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February 04, 2011

Quality Control Collapses at New York Times

The New York Times has a firm rule: they will at all times cover the news absolutely without fear or favor. As long as what they're writing about took place more than 50 years ago. Until then it's all lies.

So something's gone very wrong over there, as you can tell by the first sentence of this column a few days ago by Ross Douthat:

As the world ponders the fate of Egypt after Hosni Mubarak, Americans should ponder this: It’s quite possible that if Mubarak had not ruled Egypt as a dictator for the last 30 years, the World Trade Center would still be standing.

WHAT THE WHAT? Sure, everything Douthat says after that is the standard blend of mendacity and warm, gooey pap. Still, someone really needs to be fired for this.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 4, 2011 10:57 AM

If only they had built those towers a few hundred yards to the right or left of those airplane's flight paths!!!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 4, 2011 08:10 PM

Sorry, but all kinds of political violence and assassinations committed by the rich and powerful have happened consistently across US history and the true perpetrators still aren't recognized as such. I can't think of a decade in US history after the 1840s without actual or attempted MAJOR covert political violence by powerful figures rather than lone nuts or radicals, and I just haven't studied the earlier history enough to know the details of earlier crimes). Recognizing such nationalistic wickedness as part of history remains taboo well over a century after such crimes. Everyone can rest assured that in another ten or twenty years the NYT will still be fervently denying that anyone in the government or military was involved in any of the assassinations of the 60s (including JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm), because once that can of worms is opened, people might conclude that sort of thinking isn't crazy. Yikes.

Posted by: N E at February 4, 2011 08:12 PM

I agree with you completely on this, Jonathan: WHAT THE WHAT?

Posted by: cemmcs at February 4, 2011 10:39 PM

We go on from here with the past we have---not the past we might want or wish to have hypothetically had at an earlier time.

Posted by: mistah 'MICFiC' charley, ph.d. at February 4, 2011 11:50 PM

You helping keep me sane, mistah charley.

Posted by: Nell at February 5, 2011 12:28 AM

yeah mistah charley, i'm envious of either you or nell--i can't decide which

Posted by: N E at February 5, 2011 01:06 AM

One of the problems with communicating through ostensibly clever metaphors is that it becomes unclear whether the appropriate response, for example here to Mistah Charlie, is to tell someone to go fuck himself. In this case I think it is, though.

Posted by: godoggo at February 5, 2011 06:51 AM

Commenter godoggo writes

One of the problems with communicating through ostensibly clever metaphors is that it becomes unclear [what] the appropriate

True dat.

On some discussion forums they use smileys, so that it is easier to understand the spirit in which a remark is made. I don't have broad enough experience with such places to know if this really helps.

I will probably attend religious services tomorrow with missus charley, m.d., and join in the group recitation of something substantially similar to the following, which will feel sincere at the time:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 5, 2011 08:03 AM

What? The one time Douthat makes sense and you criticize the NYT for publishing it? He's acknowledging that 9/11 may have been blowback for what the US had been doing and supporting in the Middle East. Is that even controversial around here?

Posted by: Ben Miller at February 5, 2011 12:35 PM

What? The one time Douthat makes sense and you're criticizing the NYT for publishing it? He's acknowledging that 9/11 may have been blowback for what the U.S. had been doing and sustaining in the Middle East - is that even controversial around here?

Posted by: Ben at February 5, 2011 12:39 PM

Is it just my generally cranky mood, or has the average IQ of commenters here dropped lately?

Posted by: NomadUK at February 5, 2011 01:08 PM

"the average IQ of commenters here dropped lately?"

Possibly. Take me, for example. I have no idea what godoggo meant in his 6:51 comment.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at February 5, 2011 02:54 PM

The IQ points around here may be dropping. But, look, it's been an evolutionary disadvantage to HAVE IQ points in this country for several decades at least. So, what would one expect?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at February 5, 2011 04:15 PM

It has and does concern me that ignorance appears in this country to be something one should aspire to, if nothing else, just to survive the present moments, never mind the future.

Posted by: knowdoubt at February 5, 2011 05:34 PM

O/T, a suggestion for Five Dollar Friday--show some love to Chris Floyd:

Oh, and by the way, it's that time of year again:

Posted by: vastleft at February 5, 2011 07:16 PM

I could explain exactly what I was thinking, but I don't want to. However...

I've been seeing a lot of incredibly obnoxious hidden messages embedded in blog posts and comments on supposed unrelated subjects over the years. It's a form of humor that seems to be peculiarly popular among blog people, and it's quite common, but sometimes I think it's being done when it's not.

Posted by: godoggo at February 6, 2011 09:31 AM

"incredibly obnoxious BUY hidden messages
SEVERAL embedded in OF blog posts MY and comments BOOKS"

Posted by: Mike of Angle at February 6, 2011 05:11 PM


Posted by: godoggo at February 6, 2011 07:58 PM