NY Mag to NYT: Yer gettin’ sloppy

posted at 12:55 pm on March 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The New York Times has a major profile of Tim Pawlenty in today’s paper, arguing that Pawlenty has started to position himself as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, an ironic position given Romney’s status in the late 2008 race as the conservative alternative to John McCain.  As part of their analysis of Pawlenty’s new, aggressive campaigning, they report that Pawlenty has been affecting a “southern drawl,” dropping Gs and using “ain’t”, based on a blog report from Iowa.  However, New York Magazine takes issue with their reporting and demonstrates that the NYT didn’t do much investigatin’ and reportin’ on its claim.

First, here’s the passage from the NYT:

At a faith forum last week in Iowa, he displayed vigor. But the next day at the Statehouse, the talk among several Republicans was that it seemed he had suddenly developed a Southern accent as he tried connecting to voters by speaking louder and with more energy.

The political blog of Radio Iowa heard it too and noted, “Pawlenty seems to be adopting a Southern accent as he talks about his record as governor.” As he spoke of the country’s challenges, he dropped the letter G, saying: “It ain’t gonna be easy. This is about plowin’ ahead and gettin’ the job done.”

NYM finds the speech and the passage in question, and while Pawlenty dropped a couple of Gs, he clearly says getting:

Frankly, we haven’t heard Pawlenty speak enough to know if the folksy accent he exhibited in the speech was uncommon for him. But we’re at least pretty sure that we hear Pawlenty say getting, not gettin’, in the line plucked out by the Times. Watch the clip and determine for yourself whether the Times is nitpickin’.

Seems as though the Gray Lady ain’t checkin’ sources well these here days, huh?

As for a Southern drawl, well, I’m hearing more Fargo than Nawlins in Pawlenty’s speech, but your mileage may vary on that point. We criticized the Ivy League-educated Barack Obama for dropping his Gs and Hillary Clinton for affecting an actual Southern drawl on the campaign trail, so it’s hardly unfair to note the dropped Gs and the “ain’t” for Pawlenty. However, people drop their Gs in other places than the South, including up here in Minnesota, as well as say “ain’t” pretty much across the country (and for good reason, as it fills a specific need for a contraction for a first-person negative present tense for the verb to be, but don’t get me started on that esoteric debate).

The question is whether it’s authentic or an affectation for Pawlenty. I’ve heard him speak often, both in groups and in conversation, and yes, he drops his Gs occasionally as most people do. It’s probably not a good idea on the stump in any case, though, especially since Pawlenty already has the middle-class credibility working for him in this campaign. But it’s more important for newspapers to check the record before offering a transcript like the Times does here, and kudos to New York Magazine for doing the work that the Paper of Record’s layers of fact-checkers and editors ain’t doin’.


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as well as say “ain’t” pretty much across the country (and for good reason, as it fills a specific need for a first-person negative present tense for the verb to be, but don’t get me started on that esoteric debate).

Languages are alive. We don’t speak the same English that our 1700′s era forebears spoke. ‘nuf said.

unclesmrgol on March 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Why is this even a story?

dominigan on March 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

You betcha.

fossten on March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Seems as though the Gray Lady ain’t checkin’ sources well these here days, huh?

Hasn’t for years. Gets in the way of ‘the message’.

GarandFan on March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

When Paul Wellstone did it–dropping “g’s” during speeches–it really was an act. But Pawlenty grew up in South Saint Paul, and comes by it naturally.

RBMN on March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

In a society which has lovingly embraced the F bomb in everyday speech and writing, dropping a g is not a world shaking event.

a capella on March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Ha. Compare Barack Hussein Obama’s speech patterns when he speaks to Congress or a rally in the mid-west and then when he speechifies to the NAACP or a black church congregation. Or, Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning for the 2008 POTUS nomination and speechifying before the masses at different locations throughout the U.S.

