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More Reclusive Rich

April 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

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From a recent New York Times real estate article: "The reclusive and litigious developer Sheldon Solow, for example, has been party to hundreds of lawsuits, while the closemouthed heirs of Sol Goldman's estate rarely sell any of their vast holdings."

I've written in the past about how:

"Reclusive billionaire" is one of those stereotypes that the Times likes to use even if it isn't accurate.

My authoritative Webster's Second Unabridged dictionary describes reclusive as someone living in reclusion, in "solitary confinement" or "secluded" from the world like a "monk or hermit."

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Lost in Fall River

March 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

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A Times dispatch from Fall River, Mass., reports, "Like other former mill towns throughout the Northeast, Fall River necessarily refocused its economic base after the textile industry began departing in the 1990s." (The language is repeated in a photo cutline that goes with the article.)

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More at the Algemeiner

March 24, 2016 at 11:09 pm

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The Algemeiner has been publishing a lot of New York Times criticism by me focusing on Israel, Jewish matters, and the war on Islamist terrorism. I encourage anyone interested in those topics to check out the coverage at this link.


The Man the Founders Feared

March 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm

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Reader-community member-watchdog-content co-creator Bob Hill of Pinecrest, Fla. writes:

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A Whine About Wine

March 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

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A sidebar to an otherwise pretty fascinating Times article about Eli Zabar's adventures in the wine business introduces a list of wines with the following language: "The wine list at Eli Zabar's restaurant Eli's Table offers many great values; not just expensive older bottles, but moderately priced wines as well. Here are six examples of sparkling, white and red." The list of wines that follows includes bottles at the following prices: $195, $190, $60, $295, $250, and $60."

If $60 is the Times floor for a "moderately priced" bottle of wine and four of the six bottles on the list cost at least $190, you start to wonder who the newspaper thinks is reading this stuff, or whether the paper's definition of "moderately priced" has much to do with the reality of most Americans.


An Epic Takedown of that NYT Editorial About Netanyahu

March 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

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The Algemeiner is going to be publishing some of my writing about the New York Times' coverage of Israel and Jewish topics. The first piece is now up, about a Times editorial critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Please check out the column at the Algemeiner by clicking the link here.


Lost in Jerusalem

March 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

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A New York Times dispatch from Jerusalem gives a brief history of the conflict over sovereignty in the city as follows:

Israel conquered Jerusalem's Old City and its environs, along with the West Bank, from Jordan in the 1967 war. Then it expanded the city limits, taking in 28 West Bank villages on the high ground surrounding the city, and annexed the territory in a move that was never internationally recognized. Ever since, its leaders have claimed sovereignty over what they deem Israel's "united capital."

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Pete Wells Diversity Crusade

March 3, 2016 at 7:38 am

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Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, who we've noticed earlier (here and here) dilating on what he calls the "pleasure" of being served by women and "others who don't look like men of European descent," is at it again. In a three-star review of Bouley, Wells writes, "I wish more women worked in Bouley's dining room; the gender imbalance there is old-fashioned in the wrong way."

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Pro-Slavery Republican Poll Debunked

March 3, 2016 at 7:29 am

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In USA Today, David Mastio has a nice dissection of a Times article about a poll purporting to show that "Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump's voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation." Mr. Mastio writes:

Originally, Vavreck, the Times and YouGov only reported on the racially insensitive views of Republicans, failing to publish or even analyze the responses of potential Democratic voters. Vavreck only performed the Democratic analysis and released it to me on Friday after YouGov refused to release the data on Thursday and I contacted YouGov's European executives, its in-house polling expert and Vavreck herself.

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March 3, 2016 at 7:21 am

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The Times science section waddled in recently with a big front-of-the-section news article about Senator Parry Murray's effort to secure government funding for in vitro fertilization treatment for injured veterans. The PBS News Hour program did this story back in January; NPR did it in February. It took the Times until March to get it in the paper. At a certain point it's not news, it's olds. The Times story gives no credit to either PBS or NPR.


Secret Search for Public Editor

February 22, 2016 at 10:49 pm

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A Times report on the news that the public editor, Margaret Sullivan, will become a columnist of the Washington Post includes this language: "Ms. Sullivan assumed her role at The Times in 2012, and her tenure was scheduled to end in August." August 2015? August 2016? It isn't clear from the Times article.

The article goes on:

In a memo to the staff, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times's publisher, praised Ms. Sullivan, saying she had "ushered the position into a new age."

He said that she would remain at the paper for "a number of weeks" and that the search for a successor was underway. "We will be in a position to name Margaret's successor very soon," he wrote.

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Errant Tweet

February 22, 2016 at 10:30 pm

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A tweet from the New York Times World Twitter account included a photo and the line, "These women are condemned by conservatives for riding bikes in Gaza." While the idea of sexist "conservatives" may reinforce the preexisting ideas of the Times liberal readers and play well on social media, the article itself doesn't include the word "conservative." The people objecting to the bicycle riding are adherents of what the Times describes as "the Islamist Hamas movement." That might be as easily and accurately described as Islamic radicalism as conservatism.

Another word that doesn't appear in the article is terrorist. The Times refers to "a fighter in the militant group Islamic Jihad" and to "the 2014 war between Gaza militants and Israel." To the Times, they aren't terrorists, but militants, even when the groups in question are listed as terrorist groups by the U.S. government.


Falsely Branding Bush

February 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm

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A Times article by Nicholas Confessore and Sarah Cohen appears under the derisive headline, "How Jeb Bush Spent $130 Million Running For President With Nothing To Show For It." It includes this passage:

Branding: $88,387

Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Mr. Bush, and then his campaign directly, retained 30 Point Strategies, a public relations company in Bethesda, Md., specializing in "thought leadership" and "brand journalism," according to the firm's website. But in the end, the most lasting label of Mr. Bush was supplied by Mr. Trump: "low energy."

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Tom Friedman's Homicidal Fantasy

February 18, 2016 at 9:22 am

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Amid a Thomas Friedman column claiming that "it's an outrage that we can't control our border" comes this passage:

Ted Cruz speaks of our government in the same way as the anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, who says we should shrink government "to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." (Am I a bad person if I hope that when Norquist slips in that bathtub and has to call 911, no one answers?)

Mr. Norquist responded on Twitter with characteristic grace:

@NYTimesFriedman, an advocate for higher taxes, writes that he wishes me dead. I take that as a high compliment. I wish him a long life.

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Israeli Kibbutz

February 11, 2016 at 9:47 am

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A Times article about the socialist senator from Vermont who is running for president as a Democrat, Bernie Sanders, reports that he "even spent time on an Israeli kibbutz in the 1960s." As William Safire points out on Twitter, the formulation "Israeli kibbutz" is a redundancy. Call the Squad Squad, as Mr. Safire might say.

Some might argue that the word "Israeli" helps people who don't know what a kibbutz is. But my view is that those people can look it up in a dictionary, and that the paper needn't be edited for the most ignorant readers. If the Times editors really think a definition is necessary, a more elegant way to do it would be with a parenthetical phrase — "a kibbutz, an Israeli collective farm, in the 1960s" — rather than the inartful way the paper wound up doing it.


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