June 19, 2007

If you don't like the garish peasants we chose to illustrate the article on opposition to immigration reform, you're prejudiced.

I should have written about this on Sunday, but it annoyed me too much. Let me force myself. This is an attempt by the NYT public editor -- Clark Hoyt -- to respond to criticism about the pictures chosen to illustrate an article about opposition to the immigration bill. (My contribution to the criticism is here.)

Hoyt notes the criticism:
[P]hoto editors looked at pictures to illustrate [Julia] Preston’s story and chose a color photo of another outspoken opponent of the immigration bill, Monique Thibodeaux, for the front page. For inside the paper, they picked a picture of two congressmen and two leaders of Grassfire.org, all in business suits, and a photo of [William] Murphy, smiling, with a gap where his tooth used to be, sitting beside an American flag on steps outside his house.

The blogosphere went wild. Two radio talk show hosts in Southern California reproduced the photo of Murphy on their Web site under a headline that said, “You are not a redneck!” They accused The Times of portraying anyone against the immigration bill as “riff-raff like this guy below.” The words “redneck” and “riff-raff” never appeared in Preston’s article in The Times.

At The Times, the reader call-in line was overwhelmed. And, at last count by my assistant, Michael McElroy, the public editor had received 1,267 e-mail messages, many with the theme, as one put it, that “I’m against the proposed Senate bill on immigration, and I have all of my teeth.” E-mailers called Murphy a “toothless freak” and worse — and these were the people who agreed with him about immigration.
Does Hoyt think the Times should be ashamed? No, you should be ashamed!
“I think it is discriminatory to say all toothless people who represent controversial positions shouldn’t be used,” [said Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor in charge of photography.] “This is a very big country that has a variety of styles and types.”...

I think all those people who have been complaining about Murphy’s photo owe him an apology. They assumed that, because he was missing a tooth, he was missing a brain. They also assumed that editors at The Times shared their prejudices and were attempting to ridicule opponents of the immigration bill.
Yeah, how dare we assume?

What is the point of the public editor column if he's not going to do anything more than repeat whatever defense the editors serve up and blame the critics for daring to criticize? Go read the whole column, and you'll see the drivel I've edited out -- how Murphy is actually a decent human being with feelings. What tripe!

This doesn't address the criticism at all. Whether Murphy and Thibodaux are smart, competent individuals or not, the NYT deserves criticism for using them to obtain the images that would make the the opponents of the bill look like small-minded rustics. It looks -- to a lot of readers -- as though the Times used the photographs in order to stir up the prejudices and assumptions of the readers. When we call you on that, you respond that we're prejudiced and we're making assumptions and pretend you had nothing of the sort in mind. It's not prejudiced to notice when a newspaper is counting on prejudice.

The public editor ought to have gone into depth about how newspapers can manipulate opinion through the use of images and what the proper ethical standards are and analyzed whether the NYT violated those standards. Instead we get the photo editor's shallow defense and a lot of padding about how the guy in the photograph lost his eye and his tooth and how he has friends and family who love him anyway. Ridiculous.

70 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

F the NY Times.

Let me know when they apologize for their coverage of the Duke case.

Richard Fagin said...

"[N]ewspapers can manipulate opinion through the use of images." You know, the MSM continue to deny this very fact. They deny it in a very public way, to boot, particularly when it comes to the issue of the biases of the writeds and editors.

I have only two things to say. First, if there really weren't bias in the media, one would hear approximately balanced claims of liberal bias and conservative bias. Second, that media supposedly can't manipulate opinion through the use of images is a total repudiation of all teh advertising money spent with the MSM. What are ads these days but attemptts to manipulate opinion through the use of images?

It has been my experience that many "reader response" or "public" editors do littel more than justify what's published, rather than respond to legitimate criticism.

Jennifer said...

LOL! Best title ever.

steve simels said...

Obviously, the voices in Ann's head are getting louder on a daily basis.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Images are a powerful tool in forming opinions and whether we like it or not, everyone stereotypes, consciously or unconsciously. If you recall the welfare reform debate, the MSM never missed a moment to focus on all the black families that would supposedly suffer under reform, never mind that the majority of welfare recipients are poor whites. The underlying message that wanted to be conveyed was that welfare reform was racist. Opposition to illegal immigration is getting the same treatment.

Roger said...

The position of "public editor" at the NYT is merely a figleaf. The performance of Byron Calame was equally bad. The NYT NEVER makes mistakes.

Virtually Actual said...

You know, I used to be in favor of the immigration bill, but now that the Times has pictured garish peasants opposing it, I now have to oppose it too (to show the Times they can't manipulate me like that).

I learn so many good lessons about reading images here--and not only images of garish peasants! Like how when I look at Jess Valenti's breasts, I should be disgusted b/c they're near President Clinton, but when I look at Jeri Kehn's breasts, any disgust I feel because of their relation to Fred Thompson is all in my head.

