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Stephen Schwarzman 70th Birthday Party

February 16, 2017 at 10:10 am

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Tuesday's New York Times, following up Amanda Gordon's reporting for Bloomberg (here and here) without giving her appropriate credit, reported on Stephen A. Schwarzman's 70th birthday party:

In the age of Mr. Trump and his famed golden penthouse, Mr. Schwarzman's party has largely been ignored except for a bit of chattering by Town & Country and sniping among the schadenfreude-loving Acela Corridor Crowd.

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Bookstores Against Trump

February 16, 2017 at 9:50 am

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Under the headline, "Bookstores Stoke Trump Resistance With Action, Not Just Words," the New York Times has a 1,300-word article, accompanied by four photographs, about how bookstores are taking action against President Trump.

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EPA Gag Order

January 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

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Do the editors of the New York Times and the art critics even read their own newspaper?

Forgive the question, but it's prompted by this juxtaposition:

The New York Times, January 26, 2017, "Federal Agencies Told to Halt External Communications":

Longtime employees at three of the agencies — including some career environmental regulators who conceded that they remained worried about what President Trump might do on policy matters — said such orders were not much different from those delivered by the Obama administration as it shifted policies from the departing White House of George W. Bush. They called reactions to the agency memos overblown. On Wednesday, Douglas Ericksen, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said that grants had been only briefly frozen for review, and that they would be restarted by Friday.

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David Brooks Smears Ronald Reagan

January 30, 2017 at 10:21 am

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A column by David Brooks about Ronald Reagan includes this passage: "When he erred it was often on the utopian side of things, believing that tax cuts could pay for themselves, believing that he and Mikhail Gorbachev could shed history and eliminate all nuclear weapons."

The two big Reagan tax cuts were enacted in 1981 and 1986.

Here are the federal revenue receipts numbers for the relevant years, according to the Office of Management and Budget historical tables archived from the Obama administration:

In "current dollars":

1979: $463 billion

1980: $517 billion

1981: $599 billion

1982: $618 billion

1983: $601 billion

1984: $666 billion

1985: $734 billion

1986: $769 billion

1987: $854 billion

1988: $909 billion

Here it is in what the OMB calls "constant (FY 2009) dollars," which is a way of adjusting for inflation:

1979: $1.3 trillion

1980: $1.3 trillion

1981: $1.4 trillion

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Shoe Slashers

January 30, 2017 at 8:57 am

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Jim Dwyer gets an entire New York Times column out of condemning Nike for slashing sneakers and clothing and trashing it rather than donating it, un-damaged, to the poor. He writes:

every single shoe had been slashed. That was precisely how H&M disposed of its garments — rendered unwearable with blades and big hole punchers...

Many retailers will destroy garments that cannot be sold in order to prevent expensive brand-name products from entering society at low or no cost. Some companies simply do not want their products — or even knockoffs of their goods — to be worn by people who are obviously unable to afford them.

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Trade Tendentiousness

January 24, 2017 at 9:45 am

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The lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times begins:

WASHINGTON — President Trump upended America's traditional, bipartisan trade policy on Monday as he formally abandoned the ambitious, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by his predecessor and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.

The headline over the continuation of the article inside the paper is "Upending Bipartisan Trade Policy, Trump Abandons Trans-Pacific Deal."

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Democrats in Denial

January 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm

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The New York Times editorial responding to President Trump's inaugural address makes one wonder if the editorial writers at the Times ever actually read the news articles that appear in their own newspaper.

The Times writes:

One longed, as Mr. Trump spoke, for a special kind of simultaneous translation, one that would convert Trumpian myth into concrete fact. It might have noted, when Mr. Trump sounded like a politician from the 1980s in promising to "get our people off welfare and back to work," that the number of people receiving federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits fell by more than 70 percent, to 1.2 million, between 1996 and 2016. As Mr. Trump spoke about the disappearance of jobs, it would have noted that the unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent in 2009, the height of the recession, to less than 5 percent....

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Uh Oh Moment

January 20, 2017 at 8:24 am

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A news article in the New York Times the other day claimed that the newspaper is "trying to forge a stronger connection to the large bloc of voters who swept Mr. Trump to the presidency." I wrote that it was "an open question" whether the paper, or its editors, were actually even trying to do that.

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Times Promises Fewer Editors; It Shows

January 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

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A public memo issued yesterday by the top two editors at the New York Times promised "fewer editors at The Times."

