The Nation calls for a reformation of the New York Times

May 15, 2022 • 11:45 am

When reader Linda sent me this link from the respected magazine The Nation (free read; click on screenshot below), I was delighted, thinking that writer Dan Froomkin was going to call out the NYT for its one-sided ultraprogressive Leftism that has begun seeping into its news coverage as well as having led to the newsroom’s dominance by social-media loudmouths.

I was out of luck. If anything, Froomkin is chastising the magazine and its previous editor, Dean Baquet, for being too easy on the Right! Click screenshot to read:

Froomkin thinks that the papers’ “both-side-ism” and its failure to call out Republican lies as the lies they are is going to hurt the Democrats during the midterm. His summary:

Under Baquet, the Times has treated the upcoming midterms like any other. Reporters have glibly asserted that Republicans are in great shape to sweep, and win back a majority in one or both houses of Congress. They have unquestioningly adopted the conventional political wisdom that midterms are a referendum on the president, and since Biden is underwater, it doesn’t matter what the Republicans stand for.

But that’s not what these midterms will actually be about. They won’t be about Joe Biden, or putting a “check” on his agenda. They won’t be a “protest vote”.

It’s not just that the GOP has become an insurrectionist party that traffics in hate-filled conspiracy theories and lies. Now the Supreme Court has evidently decided to repeal Roe v. Wade, and Republicans are planning to force pregnant women to term against their will.

For decades, the history of America has been of expanding human and constitutional rights. At this moment, however, we appear to be headed the other way—unless a supermajority says no at the ballot box. Starting in November.

That’s the real story of the midterms.

The goal of a responsible news organization is not to get people to vote a specific way. But it is to make sure that everyone understands what’s at stake.

[JAC: what Froomkin means is “that everyone agrees with me’]

This potential tipping point is what New York Times journalists should be reporting the hell out of. Even more importantly, they need to be putting every daily political story squarely in that context.

Maybe I’ve missed something, but it seems to me that the NYT journalists have been doing that. They would regularly enumerate and point out Trump’s lies, and except for their few token conservative columnists, most oop-eds were precisely about the dangers of the Republican Party and platform.

Apparently not. Froomkin wants every political story to be slanted towards the perfidy of the Right. But is that objective journalism?  Here’s a list of how Froomkin says the Times has failed in its reporting (his quotes) and what the new editor, Joe Kahn, must fix lest our Republic dissolve in acrimony:

  • False equivalence or both-sidesing (“lawmakers from the two parties could not even agree on a basic set of facts”)
  • Focusing on what works instead of whether it’s true or false (“Republicans are using fears of critical race theory to drive school board recalls and energize conservatives”)
  • Attributing the most obviously true characterizations to “critics” or Democrats (“Rufo…has become, to some on the left, an agitator of intolerance”)
  • Spectacular understatement (“in a move that has raised eyebrows among diplomats, investors and ethics watchdogs, Mr. Kushner is trying to raise money from the Persian Gulf states”)
  • Pox on both your houses (“Democrats, without much to brag about, accuse Republicans of being afraid of competitive elections”)
  • Giving both parties credit for solving problems entirely created by Republicans (“Senate Democrats and Republicans neared agreement…to temporarily pull the nation from the brink of a debt default”)
  • Denial and gaslighting (Republicans “have been intent on rehabilitating themselves in the eyes of voters after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last year”)

And more of his solution:

It doesn’t mean more “fact-checks” (which are insufficient, euphemistic, and skewed). It means rigorous lie-outing in the main news stories, and more stories about the motives behind the lies.

. . . The Times also needs to report aggressively and plainly on the racism, misogyny, and Christian nationalism that fuels the right, rather than covering it up with euphemisms.

Real independence manifests itself in exposing racial injustice and the civilian toll of US air strikes. It manifests itself in holding accountable institutions like the Supreme Court, the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers of Disease Control, major corporations, and, yes, both political parties—without fear or favor.

What he means by “both political parties” is apparently “one political party”—Republicans. God knows they ar the major danger to our democracy, but the solution to a Democratic victory cannot lie in slanting a paper whose news reporting is biased to the progressive Left towards the even farther left. Or in calling those who vote for Republicns racists, misogynists, or Christian nationalists. For THAT is disinformation!

For one thing, most Americans who vote for Republicans don’t read the New York Times. It would seem a far better for the Democrats to beef up their message to the people on immigration, the economy, and other issues that people care about than for one guy to hector the new editor of the NYT. Face it—we’re near the usual midterm downswing anyway, and it doesn’t help that the Democrats are fractured and Biden often appears senescent, with an all-time low approval rating.

But Froomkin’s solution to the wokeness of the New York Times appears to be for it to become more woke.

Shades of Nostradamus: the NYT touts precognition

May 11, 2022 • 1:15 pm

The tweet below from Steve PInker, which is spot on, brought this NYT book review to my attention. Once again, the paper dilates on the supernatural without any warning to the reader that there’s no evidence for the efficacy of “precognition”—being able to see into the future, a form of extra-sensory perception (ESP). Yet the book review implies that there might be something to it.

Here’s the tweet:

The NYT piece reviews this book (note the title). The account may be true, but the “death foretold”? Fuggedabout it.  (Click to go to Amazon link):

The author of this big of clickbait is W. M. Akers, whose bona fides, as given by the NYT, are “W.M. Akers is the author of “Westside,” “Deadball: Baseball With Dice” and the newsletter “Strange Times.” His most recent novel is “Westside Lights.”

The review (click to read):

Knight’s book tells the story of a British psychiatrist named John Baker, who was drawn to the supernatural and especially to precognition. He thought that if he could suss out credible instances of people foreseeing disasters, he might be able to prevent those disasters (think of a non-crime version of precogs in “Minority Report”). Here’s one instance of precognition that got Baker’s juices flowing:

n Oct. 21, 1966, Lorna Middleton woke up choking. The sensation passed, leaving behind melancholy and a sense of impending doom. After a lifetime of experiencing premonitions of misery and death, Middleton, a North London piano teacher, recognized the signs. Something hideous was on the way.