What to call this misread-a-picture-to-make-a-barely-intelligible-point? I'm thinking, Althouse's hermeneutic vortex.

Simon said...

They haven't learned their lesson about accompanying stories with photos playing to the reader's prejudices: they chose to illustrate Hoyt's op/ed with a photo of a stereotypical clueless coastal liberal buffoon.

Dan said...

""I think it is discriminatory to say all toothless people who represent controversial positions shouldn’t be used . . . "

Not sure whether to laugh or gape. (But shouldn't that be 'dentally challenged'?).

There's another real issue hiding under this, though - missing/bad teeth are one major (stigmatized, viscerally felt) marker of lower-class status (understood as ignorant/ uneducated/dumb/etc.) - it's doesn't just say 'rural hickdom,' as clothing, etc., might, it says 'poor/bad!,' (ew!).
And of course, while local conditions vary somewhat, generally those missing/bad teeth have a lot to do with dental care being bloody expensive.

See for example - grabbed off yahoo search - here.

Simon said...

From the story:

"[Readers] assumed that editors at The Times shared their prejudices and were attempting to ridicule opponents of the immigration bill."

I can't imagine where anyone got that idea, given the steady drumbeat of hostility towards immigration reform and illegal immigrants that the NYT has kept up.

Sloanasaurus said...

Everyone knows that the NY Times has a nasty leftist bias. So does CNN, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, CBS, and almost all major newspapers. The reason: Journalism is the kind of career that attracts the save the world types (liberals) over other careers - thus it's a natural haven for liberals. In contrast, there are fewer liberals in careers such as accounting). At Fox, if they stopped purposely trying to hire conservatives, it too would go liberal in a few years.

I think support for the immigration bill is falling - more people are realizing that it is a really bad idea. I am one of them. I used to support the compromise, however, I agree with the critics that the government cannot be trusted to enforce and defend the border provisions in the bill. Therefore, amnesty is not warranted until the government proves that it is competent enough to enforce the law. I say, build the fence, institute the employer provisions and in 5 years, if the flow of illegal immigration has been reduced by 95%, we then think about amnesty.

Bush and many of the republicans have really faltered on this. Many of my conservative friends would vote for a democrat based on this single issue. If the Democrats were to adopt a defend the border first policy, they could become the majority party for a generation.

rhhardin said...

John and Ken, on KFI in Los Angeles, noticed this as well, and correctly; and even interviewed the guy, who they agree is smart and articulate, but who also agreed that that was what the NYT was up to, and started the storm of mail to the NYT's various editors.

They archive the show, click on 6-11 and 6-12 hours, on the KFI site (I wonder if I can type this in correctly from another computer) here

They take the commercials out, so each hour is about 35 minutes.

See also the Imus series in mid April.

Jeff said...

"First, if there really weren't bias in the media, one would hear approximately balanced claims of liberal bias and conservative bias."

Ha! Don't you ever read lefty blogs? They're obsessed with proving that all the mainstream media is a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, and that Keith "Pompous Ass" Olberman is a lone voice crying out in the neocon wilderness.

The Crooks & Liars blog is notorious for this. Every time the media is forced to report some, you know, news that makes dems look bad, it's touted as an example of the evil BushCo Echo Chamber.

peter hoh said...

So if the NYT ran more flattering photos of better dressed opponents, would htey get criticized for pimping the idea that only swells in suits oppose the recent immigration bill?

I suppose the NYT is in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position with a large portion of the American public.

George said...

There are two other interesting little angles here:

1) Reporters love being spoon fed, especially be people who know how to give 'good interview' and not waste their time hemming and hawing. Note how the NYT found the guy to begin with...

On Tuesday, June 5, she called Grassfire.org and asked to speak to some activists who would agree to be interviewed. Grassfire.org gave her a list of names, and she called four or five, including Murphy, who “was a great interview.” He was articulate, “very concise, low key.”

If you want to blame someone, blame this grassfire.org. It knows how the game is played, and it shouldamaybecoulda known the guy looked 'different.'

2) Ask yourself what exactly does a 'photo editor' do? Hmmm... Finds photographers and makes assignments. Logs in their work. And selects photos. Tough job. Basically, a clerk who has good taste.

Gahrie said...

I was told that neither of the "peasants" were actually quoted in the original article. If this is true..then why were their images used?

Kirk said...

Peter hoh,

The NYT is damned. That's all you need to say, especially one you see their circulation trend.

Doyle said...

So you think the NYT was wrong for printing a photo of a toothless immigration opponent?

Why? They're out there, aren't they? One of them was bound to have their picture taken.

You're claiming that's wrong because it embarrasses (oh the horror!) their allies on immigration? What a joke.

Doyle said...

What is the point of the public editor column if he's not going to do anything more than repeat whatever defense the editors serve up and blame the critics for daring to criticize?

