They keep saying “The story wasn’t about X; it was about Y” as if that’s not the problem.
Republicans are the protagonists in American life—I forget who said that, but it’s how they think.
Which, again, is illustrative. Because the 40-year descent of the Republican Party from being wrong about everything but still a basically normal political party, into an authoritarian ethnonationalist cult of personality working actively to spread a deadly virus—that IS a big story, with Republicans at the center. And the people with the access to tell it refuse to. People would click on it!
It was somewhat heartening to read the utter disdain expressed in the Twitter thread in response to Stolberg's lazy reporting. We're in the interregnum between a backsliding democracy and authoritarianism, and too many journalists are averting their eyes. Literally every story should be viewed through the lens of whether it bolsters or harms democracy. Journalists pandering to Republicans will not be spared by a SCOTUS systematically eradicating civil rights, especially one that is preparing to eviscerate the libel precedent that has protected the media for decades.
The lesson the media either can't or won't learn is that the objective of Republican influencers is to "catapult the propaganda" into the mainstream. No finer example than Dick Cheney feeding a line of crap about Iraqi WMD to Judy Miller, who dutifully wrote it up, and then Cheney went on Meet The Press and recited - and elevated - his own crap by sourcing it the NY Times. Over in Wingnuttia, an angel gets its wings every time the NYT prints GOP nonsense.
Stolberg only called yr criticism "lame" because she heard yr criticism, and who likes criticism? But she heard it, and her editors probably heard it too. Can't hurt. Keep after 'em Hoss.
What’s missing from our commentary is the harm being done to Dr. Fauci and his family. How far we have sunk in this country when people like Fauci, who have served us all so amazingly well for decades, are verbally pummeled and threatened by badly informed Rs in a diner. I kind of see Stolberg’s rebuttal about her focus on these Rs as a way to reveal opinions, motives, BUT how about the wider view of the harm being done to Fauci, et al in the process. For me, that’s the story. We already know maga folks hate Fauci. So what else is new?
Don’t know whether it’s too late to correct, but Kristi Noem is the governor of South Dakota, not Montana.
Couple of things going on:
1) Another case of what happens when the dems hold off from the tried and true rethuglican tactic of "playing the refs..." It works. If there is no organized push back from a national press advocate for the dems (does one even exist?), then this is yet another example of the press getting away with it... If the republicans were mad about a story like this, they would have a single, scripted, and widely distributed counter narrative and write-in campaign directed against the Times... And it would work.
2) Republicans are FAR more entertaining than democrats. This ginned up nonsense on the right about Fauci, while completely psychotic, is also interesting... So it gets printed... That's modern infortainment for you.
Remember, Stolberg's job is not to edify, educate or tell the truth. It is to sensationalize and sell papers. Well done, I say... I will read the story when I'm bored. But to learn about the truth of what the republicans are doing, I will read 1984, not the NYT.
A couple of theories:
1. The Times would NEVER admit this, because it would suggest they are capable of putting money ahead of journalism, but this stuff gets clicks, including from our side. If we really wanted to make a point, we'd organize a campaign not to read any story online by The Times that relates to politics.
2. Protecting your sources. I bet there's a sieve or two in the offices of #MassMurderingMoscowMitch and maybe even #KremlinKevin, the Bakersfield Benedict Arnold and Official Pleasurer of Lev Parnas, or maybe some other republicans. It isn't just that the likes of Gym Jordan are quotable.
3. Likability. I always recur to a story a DC-based friend told me. There's a rope line outside the Senate and reporters would stand behind it and ask questions. Bob Corker would come talk with them and knew their names and their kids' names. Elizabeth Warren would run by en route to her next policy meeting. So when Corker feebly questioned whether Orange Hitler might be wrong about something, the DC political media hailed him as the modern Margaret Chase Smith (hi, Susan Collins--you're a disgrace to her memory). When Warren became "Pocahontas," they had no problem repeating it and repeating it and repeating it.
I cancelled my NYT subscription last summer, and they're trying to lure me back with a $1 week subscription, but even if it were one penny a week, I wouldn't re-subscribe.
A journalist who writes political pieces should know when they're gaslighting their readers. There's a difference between bothsidesism and presenting both sides of a political argument during an election year, which is responsible journalism. Going back to the midwestern diner as the default interview site (and yes, the ubiquitous Ohio, or Indiana) is a good way to find plenty of ignorant Republican voices to fill up one's writing with, no?
Oops, Eric - Noem is the governor of South Dakota, not Montana, but no harm done.
The NYTimes does make me wonder if (god forbid, when) the fascists take over, will they send their crack social anthropology teams out to blue city restaurants to find out what those quaint natives think about losing their country, too?
It’s all optics madness. I do not know what they are thinking, but I have to assume this comes from the top down.
As for the Sunday shows, they stopped being Public Affairs programming long ago, and now they are beltway insiders talking to other beltway insiders about how clever they are. The Sunday shows are not news, they are punditry, and they are not even good at that.
As I have been saying for quite a while, The NY Times is no longer the "Paper of Record", it is now the "Paper for Wrapping Three Day Old Fish". Started when they decided the Clintons were 'hicks from Arkansas' and thus couldn't possibly be President/First Lady. 30 years of their hatred of everyone but rich white republican men!
I suspect The NY Times has internalized the GOP talking point that Democrats are now all radical Socialists (except for ‘moderates’ like Manchin and Sinema.) As the paper of record for the status quo, the Times is not going to give dangerous lefties and their ideas any exposure. America is a center-right country after all - or so they keep hearing from their trusted inside sources on the right.
Meanwhile, my Facebook feed is lately getting swamped with ads from GOP groups like the GOP senate campaign committee warning the out of control Socialist spending of the liberal Democrats will destroy the country, that Critical Race Theory is in all the schools, and so on.
It’s enough to make me consider putting sardines in my oatmeal. That’s how crazy things are getting.
Regarding the lead story on the NY Times, it's not about "the truth", which is just an advertising slogan for them. It's about the subscribers, and The Times has now reached its goal of 10 million digital subscribers three years earlier than expected. Their goal now: 15 digital subscribers by 2027. Excelsior!
Correction - Kristi Noem is not the governor of Montana, but the governor of South Dakota.
I just cancelled my NY Times subscription and explain, in detail, how fed up I was with their apparently pro-GOP, pro-insurrectionist, pro-crackpot stance. Sticking with Reuters, the Guardian, and the BBC.
I suppose it’s hard for some folks to tell the ‘boxy states’ apart. 🤔