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Lost at Harvard, Again

September 19, 2017 at 11:16 pm

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A Times news article reports about disappointing returns from Harvard's endowment:

The endowment has experienced turnover in recent years. After the 2005 departure of Jack Meyer, who had served as chief executive for 15 years, Jane Mendillo took over. She was succeeded by Stephen Blyth.

Actually, after the 2005 departure of Jack Meyer, Mohamed A. El-Erian took over. It's strange that the Times wouldn't mention that, since El-Erian can often be found commenting on the markets and on public policy, including from the perch of the Times' own op-ed page.

 

Pete Domenici

September 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

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The New York Times uses, of all places, an obituary of Senator Pete Domenici as a forum to re-litigate the Reagan economic record:

Mr. Domenici supported the conservative theory that tax cuts stimulate economic growth. But he went on to grapple with the president himself, as well as with Republican colleagues in the Senate, on the long-term fiscal consequences of the White House's proposed tax cuts and increases in military spending, questioning whether they might spur inflation and defeat any chances of balancing the budget.

Congress passed steep tax cuts in 1981, and critics of the legislation said the reductions only deepened the federal deficit and fueled a subsequent recession. Reagan agreed to a huge tax increase in 1982 to reduce the deficit, and the economy began to rebound.

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Lost at Harvard

September 14, 2017 at 10:49 am

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The New York Times, whose billionaire owner Carlos Slim is unwilling fully to fund the paper's newsgathering operations, has lately resorted to turning over space on its front page and news columns to outside non-profit organizations.

The problem with this approach is that, in some cases, the non-profit news organization's standards are even worse than those of the Times itself.

Such is the case with a front-page article about a doctoral program candidate whose application was rejected by Harvard. The candidate had spent more than 20 years "in an Indiana prison for the murder of her 4-year-old-son."

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Trump And Congress

September 9, 2017 at 10:24 pm

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The new Congressional editor of the New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, had a recent Times article claiming that "Mr. Trump appears to have so little regard for or understanding of Congress."

That article appeared on page A2 of my edition of the Times.

The page one, lead headline in the same paper was "U.S. Ends Program Giving 'Dreamers' Legal Protection; Outcry Is Swift and Emotional, as Trump Tells Congress to Fix Immigration."

The headline across page A11 of the same paper was "Trump May Leave Final Iran Nuclear Deal Decision to Congress."

Trump may have "so little regard for" Congress, but the Times itself is reporting that he is giving it responsibility for two matters — immigration law and a treaty involving Iran — that President Obama had arrogated to the executive branch notwithstanding the Constitution.

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Decline of Editing

September 6, 2017 at 9:23 am

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The reductions in the Times copydesk and the buyouts of experienced employees have been much in the news. It's hard to escape seeing evidence of it in the actual newspaper. Here are two recent examples.

A Tyler Kepner "On Baseball" column includes this sentence:

After the initial disclosure of the Boston sign stealing by Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times, Commissioner Rob Manfred all but said "boys will be boys" in a meeting with reporters at Fenway Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times was stealing signs for Boston? Boys will be boys in the commissioner's meeting with reporters? This sentence manages twice to violate the Strunk and White rule to "keep related words together." The sentence could be easily fixed in a variety of ways. One possibility:

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Leonhardt on George Romney and Tax Rates

September 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

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David Leonhardt has an op-ed column about income taxes that is so misleading and inaccurate that if it came from President Trump, the Times would be up in arms about it. The column is worth spending some time with as an example of just how flagrant the Times can be in trampling the truth.

The most glaring falsehood concerns the actual top federal marginal tax rate. Mr. Leonhardt writes, "Since 1987, the top rate has hovered between 30 percent and 40 percent."

Actually, in 1988, 1989, and 1990, the top rate was 28%.

Mr. Leonhardt can maybe claim he was rounding up, but when Mr. Trump rounded 37.4% up to "almost 40%," the Times jumped all over him about it.

Mr. Leonhardt writes:

I am convinced that the current top tax rate, 39.6 percent, is too low.

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Times Shocked By Trump-Era Growth

August 31, 2017 at 10:34 pm

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"Surprising Briskness In Economic Growth" is the headline the Times printed over a news article reporting that the economy "is showing some unexpected vigor."

This is "surprising" and "unexpected" only to those liberal groupthinkers who thought President Trump's attempts to cut taxes and regulations wouldn't translate into improved economic growth. Investors certainly expected growth, which is part of why they've bid up the prices of stocks since the election. Certainly a lot of the Americans who voted for Trump expected that he would boost the economy, and aren't particularly surprised that he's starting to come through on it.

