October 25, 2011

"Bizarre denial" from the NYT? It depends on what the meaning of "fringe" is.

In the Twittersphere, James Taranto caught Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of the NYT, taking a shot at Herman Cain, saying "McCain was fringe. Cain is fringe."
We tweeted back: "Says the editor whose page endorsed him [McCain] in the Republican primary." Which prompted a surprising reply from Rosenthal: "Was wondering where you were. Might read the editorial. We said he was best of BAD choices. No endorsement."

We did read the editorial, which appeared Jan. 25, 2008. Not only did it appear to us to be an endorsement--albeit a backhanded one--but it contradicted Rosenthal's assertion that "McCain is fringe": "Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe."
"Fringe" is a key word at NYT. Taranto is making a big deal about what counts as endorsement, but the NYT wasn't really endorsing any Republicans over Hillary/Obama in '08. No one was fooled. The only potentially "bizarre" thing here is the fringe/not fringe characterization of McCain.

And even that isn't bizarre, since it's all a matter of perspective. What is the "fringe"? It depends on what you're looking at. If you're the NYT, looking only at the group of Republican candidates in 2008, everyone but McCain is way out there on the fringe. But if you're the NYT looking at a collection of Republicans and Democrats, all the Republicans, including McCain, are on the fringe.

Everything is utterly what you'd expect and not at all bizarre.

55 comments:

MadisonMan said...

McCain was the pretty little Surrey with the fringe on the top. Or maybe the flapper dress with the fringe on the bottom.

caseym54 said...

Grab any collection of NY Times editorials, and the true meaning of "Fringe" will become clear.

Chip S. said...

What is the "fringe"? It depends on what you're looking at.

It also depends on which direction you're looking in.

Dark Eden said...

In the NYT, the most wildly leftist Democrat will be called a moderate and the most centrist Republican will be called a fringe extremist. Which means those words no longer have any relevant meaning to anyone.

YoungHegelian said...

It is an article of unshakeable faith among many of my liberal friends that the Republican Party is run by its extreme right-wing, and by that they mean mostly right-wing Christians.

No amount of sociological data can shake this faith.

And, no surprise here, their daily divine office readings are from the NYT.

Nonapod said...

The term "fringe" is used far too much in political journalism. The word has been devalued.

To me "fringe" when used to describe political figures indicates a person who holds viewpoints on 1 or more major issues that diverge greatly from the overwhelming majority of the public. By "overwhelming majority" I mean 85 - 90% or more people would disagree with this position. I think by this definition neither McCain or Cain could be said to be fringe.

Calypso Facto said...

There's an axiom about highway driving: Everyone going slower than you must be an idiot, and everyone going faster is CRAZY!

The NYT thinks its speed is the only one that's just right, making it somehow perfectly reasonable to call a 30-year member of the establishment "the fringe".

edutcher said...

Junior was a maverick only in that he reached across the aisle to his friends in the Democrat Party as often as he did.

What the Gray Lady and the rest of the Establishment Media really meant was that he was mainstream as far as they were concerned.

Ann Althouse said...

What is the "fringe"?

Nowadays, it's the Gray Lady.

Bob Ellison said...

"Nobody was fooled."

Why, then, does the NYT bother endorsing (for that is what they did, as Taranto showed in the parts you didn't quote) anyone at all for the Republican nomination?

They did it, of course, to push Republican voters toward McCain and away from the other GOP candidates, and to keep up their facade if impartiality. They could only do this plausibly by pretending to prefer him in some way. They did not prefer him at all, though. They were merely gaming the system, trying to sway votes so that their party would win. Rosenthal's dancing around the meaning of simple words was silly.

I wish nobody would be fooled by such tomfoolery, but I strongly suspect that some are.

ic said...

Heard of Main Stream Media? They are NYT, WaPo, some alphabet TVs. MSM are democrats, ergo if one's not a democrat, one is not mainstream, one is "fringe".

SMGalbraith said...

"I would defy anyone to label Maureen Dowd by party affiliation or ideology. I've known her and worked closely with her for 20 years and I can't tell you the answer to either one."
---- Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times

So, it's possible that Ms. Dowd is a Pat Robertson Christian conservative? I mean, it's so hard to tell.

Can we have a talk about that "fringe" again, Mr. Rosenthal?

campy said...

They could only do this plausibly by pretending to prefer [McCain] in some way. They did not prefer him at all, though.

Yes they did. They always prefer the rebublicans to nominate most beatable candidate.

And so it came to pass.

Paul said...

You want fringe? Go visit Poopstock at Zucotti Park in Manhattan.

Cedarford said...

To the NY Times, "fringe" is any part of the country that does not embrace the cultural and political views of Manhattan's Ruling Elites.

McCain was a fairly treacherous guy, of dim intellect - who believed in little but his own entitlement, based on a 40-year old claim that the country owed him for being captured and held by the enemy.
Not fringe.
But hardly a surprise that no one begged him to make another run for the Presidency.

SMGalbraith said...

It is striking seeing the editorial page of the NY Times lecture us about how diversity and tolerance must be fully embraced and that different "voices" be heard and multi- this and multi-that and then we see this dimissive characterization of McCain as "fringe."

