A Times article about a Los Angeles lawyer, John B. Quinn, a founder of the Quinn Emanuel law firm, has the dubious distinction of including two consecutive paragraphs that begin with maddeningly imprecise modifying phrases.
The Times writes:
The next paragraph begins:
What is this article attempting to communicate? Was Mr. Quinn born in Virginia? Or was his entire family born there?
From a front-page so-called "news article" in Monday's Times:
A dispatch from Libya on the front page of the Times includes this sentence: "Nightmares came after the Islamists crucified people accused of crimes at a major traffic junction, then left their bodies to rot."
What happened at the major traffic junction? The crimes? The accusations of the crimes? The crucifixions? All three things?
It's sure difficult to tell from that sentence, which stopped me in my tracks as I was reading. Maybe the Times editors are on summer vacation? Maybe they all took buyouts? Sometimes the lack of clear writing in the Times is as grating as the bias.
The New York Times' favorite source on Iran, former State Department official Thomas Pickering, was getting paid money by Boeing, a fact that the Times failed to disclose to readers even though Boeing had a significant financial stake in the Iran sanctions being lifted. I have a report up at the Algemeiner about this that you can read by clicking here.
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.
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.
A dispatch in the national section of the Times begins:
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.
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:
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.)
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.
Reader-community member-watchdog-content co-creator Bob Hill of Pinecrest, Fla. writes:
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.
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.
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