Nothing like a quiet Sunday with the New York Times. Start with the sports section, as I do, hoping for an escape from the paper’s relentlessly liberal approach to what it calls news. No luck. It seems that James Dolan, owner of the Knicks and Madison Square Garden, host to this year’s All-Star game, selected by the league to give New York fans at a least a brief glimpse of some players not talent-deprived, received a perfectly polite e-mail from a 72-year old Knick fan, unhappy with the performance of a team of which he remains a loyal fan. With reason. As Michael Powell, who covers the Knicks points out, the “team, dollar for dollar, has been the worst team in the league for 14 years now, playing a grand total of four playoff rounds … [accumulating] losing records in 11 of those years…”. As one who started watching the Knicks when they were playing in the small, 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, I can add that this season is unlike any other in its ability to demonstrate how not to play basketball, thanks to Mr. Dolan’s terrible personnel choices, both administrative and athletic.
The owner of the Knicks, (so far this year 10 wins, 41 losses), chose to answer the fan’s letter, the strongest word of which was “stupid”, with a tirade, calling him “a hateful mess … I’ll bet you are a negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you….Alcoholic maybe…”. Which NBA commissioner Adam Silver, bucking for the Roger Goodell leadership award, dismissed, “Jim [Dolan] is a consummate New Yorker. Jim got an unkind email and he responded with an unkind email.”
Demonstrating an ability to leap wide chasms, reporter Powell took all of that in, and concluded that “the billionaire owner … is a consummate New Yorker, of the 1 percent variety.” Dolan is CEO of Cablevision, an organization in which he fought his way to the top after his father founded it. Powell describes Dolan’s successful efforts to obtain the sorts of tax concessions no sane city would grant a sports franchise, although most do, and of his fights against unions seeking to organize his companies. Fair enough. But how do we get from there to “a consummate 1 percenter”? Most dictionaries define “consummate” as “extremely skilled and accomplished”. But by Powell’s reckoning, and just about everyone else’s, Dolan is neither of those things when it comes to managing the hapless Knick teams that he has been setting before loyal fans for years. So it must be that he is “consummate” at wringing special favors from government and busting unions, which he seems to be. A true representative of the 1%. Take that Warren Buffett. And Bill Gates. And . . .
There’s more. A page one (above the fold) story that covers a full inside page, reports that “Jeb Bush Used Connections Freely When Father Was in Washington.” He wrote asking staffers to be certain that his father visited Florida often, asked for the names of officials to whom he could direct requests on behalf of Floridians, undoubtedly building a political base for himself. Is that a story warranting page-1-plus-full-page coverage? I suppose it was another more realistic era when Franklin Roosevelt’s sons used their connection with their father to wrest preferential treatment from the government, and his wife pushed her own agenda on a president wise enough to know when to ignore her. So no mention of that historic fact. Perhaps too long ago to be worth mentioning. As was Hillary Clinton’s use of her husband’s presidency to advance her own agenda and the careers of friends and associates. But, hey, those were Democrats. No, so far as the New York Times is concerned, Jeb Bush is unique in using a close relative to burnish his own electoral credentials.
I haven’t gotten to other sections yet. But for now, enough is enough.
There are two U.S. economies. Well, not really. But there is the economy reported in the New York Times as part of its pre-election coverage, and far different one reported in the authoritative financial press.
The Tampa Bay Times, the paper that puts out (and funds) the supposedly unbiased PolitiFact, has just enthusiastically endorsed President Obama for a second term. The Timeswrites that “[w]ithout hesitation” it “recommends Barack Obama for re-election as president.” The paper cites Obama’s “steady leadership.” It’s no wonder the Times is backing Obama.
Never underestimate the ingenuity of the New York Times when it comes to creating – not finding, creating – misfeasance by Mitt Romney. In a front-page, above-the-fold story on Wednesday, under the headline, “Romney’s Trade Message and Bain’s China Ties,” Sharon LaFraniere and Mike McIntire ran into a problem.
Tonight, CBS aired a 60 Minutes interview with President Obama. But curiously enough, the news magazine show did not air a clip of Obama admitting to interviewer Steve Kroft that some of his campaign ads contain mistakes and that some even "go overboard."
Over the last year or so, the argument has been made many times in these pages that media “fact checking” organizations are a discredit to the journalism profession. Further discrediting the journalism profession at this point is no easy thing to do, yet fact checkers seem more than equal to the task.
Media bias consists of more than partial quotes, deliberate misreporting, and economy with the truth. Doubt that, and read the NewYorkTimes last week, reporting—on page one—“U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Goes Back Up: Security Concerns Rise With Gulf Imports.” If you think this has anything to do with the president’s decision to veto the Keystone Pipeline, think again, or look for a more balance report.