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May 24, 2009

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"First, Obama didn't claim his critics were saying "ignore challenges." He claimed they criticized the way he approached challenges by trying to do too much."

Hmmm. Almost like Helene is trying to set up a strawman.

The link in Jack Jones' comment takes you to some pretty horrifying pornographic images. If it isn't already taken down by the time I post this, I recommend NOT clicking on the "Glen Greenwald takedown" unless you are prepared to scrub your eyeballs (and your web browser) immediately. Seriously gross.

E, Obsidian Wings seems to have been (temporarily, let's hope) infested by pr0n-spamming trolls. Or possibly just one using a lot of pseuds. Until it's clear, I'm not clicking on any link unless I can see where it's going...

Jes, et al - I'm trying to get rid of this person. I've already banned once, but s/he switched to a different IP address.

Sorry for trouble - and htanks for helping me watch. Let me know if s/he resurfaces

Perhaps Cooper doesn't consider Brooks, Broder, Hannity, or the California GOP to be real people. I wish she were right.

you know, for years i have been lamenting what incurious lap-dogs the press have been. the nyt in particular.

all through the bush regime, they simply printed any nonsense that the bush administration told them to print, without doing any investigation of their own, without doing the most rudimentary fact-checking.

also, for years i have been predicting that the press would rediscover its watch-dog role and become fierce champions of the truth, as soon as a democrat was in the white house.

sure enough.

after failing to call bush out on his real sins, they now show how independent and investigative they are, by accusing obama of made-up sins. and they still can't do fact-checking.

i keep thinking that maybe the press can re-invent itself and start becoming a force for good, instead of an outlet for the rnc.

but then things like this happen, and it's hard to keep hoping.

Ignoring the spamination, this reminds me of my one of my biggest problems with right-wingers (and right-wing enablers, cf David Brooks) during the Bush Administration and beyond: the propensity to declare two people equal if they said similar things, without regard to whether they were true or not. It went beyond false equivalency into Ganz Falsch Equivalency; rhetoric so completely divorced from reality that it became reality. So I guess it's not surprising that it's continuing, and in a similar vein; just sad that the NYT is still infected.

Wow, Chandler. So imaginative. I admire your wit and sophistication.

Clean up on aisle 7...

(Jeebus. Don't people have something better to do than spoof and spam? FYI: DO NOT CLICK THE LINKS!)

Now, some have suggested that this represents a reversal on my part. They should look at the record. In 2006, I did strongly oppose legislation proposed by the Bush administration and passed by the Congress because it failed to establish a legitimate legal framework, with the kind of meaningful due process rights for the accused that could stand up on appeal.

I said at that time, however, that I supported the use of military commissions to try detainees, provided there were several reforms, and in fact there were some bipartisan efforts to achieve those reforms. Those are the reforms that we are now making. Instead of using the flawed commissions of the last seven years, my administration is bringing our commissions in line with the rule of law.

So Obama is better at rhetoric than Bush - good for him, but I don't really care. Because brushing off real criticism in the manner quoted above is not a good way to have a discourse about policy. Of course Obama die-hards and nitpickers might want to point out that what he said is true, in which case I would want to remind them of Obama's own words: "You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig". His presentation might be a bit more suave, but it's still the same nonsense. It's just that one has to pay more attention now.

IMHO,Crappy writing for a $1.75 newspaper.

There is a subtler issue here: we have such a broken public discourse that the dominant arguments against Obama are usually pretty silly ones. He has the luxury of throwing up true critiques of his decisions that act like strawmen in that they are so easy to knock down. I think that this is generally bad for civil society and good policy making, since disagreement is a great source of new, better ideas and forces clarity of thinking on all sides. But only if one side of the disagreement isn't being a total idiot....

"real, living, breathing, non-straw-filled people like John Kyl, Anne Applebaum, Bill Kristol, and Jeffrey Kuhner."

One minor point: Kristol's head is 87% straw.

Ferociously annoying hackwork, Helene Cooper, unbelievably lame and filled with gaping gaps of logic, common sense, and absolutely daft.

She's pretending that Republican opposition to Obama's plans, for government spending to get the economy going, doesn't exist.Loudly, vocally, nonstop, it certainly exists. But to her it's a "straw man".

