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Klavan On The Culture

The Bernie Madoff of Information

May 29th, 2012 - 4:13 pm
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I’ve been traveling for two weeks — a statement which at this point should be accompanied by the shrieking violins from Psycho. What with expired passports, delayed planes, canceled planes and just plain planes, the experience reminded me of that time I was sent to Hell for all eternity. (Records mix-up — long story — happy ending.) In what felt like brief but beautiful waking moments between nightmares, I did get to visit the amazing set of a project I’m on, attend the Manhattan Institute’s terrific Hamilton Dinner featuring Cardinal Timothy Dolan, drop in on the great Greg Gutfeld at Red Eye, and then on the likewise great (or maybe I should say great-great-great) Sean Hannity — and slap my jaded peepers on some friends and family I don’t get to see often enough.

Part of this time, as those of you who were reading carefully may have deduced, I was in New York City — where I discovered something you may find shocking. There are still people who read the New York Times…  okay, yes, that is shocking, but that’s not what I meant. Stop interrupting. There are still people who read the New York Times and believe they are getting the news.

I am not making this up. I talked to them myself. I met them in the city everywhere I went. They get their “news” from the New York Times and think they have a clear picture of the world.

For me, the New York Times has now become an organ of leftist disinformation. It scrambles teams of reporters at any trace of scandal on the right, and ignores solid evidence of scandal on the left. It races to cover any sign of global warming, but drags its feet when warming alarmists are revealed to have fudged the facts. It plays down acts of violence and incivility by leftists while allowing columnists to imagine them in rightists. It assigns left-wing reviewers to review conservative books and movies — and assigns left-wing reviewers to review left-wing books and movies as well. It publishes Paul Krugman, who admits he has a lousy record of predicting economic outcomes but never ceases to be certain his exploded theories are correct, who blames violence on right-wing incivility without proof and indulges in left wing incivility also without proof, who claims Europe’s economy is doing great except that it’s failing because of “austerity” (there’s a laugh!), and who all in all will say anything whether it makes sense or not in order to support the death-dealing dead letter of socialism. (To give him his due, he did write a book called The Conscience of a Liberal, which sits next to Intelligent French Theories and Feminist Humor on my shelf of books so thin you can’t see them.)

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In other words, the New York Times trades on a reputation for solid reporting earned four decades ago to create a Matrix: a plausible imitation of reality that is wholly false. And there are people in New York (and even elsewhere possibly) who haven’t noticed the change and who still read this paper as if it were telling them the truth. They think that Reagan ruined this country and Obama is doing a great job. They think that human activity is causing the earth to hurtle to extinction. They think Mitt Romney is a mean man who doesn’t know anything — and Obama cares!

But mostly what they think is that leftism is still liberal, that it is a bulwark against the sort of government oppression, censorship, racism and undeclared warfare that — well, that only leftists actually support.

So my congratulations to the New York Times.  It is the Bernie Madoff of information and for now at least, the Ponzi Scheme is still in play.

[While we're on the subject, don't forget to submit your nominations for the Walter Duranty Prize for dishonesty in journalism, given by PJ Media and the New Criterion.]

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