So, the public editor should always agree with whatever criticism is leveled at the paper? No matter how stupid?

Simon said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"Many of my conservative friends would vote for a democrat based on this single issue."

So they don't trust Republicans to enforce the border provisions, thus they're ready to vote for a Democrat? Isn't that like drinking bourbon instead of beer because you don't want to get drunk?

Sloanasaurus said...

So they don't trust Republicans to enforce the border provisions, thus they're ready to vote for a Democrat? Isn't that like drinking bourbon instead of beer because you don't want to get drunk?

Believe me, I agree. I amonly pointing out that the Dems hace an opening. All you need is the will and the competence to do it. Some democrats are excellent at doing evil things. Imagine if Michael Moore made a film about the evils of illegal immigration.

Eliminating illegal immigration is not a life long left/right ideological divide. Democrats have an opportunity here.....

davidc. said...

Simon,
First, I must admit that I am a redneck and speak Southern. So I come from the lower classes of our country, as the man in the picture.

Second, I have supported the Rep. party since the 70's. I voted for Bush twice (there was no one else to vote for).

Now, the Republican party has left me. With this party in power for 6 years I am worse off that before. I can't but sudafed in the drug store, I can't get on a plane without violating every right I possess, I was supposed to have a tax cut but haven't seen a penny, I have watched as the Republicans have spent money like there is no tomorrow, our government has grown beyond description, I watch daily the results of a political war that makes no sense, I could go on. But Bush and the Republicans were able to get "conservative judges" on the Supreme court so they can interject the states policy to keep women from having control of their bodies. And they will assure that we are a "moral" country (whatever that is).

With the immigration bill being pushed down my throat, I have had enough and could care if the Democrats have power or not. I feel that the country is gone and it is only a matter of time. And, many of my redneck friends feel the same.

The Drill SGT said...

Sloanasaurus said...
Everyone knows that the NY Times has a nasty leftist bias. So does CNN, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, CBS, and almost all major newspapers


My local paper (WaPo) has bright spots in its editorials. When the Democrats perform egregiously, the Post is willing to call them on it.

On immigration however, they are insufferable Amnesty types.

I live for the day when I can convince my wife to forsake her Sunday NYT.

Simon said...

David,
To the extent that your point is that the GOP has misbehaved over the last few years, I agree. But the difference is that this is Republican misbehaviour - for Democrats, it's called their platform. Hence my analogy: if you don't want to risk intoxication, don't drink alcohol. But if you have to drink something (and because either the Dems or the GOP are going to win any election, you do have to drink), you pick the bottle of whatever has the lower percentage of alcohol - beer over bourbon.

I have absolutely no idea what you mean by "Bush and the Republicans were able to get 'conservative judges' on the Supreme court so they can interject the states policy to keep women from having control of their bodies." The Supreme Court has "interject[ed] the states policy"?

Roost on the Moon said...

"Why? They're out there, aren't they?"

Doyle, I had the same impulse, initially; basically there are many unreflective xenophobes out there that are part of this grassroots support, so what's wrong with portraying that?

It's not a good argument, though. Picture a global warming article with a hippie in an Earth Day shirt doing bong rips. "We've got to, like, fight against the polluters, they don't care, man." There are plenty of those out there, too. That doesn't make it a fair angle to tackle an issue. The environmental one is pretty benign, too, when you think about what could be done with ethnic stereotypes and justified with "Well, they're out there." Even on this issue: Pictures of undocumented immigrants drunk in the park in the afternoon. "Well, they're out there."

Dan said...

"Everyone knows that the NY Times has a nasty leftist bias. So does CNN, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, CBS, and almost all major newspapers."

And, interestingly enough, reality.

The Drill SGT said...

Following up on my comment that the WaPo is just about as feckless as the NYT on illegals. Here is an article about using the NCIC to catch absconding illegals from last week and my comments back to the WaPo at that time.

Database Is Tool in Deporting Fugitives -
Police Officers Find Illegal Immigrants In Warrant Searches



If you continue to beat the pro-immigration drum with slanted articles like this one, your paper will catch up with the NYT and go out of business as they are doing. Example:

Your writer said: "Hernandez entered the United States illegally in September 2000 through the Mexican border. He joined relatives in Hyattsville, found work as a welder and began dating a Guatemalan woman."

what your writer MUST have known and withheld from the public because it did not his agenda was a string of facts like this:

1. Mr Hernandez entered the US in 2000.
2. He was caught. (catch and release?)
3. He was released after promising to appear in front of an immigration judge to show cause why he should not be deported
4. He failed to appear and fled the area, a fugitive
5. He was ordered to be deported. He had his day in court, but thumbed his nose at our due process.
6. The warrant was placed in the NCIC
7. He was caught and deported.

end of story

alternately, he was a gang member, or a convicted criminal who was ordered deported after serving time in jail. He slipped away and changed his name and address.