Why is this Helene Cooper hire to write for any reputable news organization, much less the NYT? Someone tell Pinch Sulzberger that this sort of dreck is sheer capitulation to incessant whines about the mythic "liberal media", and you're bending over backwards to the point where you're kissing your own ass. Please stop, it's unworthy of the Times and convincing to no one.

maybe she's unaware of what a straw man fallacy actually is

kid bitzer at 3:39pm writes: "all through the bush regime, they simply printed any nonsense that the bush administration told them to print, without doing any investigation of their own, without doing the most rudimentary fact-checking. ... after failing to call bush out on his real sins, they now show how independent and investigative they are, by accusing obama of made-up sins. and they still can't do fact-checking."

I expect the part after the ellipsis is pretty much totally congruent with the part before.

We need a progressive alternative to the NYT.

We had one, but unfortunately it stopped publishing about sixty-one years ago.

Thanks, Ben.

Helene Cooper, Judith Miller...where does the Times find such "liberal" journalists?

Cooper is, of course, inexcusably overboard in comparing Obama to the Bushies in this respect -- remember how we soft-on-terror libruls wanted to address terrorism with "therapy"? However, that doesn't mean Obama's rhetoric is utterly free of straw man bashing.

From the transcript of Obama's speech at Costa Mesa, it looks like Obama's remarks, taken in context, did in fact attribute to unnamed critics ("some folks in Washington and on Wall Street") the idea that his administration should "focus on only one problem at a time." Focusing on one thing at a time naturally entails ignoring other things -- which is what Obama implicitly accused unnamed critics of recommending. And I'm not sure which of Obama's critics have recommended such a blinkered view, at least if you go by the quotes above.

Even if you try to sweep all of Broder's preferred foci -- "banking, credit, housing, jobs" -- into a single "problem", you end up conflating the financial crisis with the recession. As problems, these two are causally interlinked. Any solutions will be similarly linked. However, they are hardly identical. So this "only one problem at a time" accusation doesn't even stick to Broder, who I think we can all agree is not exactly teflon. Then who is Obama talking about with that one?

Part of the problem is the ambiguity of the phrase "doing less". In this context, it can mean "executing fewer plans (thus addressing fewer problems)", or "executing less ambitious plans (for some subset, if not all, of the problems)." Accordingly, with his "ambitious", Obama could be referring to the sheer scale of problems being tackled, or the sheer number of problems; he seems to shift from one interpretation to the other. On the other side of the argument, his critics have the advantage of a similar vagueness: Metaphors like "biting off more than you can chew" don't clearly fit one interpretation of "less" or the other.

To me it looks like everybody used Google and Lexis/Nexis less than they should have. (Not to be, uh, well, vague in my accusations or anything. Some might say I'm concern-trolling here, but they are hollow men, headpieces filled with straw . . . .)

AP Poll : "Most Americans say Obama is changing things at about the right speed. But nearly a third say he's trying to change too many things too quickly. "

CNN Poll: "Fifty-five percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say that since he's taken over in the White House, President Obama has tried to handle more issues than he should have."

Google

Thanks. Saw the headline and said to myself Obama is not referring to strawmen. My experience has been that when the President says something like some people say then more than likely more than some people have said it. Bush used to use the ploy and I wondered who the hell said that. Didn't read the article, Thanks for confirming my suspicions that this was another less than in depth atricle by NYT political reporters

You know, when The Corner calls you out for being unfair to Obama, it's probably time to take a step back.

Ponnuru: "I suspect that I will not have many opportunities to defend President Obama from New York Times reporters, so I will seize this one. The related notions that Obama has too much on his plate, that he is overloading the political system, and that he is spending too little time on the economy and too much on health and the environment are staples of centrist and center-right commentary about the president, and have been for months."

Maybe she was being post-modern, writing an article about Obama's supposed use of strawman arguments and filling the article with nothing but strawman arguments to make her point.

Why is this Helene Cooper hire to write for any reputable news organization, much less the NYT? Someone tell Pinch Sulzberger that this sort of dreck is sheer capitulation to incessant whines about the mythic "liberal media", and you're bending over backwards to the point where you're kissing your own ass. Please stop, it's unworthy of the Times and convincing to no one.

Posted by: Arundel

Because the major old media are in a death spiral wherein they have transformed themslves into little more than commodified propaganda outlets. Sort of the same dynamic as the Republican party, actually: as their base of customers contracts, they become ever more captive to the prejudices of those who are left. The shaky and choleric old toffs who are actually still paying for a subscription to this poor old thing fancy themselves as edgy and intellectual, and deem the likes of George Will, David Broder, Spanky Friedmann et al as canny commentarians - sort of like a watery Camille Paglia for the geriatric set, what with them being transgressive and all.[1]

And so, of course, the Grey Lady panders to their needs, and in so doing loses yet more paying readers. Rinse and repeat.

