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WHICH PART OF NO! The New York Times took dictation from Rick. Why didn’t your leaders fight? // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2011

Schools for hate/Hapless professors division: You know it’s summer when the Times gets around to printing its shark attack story. This morning, the brilliant newspaper goes round the world in search of those seasonal bites.

The Times spends 800 words in this morning’s paper reporting two shark bites off the east coast—off the east coast of Russia! In its “news reporting,” this same newspaper never explained what would have happened on August 3 had the debt ceiling stayed where it was, the way Michele Bachmann wanted.

We’re just saying.

Bachmann has now been replaced by Rick Perry—but can your culture survive this level of Dumb? We very much doubt it. One problem in this cultural suicide pact: We liberals can easily spot The Big Dumb when it appears on the other side. But we generally can’t see it over here, among our own low achievers.

We can spot the Big Dumb—even perhaps the Big Sociopathic—when a fellow like Allen West expresses it, as he seems to have done in the past few days. We may not be able to spot it when an apparent sociopath like the repurposed Chris Matthews keeps feeding us garbage like the following, from last night’s Hardball:

MATTHEWS (8/18/11): Does Rick Perry believe the government could use some tough, even radical reform, or does he believe it is essentially evil? Does he possess a humility in the realm of science or does he reject the scientific method itself? Does he have a problem with the civil rights bill that goes beyond the judicial ruling that rule it constitutional?

And what did he mean all those times he waved that threatening word "secession" around? Does he believe the Confederate states were right to do what they did?

As we used to say in the 60s—there’s something happening here. And now, as the wild electoral season begins, it’s a very important time, I think, to take notice and ring more than a few alarm bells.

“All those times?” There’s nothing this man won’t do and say to “earn” that $5 million.

From anything like a liberal perspective, Perry is a horrible candidate. It’s amazing to think that a hack like Matthews has to lie to build a case against him. But Matthews has been playing that constantly-talking-secession card for more than two years at this point. He isn’t trying to inform you—he’s trying to whip you on up, to send cheap thrills up your leg.

That highlighted phrase would make you think that Perry persistently talks up secession. He simply doesn’t do that, of course. But Chris has been playing that card for two years, treating you like fools in the process—and for some dumb reason, our side seems to like it! Somewhat weirdly, Chris has been lying about this point for two years, just as he did for two years against Candidate Gore, in the employ of Jack Welch.

Matthews sent Candidate Bush to the White House. Today, reliable liberal fluffer Joan Walsh instructs us in how great he is.

It’s amazing that the liberal world would tolerate Matthews for even ten seconds. But then, there’s a great deal of crap that gets pimped on your side. Consider the crap the professors wrote in Wednesday’s New York Times.

One of the professors—Campbell, the scrub-faced Notre Damer—was featured on Wednesday night’s Hardball. For ourselves, we don’t think much of a pair of professors who start you out with obvious garbage, as these two did in Wednesday’s column. As they started, they (pretended to) explain why many more people now think poorly of the tea party:

CAMPBELL AND PUTNAM (8/16/11): Given how much sway the Tea Party has among Republicans in Congress and those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, one might think the Tea Party is redefining mainstream American politics.

But in fact the Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic. To embrace the Tea Party carries great political risk for Republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.

Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. In April 2010, a New York Times/CBS News survey found that 18 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of it, 21 percent had a favorable opinion and 46 percent had not heard enough. Now, 14 months later, Tea Party supporters have slipped to 20 percent, while their opponents have more than doubled, to 40 percent.

For the record, it has been sixteen months since April 2010, not the professors’ alleged “14.” But people! When professors have to type 800 words, complex math errors will follow!

At any rate, hacks like these will play you quickly, even when they’re professors. Did the professors make a true statement? “Among most Americans,” was the tea party brand becoming toxic “even before the furor over the debt limit?” If “most” still means more than half, the toxicity claim still seems untrue. But if you look at the polls to which the professors link, you will see that the tea party’s negatives only took a big jump after April of this year. From April 2010 through April 2011, the polling was relatively stable; the large jump in the tea party’s unfavorable rankings only appeared in this month’s poll. (Click here, see question 31. This is the polling to which the professors link.)

