The NY Times’s Bad Stuff — & Gays
A guy named William McGowan wrote a book on the New York Times. It’s called “Gray Lady Down: what the decline and fall of the New York Times means for America.” He’s an award winning journalist, of course. What awards? The jacket blurb doesn’t say … though it is breathless that the man has found the problem and the solution. OK, he’s a bigwig of some sort – I’ll go with his book.
First, the title I guess is a subtle allusion to Black Hawk Down – perhaps there’s some portent. Though the Times is the “gray lady” it is said. Or, the old geezer. Depends on your view. Is she down? Certainly. Every media outlet is down. Why? Simple: the politics of the nation spent the last 20 years or more preaching diversity and independence and individualism – one side pushed this as a miasma of we’re all in this together let’s think alike, and the other side pushed it as we’re all on our own let’s um, think alike! But, independently so. It was wild abandon on the hustings and in the schools and at the job – we are all individuals, and we’re all entitled to our opinion. But, we’re all in this together and we must all be involved, so we need to be on the same page. And we all get one, for our 15 minutes of fame, too! It’s confusing, perhaps – but, it leads to everyone being a specialist in news. Oddly, we can do this through the internet. And well, paper stuff is failing. Books ain’t doin’ no good neither you know.
So, opinions, and news, everyone’s got one and some. Look, I got a blog – there are tens of thousands of them. I used to read the New York Times. I did not because I agreed with their opinions – no, it was just my hometown paper – as a 12 year old starting to read the local paper I had no earthly clue that it was the most looked up to newspaper in the land, I just figured it was one of the four or five options I had as a teenager. I had the NY Post, The Daily News, Newsday, Long Island Press, the Times, and well, some others – the Suffolk something – I don’t remember – it was long ago and far away. I read them all because they were all available. I stayed with the Times, it was more brainy.
Now, the subtitle. This Mr. McGowan thinks this makes a difference to America – as if the NY Times is somehow a part of the nation that simply can’t be gone without. No doubt it needs a government subsidy – instead of borrowing $250,000,000 from Carlos “el Mexican” Slim – the billionaire down yonder. Well, so what if this paper folds? Sure, we’re out a few hundred million in tax incentives for its award winning skyscraper on 43rd Street and 8th Ave that is virtually impossible to see because it’s a 50 story box surrounded by um, 50 story boxes. Anyway, so what if the Times goes out of business? So what if every newspaper goes out of business? Humankind has lived without newspapers before and still had plenty of news. It is said, proudly so, sometimes, that the newspaper started in northern Italy as scandal and mockery sheets handed out in market places for a slice of bread. Sure, well, that didn’t change did it? So, the Times is just not that important – the Internet fills in nicely, too. There’s more that’s um, “fit to print,” as the Times likes to say – and they don’t have the space or inclination … so, well, the net does. If the Times was a living thing, than, recognize that living things die.
In fact, Mr. McGowan is quite sure that the fall of the Times is because of its reporting, or not reporting various and sundry things that happen in and to the nation. It caught a disease of some sort, I guess it might be said: Extreme Liberalism. Let’s look at the list, just be chapters, to see the troubles he sees, in the order he presents them:
First, a chapter on the good guy, Abe Rosenthal, in charge when I started reading the paper.
Then, two chapters on the schmoe Arthur Sulzberger Jr who inherited the beauty and made it the beast of book-length complaint. In charge when I just gave up because, well, McGowan is right on some things:
He starts off with the problems of omission – of not reporting the facts, like on:
Race – and the subtext of black on white, and black on black violence that isn’t reported. On the frauds and hoaxes like lacrosse teams and Tawanna Brawley. He rightly points out a cover up by the Times of real stories that can’t be ignored if one is to be taken seriously. The Times ignores them, as McGowan shows, and well, so it falls. So, violence and fraud not covered seems to be the focus of this chapter. All we get is the good stuff, most of it made up – or, by not speaking of something, makes it look good. Still, the reality is the “help-African-American” shtick has failed if we’ve still got the problems – and who caused them – and the Times blames the wrong folks, and hires liars to cover the issues – and plagiarizing blowhards who go quite a while on the race issue before being caught.
Immigration – and how all is not rosy in Latino-landia. Yes, there’s violence, drugs, gangs, lack of assimilation, reconquistering, and the Times covers none of it. There’s the lack of dads and too many unwed moms and lots of social service problems. And the Times avoids the issue. That’s the problem McGowan points out – illegals causing troubles. OK, so the Times should cover when foreigners do bad things in America.