A few hours later, workers on a heap of coal waste in South Wales watched with horror as the 111-foot tower of “spoil” collapsed and cascaded down the mountain toward the village of Aberfan — thousands of tons of slurry and rock bearing down on the primary school. It was just past 10 in the morning and the classrooms were full of students doing spelling exercises, singing songs, learning math. When a 30-foot wave of refuse slammed into the building, they were buried alive. One hundred and forty-four people died that day. One hundred and sixteen were children, most between 7 and 10 years old. It was the sort of horror that makes people demand meaning — the sort for which meaning is rarely found.

Now that’s not a very precise example of precognition, is it? In fact, thousands of people probably had bad dreams that night, and where is the coal spoil in Middleton’s nonspecific dream? This seems like nothing more than pure coincidence. And how could precognition work, anyway? This doesn’t appear to be a subject of much interest to Knight—or Akers.

But in fact coincidence is what Baker was trawling for, looking for cases in which real “precogs” could be used in a practical way. If only the exact nature of the disaster could be predicted! Baker got to work, teaming up with Alan Hencher, a postal employee whose migraine headaches were supposed to predict disasters (but of what sort?) and Lorna Middleton, who had the bad dream that was followed by the coal-spoil avalanche::

Barker used his connections at The Evening Standard to solicit premonitions of the disaster. He found 22 he believed credible, including Middleton’s — he believed any vision accompanied by physical symptoms to be particularly strong. On the back of this research, The Standard recruited Barker to create a standing “Premonitions Bureau” that could catalog predictions and check to see how many came true. The Standard brass saw it as an offbeat way to sell papers. Barker considered it his chance to save the world.

“He wanted an instrument that was sensitive enough to capture intimations that were otherwise impossible to detect,” writes Knight. “He envisaged the fully fledged Premonitions Bureau as a ‘central clearinghouse to which the public could always write or telephone should they experience any premonitions, particularly those which they felt were related to future catastrophes.’ Over time, the Premonitions Bureau would become a databank for the nation’s dreams and visions — ‘mass premonitions,’ Barker later called them — and issue alerts based on the visions it received.”

So were any disasters averted? Nope, of course not. What we got is what we expected: there were dozens of premonitions, and  some of them roughly matched something that happened, but most (more than 97%) did not. And even when they didn’t, they stretched the premonitions so they’d be sort-of true:

In the first week of 1967, Barker and the Standard staff began sorting predictions into categories like “Royalty,” “Racing,” Fire” and “Non-specified disasters.” (The science correspondent Peter Fairley often drew on the racing file for betting tips.) Once categorized, they would wait to see what happened, and attempt to connect the tragedies on the news page with the prophecies in their files.

Along with Alan Hencher, a postal employee whose migraines seemed to anticipate disaster, Middleton became Barker’s best source. He greeted her successful predictions with glee. When the death of the astronaut Vladimir Komarov bore out her warning of peril in space, Barker wrote to say, “You were spot on. Well done!” When Bobby Kennedy was assassinated after months of her warning that his life was in danger, Barker called it her best work yet.

But what about Middleton’s unsuccessful predictions—her “worst work”? The review says nothing, except that they fudged the unsuccessful guesses to make them seem more accurate:

If they sometimes had to stretch to make the news fit what Middleton and her fellows dreamed up — letting tornadoes in the Midwest satisfy a prediction of catastrophic weather in California, for instance — Barker saw no problem. He was overjoyed with the success of his star psychics and hoped to scour the country to find more like them. He believed second sight was as common as left-handedness. It didn’t matter that the premonitions were rarely specific enough to be useful, warning simply of a train to derail somewhere, an airliner to crash at some point. Barker believed he was onto something cosmic.

Rarely specific enough to be useful? Why don’t they give us one instance in which a predication was useful, and evidence that the predictions that proved accurate were more common than could be accounted for by coincidence (e.g., was there one person whose precognitions were almost invariably accurate?) If this worked, that person would have won a million bucks from James Randi (nobody ever did). Even according to the author’s count, only 3% of the predictions “came true” (mostly from MIddleton and Hetcher). And that, I’m sure, is stretching it.

The text here gives one no assurance that anything other than coincidence was involved. To make a scientific and definitive statement about the efficacy of precognition, you’d need a rigorous and accurate set of tests, tests incorporating fraud-detectors like James Randi. There are no such tests that have proved successful. The NYT does not mention this.

But wait! There was one “successful” prediction: Middleton and Hencher predicted that Barker would soon die (they give no date) and a year and a half after the “predictions bureau” was founded, Barker had a cerebral hemorrhage and croaked. Is that uncanny, or just coincidence?

The review concludes that the precog experiment was indeed “worth a shot”:

Barker’s psychics’ predictions had proved accurate, but they did not help him avoid his fate. He had hoped to use the Bureau to change the future. It had not even come close. By Knight’s count, only 3 percent of the Bureau’s predictions came true — nearly all of the successes from Middleton and Hencher. It found no useful data and prevented no tragedies. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth a shot.

“We confer meaning as a way to control our existence,” writes Knight. “It makes life livable. The alternative is frightening.”

Three percent is better than nothing. Even false meaning is preferable to fear.

I’m sorry to have to say this, but that conclusion is bullshit.  If “false meaning is preferable to fear”, then we should all become religious. And, anyway, what kind of fear does 3% of coincidental matches dispel? What is the frightening abyss into which we must gaze if none of the predictions were even remotely true? The last two paragraphs are pure New Yorker-style prose: they sound good, but they say nothing.

Some of the evidence for precognition that people found convincing came from Daryl Bem. This evidence has not held up (see also here).  Doesn’t the NYT or its authors owe us that information, or the fact that there is no conceivable way that the laws of physics could even allow precognition?  No, because the paper is are wedded to cosseting our “spiritual” side.

 

Yes, Virginia, the New York Times is woke

April 17, 2022 • 9:45 am

Here’s an exchange I had with a reader in the comments section of my recent post, “Curmudgeon sees John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as a harmful song.” I was surprised that there were nearly 100 comments on what I thought was a pretty uncontroversial post. But one never knows what can get readers worked up:

I stand by my reply: any paper aspiring to credibility has to give more than one political viewpoint in its op-eds (granted, the Wall Street Journal is close to just one), and a few conservative columnists in the NYT does not make for an objective, much less an un-Woke, newspaper. What makes me accuse the NYT of wokeism is the way it slants its news reporting, letting a “progressive” liberal ideology seep into the news itself. Its coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict, with a clear bias towards Palestine, is one example. What happened to Bennet and McNeil are two others.

