Across the Wide Missouri: @WilliamJordann: How far the the country has come in a week, in National Review Online headlines::
Across the Wide Missouri: William Jordan: @WilliamJordann: How far the the country has come in a week, in National Review Online headlines:
Across the Wide Missouri: Let me just say that anyone who says that Leon Wieseltier knows anything about what good English prose is is lying.
Consider this rhetorical joke:
Jeb Bush: I want to send a message that my campaign is like a disastrous and profoundly stupid attack that costs three casualties for every one inflicted:
Jonathan Martin and Patrick Healy: Jeb Bush Works to Recover From a Shaky Start: "Mr. Diaz... [who] seared John Kerry in 2004 and Mr. Romney in 2007...
...and other Bush aides are determined to develop new lines of attack against... Rubio... and... Walker.... By hiring Mr. Diaz, Mr. Bush wanted to send a clear signal that:
the culture of the Bush operation will now be a Pickett’s Charge engagement campaign with his main opponents
according to one Bush ally. It is a far cry from campaigning ‘joyfully,’ as he mused about doing last year...
Indeed it is a far cry from campaigning "joyfully".
As George Pickett said of Robert E. Lee--the general who ordered the charge--"That man destroyed my division!"
I don't think any words are necessary. I think this passage from the Wall Street Journal's attack on the College Board's AP U.S. History curriculum speaks for itself:
Daniel Henninger: Bye, Bye, American History: "From Key Concept 1.3: ‘Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority...
...to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.
Pity the high-school or college student who puts up a hand to contest that anymore. They don’t. They know the Orwellian option now is to stay down.... Weak school administrators and academics empowered tireless activists who [have] forced all of American history and life through the four prisms of class, gender, ethnicity and identity. What emerged at the other end was one idea—guilt. I exist, therefore I must be guilty. Of something. The College Board promises that what it produces next month will be ‘balanced.’ We await the event.
Which part of that Key Concept do Daniel Henninger and the Wall Street Journal editorial board believe should be contested, and wish to contest? The subjugation of Africans? The continued subjugation of African-Americans? The subjugation of American Indians? The belief in white supremacy? The link between subjugation on the one hand and belief in white supremacy on the other? The claim that there were different rationales for white supremacy in different times and places?
Inquiring minds really want to know. The Wall Street Journal--and Daniel Henninger--owe us a long-form follow-up.
It is very nice to see the Financial Times correction of Niall Ferguson--although it does not, in my opinion, go far enough.
A word, however, to Lionel Barber, Gillian Tett, and company: The Financial Times's only current assets are an incredibly skilled and hard-working journalistic team and a reputation as a trusted information intermediary. You are not going to be able to out-pander the Spectator, the Wall Street Journal, the Torygraph, and Fox News as a place where the rich feel comforted rather than afflicted by the news. That means you cannot risk your reputation as a trusted information intermediary by routinely publishing pieces that undermine it.
Jonathan Chait: Niall Ferguson Claims Smeared by Facts, Fights Back: "[Ferguson's] most recent example of ‘correct politicalness’ is the humiliation Ferguson suffered when...
Across the Wide Missouri: Journamalism Watch:
"Obama's failure to transcend America's partisan divide is not the result of a deliberate decision by the Republican Party to deepen that divide, but rather of Obama's failure to lead, with leadership." That is something that professional Green-Lantern "centrists" like Clive Crook and Ron Fournier have said. That is something they continue to say--even though moderate Republicans' talking point now is: Pelosi and Reid kept Obama from being the bipartisan centrist president he wanted to be.
I wonder why they have not yet smelled the coffee, and gotten the memo. It would be easy to shift to: "Obama tried to lead, but Pelosi and Reid refused to follow". It would be more plausible and not more untrue than the current position. So why not shift?
Ron Fournier: The Right Way and Wrong Way to Win the Presidency: "Hillary Clinton appears to be taking the easy path. It would be the wrong one: Democratic and Republican presidential candidates face a choice...