Presumably, the rise in the tea party’s negative ranking did result from the debt limit matter. But just that fast, the Professors 2 were handing you obvious crap.

In fact, there’s so much crap in that one little column the Times building ought to be fumigated. Having misled you with funny facts, the professors now do so with puzzling logic:

CAMPBELL AND PUTNAM: The strange thing is that over the last five years, Americans have moved in an economically conservative direction: they are more likely to favor smaller government, to oppose redistribution of income and to favor private charities over government to aid the poor. While none of these opinions are held by a majority of Americans, the trends would seem to favor the Tea Party. So why are its negatives so high? To find out, we need to examine what kinds of people actually support it.

We’re puzzled by the logic. Presumably, the same “kinds of people” have supported the tea party all along. Why then did the group’s negatives jump in the last four months? The professors never address this question, having already told us what the answer simply can’t be. It almost seems they had a story they wanted to tell—and they went on to tell their story in a manner we would regard as ugly and unprincipled, and as highly unscholarly. The New York Times really shouldn’t publish garbage like this:

CAMPBELL AND PUTNAM: So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

Wow. That’s a very serious type of charge, and it’s offered in a sweeping manner. It’s the type of charge that should be offered with great care and supported with actual data. But the professors haven’t released their data, so no one can evaluate their sweeping claim—though Chris and Joan, perhaps not knowing, praised Campbell on Wednesday night’s Hardball for his wonderful research. And uh-oh! At one point, Chris put his foot in his mouth! He asked Campbell a very good question—and got a gruesome reply:

MATTHEWS (8/17/11): Anyway, an excerpt on the Tea Party traits in your piece says, quote, "So what do Tea Partiers have in common? Well, they are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do."

How do you—how did you discern that? People never seem to admit racial prejudice. How did you get at that in your study, David?

CAMPBELL: Well, on the question about immigrants, we just simply asked them, “Do you think we should have more immigration, less immigration, or should it stay about the same?”

And if you were a person who said, “Well, I think we should have fewer immigrants in the country,” you were much more likely to have turned out to be a Tea Party supporter.

Good God—that is horrible. On the basis of that one pathetic question, these professors were willing to say in the Times that “Tea Partiers” (no attempt at qualification) “had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.” By the way: How many people answered which way? No data have been released!

That is ugly, brain-dead stuff; the Times should never have printed it. Did someone drop a bowling ball on these professors’ heads? That said, our own lynch mob was happy to praise this work on that evening’s Hardball. Early on, Campbell described his work, producing loud praise all around:

CAMPBELL: These are highly partisan Republicans. They’re not comfortable with minorities, and they’re very comfortable with the mixture of church and politics.

MATTHEWS: And what about their attitudes ethnically, about illegal immigration, immigration generally, about African-Americans? You say they have a negative view?

CAMPBELL: That’s right. On both of those matters, immigration and African-Americans, or at least their feelings toward African-Americans, we find that the more negative you are toward immigrants or the cooler you are toward African-Americans, the more likely you are to be a Tea Party supporter.

MATTHEWS: Wow. Wow. Does this shock you, Joan?

WALSH: Not a bit, Chris, although it’s great research, it’s great to have it, and David did a great job.

Walsh has no idea if it’s great research, since she hasn’t been able to look at the data. She just likes the outcome. It’s a shame that the “liberal” world is burdened with pitiful folk of this type.

A great deal more could be said about this particular Hardball segment, in which the East Coast Irish Catholic brigade revived old feelings about Those People. Joan’s thoughts drifted back to the way Those People tormented Us in the 1850s. Can she even brush her teeth without revisiting these stupid old Balkans-worthy grievances? But that column was an intellectual disgrace—and Campbell’s session on Hardball only made matters worse.

It will be interesting to see the data if the professors ever release them. But in their column and then on Hardball, they handed out sweeping claims encompassing tens of millions of people. We liberals cheered them for their brilliance. Good lord, how we do love to hate!

The plutocrats cheer this on, of course. People! Divide and conquer!

Special report: There’s no surviving the Times!

PART 4—WHICH PART OF NO (permalink): Just a quick guess. There will be no saving your culture.