And yet another (or rather, several) is mentioned by Andrew Sullivan in the second part of Friday’s Substack column: “The NYT’s deliberate disinformation“. This refers to the tendency of the NYT to downplay race when a criminal proves to be black, but to emphasize race when the criminal is white and the victim black or a “person of color”—especially if the paper can find a “racist” or “white supremacy” angle. This is so clear in the NYT that I need hardly point it out. The reason, of course, is to indict whites for racism but avoid indicting blacks for racism—a clear double standard, but one reflected in the Woke definition of racism as “prejudice plus power.”

Sullivan’s main example is the recent subway shooting, with ten victims, by a black man who was apparently motivated by hatred of white people. (He also appears to be mentally ill.)  The NYT didn’t mention that the suspect was black until it had written twenty-one news items about the killing, and even tried to twist the suspect’s words to make it seem that he was a white supremacist.

Sullivan:

A mass shooting earlier this week was the worst incident on the New York City subway system in 40 years. The man who committed the attack has an extraordinary voluminous record online of his views, which add critical context to his motivations. And if you wanted to know what those views were, the one place you would be unable to find it was the New York Times. In fact, you found out far more about this NYC terror attack in the pages of London newspapers.

Why? The answer, it seems to me, is simple. Frank James is black. And the NYT treats crime very, very differently depending on the race of the suspect. If a white man had perpetrated this act of terror, and had online rantings about how much he hated blacks, we would be in Day Four of analysis of how white supremacist hatred fuels violence. Imagine if a white man had been yelling the following racial expletives in the streets before shooting up a subway station: “Fuck you and your black ass too, you black racist motherfucker” “Slant-eyed fucking piece of shit.” “You’re a crime against fucking nature, you Spanish speaking motherfucker.” But James said exactly that — if you replace the word “black” with “white” in the first quote.

James is obviously mentally unwell. But what’s notable about him is that this derangement is fused with black nationalism and separatism, and hatred of whites. His vicious insults against black people are because they refuse to see the genocidal motives of white people. . . [JAC: Sullivan goes on to give examples of James’s racism.]

But wait! There’s more:

But here’s the kicker: the NYT kept all of this from you. They excised the black nationalist background, and made it seem as if his railing against his fellow blacks proved he was not driven by 1619 ideology, and was just an equal opportunity hater. In the body of their reporting, it took two full days — after at least 21 news items comprising more than 14,000 words — to note in writing that the dude is African-American at all. Here’s the line they finally coughed up to summarize all this context:

The videos he posted frequently devolved into outbursts of homophobia, misogyny and offensive comments about Black people, Hispanic people and white people. Mr. James, who is Black, directed much of his hatred toward Black people, whom he often blamed for the way they were treated in the United States.

Notice how they manage to invert his actual ideology. They make him seem like a white nationalist! They first highlight his homophobia and misogyny (they are minor themes in the record), and never call him a racist. (Even CNNNBC News, and MSNBC called the rhetoric “racist.”)

Finally:

Now remember how the NYT covered the Atlanta shootings. There they invented a narrative of white supremacist anti-Asian hatred out of thin air — when there was nothing anywhere in the record to suggest it — and posted nine separate stories framed around that hate-crime narrative. This week, they bury reams of readily available evidence that the shooter was largely motivated by anti-white hatred, and had absorbed the prevailing CRT narrative. And still not a single op-ed or editorial on the terror attack, despite multiple opinion pieces in each of the NYC dailies. NYT: All the news that comports with CRT! Everything else buried deep.

Are these kinds of crime rare, as Nikole Hannah-Jones insisted this week? Of the 218 arrests for hate crimes in New York City last year, 103 were of African-Americans — 47 percent, compared with 24 percent of New York’s population. I wonder if James will be prosecuted as such. Or if “hate” only counts for some races and not others.

As far as I know, nobody (including the police) has yet turned up any evidence that the Atlanta “spa shootings,” in which Robert Long killed eight people, six of them Asian women, was a hate crime targeting Asians or motivated by Long’s hatred of Asians. The motivation seems to be Long’s cognitive dissonance between his Christianity and his “sex addiction” to frequenting massage parlors, in which customers would be sexually serviced by Asian women. He was not charged with a “hate crime” when he was given life without parole.  And yet despite the existence of no anti-Asian bias, people brought it up anyway, so eager are they to find evidence of race hatred. Even Wikipedia says this after dispelling a racist motive for the killings:

Some noted the ethnicity of six of the victims, who were Asian women, amidst an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, or characterized the shooting as a hate crime. Some experts have said that race cannot be ruled out as a motive because of the fetishization of Asian women in the U.S. Long said that his actions were not racially motivated.

“Some noted” indeed! People “note” all kinds of unsubstantiated things.  And of course we can’t completely “rule out” the existence of the Loch Ness monster, despite concerted and fruitless attempts to find it.

What we see here is the desperation of some to paint a racist victim narrative. Now it may be true that Long’s act sparked other anti-Asian attacks that were motivated by racism, but that’s not the issue. The issue is what motivated Long himself, and the NYT did all it could to paint this as a hate crime. Indeed, one could conclude that the NYT itself was responsible for a wave of anti-Asian hate crime by painting Long’s attack as one example. The existence of “copycat crimes” is well known.

Why did the NYT slant the news in both cases? Because it’s woke. It has bought into the victim narrative inherent in Wokeism combined with the view that minorities can’t really be racist or commit racist hate crimes because “racism equals prejudice plus power.” Under that mantra, members of racial minorities simply can’t be racist.

No rational person would buy that claim. Anybody who hates people simply because of their ethnicity is a racist. The “power” bit is an add-on to excuse minorities from being racist. The NYT’s valorization of minorities is also seen in the fact that its news section capitalizes “Black” but not “white” when referring to race, and the paperhas offered the lamest of excuses (see also here and here) for this disparity. (The Washington Post capitalizes both.)

If a paper is objective, it does not paint a racial narrative when there is no evidence for one, as in the Asian spa murders. And it does not downplay a racial narrative when there is one, as in the NYT subway killings. If you engage in this kind of doublethink, you are simply causing more racial division—as well as misleading readers by obscuring the truth.

This kind of narrative goes against any vision of treating members of different groups the same way. An objective newspaper wouldn’t do what the Times did. And it does this over and over again (as do other media). There is no credible explanation beside Wokeness.