Over on the Twitter Device the very sharp Tim Noah trolls me by writing 33 tweets about how "things went sour" for The Old New Republic when Richard Just got fired:
And following up with:
Hoisted from the Archives: I understand that the Old New Republic was at times (save for firing him) very good to the very sharp Timothy Noah. But he says some things he shouldn't in and ancillary to a very nice tweetstorm:
It was not a good magazine.
The very, very sharp Ben Thompson smacks down the not-sharp-at-all Michael Massing:
We see what Michael Massing did there...
The reason for Michael Massing to fail to write "Ben Thompson" and "Stratechery" and provide the link: https://stratechery.com/2015/buzzfeed-important-news-organization-world/? That Michael Massing is, and wants to be perceived as, an asshole. Failure-to-properly-cite syndrome is an old disease, an old move in pseudo-intellectual discourse.
And it is a weak one.
I wonder why nobody at the New York Review of Books bothered to edit him, or even to tell Massing that this was not the way to introduce himself to readers searching for trusted information intermediaries?
Ben Thompson's point was:
The world needs great journalism, but great journalism needs a great business model. That’s exactly what BuzzFeed seems to have, and it’s for that reason the company is the most important news organization in the world...
Does Massing engage that point--acknowledge its existence, argue against it, or provide support for it--anywhere in his piece? No.
Jon Schwarz: Legendary Journalist in Private: "It Is All Fraudulent, All of It, Everywhere": "Politico recently ran a fantastic historical profile...
...of journalist Theodore H. White by the writer Scott Porch. White invented the genre of modern presidential campaign books with The Making of the President, 1960 (and then 1964, 1968 and 1972). The 1960 version, which won a Pulitzer Prize and sold four million copies, describes John F. Kennedy as a ‘forlorn and lonesome young man … lithe as an athlete … handsome and tired, with just a fleck of gray now in his glossy brown hair’ who ‘baffled’ the ‘old-line politicians of Tammany.’ Then after Kennedy was assassinated, White helped Jackie Kennedy create the ‘Camelot’ myth of his presidency.
Live from La Farine: if I did not already know that we have 17 months during which the flow and intensity of the bullshit from the Washington Village media political press corps will only increase, I would have thought we were at peak bullshit now.
Do people really pay $1000 a year to read things like this beat-sweetener from Tim Alberta in the National Journal about how:
South Carolina is Marco Rubio's State to Lose.... Rubio is putting a stranglehold on South Carolina.... Rubio has become an adopted prince of South Carolina's political royalty... snatching up the state's top talent... achieved... an organizational lock... 'put together a first-class team'... courtship... goes beyond his roster of official allies... that's only a fraction of the South Carolina talent Rubio has on payroll... Whit Ayres, Rubio's highly respected pollster, launched his career in South Carolina... crucial hire... Katie Baham Gainey, a veteran of First Tuesday Strategies and Romney's 2008 campaign... "He has an all-star team"... courtship of South Carolina goes beyond his roster of official allies... been at the task of building alliances here for six years...
This beat-sweetener that in paragraph 26--twenty-six--TWENTY-SIX--XXVI--finally says:
The most recent poll was conducted by Winthrop before Rubio's April 13 launch and showed him taking only 4 percent, lagging behind Walker, Bush, and five other candidates...
That's eighth place.
The one piece of real information in the article, delayed until paragraph 26.
Across the Wide Missouri: Duncan Black: Every Clown Car Member Gets The Love From The NYT: "Paragraph 8:
While supporters in Iowa noted that she had doubled her standing in state polls, it was a statistically insignificant change from 1 percent to 2 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released May 6. (That may seem piddling, but the same poll had Mr. Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, also at 2 percent, while 5 percent supported Mr. Bush)
Must-Read: I am getting the same sense that Matthew Yglesias is with respect to the Mainstream Media. But it would be good if there were actual numbers on the coverage of the HRC campaign and the Clinton Foundation out there...
Matthew YglesiasNewsletter: "It's difficult to know when one is or isn't thinking with partisan blinders on...
