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How Expensive Is Harvard

May 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

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A Times news article about Malia Obama's decision to go to Harvard reports that the college is "one of the most expensive, costing more than $60,000 a year for tuition, room, board and other fees."

That's misleading, because that's the retail price. Most people whose parents aren't "rich" qualify for financial aid, which is essentially a discount off that sticker price. If you go to the U.S. government's "net price" calculator, Harvard doesn't even show up on the list of the most expensive 4-year private, non-profit colleges and universities. Because Harvard is so well endowed, it gives better financial aid packages than do a lot of other colleges and universities, at least to prospective students whose parents aren't as rich as President and Mrs. Obama are.

From the perspective of Harvard, at least, misleading news coverage like this is damaging, because the "expensive" reputation and tag scares away families who might otherwise consider applying.

 

The Times Crusade Against Yeshivas

April 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

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"The New York Times Tries Explaining Its Flawed Crusade Against Yeshivas" is the headline over my article at the Algemeiner. Please check it out there.

 

Surprise Emissions

April 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

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From a book review in today's Times, by critic Dwight Garner: "When a writer says something new and real, it can be shocking, like a surprise emission from a bodily orifice."

I think an editor would have done better to just end the sentence after the word "shocking" and save the reader the unpleasant shock of the rest of the sentence. As we've written here previously, the Times approach to editing this particular critic isn't exactly what you'd call a tight leash.

 

Wealthy Philanthropists

April 14, 2016 at 11:18 am

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A dispatch in the national section of the Times begins:

Opening a new front in the assault on teacher tenure, a group of parents backed by wealthy philanthropists served notice to defendants on Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging Minnesota's job protections for teachers, as well as the state's rules governing which teachers are laid off as a result of budget cuts.

Isn't "wealthy philanthropists" redundant? If the philanthopists are mired in poverty, tell us so; otherwise, we will agree simply to assume that anyone giving away lots of money is rich to begin with. Especially since the subheadline over that paragraph is "Wealthy foundations back Minnesota Lawsuit." We don't hear anything in the story or the headline about how wealthy the teachers unions are. Nor do we usually hear, at least this prominently, about the wealth of the foundations or philanthropists involved when the legal cases being pressed are those that advance left-of-center, Times-favored (now there's my own redundancy) causes.

 

More Reclusive Rich

April 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

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From a recent New York Times real estate article: "The reclusive and litigious developer Sheldon Solow, for example, has been party to hundreds of lawsuits, while the closemouthed heirs of Sol Goldman's estate rarely sell any of their vast holdings."

I've written in the past about how:

"Reclusive billionaire" is one of those stereotypes that the Times likes to use even if it isn't accurate.

My authoritative Webster's Second Unabridged dictionary describes reclusive as someone living in reclusion, in "solitary confinement" or "secluded" from the world like a "monk or hermit."

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Lost in Fall River

March 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

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A Times dispatch from Fall River, Mass., reports, "Like other former mill towns throughout the Northeast, Fall River necessarily refocused its economic base after the textile industry began departing in the 1990s." (The language is repeated in a photo cutline that goes with the article.)

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More at the Algemeiner

March 24, 2016 at 11:09 pm

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The Algemeiner has been publishing a lot of New York Times criticism by me focusing on Israel, Jewish matters, and the war on Islamist terrorism. I encourage anyone interested in those topics to check out the coverage at this link.

 

The Man the Founders Feared

March 22, 2016 at 1:42 pm

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Reader-community member-watchdog-content co-creator Bob Hill of Pinecrest, Fla. writes:

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A Whine About Wine

March 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

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A sidebar to an otherwise pretty fascinating Times article about Eli Zabar's adventures in the wine business introduces a list of wines with the following language: "The wine list at Eli Zabar's restaurant Eli's Table offers many great values; not just expensive older bottles, but moderately priced wines as well. Here are six examples of sparkling, white and red." The list of wines that follows includes bottles at the following prices: $195, $190, $60, $295, $250, and $60."

If $60 is the Times floor for a "moderately priced" bottle of wine and four of the six bottles on the list cost at least $190, you start to wonder who the newspaper thinks is reading this stuff, or whether the paper's definition of "moderately priced" has much to do with the reality of most Americans.

 

An Epic Takedown of that NYT Editorial About Netanyahu

March 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

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The Algemeiner is going to be publishing some of my writing about the New York Times' coverage of Israel and Jewish topics. The first piece is now up, about a Times editorial critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Please check out the column at the Algemeiner by clicking the link here.

 

Lost in Jerusalem

March 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

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A New York Times dispatch from Jerusalem gives a brief history of the conflict over sovereignty in the city as follows:

Israel conquered Jerusalem's Old City and its environs, along with the West Bank, from Jordan in the 1967 war. Then it expanded the city limits, taking in 28 West Bank villages on the high ground surrounding the city, and annexed the territory in a move that was never internationally recognized. Ever since, its leaders have claimed sovereignty over what they deem Israel's "united capital."

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Pete Wells Diversity Crusade

March 3, 2016 at 7:38 am

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Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, who we've noticed earlier (here and here) dilating on what he calls the "pleasure" of being served by women and "others who don't look like men of European descent," is at it again. In a three-star review of Bouley, Wells writes, "I wish more women worked in Bouley's dining room; the gender imbalance there is old-fashioned in the wrong way."

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Pro-Slavery Republican Poll Debunked

March 3, 2016 at 7:29 am

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In USA Today, David Mastio has a nice dissection of a Times article about a poll purporting to show that "Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump's voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation." Mr. Mastio writes:

Originally, Vavreck, the Times and YouGov only reported on the racially insensitive views of Republicans, failing to publish or even analyze the responses of potential Democratic voters. Vavreck only performed the Democratic analysis and released it to me on Friday after YouGov refused to release the data on Thursday and I contacted YouGov's European executives, its in-house polling expert and Vavreck herself.

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Olds

March 3, 2016 at 7:21 am

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The Times science section waddled in recently with a big front-of-the-section news article about Senator Parry Murray's effort to secure government funding for in vitro fertilization treatment for injured veterans. The PBS News Hour program did this story back in January; NPR did it in February. It took the Times until March to get it in the paper. At a certain point it's not news, it's olds. The Times story gives no credit to either PBS or NPR.

 

Secret Search for Public Editor

February 22, 2016 at 10:49 pm

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A Times report on the news that the public editor, Margaret Sullivan, will become a columnist of the Washington Post includes this language: "Ms. Sullivan assumed her role at The Times in 2012, and her tenure was scheduled to end in August." August 2015? August 2016? It isn't clear from the Times article.

The article goes on:

In a memo to the staff, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., The Times's publisher, praised Ms. Sullivan, saying she had "ushered the position into a new age."

He said that she would remain at the paper for "a number of weeks" and that the search for a successor was underway. "We will be in a position to name Margaret's successor very soon," he wrote.

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