And I hate myself for doling out $4 a month to subscribe to this paper. But the fact is that it remains the best liberal paper in the U.S., and I’m a liberal. But the Wokeness repeatedly irritates me, as you can see from reading this website.

Washington Post ditches “pregnant women” for “pregnant people”

April 13, 2022 • 12:00 pm

As I’ve always said, I don’t mind using whatever pronouns someone wants to be known by, but the buck stops for me when transgender women are considered as full biological women—and by that I mean women who produce (or have the potential to produce) large and immobile gametes. It’s not the word “woman” I object to; it’s the implicit conflation of biological women with transsexual women in every possible way: the equation of biological women with biological males who consider their gender to be female and may or may not take action to change their bodies. (I don’t care if they “transition” physically or not; I’ll be glad to use their pronouns.)

In this case, however, the gender transition is reversed: the Post uses “people” instead of “women” because they are catering to the other class of transsexuals: biological women who transition to the male gender—”transmen”. For this group the saying is “transmen are men.” Since transmen can get pregnant if they retain their female organs, but are prohibited from being called  “women”, then they are lumped together with biological women as simply “pregnant people”.

Ergo, the Washington Post has caved to this tendency by issuing the following headline (mentioned in the latest Substack column on Bari Weiss’s site); click to read:

In her piece about feminism at Weiss’s site, Zoe Strimpel said this:

“Pregnant people at much higher risk of breakthrough Covid,” The Washington Post recently declared. This was in keeping with the newspaper’s official new language policy: “If we say pregnant women, we exclude those who are transgender and nonbinary.”

That is explicitly obeisance of the mantra “trans men are men”, which is correct in terms of moral or legal treatment, but isn’t biologically true. In fact, the word “woman” appears only once in the article:

The researchers measured the risk by analyzing the records of pairs of fully vaccinated patients from the same part of the country. In each pair, one patient had the condition that was being measured, and the other did not. The patients were not matched by age, and the pregnant people could have been matched in the analysis with a man or a woman.

Why are they even admitting that there’s a dichotomy between men and women? (Indeed, there must be, for the very concept of “transsexual women” recognizes that there are classes of “men” and “women”.)  But of course there is a dichotomy—biologically. For all practical purposes, biological sex is a binary. The words “pregnant people“, however, appear six times. They can’t say “women” because transsexual men can sometimes get pregnant, and trans activists consider that this is the case of a man getting pregnant.

As I said, I’m happy to recognize someone’s self-assignment of gender, but I’m not willing to say that a transsexual male is a “man” in the biological sense—and getting pregnant is something that only biological women can do.  If this continues, so that language is tweaked to conform to the wishes of “progressive” activists, will we eventually lose the words “man” and “woman” altogether? Why not, if the Post‘s policy be sensible? It’s no wonder that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was reluctant to answer the question “What is a woman?” (She punted, but I think she should have answered as I would have, drawing a distinction between women as a biological class and women as a gender group).

I was sent the Post link by a woman reader who had enough of the paper when she read this headline and of the Post’s new policy. As she wrote me:

I knew my subscription to the Post could only last so long once I was forced to cancel the New York Times, and this is it. I told them if women don’t exist, neither do I–and if I don’t exist, I can’t possibly subscribe to The Washington Post.
LOL! It’s a good reason.

Strange reporting of a terrorist attack that killed three Israelis

April 10, 2022 • 10:00 am

Both the New York Times and ABC News report a terrorist attack that killed three Israelis in Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

Three other victims were in serious condition. As ABC News Reports:

Israeli security forces tracked down and killed the alleged assailant in a shootout early Friday near a mosque in Jaffa, an Arab neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv, according to statements from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet. The suspect was identified by Shin Bet as a 29-year-old Palestinian man from Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.

This is the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks on civilians, with 14 killed in the last 18 days. Malgorzata sent me a list, as we often don’t hear about these in the U.S.:

22 March, Beersheba, 4 killed, 2 wounded
27 March 2022, Hadera, 2 killed, 12 injured
29 March, Bnei Brak, 5 killed,
31 March, Gush Etzion, one seriously wounded (attacker shot dead)
7 April, Tel Aviv, 3 killed, 12 injured

In this case, both sources lead with the fact that it was a terrorist attack and was committed by a Palestinian.  Other sources haven’t been so clear! (See below.)

The dead included two friends since childhood, 27 and 28 years old, one engaged, killed while enjoying a post-work libation. The other victim was an Olympic kayaker. They were all civilians.

Here’s the former kayaker, a father of three:

The curiosity is how the attack was reported, with many media and nonmedia people being clearly averse to using the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” (this was a clear case of both) and especially to identifying the killer as “Palestinian”. It’s almost as if the word was taboo.

Further, the way the scenario was presented, which was appropriate in the NYT and ABC, was clearly hedged to make the act seem less heinous. Here are some tweets (reported by Elder of Ziyon) showing the media coverage. You can say this is Jewish propaganda dealing with normal reporting, but there’s no denying the commonality of many headlines, leading with the Israeli killing:

Notice that in both cases the killer is identified as Palestinian, but who perpetrated the “attack” or “shooting” is unclear.

In contrast, both the NYT and ABC are clear, though ABC (second headline) is  bit ambiguous. The NYT headline is especially  succinct and accurate.

NYT:

ABC:

But other media used euphemisms, inverted headlines, or omission of “terrorism” or “Palestinian”:

And another. “Inverting the story”—i.e., putting the killing of terrorists by of Israeli soldiers/police as the first bit of the story—has become almost customary in the media. This leaves the impression that Israel “started it”:

But Reuters, which has a long history of distorting the news in favor of Palestine, was the worst, inverting the headline and omitting “terrorism”:

CNN:

And here’s a thread of people who deliberately avoid using the “P word”. I wonder why?

Now this is an interesting tweet.

Yes, the NYT did originally give a positive take on Refaat Alareer, a professor at Islamic University in Gaza City.  But the information depicting Aalareer’s classroom was based on a single visit by a reporter, and Alareer knew the reporter was there. He clearly toned down his critique of Israel at that visit, as an earlier video without reporters present gave a much less flattering picture. In fact, a few months ago the Times‘s editors added this update to the article:

Editors’ Note, Dec. 13, 2021:

After publication of this article, Times editors reviewed additional information that is at odds with the article’s portrayal of Refaat Alareer, a literature professor at Islamic University in Gaza, who was described as presenting Israeli poems in a positive light to his Palestinian students.