The Right Nation: Why America is Different, by Adrian Wooldridge, John Micklethwait:
Dennis Hastert, the Republican Speaker... a hulking former wrestling coach, is a fairly straightforward conservative: antiabortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-Kyoto, pro-invading Iraq, pro-death penalty.... Hastert got a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union in the days when he voted regularly....
Compared with other “red” districts, Hastert’s (Illinois’s fourteenth) is deep scarlet. It begins in the suburbs thirty miles west of the Chicago Loop and then stretches out through miles of cornfields to a point just forty miles short of the Iowa border. To drive across it takes a good three hours. Hastert’s district can claim to be the most Republican in the country, at least if you factor in length of loyalty to the party Unlike nouveaux droites such as Texas, Illinois has been full of Republicans since the party’s founding in 1854.... Hastert’s district is resolutely “normal.” The local citizens think of themselves as typical Americans, and their geographical vision is often bounded by the Great Plains that surround them.
Comment of the Day: Craig: Why Don't New York Times Writers Possess Any Awareness of Their Presentation-of-Self?: "One of the fascinating things--sad, but fascinating...
Live from Strada at Bancroft and College: Last year's journamalism. Is there a trend, is there a number that is correct? And is there an argument other than the sadistic undercurrent that the bottom third of America's white population (and a much greater fraction of the minority population) deserve to be fleeced by credit-card and payday-loan companies, and deserve to die prematurely from lack of routine and preventative care?
Michael Barone: How ObamaCare Misreads America "The Washington elites who designed the law must be bewildered...
...Why doesn't everyone behave as they do?...
Live from La-La Land: Is Maureen Dowd really this clueless as to how she is appearing to Uber drivers--and to her readers?
Maureen Dowd: Driving Uber Mad: "I had Uber. Even in the land of movie stars, you could feel like a movie star when your Uber chauffeur rolled up...
...But, suddenly, they scattered in the opposite direction. I stood in the driveway, perplexed. Finally, a car pulled up, and the driver waved me in. ‘Do you know why no one wanted to pick you up?’ he asked. ‘Because you have a low rating.’... I was shocked. Blinded by the wondrous handiness of Uber, I had missed the fact that while I got to rate them, they got to rate me back. Revealing that I had only 4.2 stars, my driver continued to school me. ‘You don’t always come out right away,’ he said, sternly, adding that I would have to work hard to be more appealing if I wanted to get drivers to pick me up. Uber began to feel less like a dependable employee and more like an irritated boyfriend....
Busy day today: lecturing my class on humility & writing column on how my disastrous support for Iraq War must never be questioned.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) May 19, 2015
Across the Wide Missouri: Yet more journamalism from The New York Times and David Brooks. Once again, I don't understand what game they are playing here:
Scott Lemieux: David Brooks's Pathetic Iraq Excuses - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money: "David Brooks starts off his apologia with some stoned-dorm-room stuff about how if Hitler had been strangled in the crib we wouldn’t have the GI Bill or as many women in the workforce...
...It does not improve from there. First, note this crafty bit of dissembling:
...and his obsession with 'values' and 'meaning' and whatnot, let's all pause to recall that he's a shameless liar and fantasist who doesn't even have the grace to acknowledge it when he's caught. (I mean, in addition to the fact that he has the intelligence of a sea slug and the moral sophistication of a stoat.)
Sasha Issenberg: [Boo-Boos in Paradise(http://www.phillymag.com/articles/booboos-in-paradise/): "I called Brooks to see if I was misreading his work...
United Kingdom Election:
I see: LAB-SNP up from 31% to 35%.
I see: CON-LDP down from 59% to 45%.
I see: CON up from 36% to 37%.
So I read things like:
Over at Equitable Growth Much of the dysfunction of the American press corps is driven by the ideological commitments of its bosses, the cultural flaws of its journalists' communities, or the desperate need to scare its readers and viewers and thus keep them reading and viewing so that their eyeballs can be sold to advertisers.
Some of the dysfunction is not. Some of the dysfunction is unmotivated and completely pointless, even on its own terms.