It's almost as if they don't really mean diversity and pluralism and all of those wonderful ideas.

If you ask me, I'm getting a bit suspicious about their sincerity.

Lamar63 said...

McCain hardest hit

wv acialis a day will make you happy, healthy and wise.

Lucius said...

What a ridiculous rag.

It's not that I have a "paper of record"; I've fished with the WSJ, FT, WaPo, Washington Times, IBD, they all have their cranknesses. Most of the center-right ones, though, do wear their ideological committments on their sleeves-- they don't *mistake* themselves for representing just what every 'sane', 'centrist', 'reasonable' person thinks.

The insularity to which people who preen themselves on cosmopolitan sophisication are prey to, just boggles the mind.

The Crack Emcee said...

The NYT are a bunch of liars - THAT's the only issue.

deborah said...

Fringe!

traditionalguy said...

John McCain was a fighter, but not a thinker.

He still wanted to fight the way the NYT and media did fights in the 1980s. So he bowed to them and never got off first base using that strategy.

Palin pioneered a new strategy, and Cain is becoming the Mathematician/Mozart perfecting it, of playing off the media attacks and making that your reason to be elected.

The harder they hit him, the the more he gets airtime intended to trip him up in which he makes his case with a smile.

In the end, the false attack gets exposed as weak, and the smiling candidate gets voters who now love him.

Bruce Hayden said...

To me "fringe" when used to describe political figures indicates a person who holds viewpoints on 1 or more major issues that diverge greatly from the overwhelming majority of the public. By "overwhelming majority" I mean 85 - 90% or more people would disagree with this position. I think by this definition neither McCain or Cain could be said to be fringe.

But the NYT itself? That is a very different situation.

McCain was never fringe. Or, at least not since he first ran for elective office. A bit to the right on some matters. But fringe? Never. Sure, he represented the same state in the Senate as did Barry Goldwater, but by the end of the Reagan Administration, Goldwater wasn't really fringe either.

Cain a couple of years ago might have qualified, but events have caught up, and his prescriptions make some sense.

Indeed, even Ron Paul appears less radical these days than do many of the regular pundits found in the NYT.

J said...

To the NYT, "Fringe" usually means.... ivy league jews have a problem with him/it/her.

Ned said...

Luckily, "Fringe" is anybody that reads and puts stock in the NYT! Yes the entire MFM falls in this camp but they too are increasingly fringe.

Cedarford said...

tradguy - "Palin pioneered a new strategy, and Cain is becoming the Mathematician/Mozart perfecting it, of playing off the media attacks and making that your reason to be elected.

The harder they hit him, the the more he gets airtime intended to trip him up in which he makes his case with a smile.

In the end, the false attack gets exposed as weak, and the smiling candidate gets voters who now love him."
===============

A rather dunderheaded notion that anyone criticized in the media is automatically made more deservedly lovable and electable, no matter what their ideas or qualifications.

Or:

"Do you really think that Palin or Cain has the ability to govern well?"
"Who cares!! As long as they make liberal and Reagan democrat and independent and RINO heads and media heads explode as Palin or Cain drags the country down in flames! It shure darn sends a message, you betcha!"

To such a mind as Tradguy's, Nero was badly smeared. Nero was inspirational, someone you could *Heart*.

dbp said...

"Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe."

If McCain would have ended the then fringe governance of GWB, then McCain is not fringe.

Though I suppose we shouldn't punish the NYT for their occasional backhanded compliment of a Republican. Otherwise they will go from rare to never in future occurrence.

David said...

Projection by NYT--which is the fringe with the fury on top.

blogantine said...

"but the NYT wasn't really endorsing any Republicans over Hillary/Obama in '08"

True, but they did endorse McCain in the primary which is what was being discussed.

traditionalguy said...

C-4...The 24/7 News Cycle and cable channel's audiences are hungry for more, and this has opened a flood gate of coverage of interesting candidates.

Politics today is as much entertainment as ESPN, ESPN 2 and 3, The NFL Channel, NBC Sports and Fox Sports all going all day.

The power in marketing that creates is a network of free Ads for a good product.

Ads hurt a bad product because it becomes known as bad. (E,g., Rick Perry.)

But ads for a good product make it into an overnight favorite (E.g., Herman Cain.)

That shows intelligence and focus in the engineer driving the Cain Train, which is has its fireman at full steam and is over white oak mountain and rolling downgrade into DC.

We call it Old 45 now, instead of Old 97. All Herman has to worry about now is Karl Rove and Fox News sabotaging the Stillman Trestle at Danville.

Stay tuned.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Cedarford said...

A rather dunderheaded notion that anyone criticized in the media is automatically made more deservedly lovable and electable, no matter what their ideas or qualifications.


I don't recall tradguy saying anything about "deservedly", although in this case it does apply to Cain. As to your general point, this "dunderheaded" notion is proving quite effective for Cain. Have you seen the polls?

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

Tyrone - As to your general point, this "dunderheaded" notion is proving quite effective for Cain. Have you seen the polls?