In the class witnessed by a Times reporter, Mr. Alareer taught a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, which he called “beautiful,” saying it underscored the “shared humanity” of Israelis and Palestinians. He said he admired how it showed that Jerusalem is a place “where we all come together, regardless of religion and faith.”

However, in a video of a class from 2019, he called the same poem “horrible” and “dangerous,” saying that although it was aesthetically beautiful, it “brainwashes” readers by presenting the Israelis “as innocent.” He also discussed a second Israeli poem, by Tuvya Ruebner, which he called “dangerous,” adding “this kind of poetry is in part to blame for the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine.”

When The Times asked Mr. Alareer about the discrepancy, he denied that there was a “substantial change” in his teaching and said that showing parallels between Palestinians and Jews was his “ultimate goal.” But he said that Israel used literature as “a tool of colonialism and oppression” and that this raised “legitimate questions” about Mr. Amichai’s poem.

In light of this additional information, editors have concluded that the article did not accurately reflect Mr. Alareer’s views on Israeli poetry or how he teaches it. Had The Times done more extensive reporting on Mr. Alareer, the article would have presented a more complete picture.

Good for them!

Now you can say that the other forms of reporting are simply coincidental, but I beg to differ. There is a history of Anglophone media downplaying terrorism and the Palestinian responsibility for it; this is just one of many, many examples. I’m surprised, in fact, that the New York Times is the best of the lot! But kudos for an accurate headline.

The other side, of course, is the obligatory celebration of Palestinians at seeing more Israelis slain by “martyrs”. Their joy is unspeakably horrid, and one wonders, when you see it break out after civilians are killed, what kind of Americans are valorizing Palestinian terrorists and those who call for the elimination of Israel.

What these terrorists are doing resembles what Russia is doing to the Ukraine: killing civilians with the ultimate aim of absorbing another country. Imagine how much stronger our revulsion at Russia would be if we knew that man Russians jumped for joy and handed out sweets every time a Ukrainian civilian was killed!

The obligatory celebration:

The killer’s father celebrates his son’s death.

You get the idea. Just one more sight of the celebrations in Gaza. There’s much more documentation at this site:

There’s no doubt that anti-Semitism is on the rise in America, particularly among “progressive” liberals, who increasingly sympathize with Palestinians because they are seen as “people of color”.  U.S. legislators like Congresswomen Rashida Taleeb, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar regularly laud Palestine and demonize Israel—also supporting the anti-Semitic BDS movement. And much of the U.S. media, increasingly populated by young journalists with “progressive” sentiments, echo this hatred. Is this the way liberals should behave: lauding those who kill civilians and then celebrating it?

Washington Post runs rare column that praises atheism

March 26, 2022 • 1:00 pm

With things going to hell in Eastern Europe and the U.S. sliding into wokeness, perhaps there’s one area where we can expect good news: religion seems to be inexorably disappearing ain the U.S., Canada, and most of Europe. “None-ness” is just a step from godlessness.

In fact, this is the first time since 2019 that the Post has published a pro-atheism editorial by a regularly contributing columnist (that was Max Boot calling for an atheist President of the U.S.), and the first time since 2011 that outside contributors were allowed to publish an atheist piece (“Why do Americans still dislike atheists?” by Greg Paul and Phil Zuckerman). Today’s contributing columnist is Brian Broome, who writes about “politics, culture and the African American perspective.” Atheism is hardly an African-American perspective, making this both both more unusual and more laudatory.

Click on the screenshot to read:

What turned Broome into a godless person is that Achilles Heel of theism: the presence of physical evil, like childhood cancers. No rational theologian can explain the conundrum that drove Broome over the line: innocent children suffering. If you’re going to be parsimonious about this, the most likely explanation, given the absence of evidence for God when there should be such evidence, is that there simply is no God. Alternatively, there could be a malicious or indifferent God, but that’s not how most Christians, Muslims, and Jews like their deities.

Broome spells it out plainly:

I was raised in a Christian household, and my family is still religious. But, at a certain point in my childhood, the whole thing stopped making sense to me. I couldn’t work out why a loving God would let so many children suffer. The idea of eternal life seemed to be a way for people to skirt their fear of death or assuage the pain of grief. I noticed that the things people told me God wanted were, more often than not, things that they wanted as well.

I didn’t give it up all at once. Like many people, I went on a spiritual quest. But, like some of those, I quit the hunt after a while.

I stopped looking for the meaning of life and instead decided to just live it.

Living life is of course finding its meaning, for as a determinist, I’m convinced that the “meaning of life” is simply our following our evolved program to do whatever gives us satisfaction.(Much of that involves family–reproduction–and garnering the approbation of others.)

Not only is Broome an atheist, but he also espouses some antitheism, even rarer in the “MSM”:

 I often think that faith in God can be just as self-serving as staring at yourself in a mirror. The way a religion is practiced too commonly reflects the person who is practicing it.

If you want to be rich, you can find a religion that tells you that’s what God wants you to be. If you’re a misogynist, you find a church that will reaffirm your misogyny. If you don’t like our politics, or some of our political leaders, there’s a pew with your name on it somewhere, maybe closer than you think. If you are a hateful person, there are preachers for that, too. I watch people cherry-pick their religious texts to find what they want and ignore the rest. It was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said that the most segregated hour in Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.

We are not the only country where things work this way. For those who think it is a good idea to invade other countries, the battle cry will always be that God is on your side. Wars and atrocities have been committed in the name of religion throughout history. People fight over who’s doing religion right and who’s doing it wrong — or who are not doing it at all. Some religious leaders make no distinction between their role and that of their nation’s political ambitions.

Broome explains below why he think religion will inevitably vanish. (Like many, I don’t think it will ever disappear completely, but I’m confident even the U.S. will become as areligious as Scandinavia in the next hundred years):

Church attendance and membership have long been on the decline in America. My guess is that because many folks realize that fear is at the root of so much religious conviction, the proposition has become untenable. Those fears have led too many people of faith to police the way that others choose to live their lives.