Either way, he didn't get a deportation order without having a hearing and the ability to argue his case. He apparently refused to do that at some point.

Doyle said...

there are many unreflective xenophobes out there

But see I wasn't referring to "unreflective xenophobes," I was referring to immigration opponents who don't have a full complement of teeth.

Any valid criticism of the picture depends on some evidence that it was selected because the guy is missing teeth. But that is just an assumption (which Ann is unsurprisingly comfortable making).

What Ann would like is for the Times to withhold pictures of immigration opponents who do actually fit the ugly stereotype of the toothless redneck.

To use your Earth Day example, I'm pretty sure newspapers do print pictures of tie-dye wearing hippies at those events. Why? Because there are tie-dye wearing hippies who show up for Earth Day events!

amba said...

It sure makes one miss the former, tougher public editor, Byron Calame, who actually held the paper's feet to the fire on some things.

peter hoh said...

I'd like to add to DavidC's rant: my kids need f'in passports to fly within the United States. I can't believe that I have to put up with this nonsense.

Richard Dolan said...

How many times has this same post (and the same comments) been written? Is there someone out there who doesn't know that the NYT has a point of view, that its audience largely shares that point of view, and that the perspective is consistently left of center? Would it come as news to anyone to learn that the NYT is largely written and edited by folks living in Manhattan for whom ever place else is, at best, New Jersey? There is nothing that the NYT need apologize for here -- the pictures they used express exactly how they see the world, and in particular that part of it that opposes their policy nostrums (and probably voted for the Evil One to boot). Since that is how they see the world, it seems odd to complain that they describe it in terms and with images that reflect what they see.

In framing the issue with words like "discriminatory," "stir[ring] up the prejudices and assumptions of the readers," and "manipulate opinion," Ann invites a contrast with some neutral, objective state of affairs that all fair-minded people could agree upon. But the point of articles like this is to call attention to values - the NYT clearly views opposition to the immigration bill as small minded, ungenerous, nativist, and conservative, all of which contrasts sharply with their broad minded, generous, one-world-y, liberalism.

Ann wants the NYT to be something it clearly isn't and really has never been. It would be much more sensible just to take it for what it is, and get over the illusions.

Ryan said...

the NYT deserves criticism for using them to obtain the images that would make the the opponents of the bill look like small-minded rustics.

This is funny because Ann assumes that opponents of the bill aren't uniformly small-minded and mostly rustic. Keep up the xenophobia, folks; it makes us all pround to be Americans.

Doyle said...

Yeah I can't believe they just printed a picture of a guy without some teeth!

They should really do a feature with some anti-immigration J Crew models to make up for this.

Simon said...

The point, Doyle, is that having decided to write a story about the people who oppose illegal immigration, out of the hundreds of thousands - millions, even - of people throughout the country who are opposed to the comprehensive reform bill, these are the people they just happened to pick, and they just happened to resemble the average New York Times' reader's stereotypes about flyover country.

And Richard, the problem isn't whether the NYT leans left, the problem is that they lean left and get all huffy that they're actually straight-down-the-center. You know how ridiculous Fox News' claim to be fair and balanced looks to everyone who isn't way off on the right? Well, that's how the NYT's pretentions of disinterest look to everyone who isn't way off on the left. I don't think anyone "wants the NYT to be something it clearly isn't and really has never been," I think that what's desired is honesty. A newspaper's stock in trade is its credibility, and the NYT is so disingenuous/unselfaware about its biases that it has very little credibility. If Linda Greenhouse can't even honestly tell us what she sees in the mirror, how can we trust her to tell us what happened at oral argument this morning?

Doyle said...

these are the people they just happened to pick

What do you want, Simon? For the Times to never show a picture of an immigration opponent who looks like the stereotypical immigration opponent?

I mean if you can demonstrate that they've shown a disproportionate number of toothless immigration opponents relative to their proportion in the immigration opponent community, you might have something.

As it is you're just whining and assuming the worst of the paper and its readers.

dick said...

Richard Dolan,

I could agree with you if the NYT weren't billing themselves as the paper of record. If they are the paper of record then it is incumbent on them to present all sides of the story. This they do not do in any way, shape or fashion. Therefore they should either just settle for being one of the papers for the NYC metropolitan area and keep their extreme liberal biases or they should accept that they are the paper of record and actually record the whole story, which would be a big change for them.

Roost on the Moon said...

You know how ridiculous Fox News' claim to be fair and balanced looks to everyone who isn't way off on the right? Well, that's how the NYT's pretentions of disinterest look to everyone who isn't way off on the left.

Let's not get carried away.

It has a mild and intermittent left-center bias. Equating it with Fox is kind of nuts; have you ever really sat down and watched Fox News?