Tuesday morning, your greatest newspaper adopted the Rick Perry narrative, telling the world, through a front-page headline, that Texas is enjoying a “jobs boom.” On MSNBC that night, the very fiery boys and girls didn’t so much as say boo. But that front-page dictation in Gotham’s Times was hardly the day’s only groaner. That same day, in an editorial, the editors sadly typed this:

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (8/16/11): Both parties’ primary systems give far too much weight to a small coterie of true believers. This year, the Republican system is amplifying the voices of those who are determined to shut out all reasonable debate and reward only the most angry and extremist views.

Mrs. Bachmann, in fact, embodies her party’s sputtering disdain for government—and outlandish and often vicious attacks on President Obama—better than any other candidate. But her fury is so volcanic, and her experience is so thin, that many Republicans have openly longed for a similarly hard-line candidate who can avoid her gaffes and appear more grounded.

Question: Can anyone remember when the Democratic Party primary system “gave far too much weight to a small coterie of true believers?” We can’t exactly remember that either. But “journalists” who are dumb enough to type that tripe will type many more things just as dumb.

Oddly, the editors got some things right in this passage. Bachmann, a truly ludicrous candidate, actually has made some “gaffes” and she does lack experience. But has she displayed a “fury” which is “volcanic?” We have no idea why the editors said that. Has she delivered “outlandish and often vicious attacks on President Obama?” We don’t understand that assertion either—and the editors gave no examples. Meanwhile, in an op-ed column, Steven Rattner tried to explain the problem with one of Bachmann’s most ludicrous views. For our money, he didn’t get there:

RATTNER (8/16/11): Not to be outdone, Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Paul ventured still further, insisting that they would never vote to raise the debt ceiling. That may sound good on the Iowa campaign trail, but it would easily tip the economy into an unending downward spiral.

Then there’s “cut, cap and balance,” the Tea Party-backed bill that the House passed in the midst of the debt ceiling showdown. It would have forced the elimination of a quarter of government spending, down to a share of the economy last reached in 1966.

Had Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling, what would have happened on August 3? In its news pages, the New York Times never bothered explaining; on Tuesday, the unimpressive former car czar offered a meek account. In his very next paragraph, he told readers that “cut, cap and balance” would have forced the (gradual) elimination of a quarter of government spending—having failed to tell them that Bachmann’s proposal regarding the debt ceiling would have forced an immediate cut of 40-45 percent!

But then, very few citizens have ever been told that. In part for such reasons, there will likely be no saving your culture.

Other piffle littered this column. Do you wonder why so many misled voters pay so little attention to Times gods of this ilk? Meanwhile, on the front page of the Business Day section, David Kocieniewski seemed to discuss Warren Buffett’s proposal to raise federal taxes on the highest earners. Various numbers appeared in his piece—but this was the closest he ever came to presenting a full-blown numerical context for the various policy changes he seemed to discuss:

KOCIENIEWSKI (8/16/11): Whatever the political viability, [Buffett’s] proposal would put a significant dent in the nation’s budget shortfall. Based on projections by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury, the tax increase on all three fronts would generate as much as $500 billion in new revenue over the next decade—about a third of what the Congressional committee is supposed to cut from the deficit.

“It’s not going to solve the long-term budget shortfall all by itself,” said Eric Toder, an economist at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. “The only way to do that is to have broader tax increases or reduce entitlements. But it could be an important piece of the puzzle.”

“It’s not going to solve the long-term budget shortfall all by itself.” That’s intriguing, but what percentage of that shortfall would Buffett’s proposal address? Would it really “put a significant dent in the nation’s budget shortfall,” as Kocieniewski said? Buffett’s proposal might generate $500 billion over a decade—but how large is the budget shortfall projected to be over that period?

Alas, poor Kocieniewski! The gentleman never said. At his web site Beat the Press, economist Dean Baker constantly notes the press corps’ failure to offer this kind of context in budget stories. He says it and says it and says it again. But nothing deters the New York Times from its D-minus reporting.

We’re sorry, but there will be no surviving a political/journalistic culture so lacking in basic brain power. And it isn’t just the New York Times; the basic lack of capability riddles the mainstream press. Example: NBC’s Lester Holt seems like a perfectly decent guy. He isn’t nasty, crazy, snarky or dumb—but then, he also isn’t competent.

