From an article in the Home section of today's Times about a reporter's overnight stay in Philip Johnson's New Canaan, Conn., Glass House: "Tours of the house run from May through November; beginning at 9 in the morning, they end at 5 and typically top out at just over two hours."
That is a sentence that could have benefitted from some editing. If the tours begin at 9 in the morning and end at 5, it sounds like they last eight hours, not two hours. It sounds like what the writer is trying to communicate is that the tours take about two hours and begin on the hour starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. (or something like that).
It's not clear why the Times chose to run this article in December, when the house can't be toured until May. It looks like the place is also open for tours from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday evenings during that season, so it's not even clear that the Times claim that the tours "end at 5" is even accurate.
From Chapter Four of the five-part series on Dasani, the child who lives with her parents and seven siblings in a fetid Brooklyn homeless shelter:
I don't doubt that these children might benefit from psychotherapy, but is it really "the thing they most need"? I'd argue that, even more than psychotherapy, they need a better place to live. They could also probably use, more than psychotherapy, higher-functioning parents, but that's harder to make happen. Anyway, it's a kind of classic New York Times editor worldview that of all the things that a child like Dasani and her siblings need, 'the thing they most need" is psychotherapy. Sign the kids up for the Times staff health insurance plan!
From an otherwise interesting Andrew Ross Sorkin column about how Nelson Mandela moved toward capitalism:
Only when defined in the most narrow economic terms, as the Times, alas, tends to do.
You wonder how the Times would have covered the exodus from Egypt: "True, God parted the Red Sea and brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt. But after slavery ended, the gap between haves and have-nots started to widen and become a real and growing issue..."
It's hard not to be moved by the deeply reported story of Dasani, an 11-year-old who lived for three years with her parents and seven siblings in a single room of a fetid homeless shelter in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Yet the Times takes a story of poverty and turns it into something else — an ideological axe-grinding piece that seeks to fit Dasani's story into what Times editors have promised will be "a new focus on inequality" to match the agenda of the city's mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
So the Times article includes passages like this:
The New York Times news article about President Obama suddenly acknowledging that he had lived with his illegal immigrant uncle manages, oddly, to avoid describing the uncle as illegal. The Boston Globe provides a much more straightforward account:
There was something off about the front-of-the-business section profile of the Farber-Castell pencil company and its chief executive, Count Anton-Wolfgang von Faber-Castell, that ran in the Times this week.
For one thing, while the article went into the German company's history in some detail — "Faber-Castell was founded by Kasper Faber, a carpenter's apprentice. His great-grandson Lothar Faber was given noble status in 1861 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria after building the company into the world's dominant pencil maker. Later generations intermarried with the aristocratic Castell clan, creating the Faber-Castell name" — it omitted any mention of the company's history during World War II. From an article in the Telegraph earlier this year:
A front-page New York Times article about Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray reports:
Humble? The Real Deal reports that Mr. de Blasio "owns a pair of two-family homes on 11th Street in Park Slope that are valued at more than $1.1 million apiece." You can bet that if Mr. de Blasio were a Republican calling for tax cuts instead of a Democrat former Sandinista activist calling for tax increases on the rich, the Times would be referring to his real estate holdings not as a "humble rowhouse" but as a "luxury townhouse."
The ambitious and lengthy New York Times series by Elisabeth Rosenthal on health care pricing has been illuminating and will probably win a Pulitzer, but sometimes a left-wing agenda — or sometimes not so much an agenda but just a set of unexamined assumptions — can't help but peek through even in the best Times journalism. From the latest Times article, on the price of getting stitched up at a hospital emergency room:
A front-page Times dispatch from London about Rebekah Brooks, a news executive "facing charges of illegally intercepting voice messages and other crimes in connection with their work for Mr. Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid" reports:
After announcing in the Public Editor column that the metro section would place "a new focus on inequality," the Times is off to the races.
Sunday brought a news article headlined "Life on $7.25 an Hour." An astute Smartertimes reader-participant-community member-watchdog-content co-creator pointed out, however, "the article's main character, Eduardo Shoy, doesn't actually make $7.25/hour as in the article's penultimate paragraph it notes that, 'On a good day [he] can make up to $75 in tips.'"
David Carr's front-page article on New York magazine reducing its print publishing schedule to 26 issues a year from 42 issues a year misspells the name of Newsweek owner Sidney Harman. The Times renders the name incorrectly as "Harmon."
The public editor of the Times has a blog post under the headline 'An Article About New Yorkers Who Go Hungry Signals a New Focus on Inequality."
Not a new focus on poverty, mind you, but on "inequality." There are those of us who might have been under the impression that the Times was quite vigorously focused on inequality already (to the point where a regular headline around here is "always the inequality"), but apparently the newspaper's editors feel the paper can obsess even more about the issue. From the public editor post:
Wendell Jamieson, the Metro editor, told me that Tuesday's article is not merely incidental.
The Times public editor column is about its coverage of climate change. The public editor reports that she "talked to Times journalists and outside observers who are close readers of The Times's environment coverage — including former Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice and a former newspaper journalist himself." The column concludes with a passage quoting Mr. Gore:
Does the public editor agree with Mr. Gore's view? She doesn't say, but she does let him have the last word in her column. The column doesn't say whether any fossil-fuel company executives were interviewed.
From Roger Cohen's column in today's Times:
"Which works, policies or right or left?" is how the New York Times teased, on the front of its Sunday Review section, an article claiming that the liberal policies of Minnesota's Democrat-Farmer-Labor governor, Mark Dayton, have been more successful than the conservative policies of Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker.
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