy skills of reporting have lost their value..."
Legacy vs. Internet Media Once More: Just what are these 'legacy skills of reporting'...
that have lost their value?...
As best as I can see... the 'skills' of having a big Rolodex containing a lot of people who are confident that if they talk to you the story will show them or their cause in a better light. This is a valuable skill in the pre-internet age. Trading pieces of beat-sweetening for information (cf. what Matthew Yglesias described as "Richard Stevenson's love poem to Karl Rove") is unethical but efficient. With it, you can write a story in a day in a world in which actually finding, assembling, digesting, and processing the paper trail to write the story would take a week or more.
But it means that you are not a trusted information intermediary. You are, rather, something else--but it does get a job if not the job done...
Robert Waldmann responds by writing:
This one starts with Claire Berlinski's much-warrented dismay at who the Washington Post opens its op-ed pages to--without proper vetting or context. The net effect is to subtract from rather than add to most Washington Post readers' understanding of what is going wrong in Turkey right now:
Initial tweet I first saw at: https://twitter.com/ClaireBerlinski/status/551358577366282240:
@bb1mm1: I don't expect freedom of expression in TR to be an American problem, but what sections of the US press is doing w/ the cemaat is obscene.
I gotta say, I really do not think David Bell has a clue how badly he looks to every liberal under 40--and even to some of us who are 54--when he feels he has to:
To be the kind of person who doesn't quit in protest but stays to influence is one thing. But if one is the kind of person who quits in protest, when one does not do so ones silence speaks loudly indeed.
Every time I visit the Weekly Standard--or National Review, or the American Spectator--I wonder: how do its writers (and editors!) deal with the fact that the money that is in their paychecks is obtained by scaring and then picking the pockets of mentally ill and paranoid people, and further feeding their paranoia?
It remains a mystery to me...
...By MONEY MORNING STAFF REPORTS
Should the rise of conflicts across the Middle East and Ukraine serve as a warning sign that something much more dangerous is approaching?
According to Jim Rickards, the CIA's Asymmetric Warfare Advisor, the answer is yes.
In a startling interview he reveals that all 16 U.S. Intelligence Agencies have begun to prepare for World War III.
Making matters worse, his colleagues believe it could begin within the next 6 months.
However, the ground zero location for this global conflict is what makes his interview a must-see for every American.
Take a few moments to watch it below and decide for yourself...
...a pair of 'Economist' writers. Perhaps you recall their June 21, 2005 WSJ op-ed, ‘Cheer Up Conservatives, You’re Still Winning,’ in which they declare ‘the right has walloped the left in the war of ideas.’ Ahem:
One of the reasons the GOP manages to contain Southern theocrats as well as Western libertarians is that it encourages arguments rather than suppressing them. Go to a meeting of young conservatives in Washington and the atmosphere crackles with ideas, much as it did in London in the heyday of the Thatcher revolution. The Democrats barely know what a debate is.
Well, the book is not such a polemical and high-handed affair as that portends. Mostly. It’s really--like a long 'Economist' article.
...went on sale a little over a century ago, our founding editor Herbert Croly outlined his vision to a reporter from The New York Times:
The magazine, which is to be a weekly review of current political and social events and a discussion of the theories they involve, is to represent progressive principles, but it is to be independent of any party, or individual in politics.
From that mild-seeming statement of purpose has emerged perhaps America’s most argumentative publication—a journal brimming with strong opinions beautifully elaborated (as well as a few duds). Croly’s vision is durable (perhaps because it's vague), giving his inheritors wide latitude to both adhere to his principles and fight over the specifics.
...My first job out of college was as a junior editor for a small publication in Dublin, Ireland. When I moved back to the United States, I worked as a copy editor for a company many do not remember today called Bridge News. At the time, Bridge was one of the largest financial news providers in the world but was quickly displaced by a faster moving competitor, Bloomberg. It was the first of many times in my career when I witnessed a traditional media outlet upended by a new competitor on the landscape.
The 21-Year Old: Yes. That Piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates was really good. But I notice that you didn't link to it on your weblog. Why not?