Here we have Eugene Stern warning readers that reading Nick Kristof of The New York Times will not make you better informed: READ MOAR
In the immediate aftermath of David Brooks's failure to know that Jean-Paul Sartre's name was not John-Paul, it is time to hoist from Commonweal's archives the most extraordinary David Brooks error ever:
Jonathan Zasloff: When David Brooks decides to blame the poor for their predicament...
...and then cites an untrue and grotesquely dishonest 'statistic' to support his thesis without bothering to check it out, one might say that such behavior represents a failure of... character:
Duncan Black: 100% Diet Of Rendered Bacon Fat: "One of the worst trait of political reporters...
...is to think their contempt for flyover country means they understand it, instead of just meaning that they hate the great unwashed they perpetually pretend they're giving voice to.
...[They say that because] the FOMC's projections of economic growth have been too high... monetary policy is not working and efforts to use it to support the recovery should be discontinued. It's generous of the WSJ writers to note... that 'economic forecasting isn't easy.' They should know, since the Journal has been forecasting a breakout in inflation and a collapse in the dollar at least since 2006, when the FOMC decided not to raise the federal funds rate above 5-1/4 percent.... READ MOAR
It's going to be eighteenth months of an unprofessional media clown show again, isn't it?
What’s the allegation against Hillary Clinton? The reason this is a story is the potential that there was some quid pro quo involved: that in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and/or the speech Bill Clinton gave in Russia, Hillary Clinton used her position as Secretary of State to make approval of this sale happen. It need not be explicit, but at the very least there has to be a connection between donations and official action that Clinton took.
What’s the evidence for that allegation? There isn’t any....
I think Ezra Klein nails this completely. The Washington DC press corps is not becoming better with time. It is becoming worse.
So I am going to make you read Ezra:
...ostensibly... lighthearted laughs. But it's evolved into a recital of brutal truths — albeit one neither side ever really admits happened. The joke of President Obama's performance on Saturday was that he wasn't joking. Everyone just had to pretend he was. Take this:
I think Corey Robin nails it here. My only objection is that he does not draw the links back to earlier, early twentieth-century attacks on "boring" politics--the "cretinism of parliaments" and similar doctrines:
Greg: What are you doing?
Me: Working on my Salon column.
Greg: What’s it on?
Me: George Packer.
Greg: Low-hanging fruit.
Live from La Farine: As I have said before, one important reason I was for Barack Hussein Obama rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton was my belief that America was now more sexist than racist and that Obama would be treated by the Republicans and the political class with the respect appropriate for a serious presidential candidate and for a president.
The second part of that belief was clearly wrong.
The first part, however, may well be right: get ready for the sewage avalanche:
Live from La Farine: For every time somebody emails me, privately, and tells me that Dean Baquet--in spite of his failure to commission a deep dive on New York Times dysfunction and Jeff Gerth and company on Whitewater, in spite of his failure to commission a deep dive on New York Times dysfunction and Judy Miller on Iraq, in spite of such things as yesterday's misrepresentations of the Department of State's role in CFIUS--sincerely wants to turn the Grey Lady into a trusted information intermediary, two or three examples of things like the following cross my desk:
Across the Wide Missouri: Does George Packer really think the purpose of American politics is to thrill him?
...The author, Nate Cohn, concluded, ‘It will be fun to watch.’ That was when he lost me.... The 2016 campaign doesn’t seem like fun to me.... If this is any kind of fun, it’s the kind of fun I associate with reading about seventeenth-century French execution methods, or watching a YouTube video of a fight between a python and an alligator. Fun in small doses, as long as you’re not too close....
...are coming around to the realization that the economy is screwing them, too. There was a moment when a lot of them (we're talking ones at elite outlets, not your random small town paper) thought they'd done everything right, would become celebrities, and get Tom Friedman's speaking fees. The economy sure was working for them, and screw everybody else. But then, well, that didn't quite happen.
Why isn't Maureen Dowd a New York Times Arthur-Anderson moment?
May I say that John Dickerson is a really bad choice to anchor "Face the Nation"?