Doyle said...

have you ever really sat down and watched Fox News?

Among Althouse readers, Special Report with Brit Hume is the second most-watched television show behind American Idol.

PatCA said...

"At The Times, the reader call-in line was overwhelmed."

Sulzberger: "They're reading us, they're really reading us!"

It's interesting to note that the paper denies manipulation through images, yet most of its employees are probably graduates with liberal arts degrees that indoctrinate them to believe in the Grand Patriarchal Scheme to control the world through media...images.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"What do you want, Simon? For the Times to never show a picture of an immigration opponent who looks like the stereotypical immigration opponent?"

What you need to understand is that no one is ever quoted accidentally in a media report. Ever. Quotes are chosen to fit the story, not vice versa. Do you really believe that the NYT called every opponent of the immigation bill and these are the only ones who'd give an interview on the record? Do you believe that when the Supreme Court decides a case, the law professor quoted in the NYT story who's viciously critical / laudatory of the decision is the only lawprof they could get on the phone? Whenever you hear an "expert" quoted, ask yourself why that expert was chosen out of everyone else in the field. Judge Sack said of judges that they use law review articles as a drunk uses a lamppost, more for support than illumination, and the same is true of most journalists.

As to what I'd like - I'd like them to be honest. It's the conceited dishonesty that I can't stand, not the liberal bias. I listen to NPR, I'm used to critically filtering what I hear. The premise of journalistic objectivity is so pervasively unattainable (I can think of literally one reporter, nationwide, who I entirely trust to throw straight dice, JCG) that it'd be far better to habitually declare their position: "we think amesty's just swell, here's some rubes who don't agree." If the NYT want to act like Pravda, they ought to stick the Order of Lenin in their masthead too.


"As it is you're just whining and assuming the worst of the paper and its readers."

If you're suggesting that the NYT and its readership don't skew left, I think you've wandered far from the reality-based community. Come back to us!

Simon said...

Roost on the Moon said...
"[The NYT] has a mild and intermittent left-center bias. Equating it with Fox is kind of nuts; have you ever really sat down and watched Fox News?"

Only when I really can't avoid it. I don't much like Fox - the tone's too shrill for my liking. I'm more of a News Hour guy. Still, I'll say this for Fox News: if you watch Fox, you'll find out that there are two sides to the story, but the liberal side is stupid. If you watch CNN or read the NYT, you won't even find out that there's two sides to it, you'll just be spoonfed the liberal side and expected not to ask too many questions. Bottom line - blatant, upfront bias is better than subtle, corrupting bias.

Doyle said...

they just happened to resemble the average New York Times' reader's stereotypes about flyover country.

But don't you see how this depends on the stereotype of NYT readers as bigots? (Ann doesn't so if not you're in good company.)

tjl said...

"the problem isn't whether the NYT leans left, the problem is that they lean left and get all huffy that they're actually straight-down-the-center."

As Richard Dolan points out, the NYT is written by and for elite New Yorkers whose political views trend very far left of center, IF the center is measured in terms of the mainstream. In terms of the spectrum of political views held by elite New Yorkers, the NYT is what it fondly imagines itself to be, exactly in the center.

The photos of toothless rustics may seem a little extreme to the rest of us, but as Doyle reminds us, toothless rustics ARE the rest of the country to the NYT's demographic.

Roost on the Moon said...

George raised this point:

On Tuesday, June 5, she called Grassfire.org and asked to speak to some activists who would agree to be interviewed. Grassfire.org gave her a list of names, and she called four or five, including Murphy...

This is an important detail that is being selectively ignored by those criticizing the Times. Grassfire set up the interview with the toothless guy. While I'm sure the pictures were chosen to reinforce negative opinions of fervent anti-immigration activists, it isn't as if the the NYT went hobo-wrangling, either. These people were presented to them as the face of the organization.

Richard Dolan said...

Simon and dick: Your basic gripe is that you think the NYT should give up its particular point of view because, to do otherwise, is dishonest, or obnoxious ("pretentions of disinterest") or untrue to its billing as a "paper of record." The short answer is that the NYT has had the same point of view -- clearly, left/liberal and decidedly Democrat -- for decades, certainly as long as I can remember. As far as the NYT and its reporting goes, there's just nothing new here. And I don't see why the NYT should change because it doesn't conform to notions of objectivity or "paper of record" stuff held by those who don't share its perspective on life. The West Siders who are its core audience like it just fine.

What comes through in all of this endlessly repeated wailing about the bias of the NYT is a lack of confidence in one's own views and values. What difference does it make that the NYT consistently sneers at anyone who disagrees with its left/liberal slant on things? You don't have to read the NYT to find that -- just take a quick survey of any comment thread here, for example, to say nothing of Huffington or Kos. We live in an age where reporting who/when/where/what is so passe; the focus at the NYT and elsewhere is on reporting the why, and with that comes all of the baggage you're complaining about.

