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Minimum Wage Experts

July 27, 2015 at 11:15 am

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Smartertimes reader-participant-watchdog-community-member-content-co-creator Colin writes:

Not sure if you saw today's NYT piece on the minimum wage but it's a real piece of work. The only three experts quoted in the article on this contentious topic are Jared Bernstein, someone from the left-wing Economic Policy Institute and the national director of the lefty Working Families Party. The ideologies of both the EPI and WFP are unmentioned, while the WFP official is allowed to use his quote in the story's conclusion to editorialize rather than provide any analysis about the economic impact of a minimum wage hike. The only skeptic of minimum wage hikes even named in the piece is David Neumark, who is seemingly only mentioned to introduce the concept on an increase in the earned income tax credit.

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Conservative Catholics

July 27, 2015 at 10:57 am

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A Times news article under the headline "Boy Scouts Are Poised to End Ban on Gay Leaders" reports, "To gain the acquiescence of conservative religious groups that sponsor many packs and troops, like the Mormon and Roman Catholic Churches, the policy will allow church-run units to pick leaders who agree with their moral precepts."

So to the New York Times the Roman Catholic Church amounts to a "conservative religious group." Have the newspaper's reporters and editors been following their own coverage about Pope Francis's campaign against global warming and income inequality, about his assistance in the reconciliation between the governments of the United States and Communist Cuba, about the church's opposition to the death penalty, its support for the labor movement, its advocacy of comprehensive immigration reform and its support for welfare spending?

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What the Times Got Wrong About Nail Salons

July 26, 2015 at 9:39 am

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Former Times reporter Richard Bernstein, a part owner of two day-spas in Manhattan, has a devastating post up at the New York Review of Books thoroughly debunking — or at the very least credibly challenging — that big New York Times investigative series of the city's nail salons. Mr. Bernstein, calls the Times coverage "demonstrably misleading." Particularly interesting are Mr. Bernstein's thoughts about why the Times got it wrong:

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Angry Obama

July 22, 2015 at 10:31 am

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A dispatch from Pittsburgh reports that President Obama "called angrily for Iran to release Americans who are being held prisoner there."

How does the Times know whether Mr. Obama is genuinely angry or just feigning anger? I'd prefer if the Times limited itself to describing what a reporter can see or hear — a politician raising his voice, pounding the podium, clenching his jaw, uttering profanities, or getting red in the face — rather than making assumptions or drawing conclusions about the politician's underlying emotional state of mind. They are all pretty good actors or they wouldn't have gotten to that level.

And that's not even getting into the question of racial stereotypes that describing Mr. Obama as "angry" might raise.

 

Context Or Opinion

July 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

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A dispatch from Tehran reports, "The agreement will end punitive sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations, United States and European Union in exchange for verifiable guarantees that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful."

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Muslims and Chattanooga

July 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

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Smartertimes reader-participant-watchdog-content co-creator-community member Colin G. writes:

Following the shooting in Tennessee it seems the NYT has identified the real victims -- the local Muslim population:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/18/us/at-chattanooga-mosque-grief-mixes-with-fear-of-revenge.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

Maybe it's just me being overly cynical, but is this not the world's most predictable spin?Can you imagine the paper running a similar story about a backlash against those who display the Confederate flag?

And of course I say this as someone with absolutely nothing against Muslims and who personally finds the Confederate flag an anachronism at best and odious at worst.

 

Hard Right Walker

July 19, 2015 at 10:10 pm

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A Times news article asserts, "Scott Walker wants to come across as the most electable of the hard-right conservatives in the race." David Bernstein writes that in the entire history of the Times, it's used the phrase "hard left liberals" exactly once, in 1998, in reference to the New Mexico Green Party, and never with respect to Democrats.

 

Druggies Overrun a Manhattan McDonald's

July 19, 2015 at 9:55 pm

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The Times carries a breathtaking dispatch about a McDonald's in Midtown Manhattan that has been overrun by lawless and sometimes violent drug addicts. "Nobody from this McDonald's, or the corporate office, responded to requests for comment," the Times reports.