Why do I think that? Because this is the type of thing John Dickerson writes:
...With only five days left until Election Day, John McCain's campaign aides seem happier than they have been in a while. For the last few days, the campaign has been increasingly buoyed by what it says has been improvement in its internal polling of 14 battleground states. Aides see a tightening race in states that are crucial to their long-shot march to 270 votes and victory.
Morning Must-Read: The American Prospect: "Join us for a Gala 25th Anniversary Luncheon featuring Senator Elizabeth Warren...
Over at Equitable Growth: If The Economist is going to add value for society, it will have to become a trusted information intermediary, rather than just seem to be a trusted information intermediary. It may survive, and it may return healthy profits to its conglomerate owners and lavish salaries to its workers if it seems to be a trusted information intermediary, but, really, is that the point?
Does Matthew Ingram and I cannot be the only people who are deeply alarmed at the internet strategy that the very sharp Tom Standage has just outlined for the Nieman Journalism Lab. If you focus on becoming a trusted information intermediary, you may well make it. If you just focus on seeming to be a trusted information intermediary, you surely will not make it. READ MOAR
@agolis: What an insidious and stupid formulation http://nyti.ms/1M9xO8v:
@agolis: Notice the way it subtly precludes the possibility that anything 'divisive' or 'ideological' could be in the state or local interest. And the way that it broadly grants the idea that Schumer's advocacy on behalf of business interests is in the state and local interest.
@michaelbd: @agolis Spoken like a really divisive ideologue who hates New York, Andrew.
@michaelbd: @agolis What’s good For Wall Street is good. Finis. Anyone who disagrees is probably some nobody from upstate.
@agolis; @michaelbd and nothing worth doing is ever something people intensely disagree about.
@root_e: @agolis @msbellows NYTimes is into the consensus of people who buy or sell $10M and up condos.
@agolis: @jmartNYT @michaelbd there are so many intense value judgments baked into that. why not say 'Schumer has cannily maintained broad support w an econ agenda amenable to Wall St & Main St biz interests'?
April Fools' Festival Day XIV: As James Fallows said just... last week... in another context: Jeff Bezos: Behold your newspaper!
Scott Lemieux: How to be a Hack, Fred Hiatt Edition - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money: "This is also great:
There is, as we wrote earlier this week, a reasonable way for the two sides to compromise on the trafficking bill, but both sides need to be reasonable. Sadly, that was not the case for Senate Democrats this week.
There is a compromise out there that would work. Republicans aren’t actually offering this compromise, but nonetheless Democrats should agree to the bill anyway or they’re the obstructionists. I can’t explain High Broderism any better than that, ladies and gentlemen...
...When I published my 'Tragedy of the American Military' article last month, some people said:
No, it's an exaggeration to claim that war is an easy abstraction that people throw around without thinking through the consequences.'
Maybe. But I give you [Josh Muravchik] on the [Fred Hiatt-run] Op-Ed page of our capital city's main newspaper [The Washington Post]....
I thought that this was going to be mostly pieces from the archives, but no!
It is perhaps 19 years too late for Mickey Kaus to have a "There's gambling going on here!" Colonel Renault moment with respect to Fox News and its place in the conservative media ecosystem in which he has embedded himself, no?
And, of course, there are all the golden oldies, including:
Crime... teen drug and alcohol abuse... teen pregnancy... domestic violence... child molestation is way down.... David Brooks is cooking up off-the-cuff sociological theories to explain SOMETHING THAT ISN'T EVEN HAPPENING. And then he is recommending big changes in American culture and society...
Monday Smackdown Watch: Perhaps the most urgent question of the day is: nature or nurture. Is the absence of empathy for the human condition on the part of writers for the pre-Gabriel Snyder Old New Republic a result of their nature--that the New Republic of Marty Peretz and those willing to go the extra mile to cater to his bigotries were predisposed to hire such people--or of their nurture--that their discussions while at the Old New Republic trained them to make arguments like this one?
The estimable Patrick Nielsen Hayden, widely-envied by many not least for his office in the Flatiron Building, administers today's Monday Smackdown: