Big Media’s Big Failures: Non-scandal edition

posted at 8:50 pm on August 22, 2011 by Karl

Someone asked me whether the recent error-riddled New York Times hit piece on Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, could subject the NYT to a libel suit. Theoretically, the article is so bad that it could warrant a complaint, but as a practical matter, a lawsuit would be a waste of time. Assuming Issa could convince a judge that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Eric Lichtblau and the NYT acted with “actual malice” in publishing the story, Congressmen are not sympathetic plaintiffs.

Notably, the hit piece is one of the very few things the NYT has written about Issa. The NYT has also written next to nothing about Operation Fast & Furious, the Obama administration scandal currently in Issa’s crosshairs. Indeed, the NYT editorial board does not seem to think it’s worth investigating, let alone covering, if it does not advance the paper’s crusade for gun control.

Of course, Issa is far from the only Republican to get smeared by The New York Times. The past weekend brought us the headline “Perry Mines Texas System to Raise Cash for Campaigns,” followed by a story that doesn’t support the charge. Indeed, the story goes on for paragraphs about the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund before noting: “[Perry spokeswoman] Ms. Nashed said that grants from both funds must be approved by the speaker of the Texas House and the lieutenant governor and that all recipients go through rigorous reviews.” It would have been easy for the NYT to verify that Nashed was right — but that would not advance the NYT narrative. Mind you, there is a legitimate debate to be had about not only funds of this sort, but also potential crony capitalism generally. But if the NYT were genuinely interested in crony capitalism, they would be rooting it out in the Obama Administration as well. Suffice it to say the NYT has avoided the issue like the plague.

Examples of the NYT modus operandi abound in election cycles, the bogus McCain-Iseman affair being a classic of the genre, right down to the “correction” essentially repudiating the story — made 364 days (and an election) after the original story ran.

It is tiresome to write about the bias of the establishment media in general and the NYT in particular. I have previously described it as the political version of bad weather — something the right must be aware of, but largely beyond their control. I have also written time and again about the tendency of the establishment punditry to hype “epistemic closure” on the right, when the establishment media engages in magical thinking about the biggest issues of the day. Given Big Media’s twin failures on the Great Recession and the debt bomb, perhaps it should be obvious that the NYT would be more interested in smearing Issa than covering Operation Fast & Furious. However, much of the history of the 21st Century is shaping up to be about the institutional failures of 20th Century progressivism — so-called Keynesian economics, the over-promising Ponzi schemes of the welfare state, and so on. In this sense, the decrepitude of establishment journalism is not simply another feature of the weather report, but part of a larger, more important story — a scandal establishment journalism inherently won’t cover.

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Ah the NYT…they make good toilet paper.

Cookies Mom on August 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Gunwalker and the Foundation of Liberty
The lives of the individuals harmed by Gunwalker mean nothing to statists.

It all comes down to this: Is there an inalienable right to self-defense? If there is, each man has indisputable, inestimable value, value that he may rightly preserve even if the life of another man is forfeit.
If a right to self-defense actually exists, it is in a very real sense the highest law of the land and all lesser laws must pay it deference. It fundamentally defines the social contract, the nature of the relationship between man and the state.

But if there is no such inalienable right, the entire nature of the social contract is changed. Each man’s worth is measured solely by his utility to the state, and as such the value of his life rides a roller coaster not unlike the stock market: dependent not only upon the preferences of the party in power but upon the whims of its political leaders and the permanent bureaucratic class.

Irony abounds in that England, the cradle of the common law and of our doctrine of self-defense, has utterly done away with even a government-condescended privilege to self-preservation.

NMRN123 on August 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Ah the NYT…they make good toilet paper.

Cookies Mom on August 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Nope, not even that. The cheap ink comes off on your butt.

katy the mean old lady on August 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM


SDarchitect on August 22, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Let’s just say that the NYT’s “outrage” over various matters is highly “nuanced and selective”.

Others would just call they hypocrites.

GarandFan on August 22, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Issa is a shrewd business man and will win the war. The slimes is trying to muddy the water but can not win anything.

tim c on August 22, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Ah the NYT…they make good toilet paper.

Cookies Mom on August 22, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Nope, not even that. The cheap ink comes off on your butt.

katy the mean old lady on August 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM


SDarchitect on August 22, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Since newspapers started using ‘green’ soy-based inks in the eighties or so, they can’t be used for toilet paper or fishwrap, because the ink comes off so easily.

I would like to see a deposit for newspapers, like for bottles in some states, because newspapers typically make up about 20-30% of most landfills. They don’t degrade as quickly as you would think either, based on some research digs. 50 cent deposit, refundable at any place that sells the papers.

Alinksy: learn your opponent’s rule book and use it to beat them over the head with.

slickwillie2001 on August 22, 2011 at 9:11 PM

All NYT would do is that they copied it from MMFA and other blogs without credit and without the need for fact checks as the source was reliable before, so they are the ones to blame and sue for the libel suit. The NYT can claim they got duped by the original article but they still stand by it.

tjexcite on August 22, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Can somebody explain to me how a newspaper with a measly 900k subscribers and a verifiable track record of false, fictitious, and/or generally wrong stories about 5 times a year for years on end can have any serious clout in a country of over 300,000,000 people?

Why is this paper taken seriously anymore?

Tim Zank on August 22, 2011 at 9:17 PM

I think the only way the MSM will report on fast & furious is if the GOP presidential candidates start using it as a hammer to hit Obama with.

mad saint jack on August 22, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Have to wonder how long they can survive unless the “party” starts funding their propaganda.

golfmann on August 22, 2011 at 9:29 PM

great for lining bird cages.

maineconservative on August 22, 2011 at 9:29 PM

well, here’s a story that the nyt will be sure to investigate. the head of SP is gone now…and being replace by a citigroup exec.

nice and cozy…the chicago way

r keller on August 22, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Is the New York Times still around? I thought they’d been debunked and sued enough to drive them out of business by now…..

Vntnrse on August 22, 2011 at 9:42 PM

My parrot refuses to allow me to use the NYT on the bottom of his cage….he refuses to “do his duty” on such garbage!

Vntnrse on August 22, 2011 at 9:44 PM

I used to bring fish and chips home from school and they always wrapped the fish in wax paper before they wrapped it in newspaper.
So I guess it would be OK for that and not much else.

Bambi on August 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM

Soros pays to keep the NYT in business, once he has no use for the Times they will fold. They have no credibility and are the laughing stock of all serious journalism.

MJZZZ on August 22, 2011 at 10:10 PM

If Operation Fast & Furious had happened during Bush’s terms, we would already have editorial cartoons where Bush is literally shooting border agents. Mr. Above-The-Fray gets a pass because socialists must be protected by the MSM.

JavelinaBomb on August 22, 2011 at 10:13 PM

I remember during the 2008 campaign when the NTY’s published an op-ed written by Obama and the following week McCain wrote one to respond and they refused to publish it.

NeoKong on August 22, 2011 at 10:38 PM

great for lining bird cages.

maineconservative on August 22, 2011 at 9:29 PM

…as long as the poor bird can’t read.

hillbillyjim on August 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM

“Who steals my purse steals trash…but he who filches from me my good name takes that which enriches him not, but leaves me very poor indeed.”

Maybe it’s time to repeal the “Actual Malice” hurdle that public figures must jump over to prove libel and go back to the “Knew or Should Have Known the Story Was False” standard that applies to the rest of us when trying to defend our reputations.

potkas7 on August 23, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Why is this paper taken seriously anymore?
Tim Zank on August 22, 2011 at 9:17 PM

It’s kept alive by links from Hot Air.

Akzed on August 23, 2011 at 8:58 AM

The New York Times = Yellow Journalism.

There is already a name for how the Grey Lady operates. For some reason though the people who are targeted, and smeared by the NYT, could make an issue out of their journalistic practices (the yellow streak down their backs a mile wide) but they don’t.

Dr Evil on August 23, 2011 at 9:14 AM