New York Times: All The News That’s Fit To Wrap Fish With

FlatFoot on March 14, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Funny how the NYT never seems to mind when Barry drops every “g,” says “ta” instead of “to,” and gets all Al Sharpton-like when he’s trying to drum up a little economic justice.

redfoxbluestate on March 14, 2011 at 1:03 PM

as well as say “ain’t” pretty much across the country (and for good reason, as it fills a specific need for a first-person negative present tense for the verb to be, but don’t get me started on that esoteric debate).

Maybe, but he used it here in place of “isn’t”.
If I’m understanding you correctly, “ain’t” would be filling the place of a contraction of “am not”.
I guess “amn’t” never caught on.

Count to 10 on March 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM

They just noticed The New Duranty Times?

JimK on March 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Why don’t they write an article about Duh Won’s street jive lingo when he’s trying to get down with the homies, his odd references to scripture when he’s trying to make up to the bitter clingers for calling them bitter clingers and his phony, Hahvahd schtick when he’s hanging out with the Beltway crowd.

And he never pronounces “to” correctly. He always says, “tuh.” Yep, he’s a god of soaring rhetorical calamities.

Cody1991 on March 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The NYT must have a ball with how Barney speaks…Barney talks like he has something jammed in his mouth and down his throat…

right2bright on March 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Can I get me a huntin’ license here? Me and Jenjiss goin’ huntin.

saint kansas on March 14, 2011 at 1:11 PM

says “ta” instead of “to,”

redfoxbluestate on March 14, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Worst. Ever.

Want to claw my ears off anytime I hear him say that.

Abby Adams on March 14, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Sayin’ ‘ain’t’ and droppin’ ‘Gs’ does not a southern accent make. Damyankees!

cartooner on March 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Yep, he’s a god of soaring rhetorical calamities.

Cody1991 on March 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The “Toleebahn” agrees.

Knucklehead on March 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

You betcha.

fossten on March 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Priceless! You made my day!

Amjean on March 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Now don’t get me wrong, there are alot of things about Obama I really like, and I care for McCain even less, but Obama’s switching on and off of his southern accent really irks me for some reason.

Obama Develops Mysterious Southern Accent

Barry Obama has a new southern accent

Obama’s Blaccent: Real or Affected?

Stories spanning three or four years.

Akzed on March 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Why is this even a story?

dominigan on March 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Obama has given orders to his liberal media friends to start looking for anything they can nitpick about any GOP candidate, and this was the best his buds could come up with.

BruthaMan on March 14, 2011 at 1:19 PM

He’s not really trying to talk Southern unless he says he’s “fixin to” do something “d’rectly” in a southern drawl, ya’ll.

scalleywag on March 14, 2011 at 1:19 PM

NYM finds the speech and the passage in question, and while Pawlenty dropped a couple of Gs, he clearly says getting:

I’m pretty sure I also heard him say “Boy.”

saint kansas on March 14, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Here in Connecticut, we have a tendency to not pronounce the letter “T”. And yeah, maybe it’s just me, but T-Paw didn’t sound very “Southern” in that vid. And I clearly heard his “G”s…

In no way does it compare to Hillary’s memorable “I ain’t no ways tired” speech.

JetBoy on March 14, 2011 at 1:24 PM

The NYT must have a ball with how Barney speaks…Barney talks like he has something jammed in his mouth and down his throat…

right2bright on March 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

o_O

JetBoy on March 14, 2011 at 1:26 PM

as well as say “ain’t” pretty much across the country (and for good reason, as it fills a specific need for a first-person negative present tense for the verb to be, but don’t get me started on that esoteric debate).

Languages are alive. We don’t speak the same English that our 1700′s era forebears spoke. ‘nuf said.

unclesmrgol on March 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM

English is a living, breathing language!

Goldenavatar on March 14, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Yep, he’s a god of soaring rhetorical calamities.

Cody1991 on March 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The “Toleebahn” agrees.

Knucklehead on March 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

As do the Marine Corpse!

dmh0667 on March 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Breaking: Harry Reid denounces Pawlenty’s “Negro dialect.”