Me: Well, I'm busy. I link to a lot of stuff. I link to a lot of his stuff. I think he is really good, but... Perhaps I fear that I think he is better than he is because of residual white liberal guilt? Perhaps I fear to be patronizing? Perhaps people will think: "He's good, but not that good, so why is DeLong..."
The 21-Year-Old: You are wrong. He is that good. Link to him more.
So here we are:
Ta-Nehisi Coates: The New Republic: An Appreciation: It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives didn't matter much at all to the magazine. Last week, Franklin Foer resigned his editorship of The New Republic. A deep, if not broad, mourning immediately commenced as a number of influential writers lamented what occurred to them as the passing of a great American institution. The mourners have something of a case. TNR had a hand in the careers of an outsized number of prominent narrative and opinion journalists. I have never quite been able to judge the effect of literature or journalism on policy, but
...I feel for the people at the magazine who are going to lose their jobs behind this move. And, as someone who suddenly lost the publication at which he learned all his chops, I feel for Jonathan Chait. But, institutionally, the slow destruction of TNR by its new and witless owner doesn't come up for me to the slow and deliberate destruction of its credibility as a legitimate liberal voice during the ownership of the execrable Marty Peretz.
Via Corey Robin:
Alfred Kazin: The New Republic: A Personal View: "I am just a vear older than The New Republic...
...and have been writing for it, on and off, since I was a 19-year-old City College senior in 1934. I was literary editor in 1942 and 1943 and a contributing editor for some years after that.
Before I ever dreamed of writing for it I knew something of its political history—-its founding at the height of the Progressive era and its supposed link with Woodrow Wilson (the last intellectual to occupy the White House) through the Promise of American Life agenda of its first editors, Herbert Croly, Walter Lippmann, Philip Littell. and Walter Weyl. Later I learned of the bitter disillusionment with the Versailles Treaty that turned it "isolationist" in the '20s.
So I finally made a chunk of time to read and think about Michael Kinsley's response to Paul Krugman's rebuttal of Kinsley's claim that Krugman was engaged in a "misguided moral crusade against" rather than a technocratic critique of "austerity".
First and most essential, I need to set some rules here: If I'm going to be called a canine of any form, standards must be maintained.
I insist that it be not "attack dog" but either:
Those are the approved options. Pick one. Use it. Stick to it. It's really not hard at all to do.
Jamie Kirchick, who benefitted mightily in launching his career from being part of a corrupt and compliant media establishment that grasped at Martin Peretz's filthy lucre, complains about Chris Hughes:
Jamie Kirchick: The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America's Worst Gay Couple: In their elitism and sense of entitlement, they represent much of what liberals are supposed to despise. Most in the media and gay community were perfectly willing to ignore this imposture when the couple was throwing their money at the right causes and dispensing jobs to their journalist and political consultant friends. Hughes and Eldridge were beneficiaries of a corrupt and compliant media and political establishment that grasped at their filthy lucre...
No, there is not a hint of self-consciousness, self-reflection, or irony in there.
And Michael Kinsley, in a similar vein but on the other side:
Sokrates: If you wanted a focus group for the core target audience of the Old New Republic, you would look for intellectually-curious left-of-center engaged intellectuals not themselves subject-matter experts in policy and politics. And on the internet the single most concentrated slice of such people are found in the commentariat at the website http://unfogged.com. Their Ringmaster assembles such a focus group. It isn't pretty, but I do think it is an accurate picture of what has been wrought by all those liberal writers and editors who were...
Artaphernes: ...were for three decades and more willing to go the extra mile to suck up to the various and manifold bigotries of Martin Peretz and company. Isn't that what you were going to say, Sok?
Sokrates: Anyway, here are selections from the thread:
Ogged and Company: Teach Me: I've read so much blather about The New Republic's shake-up that I'm just going to skip the links and ask a simple question: in the last thirty years, what are its five best pieces of political writing?
...published an acrobatic cover story by Jeffrey Goldberg that likened Walt and Mearsheimer to Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, Patrick Buchanan, Louis Farrakhan, and David Duke. It is true that Walt's career survived, and even prospered, in the aftermath of this broadside. But it wasn't for lack of trying on the part of Chait and his colleagues.
How were they to know that comparing Walt to Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, Patrick Buchanan, Louis Farrakhan wouldn't prove particularly injurious to his career?
