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Times Sends Readers To Shop at Walmart

April 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

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Page A3 of my New York Times this morning orders me around: "Follow this advice from The Times's Julia Moskin, a Dining reporter since 2004, to stock your kitchen the right way...To outfit your kitchen, go to the big-box store of your choice: Upscale places like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table are browse-worthy, but they often charge much more for the same basic tools."

It seems bossy and presumptuous of the Times to try to tell me where to shop. Maybe I want to support my locally owned, neighborhood kitchen supply store rather than driving to some suburban Walmart. Maybe I like the service better at the higher-end stores. Maybe I'm an Amazon Prime member or credit card holder and want to shop there. Why are those options not "the right way"?

The problem with the Times advice is not just that it may not be "right" for everyone, but that it's hypocritical. Other parts of the Times, including the Dining section, frequently highlight items from expensive stores. Much of the news that appears in the Times itself is available for free on other internet sites.

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Wade Quadruplets

April 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

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Amid a New York Times article about a set of quadruplets who were admitted to Harvard and Yale comes this sentence:

Nigel, who wants to study neuroscience, was wait-listed and Zach, who is thinking of chemical engineering, was rejected by Stanford, so perhaps for the first time in their lives, the interests of one is pitted against those of the others.

"Perhaps" the Times writer has never had a sibling or is not the parent of them, or has never read the book of Genesis, which is all about sibling rivalry. And "perhaps" the "fewer editors" policy of the New York Times Company is responsible for the lack of subject-verb agreement between the plural "interests" and the singular "is."


Times Cuts Local Coverage, Staff

April 5, 2017 at 9:30 am

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The number of local news articles appearing in a week's New York Times declined to 48 in 2017 from 102 in 2009 and 153 in 2001. The number of Times reporters covering New York has likewise declined, to about 42 now from 85 in 2001, the Daily Beast reports.


Uber and the Pre-New Deal Era

April 5, 2017 at 9:14 am

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A New York Times article about the ride-sharing company Uber reports:

Uber exists in a kind of legal and ethical purgatory, however. Because its drivers are independent contractors, they lack most of the protections associated with employment. By mastering their workers' mental circuitry, Uber and the like may be taking the economy back toward a pre-New Deal era when businesses had enormous power over workers and few checks on their ability to exploit it.

This is hypocritical, because the New York Times print edition is itself delivered by "independent contractors" and is full of articles written by freelance writers and images by freelance artists and photographers who are also "independent contractors." It's also inaccurate and alarmist.

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Times Versus Times on For-Profit Education

March 13, 2017 at 8:16 am

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From the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, March 12, under the headline, "The Troubling Appeal of Education at For-Profit Schools":

Some two million Americans are enrolled in for-profit colleges, up from 400,000 in 2000. Those students, most of them working adults getting short-term certificates, are disproportionately nonwhite and female. They graduate with more debt than students who have attended public and nonprofit institutions, and are more likely to default on their loans.

It's amazing how the Times manages to attack the for-profit colleges for enrolling students who are "disproportionately nonwhite and female." If the opposite were the case, and the students were disproportionately white and male, the Times would probably attack the colleges for racism, sexism, and exclusivity. For the colleges, it's a no-win situation; they get attacked for any deviation from the demographic norms, in any direction.

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Out of Print Books

March 10, 2017 at 7:53 am

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The Times arts section features a column with this note:

American Beauties is a column by Dwight Garner, appearing every other Friday, about undersung American books of the past 75 years. Used copies of books that are out of print are available from various online retailers.

Well, yes, copies of books that are out of print are indeed "available from various online retailers." But they also may be available at your local library, or your local physical, in-real-life used book store. Why the Times is editorially pushing the "online retailer" option over the other two is a mystery.


Times Versus Times

February 27, 2017 at 8:10 am

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From the lead, front-page news article in today's Times:

Despite his lament that he was handed "a mess" by President Barack Obama, Mr. Trump inherited a low unemployment rate, a lack of international crises requiring immediate attention and majorities in both houses of Congress.

"A lack of international crises requiring immediate attention"?

From a news article on page A3 of the same newspaper, same day, under the headline "U.S. Forces Play Crucial Role Against ISIS in Mosul":

HAMAM AL-ALIL, Iraq — One week after Iraqi forces began their push into western Mosul, American firepower is playing an essential role in softening the opposition from the Islamic State.

