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The Times on Harvard

November 21, 2014 at 8:54 am

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Reviewing Harvard's new art museum, Times art critic Holland Carter writes, "enough 'classical' touches have been retained to suit a school that has always been conservative and tradition bound at its cultural core."

Mr. Carter may be right on some level in his assessment, but it depends on where you sit. Plenty of conservatives, looking at Harvard, probably see it not as "conservative and tradition bound" but rather as a liberal institution whose law school has recently given us Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama. With its description of Harvard, the Times lets us know where it sits.


Foreign Language Times

November 20, 2014 at 10:11 am

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Times journalist Lydia Polgreen announced on Twitter that she is "starting a new gig, leading a team that will explore publishing the New York Times in languages other than English."

Good luck with that. Dow Jones just announced it was discontinuing its local-language websites in Germany and Turkey and its Turkish-language newswire, though it does produce Spanish-language content. The Times did publish a Spanish-language version of its recent editorial calling on America to restrict the immigration of Cuban doctors, and it published a Chinese-language version of its recent editorial about the visa issues facing Times journalists in China.

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Would Midnight Basketball Deter Jihad?

November 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

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Back in August of 2013, a front-page Times article about Palestinian Arab children who throw rocks at Israelis explained: "They throw because there is little else to do in Beit Ommar — no pool or cinema, no music lessons after school, no part-time jobs other than peddling produce along the road."

Today's Times carries a fascinating dispatch from Paris about two Frenchmen, Michael Dos Santos and Maxime Hauchard, who converted to Islam, joined the Islamic State, and appeared as ISIS members in the latest beheading video:

On Monday, news reports quoted friends describing Mr. Hauchard as gentle, joyful and a regular mosquegoer. "He was never rebellious," Philippe Vanheule, the mayor of Bosc-Roger-en-Roumois, told Le Monde.

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Brooks on Obama

November 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

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David Brooks uses the term "Gruberism" — defined as "the belief that everybody else is slightly dumber and less well-motivated than oneself and, therefore, politics is more about manipulation than conversation" — in his column today. I used the same term yesterday at FutureOfCapitalism.com. It's a pretty good column as Brooks columns go, but it is marred by a puzzling sentence toward the beginning: "President Obama has racked up some impressive foreign-policy accomplishments, but, domestically and politically, things are off the rails."

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Times Finds Immigrants It Wants to Keep Out

November 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

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You've got to see it to believe it, really, but while the rest of the left is, with perhaps some reason, cheering on President Obama's campaign to make America more immigrant-friendly (as is the Times in a couple of news articles), the Times devotes its lead editorial today to a group of immigrants it wants to keep out of America — doctors trying to flee Communist Cuba.To hear the Times tell it, America is too welcoming to these physician-refugees, and our government should make it more difficult for the Cuban doctors to come here.

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Blame Game

November 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

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For a lovely example of internal New York Times gotcha politics playing out in a way that puts a low priority on readers' interests, consider the following correction from today's New York Times:

A correction in this space on Wednesday for an article on Nov. 8 about efforts by Japan and China to step back from a longstanding dispute over islands in the East China Sea omitted the source of the error — that Japan had controlled the islands since World War II. (It has held them for most years since the 1880s.) The error was made during the editing process, not by the reporter, Jane Perlez.

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Norman Foster

November 14, 2014 at 9:12 am

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Toward the bottom of a front-page New York Times article about the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's plan to rename Avery Fisher Hall comes this:

An architect for the new hall has yet to be selected. Although the Philharmonic board voted in 2005 to proceed with a design by the British architect Norman Foster, the thinking has evolved since then, and the orchestra is starting over.

This Times article doesn't mention it, but some readers may remember a dispatch back in May about the New York Public Library's decision to abandon a plan for a major renovation of its flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd St.:

This shift is something of a defeat for the library, which had already paid the British architect Norman Foster $9 million in private funds for his firm's work on the plan for the flagship, a 1911 Beaux-Arts landmark.

