You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

February 24, 2011

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Let's take a look again at this section of the prank David Koch phone call to Scott Walker about how much he loved an article in the New York Times:

SCOTT WALKER: The New York Times, of all things—I don't normally tell people to read the New York Times, but the front page of the New York Times, they've got a great story—one of these unbelievable moments of true journalism—what it's supposed to be, objective journalism—they got out of the capital and went down one county south of the capital, to Janesville, to Rock County, that's where the General Motors plant once was.

FAKE DAVID KOCH: Right, right.

WALKER: They moved out two years ago. The lead on this story's about a guy who was laid off two years ago, he'd been laid off twice by GM, who points out that everybody else in his town has had to sacrifice except for all these public employees, and it's about damn time they do and he supports me. And they had a bartender, they had—every stereotypical blue collar worker-type, they interviewed, and the only ones who weren't with us were ones who were either a public employee or married to a public employee. It's an unbelievable—so I went through and called all these, uh, a handful, a dozen or so lawmakers I worry about each day, and said to them, everyone, get that story and print it out and send it to anybody giving you grief.

Here's what Walker didn't say: the article in question was co-written by A.G. Sulzberger, the son of Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times. (Thanks to Josh K-sky for pointing that out.)

So that's ominously funny and funnily ominous in its own right. But we don't need to try to predict how honest New York Times coverage will be in the future when A.G. Sulzberger becomes publisher...because we can just examine his writing right now. Sulzberger just wrote a 733-word article about the prank call. Number of mentions of Walker loving a certain Sulzberger-written New York Times article? Zero.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 24, 2011 03:38 PM

Someone brings Walker's love of the NYTimes article up in the comments - doesn't mention that it's also by A.G. Sulzberger, though.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at February 24, 2011 06:42 PM

Is Walker really just after his fifteen minutes of fame? Does he not realize the minefield he just waltzed into? We will soon know everything about him and his memoir published the week after he goes on Charlie Rose.

Posted by: troutsky at February 24, 2011 06:53 PM

You are trying to empty the Atlantic Ocean with a Dixie cup Jonathan. You are absolutely right but it’s like, I don’t know, when I read the NYT I’m struck by how almost all of it is tripe or just plain untrue, almost everything they print. You could spend from now to eternity correcting the Times, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

Posted by: rob payne at February 25, 2011 09:43 AM

Rob's right. You could be like Susan of Texas and spend all your time hunting Megan McArdle, but to what end? When someone's an obvious liar, does it help anyone to ramp up the obviousness? "Hey guess what, this guy that gets paid to lie to you, he's a LIAR!" Gomer Pyle is surprised, surprised, surprised to learn that, definitely.

On the other hand, it is yet another opportunity to make fun of Evil Rethuglicans, which is infinitely more boring than restating the obvious, so you have that going for you.

Posted by: CF Oxtrot at February 25, 2011 10:18 AM

Its the fishoil in the ink that causes that. On the plus side, it makes for a cheery little fire to warm up a cop-o-joe or a can of beans when camped out under the overpass.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 25, 2011 08:29 PM

Its the fishoil in the ink that causes that. On the plus side, it makes for a cheery little fire to warm up a cop-o-joe or a can of beans when camped out under the overpass.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 25, 2011 08:32 PM

to recap what Herr Walker has in mind (from Democracy Now!):

AMY GOODMAN: So now let’s go to this bigger issue of what this bill is, why so many people have taken up vigil here, why 100,000 people are expected tomorrow here in this capital, Madison, and all over Wisconsin. Give us the bigger context of what’s taking place.

JOHN NICHOLS: Two weeks ago today, Governor Scott Walker, newly elected Republican governor, took office in January, announced that he would do a budget repair bill. Budget repair bills are very minor, often pass within a few hours by the legislature, of little concern. It’s just basically adjusting where the money is. But he announced that in addition to budget repair, he would add in what he said were minor items.

Those minor items included a total restructuring of how the state operates as regards its cabinet-level government. The Governor would take over, essentially, most agencies and appoint dozens of new officials who are completely responsible only to the Governor, effectively ending our cabinet-level government system. That would give him the power over Medicaid, Medicare and all sorts of other programs in his office, rather than putting it through the traditional legislative and regulatory process. In addition, the Governor announced that he wanted to have the power to barter off state properties, including power plants and public lands, again, without any negotiation, without any bids, to whatever company he wanted in the private sector. And finally, he said that he wanted to totally restructure the state’s collective bargaining agreements, not just at the state level, but at the county and municipal level, meaning effectively that the governor would, almost by fiat, set most of the pay and benefit standards. And the most critical thing was that the Governor wanted to end most collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin.

"Scott's Tune":

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

Posted by: Dean Taylor at February 25, 2011 10:06 PM

". . . New York Times coverage . . . in the future"

That future might not last so long.

Posted by: N E at February 26, 2011 12:32 PM