So get over it. The real change in the last 30 years or so is that, in the past, the NYT (and the AP/Reuters/etc.) was all there was in terms of sources of information. That world is dead, buried and unmourned. By complaining that the NYT isn't some idealized paragon of even handed objectivity, you're just trying to resurrect a world that never was.

Palladian said...

I wonder how much the NYT had to pay Diane Arbus to come back from the dead to take that picture?

Oligonicella said...

Ryan:

the NYT deserves criticism for using them to obtain the images that would make the the opponents of the bill look like small-minded rustics.

"This is funny because Ann assumes that opponents of the bill aren't uniformly small-minded and mostly rustic. Keep up the xenophobia, folks; it makes us all pround to be Americans."

No. Ann is aware the opponents of the bill aren't uniformly small-minded and mostly rustic. Big difference.

Simon said...

Richard Dolan said...
"Simon and Dick: Your basic gripe is that you think the NYT should give up its particular point of view because, to do otherwise, is dishonest, or obnoxious ('pretentions of disinterest') or untrue to its billing as a 'paper of record.'"

What did you think I meant when I said above that it's "the conceited dishonesty that I can't stand, not the liberal bias"? As for characterizing my criticism as the "NYT isn't some idealized paragon of even handed objectivity," did you just completely skip the part where I said branded the "premise of journalistic objectivity ... [as] pervasively unattainable"? I thought I made pretty clear that what I want them to do is to be honest about their having a particular point of view, not to change it.


"What comes through in all of this endlessly repeated wailing about the bias of the NYT is a lack of confidence in one's own views and values."

Gee, and there I was thinking that Doyle automatically got dibs on the silliest thing written in any thread he participated in. I'm not sure if that's projection or just a hasty mistake. You think the Sarge "lacks confidence in [his] ... views and values"? You think Sloan does? Me? Are you new around here?

Thorley Winston said...

Far be it from me to defend the NYT but after reading the original article, I thought it was very fair in its treatment of the people who were opposed to the immigration bill. Here was the part about Mr. Murphy:

“Ordinary people like me rose up and put a stop to it,” said William Murphy, a retired policeman from Evansville, Wis., one of the Grassfire.org volunteers who delivered petitions to his senators. On Thursday before the vote, he said, he put in new calls to 15 senators.

Mr. Murphy said he felt strongly about the bill because he believed it would degrade the value of American citizenship.

“If I come from Mexico, I can jump the fence and get all those American benefits,” he said. “It’s outrageous when you can buy your citizenship for $5,000,” he said, referring to the fines that illegal immigrants would pay under the bill to become legal permanent residents.

When asked about Mr. Bush’s support for the bill, Mr. Murphy, a longtime Republican, had to pause to temper his words.

“I was stunned, really,” he said. Mr. Bush “has always been a person who stood for some basic human values, and now he’s going to give away the country?”

IMO Mr. Murphy comes off rather well and I think he speaks for a pretty large segment of the GOP base who generally like President Bush and want to support him but are oppose to the current immigration reform bill for legitimate reasons. If the NYT reporter wanted to make him look like a buffoon, why would they have picked quotes in which he comes off as articulate and even-tempered? You can always find a hothead to spout off on any side of any topic if that’s the angle you want to take.

As far as the picture goes, I think some people may be stretching it a bit to be upset. The reporter got him based on a recommendation from grassfire.org and she sent a reporter because he came off very well in the interview. And from the account the reporter took several shots so that they could get the best one and he generally looks pleasant. As far as the NYT’s public editor, I hate to say it but he may have a point – the NYT didn’t do anything to make this fellow look bad and he certainly didn’t come off as bad in the interview.

Doyle said...

Gee, and there I was thinking that Doyle automatically got dibs on the silliest thing written in any thread he participated in.

Ooooh! Burn!

Roost on the Moon said...

“I feel sorry for the poor photographer,” he said, laughing. “If he takes a picture of one side of my face, there’s no tooth. If he takes the other side, there’s no eye. So what’s he going to do?”

At least he's being a good sport about it. Seems like a cool guy.

blake said...

amba--

Didn't they let Calame go immediately after he actually called them on one of their biggest recent gaffes (the pro-abortion piece about El Salvador where it turned out the baby had not been aborted but in fact strangled after birth)?

Or do they just change every year?

knoxwhirled said...

I wonder how much the NYT had to pay Diane Arbus to come back from the dead to take that picture?

LOL!
It almost looks like the gap has been photoshopped to look even MORE toothless.

Richard Dolan said...

Simon: The NYT is "honest about their having a particular point of view." I think their quite proud of it. In all events, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. And I'm not "new around here." Neither is all the wailing about the NYT.

MadisonMan said...

It almost looks like the gap has been photoshopped to look even MORE toothless.

