Another Day, Another Trashing of the Times

While bloggers take on every story in sight, the paper itself goes blog wild, debuting two new ones.

Today is a day like every other in the blogosphere. That is to say: it’s Trash the New York Times Day.

Let’s start with the front page, shall we? Mass Revolution Now! jumps on David D. Kirkpatrik’s A1 piece, “Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry for Bush’s Base,” wondering why “in an article on the censure resolution [does the Times] mention impeachment 25 times and censure only 5 times?” To Mass’ mind, “the article leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Feingold specifically, or Democrats in general, are crying out for the impeachment of President Bush,” which, Mass writes, “could not be farther from the truth.” An additional Mass beef: “spin from liberals” is limited to Nancy Pelosi while “the article … quotes heavily from conservative low lives [sic] such as Rush Limbaugh and others.” In sum: with too much he-said and not enough she-said, the Times carries water for the right, as usual.

Turk at Kung Fu Quip is quipping about another A1 story, the second paragraph of which begins as follows: “The risks of living along the coast inside what amounts to little more than an aluminum box are already obvious to [trailer-owners] Mitchell and Marie Bartholomew …” These “risks” were also “already obvious,” apparently, to Turk, whose response to the piece (which is about how FEMA’s housing solution for many Katrina victims — lightweight trailers — may not be the best idea “in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes, and … hurricanes”) is: “Well, duh!” Turk elaborates: “In a brilliant piece of reporting, the New York Times has uncovered an amazing fact — you don’t want to be living in a trailer during hurricane and tornado season.” In sum: I am criticizing the Times for reporting the obvious in its report about how something obvious somehow never occurred to FEMA.

Moving on to the Arts section. Chris of Zeke’s Gallery wonders why Carol Kino’s piece about buying fine art at Costco is “taking up space” in the Times, offering this handy summary of the offending article: “In a nutshell, a guy buys something, a guy likes that thing. Someone else says that thing is bad. Guy says ‘so what?’ Why is this news?” To Chris we say: When one guy says something is good, another guy says something is bad, and then the first guy blows the second guy off, it’s always news —ask any Washington reporter.

We did find a silver lining for the Gray Lady over at Opinio Juris where Roger Alford “really like[s]” a recent bit of blogging (subscription required) by Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, calling it “one of those rare instances in which a columnist of Kristof’s stature forthrightly tells how he actually obtains the stories like the genocide in Sudan.” Yes, you read that right: somewhere in the ‘sphere, a blogger is praising the Times (true, the praise is for a blog post, but still). Perhaps even more unusual, Alford, while continuing to admire Kristof’s work, engages in some blogger self-flagellation. To wit: “I think many bloggers sometimes forget just how hard it is for real columnists like Kristof to do the heavy labor of primary research on the ground in hot spots around the world. We get to just sit back, comment, and critique.”

Meanwhile, the Times itself continues to go blog wild, unveiling this week two new Weblogs. One is about the sure-to-be-heated mayoral race in Newark, New Jersey. The other is about drinking. We plan to visit them both — in that order.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.