Abby Adams on March 14, 2011 at 1:32 PM

it fills a specific need for a contraction for a first-person negative present tense for the verb to be

A contraction for I am not, in other words. What about I’m not? Or I amn’t? (First person plural is much easier: we aren’t or we’re not.) There is no specific need for ain’t to fill.

My question is: why do Republican candidates think they need to sound like dunces in order to win the Republican nomination?

hicsuget on March 14, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I sent this to my Tifton, Georgia born mother in law to rate this speech for “southerness”… she replied “I got the Yankee speaking, where is the southern guy?”

Odie1941 on March 14, 2011 at 1:42 PM

With all the things we and the rest of the planet have to worry about, Pawlenty’s g’s or the lack of them is almost too miniscule to justify a mention.

jeanie on March 14, 2011 at 1:58 PM

My question is: why do Republican candidates think they need to sound like dunces in order to win the Republican nomination?

hicsuget on March 14, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I see we have a satisfied reader of the New York Times with us today.

A Balrog of Morgoth on March 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM

What do you mean, gettin????

capejasmine on March 14, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Cody1991 on March 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The “Toleebahn” agrees.

Knucklehead on March 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

As do the Marine Corpse!

dmh0667 on March 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

As do those in Pahkeestahn, who follow the “holy” Korahn.

Opinionator on March 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Zzzz.

Good Lt on March 14, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

J_Crater on March 14, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Is the NYT still around? Just sayin’

in_awe on March 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Why is this even a story?

dominigan on March 14, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I agree: the motto emblazoned on the NYT building might as well be:

“All the news that fits, we print!! (and we ignore the rest)”

So what’s new? A real story would focus on why people still pay for the NYT.

landlines on March 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

For you yankee pinheads that want to parse “Ain’t” it is used in many different ways. That ain’t the right part (is not). You ain’t the one I was expecting (are not). I ain’t going with you (am not). For hicsuget, maybe you should ask your boss Barry why he butchers the English language daily and receives not one word of disapproval from the NYT. Things like yaow instead of you know. ta, for to. And many many wrong syntaxes, conjunctions and mispronunciations like corpse for corps. Columbia? Harvard? You are looking at affirmative action at its worst.

inspectorudy on March 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

The NYT laid off their “layers of editors and fact-checkers” long ago.

But they always regarded stories like this – of no news significance but potentially embarrassing to a Republican – as “too good to check.”

Adjoran on March 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM

NYT who?

Who cares what the old grey lady has to say…

Officer of the Deck! CPA is past and opening!

Khun Joe on March 14, 2011 at 3:06 PM

That is the best they’ve got? Grey Lady, please….

princetrumpet on March 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM

The NYT must have a ball with how Barney speaks…Barney talks like he has something jammed in his mouth and down his throat…

right2bright on March 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

If we tawkin’ ’bout Bawney Fwank, his alphabet’s got two W’s and no R’s. If he ever lived on a Rural Route, he couldn’t say his address.

Wonder what the Snooty Yawk Times would say about Haley Barbour’s diction?

Steve Z on March 14, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Oops, once more without the strike-thru:

If we tawkin’ ’bout Bawney Fwank, his alphabet’s got two W’s and no R’s. If he ever lived on a Rural Route, he couldn’t say his address.

Wonder what the Snooty Yawk Times would say about Haley Barbour’s diction?

Steve Z on March 14, 2011 at 5:23 PM

What do you mean, gettin????

capejasmine on March 14, 2011 at 2:15 PM

What do YOU mean, gettin????

runawayyyy on March 14, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Well, I haven’t heard enough Pawlenty to compare his speech patterns, that may be what people from South St. Paul sound like, but it most definately AIN’T what we sound like down here in Redneckia. Not even close. This is what I call “folksy.” No drawls, no ya’lls, Not Southern.

di butler on March 14, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Since Keller is leaving the slimes does it mean Carlos Slim is calling in his loan? Remember 250 mil at 14%, or so it was reported.

tim c on March 14, 2011 at 8:51 PM