 

Check the Labels

August 31, 2017 at 10:28 pm

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One of the most egregious ways that the New York Times demonstrates its liberal bias is by slapping the label "conservative" on conservative news outlets and think tanks, while omitting the "liberal" label when describing liberal news outlets and think tanks.

One recent example comes in a James Stewart column about tax reform in the District of Columbia. Mr. Stewart refers to "the conservative website The Daily Caller" and "conservative supply-side advocates like Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform." But "the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center" gets no ideological label from the Times. Nor does its senior fellow, Steven M. Rosenthal.

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Whole Foods Amazon Price Cuts

August 29, 2017 at 8:02 am

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Times coverage of the Whole Foods "price cuts" associated with Amazon's purchase of the grocer has been astonishingly gullible and lame.

A page one news article by Nick Wingfield and David Gelles appeared under the print headline "Amazon's First Act at Whole Foods: Slash Prices." That article included not a single actual price. I mean, there were references to company stock prices in the article, but the only reference to food prices that included actual numbers was a quote from "Brittain Ladd, a strategy consultant who previously worked for Amazon on its grocery business." The Times quoted Ladd as saying, "I won't be surprised if some prices are lowered 15 percent to as high as 25 percent in some categories."

How many other businesses can get a front-page, totally unskeptical, New York Times article out of a vague promise to cut prices, without any specific details about how much prices will be cut?

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Trump and Charlottesville

August 27, 2017 at 7:27 am

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From a Times magazine interview with Charlie Sykes:

I'm assuming you're not surprised by Trump's inability to condemn the white-supremacist march. I'm shocked but not surprised. Denouncing Nazis is the easiest thing in the world: All it requires is a modicum of historical perspective and a working moral compass. Instead, we got this Dumpster fire.

Here is the White House transcript of the president's August 14 statement:

As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.

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Louise Linton and Max Kennedy

August 23, 2017 at 9:36 pm

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Is the New York Times' obsession with Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:

a) just another example of the paper's anti-Trump bias?

or

b) totally nonpartisan — the same coverage that the paper would apply to any rich or famous person found to be behaving badly or displaying a sense of entitlement?

Well, here is a fine double-blind experiment. The same week that Linton Instagrammed in a way that the Times deemed less humble and demure than circumstances warranted, Matthew "Max" Kennedy and his daughter Caroline Kennedy were reportedly arrested on Cape Cod at 1:30 a.m. after noise complaints about a party.

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Times Sneers at Ikea, L.L. Bean

August 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm

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Do you like L.L. Bean canvas tote bags or shopping at Ikea? The New York Times has nothing but scorn for you, at least to judge by two articles in Wednesday's paper.

On page three of the front section, the Times serves up this fashion advice to a reader who asked: "Can you recommend a stylish but very durable bag that can put up with the wear and tear that I place upon it?"

The Times's Isabel Wilkinson replies:

if you do opt for canvas, stick with black — like these from Herschel or Everlane — which doesn't appear as dirty as a khaki color, and looks slightly more professional than an L.L. Bean tote.

An L.L. Bean tote is now unprofessional, according to the Times?

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Not a Parody

August 14, 2017 at 5:55 am

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"Why women had better sex under socialism" — actual headline over a story in Sunday's New York Times.

 

The Politics of Silicon Valley

August 14, 2017 at 5:33 am

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What are the politics of Silicon Valley? The New York Times can't seem to give a straight answer.

An article in the Sunday Review section reports, or claims:

The rise of Google and the other giant businesses of Silicon Valley have been driven by a libertarian culture that paid only lip service to notions of diversity...Viewers of the comedy series "Silicon Valley" note that uber-libertarianism and uber-geek machismo go hand in hand.

Elsewhere in the same day's newspaper, the front page of the Times Sunday Styles section reports on what it calls "overwhelmingly liberal Silicon Valley, where supporters of President Trump are nearly nonexistent and few think populism would improve their lives."

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A Proskauer Rose Anonymouse

July 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

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A news article in the Times reports on the landscape for woman law firm partners:

A second case, filed in May against Proskauer Rose and brought by a female partner in its Washington office, is seeking $50 million for "substantial gender disparities" in the firm's compensation practices.

The plaintiff, who asked not to be named in order to protect her personal information, argued that even though she was a partner, the firm had "excluded" her from client matters and refused to allow her "to pitch or to participate in any employment litigation matter for firm clients, rebuffed her efforts to assume a greater leadership role at the firm, tolerated and facilitated an environment where she was targeted for harassment and humiliation by firm leadership, demeaned and belittled by her peers and clients and refused to rectify pay disparities."

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