Culture Wars – yes, somehow abortion, and unwed mothers, rapacious fathers – the usual, and also the anti-Americanism of the Bill Ayers of this land, and other Weathermen, and the cover up of Jeremiah Wright’s diatribes against America – yes, so, there are cads in the left of politics – and the Times ignores them, because they are bosom buddies, apparently – and there are people, some cads on the Right, and the Times calls them all cads, and worse. The Times has clearly moved opinion to the news pages and all articles about conservatives are bad, and all liberals are wonderful.
Gays … um, in the past decade or so gays are discovered by the Times and they go on a confused anthropological binge and discover that gays are gay, and do gay things, and that gay stuff is often not exactly what straight people do. They perhaps, I would agree, discuss the issue a bit too much, and, inexpertly, but, heteros do that. Gays are though, American citizens. The stories about the gays were true. No one was involved in avoiding the facts – perhaps too many facts. Strangely, McGowan laments obliquely the discussion of too much gay sex while also obliquely referencing that the Times somehow is avoiding um, too much gay sex. Well, so, the Times also figured out that there was a common word “Gay” and not just “homosexual” or “queer” – and that gay folks had already entered the Times as employees and nobody “knew” about it, and gays didn’t need affirmative action, but merely a decent word about “Say, Mike, how’s the boyfriend?” – you know, sissy stuff. And gays aren’t blowing anything up, killing anyone, leaving social problems behind – other than the vapors that heteros like, um, say, like Mr. McGowan gets! (It was on February 13th 2011 that the Times came out for gay marriage — hey, why not use the 13th, instead of say, um, Valentines day — now that would be pro-gay.)
War on Terror – well, the Times seems to have their head in the sand – and well, what more can be said? To the Times no Muslims do bad, and maybe the US deserves it anyway. The rest is hogwash.
War – yes, it gets its own chapter, for it’s so much different nowadays from the um, War on Terror – what with us fighting both in the space places, but separately. We are not at War actually, we are at War on Terror and the War on Poverty and Fear and War on Want and War on Drugs – and given the list of things in Times-doesn’t cover things list – hey, wait …
so, the Times is failing because they don’t cover the violence that abounds within the subjects of Race, Immigration, Culture War, War on Terror and War – or the foreigners, and hoaxes, and lies – and McGowan’s complaint is that the Times is pushing the wrong side in these wars. In each of these chapters McGowan brings ups reporters who were caught lying, plagiarizing, doodling their noodle, avoiding facts, misquoting people, misrepresenting people – collusion – nefarious things all – each of these chapters is rife with the real life problems of what could be termed journalistic corruption and how it is destroying the Times because sane readers can see this.
And then, well, then there’s the gays – stuck between all this war and death and violence and lies and nonsense – and how is the Times being destroyed by their gay reporting? Because, like a kid with a new toy, Gays are being talked about. Yes, well, all the news outlets that McGowans likes, are talking about the gays too – everybody is talking about the gays. And that’s because we’re so different.
Are these subjects put in some order of importance? It’s not alphabetical. It’s not fiscal cost. What is the order of chapters? Surely an award winning reporter just didn’t throw this chapter order together did he? No, we’re right there with WAR – culture war – why, we’re at least not part of the violence of the culture war, and the anti-Americanism of the culture warriors. No, we’re just stuck in the middle of all this war, which is just weird.
In each of these chapters – other than the gays – there’s foreigners involved – and corruption – and on gays he brings up only US citizens complaining about the lack of a decent word. Like I said, does the Times cover gays too much? Almost certainly .. everyone does. We’re the new toy. We’re the hot topic. It’s so strange to be talking about it after all these years – after all, every other subject on this list has been a topic since the dawn of time – only gays is new to the discussion.
People seem almost bored with race & immigration, and real wars and the war on terror – and culture war like the 1960s – let’s talk about something else, it seems to be – the gays – we’ll talk about the gays. And where were the gays in the culture wars of the 1960s? Why, we were cowering in our bars with the police raiding us every week. It was laughable to think, but while the anti-war violence, and riots, and demonstrations for feminism and bra burning and lord knows what acid-tripping 1960s stuff there was – gays held but one public demonstration. 10 of us got into suits and ties and walked in front of the White House and asked for marriage and the right to serve in the military. The Times didn’t cover it.
So, I don’t care if you include gays in this discussion – but set us a dash apart, for we are – we’re an asterisk, for heaven’s sake – and we are not a part of the Times’s lack of reporting on the foreigners and frauds doing violence – as every chapter is about – but well, yes, the Times is a bit fixated on sissy smooching. That an award winning journalist doesn’t see that is sad – perhaps he’s part of the downfall of journalism in general. Hmm.
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