Bret Stephens, Turbo Nerd

I mean seriously, who does this kind of thing:

What a jackass. As I noted on twitter, Bret Stephens is the archetypal DC/think thank twat who honest to god thinks it is worse to swear when yelling “stop the fucking war” than it is to bomb, maim, and kill hundreds of thousands of innocents.

This is not going well for Brett:








Later Night Open Thread: … The Aristocrats ENABLERS!”

Former editor of the NYC paper Kushner bought & ran into the ground:


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I’m A Man With a Mission on Two or Three Editions

It gets pretty old writing the book every day on how the media is fucking up. Two chapters from the last 24 hours:

One: Maggie Haberman of the Cancel Your Subscription Times bemoning and decrying the awful act of using public records to name maxed-out Trump donors. Do I need to point out that public records are the basis for a huge amount of journalism (including the ever-present mugshots of accused, not convicted, individuals):

Two: CBS News with the evergreen “Today Trump Became President” take (and Jay Rosen’s take on it):

I’m sure there are many others, but they’re all symptoms of a disease that’s pretty easily identified but apparently hard to cure. Jay Rosen’s list of the top problems in pressthink is a pretty good roundup of the major symptoms. Here are his first two issues (read the whole thing):

1. The entire system for covering the Trump presidency is wrongly conceived. It needs to be rebuilt, faulty premise by faulty premise. But there has never been such a rebuild while the story is running hot. No one knows how it can be done. Reporting what he said today amplifies his falsehoods and hatreds, which is unacceptable, but ignoring what he said pretends it never happened, which is unacceptable in a different way. (Here’s my thread about that problem. Here’s an article about it. This podcast is also good.) 

2. Explicitly or implicitly, it seems likely that Trump is going to run a racist re-election campaign in 2020, in which “othering” (not a word I like, but it’s the best I can do…) is basic to his appeal to voters. This goes way beyond noisy controversies like whether to use the term “racist.” Is the press ready for a campaign like that? Does it have the people and practices in place to respond? Is it willing to break with precedent to meet a threat without parallel? I doubt it.








In Case You Were Wondering WHY the NY Times is So Broken

Wonder no more- it comes STRAIGHT from the top:

So how does the Times negotiate the disconnect? “It is difficult,” Baquet says. “I think the way you do it is you just keep working, you keep trying to break stories, you try to do analysis that explains the moment we’re in, you try to diversify your staff to include different viewpoints. You just try to work very hard.”

If that sounds unsatisfying, it’s because Baquet, the first African-American executive editor of the Times, doesn’t see this moment in American history as particularly aberrant. “I get that people see the phenomenon of someone who says inflammatory statements as a new thing,” he says. “I grew up in the South. I covered Edwin Edwards.” (Baquet was a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune when a candidate for Louisiana governor told him famously: “Only way I lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.”)

“Americans have a way of thinking that nothing like this has happened before,” Baquet says. “Picture what the newsrooms of the New York Times and the Washington Post were like when people thought the draft and Vietnam meant that they were literally going to have to fight a war. The New York Times has a strong view about its role. We are not The Nation, even though I have deep respect for them. I think it’s healthy for each generation to come in and discuss what the rules are. You have to accept that there’s something at the core of the New York Times and the Washington Post that won’t change, but there’s a lot that can change at the edges.”

It takes a lot of work to be simultaneously condescending enough to think that everyone else is wrong about the history of the nation and stupid enough to compare the rise of Trump and the white nationalist right to a corrupt Governor in a relatively inconsequential state with a history of fringe politicians (google the kingfish), but Baquet is up to the task.

In fairness to Baquet, though, he is upholding the NYT’s legacy of being completely ill prepared to deal with fascist demagogues and not adequately recognizing the threat:

But several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.

A sophisticated politician credited Hitler with peculiar political cleverness for laying emphasis and over-emphasis on anti-Semitism, saying: “You can’t expect the masses to understand or appreciate your finer real aims. You must feed the masses with cruder morsels and ideas like anti-Semitism. It would be politically all wrong to tell them the truth about where you really are leading them.”

The NY Times is fundamentally broken. And Baquet is both a symptom and a cause.








Late Night Open Thread: FTFNYTimes

Once the rockets go up, who cares *where* they come down?
That’s not my department, says Wehrner von Braun…