How do people like Bachmann survive? In part, because editors write puzzling editorials about their non-existent volcanic fury—and in part, because million-dollar talent like Holt keep asking them questions like this on big programs like the Today show:

HOLT (2/12/11): With regard to Standard & Poor's, you said that they lowered our rating because we don't have the ability to pay our debts. In fact, what they said was the, was the political brinkmanship has made American government's, governance less stable, less effective, less predictable.

If your view had prevailed and the debt ceiling had not been raised, wouldn't we be even, even in a deeper pickle with the rating agencies?

Amazing. What was Holt’s idea of the problem with Bachmann’s debt ceiling proposal? In his view, we’d be “in a deeper pickle with the rating agencies” had the debt limit stayed where it was; that’s a bit like saying the noise would be awful if an atom bomb hit New York. Bachmann went on to make her standard pitch about how we wouldn’t have had to default. Holt bungled his response to that statement too, though liberals and mainstream broadcasters cheered him for his bungling. Reason? He recited a script they had already heard—a script which was actually wrong but which was anti-Bachmann.

Watching interview sessions like this, average voters get no idea of the lunacy of Bachmann’s proposal. Reading editorials like that one in the Times, they may become even more convinced that the complaints about Bachmann are simply an artifact of a social elite’s famous prejudice.

At any rate, Holt’s multiply-bungled performance with Bachmann was close enough for seven-figure pseudo-journalism, at least in the view of those who cheered him. But Holt’s performance wasn’t good. In the end, there will be no surviving a D-minus culture like that.

Back to the front-page report we’ve been discussing since Tuesday. As we close, let’s offer an obvious catechism regarding its principal claims:

Question: Is the state of Texas enjoying a jobs boom?
Answer: The key word here is no. No, it is not enjoying a boom. If you move to Texas today, you will be moving to a state with an 8.2 percent unemployment rate. Just to place that number in context, these are the jobless rates for Texas and all its neighbors:

Texas: 8.2 percent
Oklahoma: 5.3 percent
New Mexico: 6.8 percent
Louisiana: 7.8 percent
Arkansas: 8.1 percent

If Texas is enjoying a “jobs boom,” what can be said about Oklahoma? How about Nebraska, just a few miles away? (4.1 percent.)

No! Texas is not enjoying a jobs boom in any sense of that term. Let’s move on in our catechism:

Question: Is the state of Texas enjoying an economic “miracle?”
Answer: No. See previous answer.

Those talking-points are easy to address. This brings us to our final question: Which part of “no” don’t career liberals understand?

When big newspapers take dictation from a candidate like Perry, you’d almost think that fiery liberals would get off their asses and fight. But you will see the mewling children of MSNBC do that when the cows drive themselves to market. These horrible children are making big bucks. Within their utterly horrible culture, these serious children don’t attack the Times by name.

Conservatives do so, and they win. Your mewling children don’t go there.

Darling Rachel likes to criticize “the Beltway media,” naming no names as she does. (She then kisses the keister of every big journalist she can lure onto her program.) In this way, we liberal rubes get the impression that she is standing and fighting for us. But when our biggest newspaper takes open dictation, the darling child won’t tell you.

Chris Hayes told you the truth on Monday night. On Tuesday night, he said nothing.

Which part of “no jobs boom” don’t these liberals understand? The conservative world would never tolerate dictation like that above the fold of the Times. They have aggressively fought these wars for forty years—even when they have to pretend that the Times is doing bad work.

Rebutting that story is very simple. You don’t have to get all fancy. Just watch:

There is no jobs boom occurring in Texas. There is no miracle happening there. These claims are stupid spin. They’re pure crap from a crappy candidate, nonsense designed to deceive you.

When the New York Times takes such dictation, serious people should stand up and fight. But your side refuses to fight—and we don’t just mean Obama. Your career players make millions of bucks—and they accept the upper-class culture they’re handed. Conservatives pound away at the Times. Your “leaders” know they must not.

Our side dumbly pleases itself with stupid piss about volcanic furies. Such silly shit sends thrill up our legs—and we keep losing the fight.

Despite the stories we tell ourselves, our side is very, very dumb. There will be no surviving that Big Massive Dumb, a dumb which pervades our dead culture.