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Through the Ringer

February 27, 2017 at 7:58 am

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A Times interview with Lena Dunham and Michael Ryss about the latest episode of the HBO program "Girls" includes this rendering of a question by Times reporter Amanda Hess:

Lena, one of the most interesting things about the episode is that you can sense your investment in both characters. You're someone who's been outspoken about lifting women's voices, but you've also been put through the ringer online by strangers.

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Stephen Schwarzman 70th Birthday Party

February 16, 2017 at 10:10 am

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Tuesday's New York Times, following up Amanda Gordon's reporting for Bloomberg (here and here) without giving her appropriate credit, reported on Stephen A. Schwarzman's 70th birthday party:

In the age of Mr. Trump and his famed golden penthouse, Mr. Schwarzman's party has largely been ignored except for a bit of chattering by Town & Country and sniping among the schadenfreude-loving Acela Corridor Crowd.

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Bookstores Against Trump

February 16, 2017 at 9:50 am

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Under the headline, "Bookstores Stoke Trump Resistance With Action, Not Just Words," the New York Times has a 1,300-word article, accompanied by four photographs, about how bookstores are taking action against President Trump.

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EPA Gag Order

January 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

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Do the editors of the New York Times and the art critics even read their own newspaper?

Forgive the question, but it's prompted by this juxtaposition:

The New York Times, January 26, 2017, "Federal Agencies Told to Halt External Communications":

Longtime employees at three of the agencies — including some career environmental regulators who conceded that they remained worried about what President Trump might do on policy matters — said such orders were not much different from those delivered by the Obama administration as it shifted policies from the departing White House of George W. Bush. They called reactions to the agency memos overblown. On Wednesday, Douglas Ericksen, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said that grants had been only briefly frozen for review, and that they would be restarted by Friday.

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David Brooks Smears Ronald Reagan

January 30, 2017 at 10:21 am

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A column by David Brooks about Ronald Reagan includes this passage: "When he erred it was often on the utopian side of things, believing that tax cuts could pay for themselves, believing that he and Mikhail Gorbachev could shed history and eliminate all nuclear weapons."

The two big Reagan tax cuts were enacted in 1981 and 1986.

Here are the federal revenue receipts numbers for the relevant years, according to the Office of Management and Budget historical tables archived from the Obama administration:

In "current dollars":

1979: $463 billion

1980: $517 billion

1981: $599 billion

1982: $618 billion

1983: $601 billion

1984: $666 billion

1985: $734 billion

1986: $769 billion

1987: $854 billion

1988: $909 billion

Here it is in what the OMB calls "constant (FY 2009) dollars," which is a way of adjusting for inflation:

1979: $1.3 trillion

1980: $1.3 trillion

1981: $1.4 trillion

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Shoe Slashers

January 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

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Jim Dwyer gets an entire New York Times column out of condemning Nike for slashing sneakers and clothing and trashing it rather than donating it, un-damaged, to the poor. He writes:

every single shoe had been slashed. That was precisely how H&M disposed of its garments — rendered unwearable with blades and big hole punchers...

Many retailers will destroy garments that cannot be sold in order to prevent expensive brand-name products from entering society at low or no cost. Some companies simply do not want their products — or even knockoffs of their goods — to be worn by people who are obviously unable to afford them.

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Trade Tendentiousness

January 24, 2017 at 9:45 am

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The lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times begins:

WASHINGTON — President Trump upended America's traditional, bipartisan trade policy on Monday as he formally abandoned the ambitious, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by his predecessor and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.

The headline over the continuation of the article inside the paper is "Upending Bipartisan Trade Policy, Trump Abandons Trans-Pacific Deal."

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Democrats in Denial

January 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

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The New York Times editorial responding to President Trump's inaugural address makes one wonder if the editorial writers at the Times ever actually read the news articles that appear in their own newspaper.

The Times writes:

One longed, as Mr. Trump spoke, for a special kind of simultaneous translation, one that would convert Trumpian myth into concrete fact. It might have noted, when Mr. Trump sounded like a politician from the 1980s in promising to "get our people off welfare and back to work," that the number of people receiving federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits fell by more than 70 percent, to 1.2 million, between 1996 and 2016. As Mr. Trump spoke about the disappearance of jobs, it would have noted that the unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent in 2009, the height of the recession, to less than 5 percent....

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