Um, speaking as someone who knows the photographer, I have to say that that's a despicable claim to make about any freelance photographer. Unless, of course, you have proof, which you do not.

PatCA said...

"But don't you see how this depends on the stereotype of NYT readers as bigots?"


Yes, Doyle, and that's because culture flows both ways. An image such as this one resonates with readers precisely because they have been educated to recognize that image as denoting a dumb, racist Amurrican. Media 101.

"(Ann doesn't so if not you're in good company.)"

And Ann and her readers are excoriated for being evil conservatives precisely because they think about and analye such media manipulation instead of blindly accepting it.

Doyle said...

The "manipulation" in this case would be NOT PRINTING THE PICTURE because the guy is missing teeth.

Doyle said...

Unless, of course, you have proof, which you do not.

Never let that get in the way of a good NYT bashing.

Doyle said...

On the subject my favorite part of this post was where Ann says:

Yeah, how dare we assume?

By way of saying that this assumption is so solid that it should be taken as fact, disregarding the far more plausible interpretation (that the people who complained were embarrassed by the toothless guy and assumed a conspiracy).

So rather than come down on the side of common sense and critical thinking, Ann decides that the conspiracy theory is just obviously true, and demands that the public editor get to the bottom of it.

Hack.

Roger said...

what tjl and Richard Dolan said--certainly any sentient reader understands the NYT is a paper that is decidedly leftist and caters to the Hamptons, upper east side, and CT crowd. Why are we suprised and upset when they do exactly what we think they will?

Hell--the market is killing them, their ad revenues on the paper side are declining in tandem with their circulation. I dont understand why people think they are going to change. It's a free market out there: don't buy nor read the NYT if you dont like their slant.

PatCA said...

"The "manipulation" in this case would be NOT PRINTING THE PICTURE because the guy is missing teeth."

Why?

From Inwood said...

The NYTimes is at its best simply a Borat & at its usual a Michael Moore, in both cases with fact checkers who would not be hired at The National Enquirer.

The problem is that it holds itself out as objective & that, by default, it sets the daily agenda for the MSM. (Um, unless otherwise indicated, as used herein, the terms “NYTimes” & “NYT” include the MSM.)

And it selects its images with a vengeance. They’re chosen to “make a statement” for the lazy who won’t read all of it’s boring articles or to reinforce these people .

NYT "Red" & "Blue" cultures:

Blue = education, class, worldliness, secularism. (To represent them, the NYT uses quotes only from someone neatly attired who uses squipedalian words; it corrects grammar, syntax & malaprops, if needed.)

Red = lumpenproletariat, ignorance, naiveté, credulity, evangelism, yahoos, Old Boys Clubs for Cro-Magnon White Males, Talk Radio, Fox News, Blogs. (To represent them, the NYT uses quotes only from some inarticulate yahoo in dishabille, full of malaprops or mangled grammar/syntax, transcribed, religiously, OOPS, make that verbatim.)

Thus, when poor whites claim that they simply want to save their neighborhoods, trust the NYT always to find someone who’ll use the “n” word. When Massachusetts’ Libs don’t want windmills & denizens of the Hamptons don’t want super hiways & shopping malls, it’ll always get someone who uses words like “paradigm” & socio-economic factors”.

So silly, narrow-minded me, I keep wondering how come the NYT always finds such people, seemingly the embodiment of what lawyers call the “average reasonable person”, to bolster its side of any issue.

Duh, could it be the NYT's main rule of "reporting": whatever the issue, for support, go to Left sources (often w/o identifying them as such & just pretending that they're the "man - OOPS person, gotta be PC- in the street")? Thus:
While the economy is obviously improving, the NYT goes to some poverty activist who relates a story about someone who's still mired in poverty. (How come the poor are not on the NYT’s radar screen when there's a Dem Pres)?
When there's a question re science, where does the NYT go for its experts? To PIRG (Ralph Nader's Public Interest Research Group) or The Union of Concerned Scientists, which is to laugh since they’re scientists acting as political animals.

When Bush proposes an initiative with which the NYT reflexively disagrees, where's the NYT "reporter" with the Republican side? Why, interviewing a "lifetime Republican, never-voted-for-a-Democrat-up-to-now” (Right!), whose family has voted Republican since Fremont in 1856". And gee, this guy's against the proposal. And this guy is soon disclosed on the blogs as an active member of Planned Parenthood, head of the Local Teachers Union, or a member of some violent peace group. No apology from the NYT.

So now when Bush proposes something with which the NYT agrees, why change the template? Opposition to the NYT is, by definition, antediluvian, troglodyte. Find the low-rent opposition group for the average reasonable opponent. In addition to this toothless image, see the picture from the previous Sunday NYT front page of the fat, flag-waving anti-immigration person. She was smiling, so we don’t know her dental condition.