As Samuel Goldwyn once said of his business, "No one ever grows broke underestimating the stupidity of the moviegoing public".

Cain is up in the polls because a significant part of the public buys "hope and change" over actual workable policies.

J said...

Uh "Tyrone" aka Byro the plagiarist-stoner troll trying to suck up to C4 (really C4- ya sound a bit WASPish for the Wehrmacht) . Your kind of guy, eh LDS-white supremacist.

Davis enterprise laughin' at yr ass too, phony

J said...

So , which GOP dunderhead does Herr C4 support? Actually I'd say Newt or Santorum are the go-to guys for the real...Sturmabteilung. Nazi brass generally were ...typically papist, C4 -or at least ex-papist (as wit Himmler..and AH hisself) and did not care for... evangelische, except as infantry--prussians for dat (and what did the...nazis do to mason-mormons??.. forget-me- not)_

E.M. Davis said...

Wow. Never knew J was fluent in German.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

This is what hope and change look like.

wv - eatome

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)
Wow. Never knew J was fluent in German

Fluent…Oh OK, you didn’t say “Coherent” carry on then.

J said...

Davis aka NurseByro-troll not fluent but understand quite a bit. scheissekopf, instead of mumbling away like you, AZ yokel

SO who is it, C4? Santorum yr guy Id say. Def.not Mitt Mormley

J said...

JoeJoe the Heretic lets hear you denounce Christianity and catholicism across the board again, schmutz--thats a good one (or defend the soviets as well..and btw I'm not the white supremacist,either--=thats yr new pal the LDS- Nurse-troll).

caseym54 said...

I guess we need a Sulzberger Rule: Whenever, in a political discussion, one side paints the other as a "fringe", the discussion is over and the side invoking "fringe" loses.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Fringe = Tea Party according to DC media complex.

Mainstream = Occu-critters according to the same.

The white knight is talking backwards, go ask Alice.

RB Miller said...

The liberal media will always be, well, liberal.

The bizarre thing to me is that the conservatives keeping falling for it.

The media propped McCain up all during the GOP Primaries. The day he was nominated he went from being, "acceptable and moderate" to right wing nut.

Evem Collin Powell, a personal friend of McCain, who begged the GOP to nominate "moderates", got what he wished for in McCain and promptly abandoned his old buddy to endorse Obama.

There should be a lesson learned in there for conservatives.

econus.blogspot.com

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"There should be a lesson learned in there for conservatives."

OK, I'll bite - name the lesson.

sorepaw said...

You can define "fringe" views in strictly statistical terms. For instance, views that less than 15% of the population subscribes to.

In which case, 9/11 trutherism is fringe and New Black Pantherism is fringe. Obama birtherism may be fringe now but it wasn't a year or two ago. Belief in flying saucers is definitely not fringe.

And if this is what "fringe" means, Barry Goldwater was never fringe. Even when LBJ pounded him, he got 38.4% of the popular vote. Neither John McCain nor Herman Cain has ever been fringe. Dubya couldn't have been fringe and won two Presidential elections, by a hair or otherwise.

Of course, true beliefs might be counted as fringe if a large majority rejects them. Such as belief in quasichrystals in 1984, or in the abolition of slavery in 1700.

sorepaw said...

To the NYT, "Fringe" usually means.... ivy league jews have a problem with him/it/her.

Cedarford will feel indebted to you.

The rest of us are disgusted.

Scram, troll.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Boycott J.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Certainly the MSM backed McCain as a stalking horse for Obama, but I'll remind you of the proximate cause of McCain's nomination-- Obama did not enter the Michigan primary because the date violated DNC rules, but Hillary did. Since it was an open primary and Democrats couldn't make a difference in their own party primary, they went ahead and made a difference in the Republican primary, handing McCain the win and the momentum to eventually take the nomination.

Love said...

I see it's the cry and bitch about the NYT's Day celebration.

Small minds at work.

Stan said...

Fringe isn't just an opinion (like wrong, dangerous, harmful). It implies facts. If the facts (i.e. polls, elections, etc.) show that a candidate is well within the mid range of voters, the description of fringe is factually false. Either that, or it becomes totally meaningless. If someone scores a 40 on the issues (e.g. an ADA or ACU rating), to argue that he is fringe is to argue something that has no meaning.

Robin said...

Cheap name calling, rather than an honest appraisal of issues, is all the NYT has these days.

Because they've been on the wrong end of every significant political issue for decades.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Fringe=NYT

poppa india said...

I see it's the day for Love to tell people what they should or shouldn't talk about.

James Taranto said...

The substance is par for the course, but the denial that the endorsement was an endorsement was bizarre.

AllenS said...

I agree with what Bob Ellison said at 11:09 AM. That was a good article Mr. Taranto.

Franklin said...

"In the NYT, the most wildly leftist Democrat will be called a moderate and the most centrist Republican will be called a fringe extremist. Which means those words no longer have any relevant meaning to anyone."

QFT.


Dark Eden wins.

cubanbob said...

The main house organ of the democratic party labels the republicans 'fringe'. Wow! I'm impressed.