Well, I don’t agree 100% with that. If divisiveness and policing caused movements to decline, wokeness would be on the wane. More important, though, I think there are better reasons. Mixed in with the avoidance of fear and divisiveness is the well-known negative correlation between how well people are doing in their lives and their religiosity. As people get better off, and have better access to food, shelter, medical care, and other amenities that bring security, their need to rely on an unhearing god wanes. And of course as science dispels mysteries once seen as evidence for god, that takes its toll, on faith as well. .

Whatever the causes, and despite the lies of those who tell us we NEED religion as a form of social glue (the “little people argument”), we can do just fine without faith. Just ask the Danes and Swedes.

h/t: Greg Paul for the link to this and the earlier columns.

Goodbye, Bari Weiss

January 11, 2022 • 10:15 am

I don’t mean to imply by the headline that Ms. Weiss is dead, as she isn’t, nor that she’s leaving her Substack site “Common Sense,” which she isn’t, either. Well, actually—yes, she sort of leaving it, and that’s why I’m going to stop subscribing to it it.

When I subscribed to her site last April 28, I didn’t do that lightly, for it takes a lot of impetus for me to pay to read a single-person’s website. But I was a fan back then, after she’d courageously left the New York Times, and I admired both her viewpoint and her prose.

But since then, she’s increasingly handed over the writing on her site to other people—to the point where practically the only things you can read that she’s actually written are introductions to other people’s work or to podcasts she’s done.

I just did a count, deciding to go back to November 1. This was a bit difficult, so I may be a little off, but not that much off:

Total pieces:  39
Total long-form pieces by Bari Weiss: 2 (5% of total)
Total short-form pieces by Weiss, mostly introductions to podcasts or aggregations of other people’s writings: 4
Total pieces by Nellie Bowles (Weiss’s wife): 10 (26% of total), often “TGIF” aggregations of other people’s columns.

There was also one piece by Suzy Weiss, who I believe is Bari’s sister; Suzy wrote several pieces before Nov. 1

Now I’m not complaining about the lack of content here; after all, Andrew Sullivan puts out one piece a week, while here we have nearly 40 pieces in ten weeks. Nor am I saying that the content is all fluff, because it isn’t. Several of the pieces are quite interesting: there are, for instance, pieces by Abigail Shrier and Douglas Murray, and this week’s column about DEI in Hollywood is pretty good.

But I find myself skipping most of the columns. After all, what I signed up to read, or what I thought I’d get, were thoughtful, long-form analyses like the kind Andrew Sullivan puts out. Instead, we get a diversity of views (granted, Weiss is well connected and can rope in decent writers), and now have what appears to be somewhat of a family endeavor, with Bowles and Suzy Weiss weighing in as often or more often than Bari. In other words, we’re getting the whole mishpocheh.

What Weiss has become is an aggregator, not an author. I don’t like podcasts so much, and I wanted to read Weiss, not everybody she gathers under her umbrella. This is a great pity, as I would read her religiously (in the metaphorical sense). I wanted more from her, not from others, who are available all over the Internet.

Now I don’t know why things have worked out this way. Perhaps Weiss, like many who used to write (like Sam Harris) prefers the medium of podcasting. Or perhaps she thinks she can promulgate her political views more widely by enlisting other like-minded people to write for her site.

It doesn’t matter: the upshot is that I’m not getting what I paid for, not reading her site so much; and what I’m getting, while sometimes interesting, isn’t Bari Weiss. I won’t be renewing my subscription come the end of April, and that’s sad.

Reverend Warren’s weekly bromide and sermon in the New York Times

December 12, 2021 • 2:00 pm

Why, oh why, does the New York Times continue to print an Anglican priest’s useless lucubrations week after week after tedious week? For the Reverend Tish Harrison Warren, on deadline, always decides to write a column with the theme, “How can we improve our lives by pondering Jesus?”  There’s a slight variation this week, for she’s pondering Mary as well as Jesus. Click on the screenshot if you love Jesus:

The email bringing me Rev. Warren’s words (ceiling cat help me, I subscribe) was headed: “What Mary can teach us about the joy and pain of life.” Well, what can the fictitious virgin teach us about those things? Simply this: life is a mixture of joy and pain.  We know this because Mary was told by an angel that she will have a great son, but at the same time she is greatly troubled, for she senses her son will come to no good end nailed to the cross. She had joy and heartbreak.

And so we learn that we have joy and heartbreak, too, and you can’t have one without the other. (Not true: many people have a ton of heartbreak and no joy.) The Reverend Warren:

Mary was called by God, and her life reminds me that the vocations that God calls us to inevitably involve both joy and pain. “Love and loss are a double helix this side of heaven,” I write in my book “Prayer in the Night,” “You can’t have one without the other. God’s calling on our lives will inevitably require us to risk both. We know this dappled reality in the most meaningful parts of our life: in struggling through marriage or singleness and celibacy, in loving and raising children, in our work, in serving the church,” and in our closest friendships.

(I think she stole the odd adjective “dappled” from another religious source, Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “Pied Beauty.”)

How many times have you heard something like this, but without the goddy part? It’s simply the old bromide that life has both pain and joy.

And then comes the sermon: we can’t fill the hole in our lives without God and Baby Jesus, for the hole is God-shaped:

When I feel loneliness, loss and the emptiness present in even my very good life, I rush to fill it up. Winds of emptiness echo in a hollow moment of my day, and I run to distraction. I stuff my waking moments with busyness, social media, argument, work and consumption. These can be cheap attempts at joy, or at least at numbing any sense of grief.

But Mary’s story recalls that joy can’t be gotten cheaply. The pain of the world cannot be papered over in a sentimental display of tamed little angels and a cute, chubby baby Jesus. The emptiness in the world and in our own lives can’t be filled with enough hurry or buying power or likes or retweets. We wait for the birth of Jesus, who was called Emmanuel, God with us. We wait with Mary for our hunger to be filled.

This seems nothing more like an attempt to converting readers to Christianity. It’s surely more than Warren’s own personal story, for she tells it to “us”, and also informs “us” what we should do to fill our void. Or is she sayng something else? What is the sweating Reverend trying to say?

But now it’s time to head home, where I have Pinker’s new book waiting for me, a t-bone steak marinating in the fridge, and a good bottle of red wine to accompany it.  For me, at least, joy can be gotten pretty cheaply: the price of a steak, a book, and some Rhone wine. As far as I’m concerned, Baby Jesus can wait.

Oh, and joy is absolutely free at Botany Pond, where Draco and Molly are the sole residents this sunny but chilly afternoon. Honey and her swain are long gone.

The Spectator on the decline and fall of the New York Times

October 24, 2021 • 1:15 pm

Batya Ungar-Sargon used to be the opinion editor of The Forward, and now she’s an opinion editor for Newsweek (which leans right); she also just wrote a new boo, from which the Spectator piece below is excerpted. The book, whose title tells you where she stands, is called Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy, and has endorsements by both Greg Lukianoff from FIRE and Jon Haidt. At the bottom you can see her interviewed by Megyn Kelly.

This all doesn’t necessarily mean that Ungar-Sargon is a conservative, and to some extent that’s irrelevant, for we should hear what she has to say: in this case, an analysis that could only have been done by a journalist on why the New York Times has sunk so low. It’s complicated, involving feedback between the reading public and the paper. (Actually, it’s not that complicated.)

Because I’m no fan of the new NYT (though I subscribe and read and like many articles), it’s become abysmally woke, and that’s what Ungar-Sargon is trying to explain: how it happened.

Click on the screenshot to read.

The sequence in short (quotes are indented):

a.) NYT decides to go digital in part.

b.) To boost their subscriber base, its journalism begins to fuse with advertising.

Of course, journalists have always been aware who their readers are and have catered to them, consciously and unconsciously. But it was something else entirely to suggest that journalists should be collaborating with their audience to produce ‘user-generated content’, as the report put it. ‘Innovation’ presaged a new direction for the paper of record: become digital-first or perish.

c.) Trump’s election gave the paper a huge boost in attention and revenue (remember, online most of the revenue comes from ads). Subscriptions in 2017 were up 46% from 2016. In the meantime, the paper realized that they could derive “emotional profiles” of its readers from the pattern of clicks, and use those to target the ads accompanying specific articles to specific readers. And because emotions drive readership, the Times, realizing what topics generated the most emotion, pitched its content to those topics:

If you want to know what makes America’s educated liberal elites emotional, you only have to open the Times. Judging by the coverage of recent years, two things make them more emotional than anything else: Trump and racism.

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, books like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy soared to the top of the bestseller list as blindsided liberals sought to understand how people could have voted for Trump. For a brief period, it seemed like the American mainstream might truly grapple with the question of class. But this quickly disappeared in favor of an easier explanation: Trump voters were racists.

Liberal news media pushed study after study allegedly ‘proving’ that the class narrative — that Trump’s voters had chosen him out of economic anxiety — was false. They were simply racists, we were told by the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic and Vox. You could feel the relief seeping through the repetition: if Trump’s voters are racists, we no longer have to care about them! This line absolved journalists of the inner twinge of doubt that must come to any honest reporter when they realize that they are afflicting the afflicted. There is only one problem. It’s just not true.

She goes on to argue that Trump voters weren’t one-issue voters who were promoting racism as the ideal, but had a number of different motivations, and were willing to overlook Trump’s own palpable racism because they liked other things he stood for.  As she argues, “Trump’s racism was not a deal breaker for his supporters, many of whom expressed discomfort with the president’s ranting and raving.”

d.) Journalists became complicit in an anti-Trump, anti-racist “moral panic”, which of course was good for the NYT’s bottom line. Judge this for yourself:

The truth is, the reasons people gave for voting for Trump were numerous —and legitimate. His promise to appoint conservative justices was a major motivating factor for antiabortion evangelicals. Others were swayed by his commitment to religious liberty, which gave him a lot of support in the Orthodox Jewish community. Independents especially appreciated his anti-war position. Lower-income voters were impressed by his opposition to America’s disastrous trade deals.

Anyone who talked to Trump voters knew their reasons for voting for him. But journalists at America’s leading publications did not know any Trump supporters socially, and that made it easy to caricature and misrepresent them. When New York Times reporters did venture into Trump country, they inevitably found some reason to tar the people they interviewed as racist.

This penchant was part and parcel of a larger dynamic that preceded Trump, in which liberal news media, increasingly reliant on digital advertising, subscriptions and memberships, have been mainstreaming an obsession with race, to the approval of their affluent readers. And what was once a business model built on a culture war has over the past few years devolved into a full-blown moral panic.

Any journalist working in the mainstream American press knows this, because the moral panic is enforced on social media in brutal shaming campaigns. They have happened to many journalists, but you don’t actually have to weed out every heretic to silence dissent. After a while, people silence themselves. Who would volunteer to be humiliated by thousands of strangers, when they could avoid it by staying quiet? The spectacle alone enforces compliance. . .

. . .This bears repeating: there can be no moral panic without the media and the social consensus they create. The power of the press — despite its unpopularity — is still immense. And it has used that power over the past decade, and with exponential intensity over the past few years, to wage a culture war on its own behalf, notably by creating a moral panic around racism.

Nor is it surprising that the New York Times played an outsized role in shaping our moral panic. Its business model is deeply bound up with the mores of affluent white liberals. Inevitably, in the spring of 2020, it turned its wrath on its own. By the time the dust settled, five people would no longer work at the Times.

e.) Ungar-Sargon goes on to review the familiar stories of the departure of Bari Weiss, op-ed editor James Bennett, and others. You’ll recall that Bennett was fired for running an op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton saying that if (racially based) demonstrations got out of hand and couldn’t be controlled by the police, the National Guard or other troops should be called in to stop violence and destruction. (Most Americans agreed with this.) Cotton’s editorial was objected to by a thousand Times staffers, who said that the piece was racist put their black staff “in danger”. Twitter backed this up. (Go have a look at the editorial and the new “introduction” by the NYT editor.) Anyway, that was the end of Bennett.

What I found interesting is that the Times pretended that only one sub-editor, Adam Rubenstein, was responsible for editing Cotton’s piece, and, close to when Bennett left, he did too—another casualty. But Ungar-Sargon contradicts the Times’s own narrative about the vetting of the fatal op-ed (how she got this information I have no idea):

Cotton’s ‘whatever it takes’ language was harsh, but the majority of Americans — including a large share of black Americans — agreed with him. This is why the Times’s Opinion section, which planned to run an editorial and two opinion columns opposing the use of the Insurrection Act, was also on the lookout for a piece defending it. When Cotton pitched an op-ed about how Twitter was threatening to lock him out of his account, a senior editor suggested he write up his thoughts on the Insurrection Act instead.