[1]I knew someone back in the day who claimed to have seen Clinton almost daily on campus. According to her, he was one of those guys who thought he was cool but really wasn't - the archetypical Sigma Chi Bro who thinks he can hang because he smokes dope and listens to the Police. And those ratty punks who were high-fiving you out back of the club after you toked up, Bill? They were laughing at you, man. Seriously. While this woman's story may be suspect, her description of a certain type is spot on.

"...the archetypical Sigma Chi Bro who thinks he can hang because he smokes dope and listens to the Police."

Presumably this is an analogy to earlier years, since Bill Clinton got his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown in 1968.

FWIW, according to Wikipedia:

[...] While in college he became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Clinton was also a member of Youth Order of DeMolay, but he never actually became a Freemason.[18] He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi's National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc.[19]
To be sure, he went on to Oxford and Yale Law, but he graduated the latter in 1973, and The Police didn't form until 1977.

Also FWIW, here are the Times released figures on their reader demographics. The median age is 45.1, and the average age is 45.9.

Which is, while not youthful, not actually geriatric.

You know, I'd think that there are many, many policy based reasons for critiquing Bill Clinton no matter where you sit on the political spectrum. So many that I can't imagine needing to dredge up third-hand anecdotes about how stylish he was or was not almost four decades ago. Why would anyone care how stylish people were decades ago?

The shaky and choleric old toffs who are actually still paying for a subscription to this poor old thing fancy themselves as edgy and intellectual, and deem the likes of George Will, David Broder, Spanky Friedmann et al as canny commentarians - sort of like a watery Camille Paglia for the geriatric set, what with them being transgressive and all.

I don't see any evidence for this theory. I have difficulty seeing how subscriber preferences actually effect columnist selection in a newspaper like the NYT. There's a fairly rich literature on media analysis and I don't think your theory is well supported by any of it.

Yep, a (very close) analogy, and stolen from my own college days when we Rocked Against Reagan. I didn't remember the specific band she mentioned or his Greek affiliation, so I just filled in my own details. There was a, shall we say, certain type of fraternity guy who liked to cruise the alternative chicks, possibly in the mistaken belief that they were easier than what he was accustomed to due to his being a 'catch'. The guy who thought he was culturally sophisticated because he listened to the Police as opposed to REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, or the Eagles. Who didn't have a clue as to who X was, or King Missile, or Blert or Black Flag.

Of course, the signifying bands that she ticked off as to what the Serious Person listened to completely escape me(it was that kind of conversation.) But the fact that Fleetwood Mac played at the ignauration is not a good sign. Nor is the fact, per my informant, that he thought that playing the sax was every bit as cool as playing lead guitar or bass(though I'd like to think better of her, I'm inclined to think that a much younger Hillary agreed.)

Are those demographics for paying subscribers, btw, or just people who self-report reading the NYT? Not that it matters really, I read it regularly, and I - cough! - drag the average age up.

I believe it's the figures for audited readers, which I think, but could be wrong, include subscribers and verified regular buyers. The comparable stats for web page readers is here, and doesn't differ drastically. (Median age: 48 yrs.)

Helene Cooper is a repeat offender. She made the same false straw man accusation in an article published April 8th. I refuted her claim April 7th.

http://rjwaldmann.blogspot.com/2009/04/helene-cooper-discovers-president-who.html

JFTR, I myself not only subscribe to the NYT, but also think playing the sax is cooler than playing the guitar, though less cool than playing (double) bass.

I did enjoy SoV's idiotic and completely inaccurate catalogue of my likes and dislikes, preferences in musical groups, view of political columnists, and general personality.

I've already banned once, but s/he switched to a different IP address.

He. I banned him multiple times back in March, and then again last week, but he keeps returning.

I even sent a letter to the abuse line that hosted his IP. If you just relegate his stuff to the Spam heap, and then let me know, I'd be glad to forward his more egregious stuff on to his abuse line, and possibly to his local police department.

And, by the way: he's name-banned, as well as banned a number of other different ways, so if you say his name, your comment lands right on top of the spam-heap.

Sorry, but it's better than having to weed through his comments. IMHO.

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