There's no indication that the Times sought comment from the office of Mayor de Blasio, who is, you know, responsible for quality of life and law enforcement in the city. Or that the paper sought comment from the police department, or from the district attorney for New York County. In fact the name of Mayor de Blasio, who has been associated in other newspapers, such as the New York Post, with a decline in the city's public order and quality of life, is nowhere to be found in the Times dispatch. It seems a strange blind spot.

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The Times Yalta Flip-Flop and Iran

July 15, 2015 at 12:49 am

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It's taken 70 years, but the New York Times has finally seen the light on the matter of Yalta.

Or at least the editor of its editorial page has. That's what I gather from a post by Andrew Rosenthal at "Taking Note," the blog of the Times editorial page. As part of a long list of "most destructive foreign policy decisions," Mr. Rosenthal lists "the decision to carve up Europe with Stalin, creating the Soviet bloc, sparking a nuclear arms race and leaving entire nations in bondage to the Kremlin for a half century."

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Juxtaposition of the Day

July 13, 2015 at 9:33 am

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From a front-page New York Times news article about the entry into the presidential race of Governor Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin:

his repeated comments that the most important foreign policy decision of his lifetime was President Ronald Reagan's firing of air traffic controllers in 1981, because it got the attention of the Soviet Union, was a sign to some Republicans that Mr. Walker, who dropped out of Marquette University and has not traveled widely abroad, has a limited worldview.

From The Education of Ronald Reagan: The General Electric Years and the Untold Story of His Conversion to Conservatism, by Thomas W. Evans:

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Cruz and the NYT Bestseller List

July 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

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Politico catches the New York Times keeping Senator Ted Cruz off the bestseller list despite the fact that his book has sold more copies than 18 of 20 books that will appear on the list. There are some interesting numbers in there about how many sales it takes to make it onto that list. (Interesting to authors, at least).

 

The War on Fishermen

July 9, 2015 at 8:57 am

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The Times prints an op-ed complaining about New England fishermen spending money to protect their economic interests:

Atlantic scallops are one of the most lucrative parts of the American fishing industry, responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shellfish every year. Scallop companies have a well-funded industry group, paradoxically named the Fisheries Survival Fund, which spends more than a quarter of a million dollars a year advocating for their interests, often at the expense of other fisheries.

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CVS

July 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

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"CVS Health Quits U.S. Chamber Over Stance on Smoking" is the headline over an article on the front of the business section of the New York Times. The article uncritically lauds CVS for quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after an earlier Times article faulting the chamber for defending the commercial interests overseas of member tobacco companies. From the Times article:

CVS, which last year stopped selling tobacco products in its stores, said the lobbying activity ran counter to its mission to improve public health.

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Screen Addiction and Children

July 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm

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"Personal Health" columnist Jane Brody uses her Times platform to complain about her grandchildren (and, implicitly, their parents). In the middle of an otherwise traditionally neutral and detached account of the effects of too much "screen time" on children, she writes:

Two of my grandsons, ages 10 and 13, seem destined to suffer some of the negative effects of video-game overuse. The 10-year-old gets up half an hour earlier on school days to play computer games, and he and his brother stay plugged into their hand-held devices on the ride to and from school. "There's no conversation anymore," said their grandfather, who often picks them up. When the family dines out, the boys use their devices before the meal arrives and as soon as they finish eating.

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Skipping the Smartphone

July 4, 2015 at 10:48 pm

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One of the things I find most grating about the Times is the way it sometimes seems totally oblivious to the possibility that some Jews might take their religious law seriously.

This occurred to me the other day on reading a Mark Bittman column that goes on and on about what a fool anyone would be to cook with anything other than butter or lard. The possibility that someone might avoid lard because it isn't kosher, or might not want to cook with butter because of kosher restrictions against mixing milk and meat, is not mentioned or considered. (A 2014 interview with Mr. Bittman reported, "Bittman says he pretty much has had nothing to do with Judaism since he graduated from high school in 1967.")

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