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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Two Newspapers in One!

h/t to Best of the Web. TNiO is a regular feature there highlighting newspapers and magazines that take completely opposed positions on issues. I'm sure BOTW would have been all over this, but the feature is on hiatus until the new year.

New York Times editorial, January 9, 2011:

Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Ms. Giffords, killing a federal judge and five other people, and wounding 13 others, appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.

But he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery. With easy and legal access to semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare.


It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

New York Times editorial, December 22, 2014:

Two families in Brooklyn — and the larger family of New Yorkers and the New York Police Department — are mourning the deaths of two officers who were shot in ambush by a criminal on Saturday. His deranged act has inflamed rifts between the police and Mayor Bill de Blasio and between the police and the public, and it posed a grave test of Mr. de Blasio’s leadership.

The protests for police reform should not be stifled — they should be allowed to continue, and be listened to. The protesters and their defenders, including Mayor de Blasio, need offer no apologies for denouncing misguided and brutal police tactics and deploring the evident injustice of the deaths of unarmed black men like Eric Garner. As Mr. de Blasio noted on Monday, a vast majority of demonstrators are “people who are trying to work for a more just society,” a mission that has nothing to do with hating or killing cops. Those who urge violence are on the fringe, Mr. de Blasio said, rightly denouncing them and urging New Yorkers to report them.

So, NYT Editorial Board, which is it: rank hypocrisy or drooling stupidity?

Hmmm. I may have posed a false dichotomy.


erp said...

... why not both?

Peter said...

Good catch, but there is a bit of a false equivalency here that is revealed in the dreamy prose in the second editorial, which could have been penned by one of those precocious sixteen year olds who are still completely dependent but know exactly how to solve all he world's problems. While conservatives occasionally protest for specific nefarious purposes like demonizing immigrants and honest bureaucrats, inciting division and the neat ideological trick of promoting fascism while persuading Americans that our friend, the government, is the enemy of the people, the left has a more religious, cathartic purpose. They are protesting "for a more just society", a.k.a. "a better world".

The street protest is a sacred rite for the left that transcends the putative rationale for the protest. Participation confers personal virtue the way confession washes away sins of Catholics. The Occupy movement was the most pathetic and ridiculous protest in history, but intelligent leftists insisted and still insist it was a transformative event that presages the fall of capitalism and the ushering in of a world based on...whatever. How could anyone possibly suggest they are responsible for inciting anything other than peace and brotherhood? Got a problem with peace and brotherhood, buddy?

Nonetheless, as a middle-aged conservative father, I confess to some ambivalence about it all. Aren't youth supposed to be naively dreamy and iconoclastic before reality and the gods of necessity slap some sense into them? There is something off-putting about a nineteen year old clean-cut conservative activist who defends the police whatever they do and talks as if he wants to make the world safer for investment bankers.

Bret said...

I'd say neither stupidity or hypocrisy. Just bias.

Their underlying belief system is that conservatives are always teetering on the brink of widespread violence, whereas liberals, being the anti-gun and anti-violence folk they are, are no danger whatsoever. So in one case it's just more evidence of the truth, in the other case it's just a lunatic outlier. Indeed, anyone who is crazy enough to be a conservative must be dangerous, just as anyone who owns a gun must be a lunatic/gun-nut!

Conservatives have their own bias. Every left leaning politician wants to destroy america, ever person with a progressive bent is another Bill Ayers, murdering and killing, then becoming friends of the president, every societal ill the fault of progressive ideas.

Progressives have an additional worry. If the cold war between right and left ever turned hot, they'd be in huge trouble, and they know it.

Howard said...

I'm more than willing to bash the MSM, but in fairness, the big problem is when that kind of bias shows up in the news pages rather than the editorials.

Hey Skipper said...

Howard, Bret:

I don't think this is bias, so much as rank, if *perhaps* unwitting, hypocrisy.

I have a hard time believing the NYT Editorial Board's collective memory is so weak as to not remember their bloviations after the Gifford shooting (although perhaps Krugman remembers his own sins in this regard, as he hasn't -- SFAIK -- succumbed to the vapors here).

Making the charitable assumption, the NYT's unsigned editorials reflect more the peculiarities of the moment, rather than any principled bases.

In a politician, that's expected. However, for the NYT's editorial board, that is practically an admission of uselessness.

Worse, though, is the much more realistic case, they remembered their previous position when they (foolishly, stupidly) presumed that the Gifford shooting was somehow ideologically motivated. Yet when the shoe is put on the other foot, and despite some actual grotesque chants from their progressive friends, the NYT completely reverses course.

In this case, the NYT Editorial Board is worse than useless -- they are positively harmful.

In addition to being foolish and stupid.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "...they are positively harmful..."

To whom? They sell more papers and their readers lap it up. Who's harmed?

erp said...

We, the People.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Who's harmed?

Their readers.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper,

How are their readers harmed? It seems that the readers enjoy what the Times writes. Information and truth aren't always useful.

Anonymous said...


They're harmed the same way giving some one morphine instead of antibiotics is harmed. That is, they are encouraged to persist in self-destructive behavior. Although, one might argue that *I* am harmed by the NY Times readers reading that stuff.

Bret said...

But it's not destructive. This is preaching to the choir. Minds are not changed by this. Actions are not changed by this. Nothing is changed, they just get enjoyment and entertainment.

Hey Skipper said...

But it's not destructive. This is preaching to the choir. Minds are not changed by this.

But it is destructive to the choir.

In a similar regard, with regard to Pres Obama, the MSM completely neglected its role as skeptical observer. It fluffed Obama, and preached to the choir.

By your reasoning, the only possible consequence to this would be enjoyment and entertainment.

Except for that catastrophic and comedic rollout of Obamacare.

I charged the NYT with hypocrisy, which is prima facie true, even if it was unwitting. To those of us more aware of what the NYT editorial board writes than the board itself is, it ends up looking even more worthless than it already was.

But the group you are talking about are the NYT's fellow travelers. Because the are unaware of the hypocrisy, they persist in a pattern of thinking that is based upon error. Just as the MSM lulled Obama into complacency, the NYT's hypocrisy is another way of generating self-satisfied complacency.

Which puts the lie in "reality based community", and is ultimately self defeating.

Clovis e Adri said...


But the group you are talking about are the NYT's fellow travelers. Because the are unaware of the hypocrisy, they persist in a pattern of thinking that is based upon error.
Have you given consideration to the fact that they may view both situations as different, hence recognize no hypocrisy?

Furthermore, even if the NYT is ten times more hyprocritical than you believe it is, what do you propose should be done about it?

erp said...

... should be done with it??? You still don't get us. Do you think the government should prop it up and force people to read it because it supports their positions?

Thinking people will continue to ignore it and as it continues to tell lies by commission and omission, it will continue its downward spiral all by itself.

That's the great thing about freedom.