The Gray Lady is Plus-Sized; She Contains Multitudes

I was going to do a “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” or similar-style of SDA-style juxtaposition post on the New York Times’ relationship with the Obama White House, but it seems to change daily. Here’s where we stand, so far:


In September of 2009, Thomas Friedman declared that one party rule is, like, totally awesome dude, provided you have right folks in charge — and for Friedman, thuggish, murderous Chinese Communists equals “a reasonably enlightened group of people.” Much like the thuggish, murderous Cuban Communists that Friedman also admires.)

Last year, the New York Times decided to end 2012 with a bang, declaring, publishing an op-ed that flat-out exclaimed, “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution.”

Having given her blessings to Mr. Obama to embrace lawlessness — not that the former self-declared “Constitutional scholar” needed much encouragement in that department — earlier this week, the Gray Lady had a sad. An op-ed at the Times on Wednesday was titled, “Obama’s Orwellian Image Control.” Gee, didn’t anyone warn Pinch that you can’t create Oceania without having a Big Brother in charge, who’s scrupulously in control of the image he puts out? (The earlier generation of statist Timesmen knew this instinctively. Just ask Walter Duranty, or whoever wrote Stalin’s obit for the Gray Lady.)


But hey, no worries, mate! Today David Brooks, originally hired a decade ago to be the Times’ token conservative declares, it’s time to “Strengthen the Presidency.”

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney must be having a laugh on the phone today over that headline. And as one wag quipped in the comments at Hot Air, “More starch?” But as Ace notes, Brooks own liberal fascist moment comes today after he previously declared in February that:

“We should never trust concentrated power. That is not what the country is based on. It’s based on checks and balances,” Brooks said.

As Brooks exclaimed in a rare moment of candor for a Timesman back in 2011, “I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap.”

He’s far from alone in that department at the Gray Lady. Yes, Walter Duranty cooked the books. But compare the tone and temperament of the earlier generation of Timesmen profiled in Gay Talese’s The Kingdom and the Power from 1969, with their in-name-only successors. Read Gray Lady Down, William McGowan’s excellent 2010 book, if you’d like to learn more about how the Times went off the rails in the last twenty years. Has America ever been more poorly served by an institution that styles itself as America’s flagship newspaper? And do the people currently at the Times wonder how things went so wrong, or do they look back at the paper’s early incarnation, and like the writers of TV’s Mad Men, solemnly conclude that Now We Know Better.


A rhetorical question, I know. And more’s the pity for all of us.

And given the spectacular moral lobotomy the Times performed on itself at the end of last year,will they dare attempt topping themselves to ring in 2014? Stay tuned.


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