The best thing on New Republic Gate I have seen:
Max Fisher: The New Republic and the Beltway media's race problem - Vox: "There's little doubt that The New Republic's young owner...
...Chris Hughes, treated its beloved editor, Frank Foer, poorly. Hughes' new CEO, Guy Vidra, criticized Foer's leadership while sitting right next to him at an all-staff meeting. Hughes hired a replacement before firing Foer — which Foer had to learn about through rumors. Hughes, a newcomer to journalism who bought his way, publicly humiliated Foer, along with also-fired literary editor Leon Wieseltier. It's an ugly, unkind way to treat an editor, an employee, and the well-respected leader of a newsroom. Much of the publication's masthead, outraged, has resigned in solidarity and protest.
Noah Schachtman wins the internet today:
And Julian Sanchez agrees:
Julian Sanchez: @normative on Twitter: : "Also basically my first thought... RT : 10 years later, @attackerman has a Pulitzer and @TNR is basically dead. Wow."
I continue to get great value from my $60 two-year subscription to Spencer Ackerman weekly (http://toohotfortnr.blogspot.com/).
Here are this week's highlights:
(1) Never fire your best polemicist:
Must- and Shall-Reads:
And Over Here:
I take it not:
...Why on Earth would the EPA plan to ban something as inoffensive as Argon? IceAgeNow has a theory--they think Argon is part of a list supplied by a scientifically illiterate NGO, which the EPA plans to rubber stamp. If anyone with any real scientific training whatsoever had seen this silly list before it was published, or had taken the trouble to do 5 minutes of research on each entry in the list, to discover how ridiculous and ignorant the inclusion of Argon on a list of dangerous chemicals to be banned really is, then the EPA would not be facing their current very public embarrassment.... When I first saw this story, I though surely this must be some sort of spoof or misunderstanding that led to this. Sadly, no...
With respect to:
...but I still found the story a little bit off from what I've personally experienced.... Shane mentions that she thinks the pendulum is about to swing the other direction and she envisions talking to people at legacy organizations in a few years and saying 'You're still there? Really?!?!' I'd say 'You're still there? Really?!?!' has already probably been the single most common question anyone at a legacy news organization has gotten over the previous decade. The past decade has been a relentless drumbeat of departures....
It's not a pendulum. It's a wrecking ball and it's been swinging ferociously into legacy media and carrying away the rubble for more than a decade. I frankly know nobody in the rank-and-file who isn't taking it seriously. Even within the walls of legacy organizations, the legacy skills of reporting have lost their value compared to internet skills. Maybe it comes across as dismissive--that's one way humans cope with a wide range of existential threats--but make no mistake: the emotion is fear.
Another Monday, and still a shortage of high-quality DeLong Smackdowns on the Internet that I can justify bringing to your attention.
But I can't face reading another Kindle screen from chapter 11 of David Graber's Debt right now.
So I am going to chicken out, and direct you to Danny Vinik on how Reason coors gasoline on its intellectual credibility and then sets it on fire.
Reason: as a magazine you have a choice:
You can give your megaphone to people like Peter Schiff in the hopes that money may drop from the pockets of the wingnuts he attracts, and you can then scoop it up.
You can participate in twenty-first century civil and political society.
You cannot do both.
Over at Equitable Growth: Not to pick on Mr. David Rennie especially--simply this piece of his struck me as very characteristic of a great deal of what I read in the Economist these days (outside its http://economist.com/freeexchange). But:
...Mitch McConnell declared.... Now begins a more important contest, Mr McConnell told Kentucky Republicans: the race to save the centuries-old ‘compact’ that every American generation leaves the next one better off. Mr McConnell declared that promise imperilled by ‘distant planners in federal agencies’, whether they are killing jobs in coal mines or--in their zeal to impose Obamacare--cancelling families’ health insurance plans.... Republicans such as Mr McConnell are right to criticise government when it overreaches. But it is a stretch to suggest that reining in environmental rules on coal, or even repealing Obamacare, can revive the American Dream.... Coal mines, steel mills and factories have closed throughout the rich world, in countries with very different governments, labour laws and environmental rules.... READ MOAR
...leads it to defecate onto my computer desktop: As I close my to-read list down, the following browser window of wingnut scat emerges:
Never forget who National Review's writers are writing for, and what segment of the American population they are trying to grow:
it is the people who would click on that, and possibly pay some money to listen to what it tells them...
Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute's article yesterday:
...Less than a year ago—on November 21st, to be exact—Harry Reid went nuclear....He ended the availability of the filibuster for most executive branch nominations, not by the two-thirds vote that Senate rules had long required but by a simple majority.... The larger issue... is that there will be other nominations... a looming vacancy at the Department of Justice.... And where will those remaining Democratic senators who voted for Harry Reid’s nuclear option be sitting? Why on the minority side, watching Republicans enjoy their newly acquired power to block controversial Democratic nominees by the vote of a mere majority—all because of Harry’s hubris.
Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute's same article today:
...Less than a year ago—on November 21st, to be exact—Harry Reid went nuclear.... He ended the availability of the filibuster for most executive branch nominations, not by the two-thirds vote that Senate rules had long required but by a simple majority.... The larger issue... is that there will be other nominations... a looming vacancy at the Department of Justice.... And where will those remaining Democratic senators who voted for Harry Reid’s nuclear option be sitting? Why on the minority side, watching Republicans enjoy their newly acquired power not only to hold and control hearings but, should a Republican win the White House in 2016, to confirm nominees by the vote of a mere majority—all because of Harry’s hubris.
This isn't a simple mind-o--writing "up" where you mean "down" or "approve" where you mean "disapprove". The whole point of the article was that because Harry Reid broke the filibuster that he would now, somehow, be subject to more trials and tribulations in getting a new Attorney General confirmed. The crowing about how it is only because Harry Reid broke the filibuster that, now that they are in the majority, Republicans in the Senate can block Obama's executive-branch nominees demonstrates a deep and bizarre confusion over what "with the advice and consent of the Senate" could possibly mean.
And, of course, the silent correction does not correct--it simply renders the entire column incoherent.
And, of course, the silent correction speaks an organization that doesn't believe it can either stand behind or account for its words.
And, of course, why can't the Cato Institute get more intellectual value for its money?
A correspondent chasing links emails me that the fever swamp that is National Review has thrown more of the links to its archives down the memory hole into the fire.
Neither "search" nor "find" appears on National Review's homepage these days--naughty, naughty!
So I am reduced to trying to find it via google, which directs me to: http://www.nationalreview.com/author/donald-l-luskin.
And then finally to the document--I like the attention to detail and typography in that interesting capitalization of the possessive "S" that nobody ever bothered to set right:
It’s official: According to the New York Times itself, what we’ve been carefully documenting for more than two years is true.... [Danny] Okrent could have gone much, much further in blowing the whistle on America’s most dangerous liberal pundit. He could have cited the dozens upon dozens of partisan distortions, uncorrected errors, deliberate misquotations, and flat-out lies that we’ve caught Krugman making over the years.
We have some complaints in email from correspondents with respect to what I call "talking points", to wit, things like:
et cetera. Here is the full set
Could we please have better New York Times columnists?
...the stakes are not debatable at all. The Catholic Church was willing to lose the kingdom of England, and by extension the entire English-speaking world, over the principle that when a first marriage is valid a second is adulterous, a position rooted in the specific words of Jesus of Nazareth. To change on that issue, no matter how it was couched, would not be development; it would be contradiction and reversal...
...with Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee. An article that explained why and how a candidate could be preferable would be useful. Alas, Doug Henwood’s Harper‘s cover story is not that article. Some of the problems are conveyed even in the intro that isn’t behind the paywall:
As a follow up to Politico's embrace of BP, a correspondent reminds me of Politico from two years ago. Scott Lemieux does the garbage cleanup:
I’ve Had Enough Of You Water-Drinking, Air-Breathing Urban Elitists: [M]y favorite part of the Politico’s war on Nate Silver. As others have pointed out, [Dylan Byers's] botched hack cliche is comedy gold:
For this reason and others--and this may shock the coffee-drinking NPR types of Seattle, San Francisco and Madison, Wis.--more than a few political pundits and reporters, including some of his own colleagues, believe Silver is highly overrated.