I’m surprised that the NYT, in its defense, didn’t go off on a riff about why Dental services should be under a Government-supported DentalCare for the elderly as noted by someone in this thread.

So, it’s just “the NYT being the NYT” & using this guy’s lack of dental care to its advantage. As long as the Grey Lady can pretend that that we can't count beyond our fingers (they don't want to acknowledge that we have an opposable thumb), we'll be looked down on.

I’m sensitive ‘cause these guys are insensitive.

And no, I don't read the NYT, but I have it quoted to me incessantly by others & I can't avoid hearing its untruths regurgitated on the Radio newsbriefs.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"[S]peaking as someone who knows the photographer, I have to say that that's a despicable claim [that the picutre may have been photoshopped to look even MORE toothless] to make about any freelance photographer. Unless, of course, you have proof, which you do not."

Where did she accuse the photographer of photoshopping the image? The suggestion (which I'm not endorsing herein) was only that it might have been photoshopped, not that the photographer (as opposed to the NYT) had photoshopped it.

Palladian said...

"Um, speaking as someone who knows the photographer, I have to say that that's a despicable claim to make about any freelance photographer."

You know Diane Arbus?

Palladian said...

Forget it, I don't want to keep putting down the real Arbus by comparing her to some 2nd rate NYT stringer.

boston70 said...

Stop reading the NYTimes if it rankles you so much. Conversatives (yes, you) who bitch about the NYTimes are just like liberals who bitch about Fake News.


Both news sources are biased and are going to rankle those that don't agree with them.

There is a paper for you my dear and it is called the Washington Times. Granted, it is not nearly as fabulous as the NYTimes but it is there for a reason-for people like you.

Granted, the Washington Times is a conservative paper, and run by a bunch of Moonies and a pretty poor paper but your ideas will be affirmed and you will sleep well and not become upset by your shattered disappointments of the paper of record.

Now put down the NY Times, you won't look as fabulous walking around Madison though, and pick up that wretched rag the Washington Times.

Now doesn't that feel better.

downtownlad said...

Why should the New York Times go out of its way to find the three people in this country who oppose the immigration bill who are not toothless?

But seriously, I have yet to meet one person who screams about "amnesty" who is not a racist at heart.

From Inwood said...

Boston 70

You haven't understood a thing people like Simon & moi have been saying about the NYT.

It isn't just that the NYT gets the facts absolutely wrong, it’s the absolute moral certainty with which it presents its conclusions.

And the absolute moral certainty of you & the others you refer to in Madison who think that carrying around the NYT makes you more informed than the profanum vulgus which reads The Washington Times, watches Fox News, or listens to Talk Radio. Worse, you think it makes you informed.

Now you scream each time when others have caught on to the NYT’s game & that of those who bask in its faux sunlight, like you. In fact several trolls in this thread amusingly claim that we're simply repeating old news: NYT IS WRONG! (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….)

And as I pointed out to you, many of us do not read the NYT, but have its rants crammed down our ears as we get the news bulletins on our car radios or read our local papers. In fact, I save time in the morning by not reading the NYT since I simply wait for the blogs & Talk radio to show the NYT’s daily mistakes. I don’t have to unlearn everything I thought I was learning!

In this regard, I suspect that Downtown lad has never actually met anyone who screams “No Amnesty”, but simply, simplistically relies on those images he sees on TV or on the front page of the NYT as representing the epitome of the opposition to the rush to legislation going on now. How does he know that we’re all toothless screamers? The NYT tells him so. Tells him how to think. Yesterday, today, & tomorrow. Wait, make that unthink.

From Inwood said...

Palladian

You’re right, no sense getting in a row over the authenticity of this picture (it’s toothiness or truthiness) or that on the NYT front page the Sunday before last. The NYT uses the best photogs. And its editors choose the pix they want carefully; very carefully.

And so do the tabloids. The tabloids, however, never deny that they editorialize with their pictures. They’ll catch Angelina with or without her makeup depending on what point they want to make, even if that point is “we don’t like her.”

The NYT editors, pious frauds that they are, however, decree: here is a picture; it is true; it is fit to print. But they never can say that any picture is the whole truth & nothing but the truth. But they'd like us to think that each picture is. And many of their readers are so fooled. Even though such readers when caught try to joke their way out of it by saying that of course we know that there are one or two opponents of the bill who have teeth, tee hee!

Arbus was a great photographer. So was Bacharach. So was Steichen. So was Riis. And so was Weegee. Each took many pictures. But each published or was allowed to publish very few.


PS downtownlad. I broke up your name. Sorry

downtownlad said...

I know lots of people who scream "No Amnesty". They then go on to start making anti-Mexican slurs, etc.

So I'm pretty certain they are racist - although they would deny it in a second.

But not that there is anything wrong with being racist. But if that's your real reasoning for opposing the immigration bill, then just say so. That's the route that Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan are taking, and you have to respect them for that.