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The Conflict in Gaza

July 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

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A Times dispatch from Kansas City, Mo., about an appearance there by President Obama reports:

The president was informal and relaxed, interacting with a crowd that was quick to respond, cheering and booing — a bit of a foil to a number of signs outside the theater before his speech protesting his policies on immigration, the conflict in Gaza and other issues.

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Alcohol and Minors

July 31, 2014 at 10:56 am

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A full-column length Times editorial by Philip Boffey presses the case the Times has been making in favor of legalizing marijuana. It includes this passage:

Marijuana's negative health effects are arguments for the same strong regulation that has been effective in curbing abuse of legal substances. Science and government have learned a great deal, for example, about how to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Mandatory underage drinking laws and effective marketing campaigns have reduced underage alcohol use to 24.8 percent in 2011, compared with 33.4 percent in 1991.

Click through the link to the CDC data provided by the Times, and you will see the following disclaimer, which the Times doesn't pass along to its print readers: "Due to survey design modifications, comparison of results from before 1999 to 1999–2001 and 2002–2011 need to be made with caution."

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Israeli Propaganda

July 29, 2014 at 9:47 am

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A front-page dispatch from "Near the Israel-Gaza Border" reports:

Israeli political and military leaders mention the tunnel threat nearly every time they speak, and have gained widespread international support for eliminating them. The military in recent days has distributed photographs of tunnels that troops uncovered, and videos of them placing explosives inside and blowing some up. As part of the propaganda push, the military has also invited a few journalists underground for a tour.

My Webster's Second unabridged has as a definition of propaganda, "any systematic, widespread, deliberate indoctrination or plan for such indoctrination: now often used in a derogatory sense, connoting deception or distortion."

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Kenneth Griffin Divorce

July 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

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The Times runs a 1,079 word news article in the business section about hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin filing for a divorce. The length of the article strikes me as excessive. Businessmen and other news-making individuals get divorced all the time. When Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. got separated from his wife, the Times ran a 161-word squib.

The Times headline over the Griffin article is "A Divorce That Thrusts Ken Griffin and Anne Dias Griffin Into the Spotlight," but that is disingenuous. The Times is the spotlight operator. It's not the divorce thrusting the Griffins into the spotlight, but the Times editor who decided to cover the issue at a length of 1,079 words.


Missing William Safire

July 24, 2014 at 10:01 pm

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A Times editorial about the war in Israel and Gaza says, "The war is terrorizing innocent people on both sides of the border, fomenting more hatred, creating an ever larger appetite for vengeance and ensuring that the cycle of violence will be repeated, if not right away then surely at some point in the future."

On the phrase "cycle of violence," The Times editorialists should read their own late columnist, William Safire.

Here he is, from March of 2002: "By denouncing Israel's defense as part of a 'cycle of violence,' Arab sympathizers treat this latest Arab aggression and Israeli defense as morally the same. But this terror war is but a battle in the same war that has been waged against Israel for 50 years."

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Jeffrey Goldberg on Syria and Gaza

July 23, 2014 at 1:39 pm

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Jeffrey Goldberg writes at the Atlantic:

I was struck, over the weekend, by the lack of coverage of the Syrian civil war, in which the death count recently passed 170,000. By Sunday night, it had become clear that the weekend in toll in Syria would stand at roughly 700 dead—a larger number, obviously, than the weekend toll in Gaza (and more than the total number of deaths in this latest iteration of the Gaza war to date.) I tweeted the following in response to this news out of Syria: "I sincerely hope the @nytimes covers the slaughter in Syria – 700 dead in 48 hours – in tomorrow's paper. Very important story as well."

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Rape at Hobart and William Smith

July 22, 2014 at 6:37 am

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Today's Times has a follow-up article to last week's investigation of a sexual assault case at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. At the Manhattan Institute's Minding the Campus blog, KC Johnson has some criticism of the Times coverage.


Times Hypes IBO Analysis

July 22, 2014 at 6:32 am

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At the blog of the Empire Center, E.J. McMahon has a useful debunking of a Times article that claims "Wealthier New Yorkers Aren't Fleeing the City For Tax Havens." He calls that "a real stretch."


Ferguson Versus Krugman

July 22, 2014 at 6:29 am

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Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson calls New York Times columnist Paul Krugman a liar.


The News Hamas Sees Fit To Print

July 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

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Writing in the Weekly Standard, Noah Pollak has another critique of the Times coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict. It is headlined, "All The News Hamas Sees Fit To Print."


Israel Coverage

July 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

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Frustration and anger are building within the American Jewish community and the broader pro-Israel community at the New York Times coverage of the conflict in Israel and Gaza. Some examples:

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Cigarette Pricing

July 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm

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A front-page news article about a potential merger between the Lorillard and Reynolds American cigarette companies reports, "Antitrust regulators in Washington are certain to scrutinize a deal that would effectively leave cigarette sales — and pricing — in the hands of a duopoly."

That's inaccurate. Cigarette pricing wouldn't be in the hands of a duopoly. It would be in the same hands it is in now — the hands of the government, which imposes a federal tax of $1.01 for a pack of 20 small cigarettes, $2.11 for a pack of 20 large cigarettes, along with state and local taxes that in New York City reach a combined $5.85 a pack. With taxes totaling $6, $7, or $8 a pack, claiming that pricing is in the hands of the cigarette companies is nonsense.



July 12, 2014 at 9:34 pm

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In the midst of a Times "deal professor" column by Steven Davidoff Solomon about how electronic cigarettes are supposedly inspiring the Lorillard-Reynold American merger, comes this:

people are already predicting that sales of e-cigarettes will surpass those of regular cigarettes — well, by 2047, according to one analysis by Bloomberg Industries.
By 2047, many of us could also be underwater because of global warming, assuming we are alive.

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Thane Rosenbaum

July 12, 2014 at 9:28 pm

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A Times article quotes "Thane Rosenbaum, a law professor at Fordham University and a widely published author on legal ethics."

Mr. Rosenbaum did used to teach at Fordham, but the center he directs has moved to NYU School of Law, where Mr. Rosenbaum is now a senior fellow. If the Times is going to identify him as being associated with a law school, it might take the trouble to get the correct one.


Bogus Brooks Einstein Quote

July 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

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David Brooks concludes his column with this sentence:

Or, as Albert Einstein put it, "You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."

I challenge Mr. Brooks to cite the original source of Einstein saying this in the words that are in the quotation marks. I think it is a bogus quote. Einstein may have said similar things, but I don't think he ever wrote or said the words that Brooks quotes him as saying. If Mr. Brooks can come up with a proper citation, giving the time, place, and source for Einstein saying this, I will happily apologize, but until he does, I think he has fallen for a phony Einstein quote.


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