Look, I knew those snooty elitists in Seattle and San Francisco looked down on me and my kind, but now you tell me that they drink coffee? No real American would ever be caught dead consuming this obscure product. I tell you, every election cycle it becomes harder to be a regular American. White wine, Lipton Green Tea, orange juice, Grey Poupon, coffee--every day you discover some product that my relatives in rural Saskatchewan would always have in their pantry that marks you as an out-of-touch urban elitist in the eyes of D.C.-based Ivy Leaguers.
Everybody working for--or reading--Politico needs to think hard about whether this is what they should be doing.
A correspondent reminds me of this from a couple of years ago, that I now hoist from the archives:
Hoisted from the Archives:
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
This is really embarrassing, New York Times: really, really embarrassing:
The first joke comes in Casey Mulligan's first paragraph: the Fed does not lend money to banks on an overnight basis at the Federal Funds Rate. The Fed lends money to banks at an interest rate called the Discount Rate. The Federal Funds rate is the rate at which banks lend their Federal Funds--the deposits they have at the Federal Reserve--to each other. That's why it is called the Federal Funds rate.
The second joke comes in the second paragraph. Hansen and Singleton (1983) is 'new research'?
The third joke is the entire third paragraph: since the long government bond rate is made up of the sum of (a) an average of present and future short-term rates and (b) term and risk premia, if Federal Reserve policy affects short rates then--unless you want to throw every single vestige of efficient markets overboard and argue that there are huge profit opportunities left on the table by financiers in the bond market--Federal Reserve policy affects long rates as well. Note the use of the weasel word 'largely'.
The New York Times badly needs to clean house here.
There are lots of economists who would love to write for the New York Times for free, and who know the difference between the Federal Funds Rate and the Discount Rate:
Twitter should only be used for:
For example, last week:
Now Jacob Weisberg is on record as stating that his Slate's "investigations" are intended adversarial takedowns rather than truth-finding exercises of journalism. Really not something that he would have wished to have done under any circumstances, and really not a smart career move at all...
Timothy Noah (2007): Has Jonah Goldberg gone soft on Hillary?: "Her name's been removed from his forthcoming book's subtitle...
Three months ago, I speculated that Jonah Goldberg's forthcoming book, then titled Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton, was the victim of a swift and violent paradigm shift. The 2006 elections and the right's critical drubbing of Dinesh D'Souza's The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11--which proposed a strategic alliance between Muslim theocrats and the American right against the degenerate American left—had rendered conservatism's lunatic fringe suddenly unfashionable. This couldn't, I thought, be good news for a book that portrayed Hillary Clinton as a goose-stepping brownshirt.
...is that it is somehow rude to hold politicians--especially right-of-center politicians--to the standard of behaving with honor or serving the public interest, and even ruder to point out that the Washington press corps village should call them on it. Ron Fournier of the National Journal, for example, calls it "name calling".
@ThePlumLineGS: RT @AdamSerwer: Tom Cotton's new ad points out welfare for farmers is ok, but not for poor people http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/09/29/socialism-for-me-but-not-for-thee/
@ron_fournier: @ThePlumLineGS @AdamSerwer He's running in Arkansas
@ryanlcooper: @ron_fournier @ThePlumLineGS @AdamSerwer good point, I forgot how Arkansas has zero poors
@AdamSerwer: @ryanlcooper @ron_fournier @ThePlumLineGS I bet "give money to farmers instead of grubby kids and old people" wouldn't do that well in AR
@ThePlumLineGS: @AdamSerwer @ryanlcooper @ron_fournier It is impossible to get a national reporter or commentator to acknowledge this fact, though
@ryanlcooper: @ThePlumLineGS @AdamSerwer @ron_fournier Tom who? Arka-what? Medi-huh? My question is, why won't #Oblammer lead
@ThePlumLineGS: @ryanlcooper @AdamSerwer @ron_fournier Oblammer?
@ron_fournier: @ThePlumLineGS @ryanlcooper @AdamSerwer Not here. Knock off the name calling please or go elsewhere.
Nieman Storyboard: "In what might be the only performance of Texas stand-up comedy about narrative writing...
...Vanity Fair writer Bryan Burrough recently offered practical tips for long-form storytelling to a Mayborn Conference audience. Prior to his magazine career, Burrough spent several years reporting for The Wall Street Journal; he has also written five books, including Public Enemies and Barbarians at the Gate. In these excerpts from his talk, Burrough addresses the best transition word ever, presents his strategy for avoiding writer’s block, and reminds you that “your words are not nearly as great as you think they are.”
Kevin Drum: Bill Clinton Is Right: Storyline Reporting Has Poisoned the Political Press | Mother Jones: "The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza....
Put simply: Neither Hillary nor Bill Clinton likes the media or, increasingly, sees any positive use for them:
If a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline
Bill Clinton said in a speech at Georgetown University back in April:
And then once people settle on the storyline, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story....
That's an interesting comment from Bill Clinton. Is it true? Well, check this out from the start of Cillizza's column:
The only change Fareed Zakaria made was to (a) delete David Leonhardt's explanation of who had actually done the work to calculate the numbers, while (b) failing to put David Leonhardt's words in quotation marks, and (c) failing to provide a pointer to David Leonhardt's column.
Perhaps Margaret Sullivan could read her predecessor?
Margaret Sullivan: An Article on Shonda Rhimes Rightly Causes a Furor: "Alessandra Stanley['s]... first paragraph--with a reference to Ms. Rhimes as an 'Angry Black Woman'...
...struck many readers as completely off-base. Many called it offensive. Some went further, saying it was racist. Another reference to the actress Viola Davis as 'less classically beautiful' than lighter-skinned African American actresses immediately inspired a mocking hashtag.... I have asked Ms. Stanley for further comment (she has said that her intentions were misunderstood, and seemed to blame the Twitter culture for that.... Culture editor, Danielle Mattoon.... 'There was never any intent to offend anyone and I deeply regret that it did', Ms. Mattoon said. 'Alessandra used a rhetorical device to begin her essay, and because the piece was so largely positive, we as editors weren’t sensitive enough to the language being used'. Ms. Mattoon called the article 'a serious piece of criticism', adding, 'I do think there were interesting and important ideas raised that are being swamped' by the protests. She told me that multiple editors--at least three--read the article in advance but that none of them raised any objections...
The Nytpicker (August 2009): How Does Alessandra Stanley Get To Keep Her Job As TV Critic? That's One Question Clark Hoyt Neglects To Ask. "Under the headline 'How Did This Happen?' Public Editor Clark Hoyt...
...today purports to address Alessandra Stanley's famously-flawed appraisal of Walter Cronkite on July 18, and to explain how the TV critic could end up with a whopping 8-error correction. But while Hoyt names several editors who failed to catch the mistakes in Stanley's piece, he ignores the deeper question on readers' minds. How does a television critic who has had 91 corrections of her work in just six years get to keep her job? Nowhere in Hoyt's 1,228-word essay today does the Public Editor address the question of what consequences Stanley has faced as a result of her epic fail on July 18. By focusing on the mechanics of the screw-up--which includes naming editors who read the piece and who didn't fact-check it--Hoyt bypasses the issue of a systemic breakdown at the NYT that led to the error-riddled essay.
We are interrupting our DeLong Smackdown Watches (and other things to bring you news that International Economy is now in the running for the Washington Post for the title of publication that exercises the very least quality control--that takes the least care to make sure that the articles it publishes inform rather than mislead their readers.
Let's turn the mike over to Menzie Chinn:
Menzie Chinn: The Stupidest Paragraph in Perhaps the Stupidest Article Ever Published: Bruce Bartlett brought my attention to this article...
...which Mark Thoma mused was “The Stupidest Article Ever Published”. From "The Inflation Debt Scam", by Paul Craig Roberts, Dave Kranzler and John Williams[, in International Economy]:
Over at Equitable Growth: As best as I have been able to determine, the thinking among the executives and editors of the Washington Post who commissioned and published this piece back in September 2008 was roughly: "We need to publish an economy-is-actually-in-good-shape piece so that the McCain campaign and the Republicans won't be made at us". Whether the piece was true, whether the numbers quoted in it were accurate or representative, or even whether the author had a conceptually and analytically interesting perspective did not enter their thinking at all. For none of those conditions were satisfied.
I have been waiting ever since for somebody in the Washington Post to decide that they need to commission somebody to do a deep dive about how and why this piece got commissioned and published, and how they drifted so very very far away from the idea that a newspaper exists to inform its readers about the world.
I suppose I am going to have to keep waiting, and when the last piece of newsprint spins through the Washington Post presses and the last update is posted to the Washington Post servers, it will still not have dared to come clean with its readers about what went so wrong.
For your pleasure:
Donald Luskin (2008): Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line | The Washington Post: "'It was the worst of times, and it was the worst of times'... READ MOAR
Brad DeLong: Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog: A Committee of Eight, Three of Whom... Daniel Davies writes:
The Economist editorial on GWB was about as readable as a Socialist Workers' Party caucus statement, and presumably for exactly the same reason; it was drafted by a commitee of about eight, about three of whom were aware that what they were supporting was unsupportable. Clive Crook's response absolutely confirms me in this view...
Paul Krugman: Sliming Rick Perlstein: "OK, this is grotesque...
Rick Perlstein has a new book... and he’s facing completely spurious charges of plagiarism.... The people making the charges--almost all of whom have, surprise, movement conservative connections--aren’t pointing to any actual passages that, you know, were lifted.... Instead, they’re claiming that Perlstein paraphrased what other people said.... Can I say, I’m familiar with this process? There was a time when various of the usual suspects went around claiming that I was doing illegitimate things with jobs data; what I was doing was in fact perfectly normal--but that didn’t stop Daniel Okrent, the outgoing public editor, from firing a parting shot (with no chance for me to reply) accusing me of fiddling with the numbers. I also heard internally that there were claims of plagiarism directed at me, too, but evidently they couldn’t cook up enough stuff to even pretend to make that stick. The thing to understand is that fake accusations of professional malpractice are a familiar tactic for these people. And this tactic should be punctured by the press, not given momentum with 'opinions differ on shape of the planet' reporting."
Ken Thomas: Middle Class Political Economist: Stephen Moore (Heritage, of course) can't even get his cherry-picked data right: "If you have had the stomach to read the malarkey that the Heritage Foundation puts out...
...you have no doubt noticed that many of their publications are, well, fact-challenged.... Today, I turn from Obamacare godfather Stuart Butler to the new Heritage chief economist, Stephen Moore.... SantaFeMarie sums up the sordid story of Moore's July 7 column in the Kansas City Star where, trying to defend himself and Arthur Laffer from the well-deserved ire of Paul Krugman, he claims that 0/low-tax states have seen better job growth than high-tax states. In the original article, he wrote:
No-income-tax Texas gained 1 million jobs over the last five years, California, with its 13 percent tax rate, managed to lose jobs. Oops. Florida gained hundreds of thousands of jobs while New York lost jobs. Oops.
I hope you're sitting down.
Jonathan Chait vs. Peter Suderman on ObamaCare:
Jonathan Chait: Libertarian Accidentally Shows Obamacare Success: "The Commonwealth Fund has a new survey...
...showing that the proportion of adults lacking health insurance has fallen by a quarter, from 20 percent of the population to 15 percent. (Most respondents, including 74 percent of newly insured Republicans, report liking their plan.) Also, this week, the Congressional Budget Office again revised down its cost estimates for Medicare, which now spends $50 billion a year less than it was projected to before Obamacare passed. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine recently estimated that 20 million Americans gained insurance under the new law.
The latter study comes in for criticism by Peter Suderman, Reason’s indefatigable health-care analyst.
Steve M.: You've Got to Be Taught to Hate and Fear: "I lost a lot of time I can never get back...
...reading Sam Tanenhaus's New York Times Magazine cover story on the reform conservative movement. (Title: "Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?" I'll answer that: No.)....
I'd just like to note one anecdote involving John Murray, Eric Cantor's deputy chief of staff.... 'Self-identified Tea Party supporters... [and] moderate swing voters... aside from a few hot-button ideological issues, the two groups sounded alike. Their paramount concerns were nagging "kitchen-table-centric" issues. In Murray's paraphrase: "Fuel prices are up. Grocery bills are up. The kids are home now, but who's going to help us get them to college?" The respondents were not Obama fans, but they also felt as if the Republicans weren't helping them, either."...