Cotton’s first draft was deemed strong by two senior editors at the Times. He excoriated defenses of looting as ‘built on a revolting moral equivalence of rioters and looters to peaceful, law-abiding protesters’. He insisted that the majority ‘who seek to protest peacefully’ shouldn’t be ‘confused with bands of miscreants’. He argued that the president had the authority to use the Insurrection Act to send in US troops if governors couldn’t quell the rioting and looting on their own.

The draft went through a series of edits — fact checks, line edits, clarifications and copyedits. There were several phone calls to the senator’s office. A few lines were deleted and some language clarified. By the time the piece was ready for publication, no fewer than seven editors had worked on it. Having been approved one final time by a senior Opinion editor, the piece was published on the Times website on June 3.

All hell broke loose.

So it goes. The last part of the excerpt has an interesting comparison (my emphasis):

And the hunt for insufficiently antiracist Americans has become its own genre. The Times has run articles declaring that wine and surfing are racist, and that it’s time to ‘decolonize botanical collections’ by ridding them of ‘structural racism’. It even ran an article about a 15-year-old girl who used the ‘N-word’ when she bragged about passing her driving test in a private video to a friend — which another student got his hands on and saved for three years until he could use it to get her kicked out of college.

Stories like this seem to attract an unlimited audience in the way stories of crime once did for Joseph Pulitzer’s papers. That’s because articles that offend the woke person are crime stories for the affluent: stories of people just like themselves who commit crimes of thought or speech, and lose everything when they fall on the wrong side of the reigning orthodoxy. As the Twitter mob pursues small infractions as avidly as it does large ones, and as the etiquette keeps shifting, who dares trust their own ability to judge right from wrong?

It’s how you know we’re in a moral panic: only the mob has the right to judge you. And too many journalists have ceded them that right. Indeed, a huge number of the mob are journalists — journalists from the most important newspapers in the country and the world, all tweeting the exact same meaningless sentence repeatedly. People who had been hired to think for themselves now mindlessly repeat a dogma like their jobs depended on it.

Well, they do.

There’s no doubt that the NYT caters to the mob: their firing of Bennett, and the disclaimer in front of Cotton’s editorial, shows that they not only lied about the vetting of that editorial, but also truckled to the mob and to their own staff, even though the paper initially wanted Cotton’s piece. They couldn’t rescind it, but the preface is now larded with self-flagellation about how the piece was insufficiently vetted. The truth is that it was well vetted, but black and white NYT staffers raised a ruckus because the editorial made them “unsafe”. That’s bogus, of course, but enough to make at least two heads roll at the paper.

I can only guess that Ungar-Sargon, who’s been around journalism a long time, had some inside information about what went on at the NYT. You may not agree with her analysis, but you have to agree with some of her claims. The paper is woke, and that goes for both the news section (which refuses or hesitates to cover stories that reflect badly on the Left) and the op-ed section.  Read her piece and report below what you think. I think it’s a thought-provoking analysis.

Here’s her interview with Megyn Kelly about the book. It’s interesting (especially Kelly’s take on Fox News and its audience after she’d worked there), so watch it.

h/t Doc Brydon

More anodyne cures for the world’s ills by Reverend Tish Harrison Warren

October 24, 2021 • 11:15 am

Yes, Tish Harrison Warren, the Anglican priest who writes a weekly column to fill up empty space in the New York Times, has once again proffered a cure for the nation’s ills. It’s trivial and far from new, but at least it doesn’t involve God.  The email I got with the column (Ceiling Cat help me, I subscribe) was headed, “Why chatting with your barista could help save America.”  In the paper (click on screenshot below), it has a different title:

The entire thesis can be summarized with one of her paragraphs:

To learn how to love our neighbors we need cultural habits that allow us to share in our common humanity. We need quiet, daily practices that rebuild social trust. And we need seemingly pointless conversation with those around us.

By “pointless,” she means “avoiding hot-button issues like politics”. Her notion, which many others have suggested before, is that you can heal divisions between people by getting the “sides” to know each other. If you like or at least are friendly with a political opponent, you’ll find a way to eventually agree on politics.

This simple message, however, is unlikely to heal any divisions—after all, are citizens supposed to wait until they discuss these issues?—or are they supposed to become pals with their barista before bringing them up? Warren dilates at length about her hale-fellow-well-met Texas dad whom everybody loved and nobody hated, for he just cracked jokes and made pleasantries. He didn’t talk politics.

It goes on and on and on, without telling us how, after we’re pals with Trumpies, we can then begin to discuss abortion, the border, the unstolen election and so on.

And so we have the Paper of Record giving us stuff like this:

I see moments of this in my own life. I moved states recently and feel the loss of seemingly unimportant local relationships I’d built where we lived before. I have no idea if my favorite former barista and I shared any political or ideological beliefs. We likely disagree on important issues. But I don’t care. I know he adores his infant niece and I regularly asked how she was doing. He is working to get through grad school, and I found myself genuinely rooting for this person I barely knew.

Each of us is more than the sum of our political and religious beliefs. We each have complex relationships with the people we love. We each have bodies that get sick, that enjoy good tacos or the turning of fall. We like certain movies or music. We laugh at how babies sound when they sneeze. We hurt when we skin a knee. The way we form humanizing, nonthreatening interactions around these things taps into something real about us. We are three-dimensional people who are textured, interesting, ordinary and lovely. . . .

. . . Of course, to heal the deep divisions in our society we need profound political and systemic change. But though we need more than just small talk, we certainly do not need less than that. As a culture, our conversations can run so quickly to what divides us, and this is all the more true online. We cannot build a culture of peace and justice if we can’t talk with our neighbors. It’s in these many small conversations where we begin to recognize the familiar humanity in one another. These are the baby steps of learning to live together across differences.

Yes, and maybe if the Taliban got to know more Afghan women they would eventually allow them to go to school. Maybe if more Texas lawmakers had cake and coffee with pregnant women they would rescind their draconian anti-choice law. When Lyndon Johnson rammed the Civil Rights Bills through the Senate, he didn’t make small talk with the Senators. He used his leverage and power to bring around the Southern opponents.

Yes, we have to be able to discuss things civilly, for then, so they say, consensus will come. That’s what Biden ran his campaign on, and look where it’s gotten him.

How much longer will the NYT torture us this way?