To judge by this morning's newspaper, the plan has already been implemented.

At least two Times articles could have benefited from some more editing.

The first appears atop the arts section. Online, the headline is "Museum Trustee, a Trump Donor, Supports Groups That Deny Climate Change." It's a long, one-sided attack on the American Museum of Natural History for the sin of allowing a conservative donor. Rebekah Mercer, to serve as one of 49 members of the board of trustees.

The Times article includes this sentence about the museum's president, Ellen V. Futter: "Ms. Futter would not comment on the calls for Ms. Mercer to step down or what brought her to the board, declining to discuss the activities of a specific trustee."

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Sulzberger Jr. Issues Editorial Denouncing Trump Nepotism

January 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm

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The New York Times has an editorial condemning President-elect Trump for naming his son in law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser. It cites "the real dangers posed by nepotism." (The Times, of all people, should know.)

"There's a good reason for anti-nepotism laws," the Times editorial says, warning that when relatives are hired, "they undermine the public's faith that important posts are being filled with the best possible candidates."

Also, "it upends delicate dynamics, as senior staff members keep their mouths shut rather than contradict a trusted relative of their boss."

The concerns the Times editorial raises about nepotism in government might well also apply to, say, a publicly traded company. The Times editorial draws no distinction between nepotism in government and in corporate America.

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Smearing Judith Rodin

January 5, 2017 at 9:49 am

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In an egregious example of bad journalism, the New York Times kicks Judith Rodin on her way out as president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

A news article by David Gelles of the Times reports:

In recent years, the foundation has focused on the themes of "resilience" and "inclusive economies." That has resulted in programs aimed at establishing "resilience officers" in 100 cities to focus on disaster relief and a plan that is sending 100,000 inner-city students to see the musical "Hamilton."

These efforts have struck critics as public relations stunts more than meaningful agents of change. And Ms. Rodin has drawn fire for spending too much time with corporate partners and not enough time with the recipients of grants.

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Trump's Accountability

January 3, 2017 at 11:31 am

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New York Times columnist David Brooks writes:

Donald Trump doesn't think in that way, either. He is anti-system. As my "PBS NewsHour" colleague Mark Shields points out, he has no experience being accountable to anybody, to a board of directors or an owner.

To say that Mr. Trump "has no experience being accountable to anybody" is a falsehood so blatant that if Mr. Trump himself had uttered it the Times itself would probably have inserted the words "falsely," as it has taken to doing in an unusually aggressive attempt to fact-check the president-elect.

As a television personality, Mr. Trump has had to be accountable to network executives; if his show did not get ratings, it would be canceled.

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Blame NY Times For UN Vote

December 28, 2016 at 11:44 am

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"Blame the New York Times for the Disgraceful Anti-Israel U.N. Security Council Vote" is the headline over my latest piece for the Algemeiner. You can check it out by clicking here.


Lost In Manhattan

December 20, 2016 at 8:37 am

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A Times business section story about what prosecutors allege was fraud at a New York-based hedge fund, Platinum Partners, reports, "Located a few blocks from Central Park, Platinum, founded in 2003, made a splash early on with some of its investments."

Central Park is a big place. The Times formulation "located a few blocks from Central Park" is maddeningly imprecise. As writing, it fails to convey much useful information about this business. Was the office of the business located in Harlem? On the Upper East Side? On the Upper West Side? If the Times is going to bother to tell us where the hedge fund was situated, it would be more helpful to readers if it actually told us where the office was, rather than give vague indications about how far it is from a large park.


Tipping Point

December 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

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The lead article in this week's Times food section is by Julia Moskin and reports on adjustments made by restaurants that have stopped tipping and have instead included the full cost of service in the prices listed on the menu. The article includes this paragraph:

Instead of expecting customers to tip the people who wait on them, tip-free restaurants pay all employees wages that reflect their skill and seniority. The customer pays a fixed amount, stated in writing (in menu prices), as in virtually every other kind of consumer business, from Nordstrom to Netflix to The New York Times.

It stopped me in my tracks, because, as a paying home-delivery subscriber to the New York Times, about every four weeks my newspaper is accompanied by a plea for tips, along with an envelope, from my home-delivery service provider. Does Ms. Moskin subscribe to the Times? Does her editor? Do they tip the person who delivers the newspaper to them?

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