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November 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

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The "Deal Professor" column in the Times about Sears Holdings, has many problems. One is that it inaccurately describes Fairholme Capital as "another hedge fund." As I understand it, Fairholme has a small hedge fund but is primarily a mutual fund manager.


Sears Drastic Sale Leaseback

November 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

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Business reporter Michael de la Merced has apparently been released from his extensive public-service journalism responsibilities on the Kenneth Griffin divorce beat for long enough to write a ridiculous article smearing Sears Holdings for an announcement that sent the company's stock soaring 31% on Friday.

Wrote Mr. de la Merced in the Times:

On Friday, the struggling retailer unveiled yet another unusual financial maneuver that it may employ: selling some of its stores to a new real estate investment trust...

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Ex Parte

November 8, 2014 at 10:11 pm

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From a front-page news article in the Times about participation by big philanthropic foundations in an effort to assist Detroit through bankruptcy proceedings:

In the fall of 2013, Mariam Noland, the president of the Detroit-based Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, ran into Judge Rosen in a deli near the courthouse. She said she had heard that he was working on the city's bankruptcy case, and offered, somewhat offhandedly, her help. Not long after, Judge Rosen called. He asked her to call foundation leaders and invite them to Detroit for a meeting.

The Times doesn't get into the question of whether it was appropriate for Ms. Noland to approach a judge in a deli to talk about a case in which the judge was involved.

From an article in the N.Y/Region section of the Times from the same day:

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Intifada or Not

November 6, 2014 at 10:11 pm

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Is Palestinian Arab unrest in Jerusalem the sign of a third Intifada, or uprising? The Times' answer to this question apparently depends on what time of day you look at the paper's website. The useful site NewsDiffs.org tracks how, over the course of the day, the Times changed the headline over pretty much the same news article, from "Few See New Palestinian Intifada in Jerusalem Unrest" to "In Jerusalem Unrest, Signs of a 'Run-Over Intifada' for the 21st Century." It would be nice for the many readers who saw the first headline on the Times home page during the day to get some notification or explanation of why it was changed. Did it become inaccurate?


Cohen Cancels

November 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm

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Times columnist Roger Cohen's announced keynote appearance at a fundraiser for the National Iranian American Council, which supports weakening American sanctions on Iran, has been canceled, Ron Radosh reports at PJM. We had highlighted the scheduled appearance in a post here.


One More Pre-Election Blunder

November 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

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Add another gem to yesterday's list of pre-election stories that make the Times look foolish:

October 27: Headline: "Democrats Seem Poised to Pick Up a Few Governor's Seats."

In fact, the Republicans are the ones who increased their number of governors seats, to at least 32 from 29 going in to the election.

Is it any accident that all of the stories in this series are from "The Upshot," the new "data-driven" (ha!) Times liberal opinion section masquerading as news?

Thanks to reader-participant-community member-watchdog-content co-creator J. for sending the tip.


Election Coverage

November 5, 2014 at 5:08 am

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The wave of Republican victories in yesterday's election have the New York Times, particularly its "Upshot" team of liberal-leaning opinion disguised as news, looking pretty foolish.

October 30: "Why Polls Tend to Undercount Democrats": "As Election Day nears, Democratic hopes increasingly hinge on the possibility that the polls will simply prove wrong. But that possibility is not far-fetched. The polls have generally underestimated Democrats in recent years, and there are reasons to think it could happen again."

October 31: "Early Voting Numbers Look Good For Democrats": "The turnout among black voters is particularly encouraging for Democrats...The figures are still good news for Democrats. The early-voting surge gives them a chance to pull off upsets in crucial states."

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Icahn and Dell

November 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

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A Times report about Michael Dell and his computer company is dismissive about Carl Icahn's achievements in intervening in Michael Dell's effort to take his computer company private:

The biggest roadblock was Mr. Icahn's demand for a higher price for his shares. After many shareholder votes and court challenges, Mr. Dell and his partners at the private equity firm Silver Lake raised their offer by a few pennies. But Mr. Icahn did not exactly bless the transaction.

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